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Pearl S. Buck Writing Contest

All students enrolled at a West Virginia college or high school (or home schooled and high school aged) are invited to apply for the Pearl S. Buck Writing Competition. Awards of $1,000 each will be given to an undergraduate and graduate student winner, and a high school winner will receive $250 and a scholarship to the WVU English Department’s annual West Virginia Writers' Workshop for summer 2018 ($600 value).

While winning pieces will be those that best reflect the life and values of Pearl Buck, the Selection Committee will base its decision on the extent to which the writing reflects one or all of the following:

  1. Expression of appreciation for difference and different cultures, including but not limited to Appalachia and China;
  2. Social justice;
  3. Women's perspectives.

Applicants must submit an original writing in any literary genre (e.g., fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, essay, children's literature, play writing, blog, etc.) no later than March 2, 2018. Word maximum is 10,000. All applicants will be notified by May 15 of status.

Winners and runners-up will be published in online format and housed, for historical purposes, with the Pearl S. Buck collection at WVU. Winners and runners-up retain copyrights to their works, while granting a nonexclusive license to WVU to publish.

Questions should be addressed to Dr. Melanie Page at or (304) 290-3250.

Submit a Contest Entry

2018 Contest Winners

2017 Contest Winners

2016 Contest Winners