University of Iowa

Announcing the "Write Now" UI Alumni and Friends Flash Writing Contest!

January 6, 2020

Tennessee Williams' second major play was A Streetcar Named Desire. Margaret Walker's sophomore book, Jubilee, became a national bestseller. Marilynne Robinson's second novel was Gilead, which won a Pulitzer Prize.

All this to say, we have a long tradition of Iowa writers following up one great story with another.

This winter, The Center for Advancement invites you to take part in the second annual UI Alumni and Friends Flash Writing Contest—a free, online, Iowa-themed short story competition. You don't have be an Iowa Writers' Workshop grad—or even remember the lessons from your freshman rhetoric class—to take part. Just set aside some time the weekend of Jan. 31–Feb. 2, 2020; read the writing prompts; and submit a short story of 1,000 words or less before the deadline.

Contest Details

The contest will open at 4 p.m. (CST) Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, and ends 48 hours later, at 4 p.m. (CST) Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. At the start of the contest, the Center for Advancement will provide writers with a genre, UI-related setting, and specific object to incorporate into their story. The rest is left up to the writer's imagination. Submissions must be 1,000 words or less and composed in their entirety during the contest weekend. All entrants will receive the same writing prompts, which will be posted on the "Write Now" website at 4 p.m. (CST) Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.

The Center for Advancement will narrow down the entries to 10 finalists, whose stories will be posted their website on Monday, March 2, 2020. From those finalists, a panel of esteemed UI judges will select the winning story, which will also be announced March 2.

The competition is open to UI alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends.

The winning story will be published in the summer 2020 issue of Iowa Magazine, and its author will receive a $100 gift card from Iowa Hawk Shop, a selection of three books published in 2019 by participants in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and a pen handcrafted from the wood of a Pentacrest tree.

· The contest is open to the public (e.g. alumni/friends, any age)

· One of the key focuses is that the University of Iowa is the Writing University – so one’s major does not matter.

· Sponsored by the University of Iowa Center for Advancement

More Information

For the contest rules, click here. For further questions, email