Creative Writing Contest: The Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans


The Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans is a creative writing contest for U.S. military veterans and active duty personnel. It’s run by The Iowa Review   and sponsored by the family of Sharlet (in photo, above),   a Vietnam veteran and antiwar activist who died in 1969. The Review– which is published by the faculty, students and staff of the famed writing and literature programs at the University of Iowa–will be taking writing submissions in any genre and about any subject matter between May 1 and June 1. There is no entry fee. The judge this year is the award-winning writer and Iraq War veteran Phil Klay .

The first place winner will receive $1, 000 and have his or her work published in the Spring 2017 issue of The Iowa Review . Second place receives $750; three runners-up, $500 each.

Here are the contest’s official rules:

  • Submit a manuscript in any genre (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction) of up to 20 pages. Prose submissions must be double-spaced. Work must be previously unpublished. Simultaneous submissions are fine, assuming you inform us of acceptance elsewhere.
  • The judge will select winners from a group of finalists chosen by Iowa Review editors. All manuscripts, whether selected as finalists or not, are considered for publication.
  • To submit online, please visit https://iowareview.submittable.com/submit  beginning May 1, 2016, and follow the instructions.
  • To submit via mail, please follow these guidelines:
    1. Manuscripts must include a cover page listing your name, address, e-mail address and/or telephone number, and the title of each work, but your name should not appear on the manuscript itself.
    2. If you would like a yearlong subscription to the magazine for the discounted rate of $10, please enclose a check or money order for $10. (Please note that while we appreciate all new subscribers, purchasing a subscription will not increase your chances of winning the contest.)
    3. Label your envelope as a contest entry and note its genre. For example: “Veterans’ Contest: Fiction.” One entry per envelope. (Note: multiple poems or prose pieces can comprise a single entry if the total number of pages does not exceed 20. For instance, you may submit two short stories of ten pages each in a single envelope, with a single entry fee.)
    4. Enclose a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) for final word on your work. Manuscripts will not be returned.
    5. Postmark submissions by June 1, 2016, and mail to the address below.

The Iowa Review
308 EPB
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242

More rules:

Current students, faculty, or staff of the University of Iowa are not eligible to enter the contest.

Work is ineligible to win our contest if it is slated for publication before April 2017, whether in another magazine or as part of a book, or if it has been named winner or runner-up in any other contest. Please withdraw work from our contest immediately if these conditions apply.

The judge has been instructed not to award the prize to entrants with whom he has had a personal or professional relationship. Despite reading the entries with author names removed, the judge may sometimes be able to guess the identity of the entrant. Even if he can’t tell during the judging process, he has the right to change his decision if it turns out that the entrant is someone with whom there is any appearance of conflict of interest. Therefore, we advise entrants not to enter the contest if the judge is someone they know personally or have worked with professionally.




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