Participant Contests

Five Under Twenty-five Scholarships

Fellowship & Scholarship Grants

Contest Winners



We subscribe to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Contest Code of Ethics. CLMP's community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines-defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.


Registrants for the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference are eligible for the Participants Writing Contest.

You may submit an entry in one of four categories: 3-5 poems, or up to 10 pages of short fiction, excerpt from a novel, or non-fiction. The guidelines on how to submit will be sent to you after you register.

We use a blind judging system to arrive at the contest winners. This is the process:

  1. When we receive your electronic entry, we remove any identifying information from the manuscript, and assign it a unique number.

  2. No entry is read by anyone familiar with the author or his/her work. Cover sheets are kept separately and are not accessible to the readers. Manuscripts, identifiable only by the assigned number, are forwarded to the first-round judges. Each piece is read by two judges and scored from 1-9, nine being the highest. If the two scores differ by three or more points, the entry is sent to a third judge. When the third score is high, the two high scores are used; when low, the two lower scores.

  3. The top three contestant’s entries in each genre, still identified only by number, are sent to MCWC’s Executive Director. The Director sends these to the final judges, who select the winners. If an insufficient number of entries are received in a genre, or if the final judge does not believe the entries submitted deserve a prize, no prize will be awarded.

  4. The Director notifies the winners and the entrants who did not win prior to the Conference.

  5. As stated above, the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference vows to conduct this contest as ethically as possible. If you have any concerns regarding this process, either before, or after the winners have been announced, please contact us directly.








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