Writing Competition 2019

Entry Requirements

The annual Public Safety Writers Association Writing Competition is open to any paid member in good standing of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA). This year’s Coordinator is Michelle J.G. Perin-Callahan, PSWA President and previous Competition Coordinator.

All entries must meet the following criteria:

  • Be the original work of the entrant. Entries in the categories listed below are judged by published authors in the public safety writing field.
  • Have a public safety element (plot, character, etc.).

Entries will be returned if a stamped, self-addressed envelope is enclosed with the entry.

Submission Instructions

  • All entries must be accompanied by a completed entry form. 
  • To qualify for entry, an original copy of the work must be submitted:
    • For published works: a copy of any book in which the entry is the entire work or a portion of a work. A tear sheet from a newspaper, magazine or other publication will be accepted, although the publication in its entirety is preferred. Published means published by the close of the contest, May 1, 2019.
    • For unpublished work: a copy of the work in its entirety.
  • Ebooks must be gifted to the judges. Once entered, the Contest Coordinator will advise on this step.

Submit a hard copy of the work to the physical address in the form, and either an e-mail or CD copy. Include a link or URL where your work can be viewed or purchased, or to your personal website. 

The Process

Entries, winning or non-winning, may be accompanied by a short critique by the judges. Awards will be given at the annual PSWA conference. Entrants need not be present to win.

Entry fees

$10 per entry
Checks should be made payable to Public Safety Writers Association.


Awards of first, second, third and honorable mention are available in each category, although not all places in a given category will necessarily be awarded. The awarding of places is at the discretion of the judges. All winners receive a certificate and three (3) PSWA “Award Winner” labels (upon request) to place on the award winning work. Additional labels can be purchased from PSWA for $1 each.

Competition Categories

All entries in the competition must be somehow related to public safety subjects or issues. Both published and non-published works are eligible for entry in the competition, but will be judged in separate categories. Contestants may enter in more than one category and submit up to three entries in each category. The categories are:

  • Fiction Books: Mystery, Thriller, Other
  • Fiction Short Stories
  • Flash Fiction
  • Non Fiction: Books, Creative-Non-Technical, Creative-Technical, Technical Manual
  • Poetry
  • Screenplay

Judges have the discretion to move an entry into a different, more appropriate category. The entrant will be advised of this move.


All entries must be postmarked by May 1, 2019, to be eligible but may be submitted anytime after January 1, 2019.


2019 Writing Competition Form (Download)

2018 Writing Contest Winners Posted