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Norgren & Witherington Contests for Youth Open to Submissions

Event Details

2020 Norgren and Witherington Contests for Youth Open to Submissions through February 15

October 15, 2019

TO: South Dakota English/Language Arts Teachers

FROM: Christine Stewart, South Dakota Poet Laureate and Professor of English, SDSU


South Dakota State University, the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, and the English Department are pleased to invite you to submit your students’ creative work to the 2020 Jerome Norgren Poetry Contest and the 2020 Paul Witherington Prose Contest

Please take this opportunity to design a lesson that will result in an actual audience for student writing. Submit the work of an entire class or sponsor a few of your more “creative” students. Writers are often excited to enter contests in which they may win prize money, but I have witnessed writers even more thrilled to have their hard work recognized. 

This year we are hosting a Celebration Reading on Saturday, April 4at 1 p.m. At the Celebration Reading we honor the student writers whose work won a prize or an honorable mention as well as their teachers and families. We hope that a weekend time allows more families and teachers to travel to and from Brookings. A reception with refreshments will follow the reading of student work. 

Eligible Writers: High school (9th-12th) and middle school (6th-8th) students enrolled in South Dakota schools. 

Submission Criteria:

  • Paul Witherington Prose Contest: Short fiction or personal essay on any subject or style. Maximum length: 10 pages double-spaced.  
  • Jerome Norgren Poetry Contest: Any subject, any style. 
  • Writers must keep a copy of their submissions. Submissions will not be returned.


  • First prize: High School - $100.00 /  Middle School - $100.00
  • Second prize: High School - $ 75.00 / Middle School - $ 75.00
  • Third prize: High School - $ 50.00 / Middle School - $ 50.00
  • Honorable mention: Up to five in each category

Prize-winning submissions will be published in a chapbook of Winning Writing. 


1. A student may not submit more than three poems or three prose entries (six total).

2. Include a cover sheet with the following information:

  • name of the contest
  • title of work(s)
  • student’s name and grade, and home address
  • school’s name and address
  • teacher’s first and last name
  • teacher’s statement declaring that the student’s work is the student’s own.

3. The student’s name should not appear on the actual submission. We assign the entries numbers and read them blind. This facilitates that process. 

Deadline: Submissions must be postmarked on or before February 15, 2020. Send to:       

            Christine Stewart
            English Department
            PO Box 2218/ Pugsley Center 301
            South Dakota State University
            Brookings, SD 57007

An email and postal letter will be sent to the teachers (or adult sponsors) to notify the students whose writing won a contest prize or honorable mention. This should happen by March 15.

Please do not hesitate to email me if you have questions: Christine Stewart


Event Audience

Public includes SDSU Faculty/Staff/Students
Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019 – Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 All-Day University Student Union

Building Access Directions

Celebration Reading on Saturday, April 4that 1:00 pm on the SDSU campus in Brookings.