Golden Nib

Golden Nib Chapter Contest

The Golden Nib Chapter Contest is the first round in the Virginia Writers Club annual writing competition.  Entries are in three categories: fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, and on any subject the author or poet chooses.

Judging is performed and winners in each category advance to the state-level competition. There are cash  prizes for first, second, and third place finishers at the State level.


Entries must be received no later than July 30, 2017.

Submission Formatting

  • Entries will only be accepted via email.
  • Entries must be in Microsoft Word .doc or .docx format.
  • Entries must be sent as attachments to the email.
  • Each entry email must contain two attachments – a cover sheet and the manuscript
  • If you submit to multiple categories (fiction, non-fiction, or poetry), each entry must be in a separate email.
  • Emails must be sent to

Cover Sheet Formatting

  • The cover sheet must include your name, address, telephone number, email address (if available), category (fiction, non-fiction, poetry) and title.
  • The cover sheet must be a separate file from the manuscript.

Manuscript Formatting

  • The manuscript must not include any personal or identifying information.Please remove this information from the file name, document, and the document properties.Failure to do so will result in disqualification.
  • The manuscript must only include one entry in one category.
  • Include the contest category, title and page number in the top right corner header.
  • Prose (fiction and non-fiction) manuscripts:
    • Double-spaced, in 12pt standard font (Times New Roman, Courier, or Arial).
    • Formatted to print on 8 ½ by 11-inch page.
    • One-inch margins top, bottom and left, and a ragged right margin.
    • Indent first line of each paragraph using standard one-tab indent and not the space bar.
    • Type and center “The End” or “###” to indicate the end of the manuscript.
    • Use a single, centered # to indicate a section break in the manuscript.
    • Don’t skip a line between paragraphs.
    • Use bold to bold words, not underlines.
    • Use italics to italicize words, not underlines.
  • Poetry manuscripts:
    • Single-spaced, in 12pt standard font (Times New Roman, Courier, or Arial).
    • Formatted to print on 8 ½ by 11-inch page.
    • One-inch margins top, bottom and left.

Contest Rules

  1. Contestants must be members in good standing of the Northern Virginia Writers Club as well as the Virginia Writers Club.
  2. Manuscripts must be the original, unpublished work of the entrant, and must not have won a prize at any level in any other competition. The VWC State competition will now allow entries published in your personal blogs. Writing published in blogs other than your own or on social network sites or in an online publication are ineligible and should not be submitted.
  3. If the author’s name appears on any page of the manuscript other than the cover sheet, the entry will be disqualified.
  4. Entrants may submit only one entry per category of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
  5. Fiction and non-fiction entries must be not longer than 3,500 words.
  6. Poetry entries must be not longer than 50 lines.
  7. Submissions not in accord with format and rules will be disqualified.
  8. Contest coordinator and competition judges are ineligible to enter the contest.

Good luck!
Golden Nib Contest Coordinator
President, Northern Virginia Writers Chapter