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 Barbara M. Hodges, PSWA Board Member.
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.
- All entries must be accompanied by a completed entry form. Use the link at the bottom of this page to download the 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, April 15, 2020.
- For unpublished work: a copy of the work in its entirety.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.
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.
$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.
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:
Long Form: Over 25,000 words
- Non Fiction: Books, Technical Manual
- Fiction Books: Mystery, Thriller, Other
Short Form: Under 25,000 words
- Non-fiction that isn’t technical (people and events more than technical details)
- Non-fiction that is technical (equipment or processes more than people or events)
- Fiction Short Stories
- Individual poem
- Flash Fiction (1,000 word maximum, excluding title)
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 April 15, 2020, to be eligible but may be submitted anytime after January 1, 2020.