Golden Nib

Golden Nib Chapter Contest

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

An independent judge selects a winner in each category.  The three winning entries are advanced to the State-level competition. There are cash prizes for first ($100), second ($50), and third ($25) place finishers in each category at the State level.  All first-place chapter winning manuscripts submitted to the State finals will be published in the VWC Golden Nib and Teen Nib Journal. Second and Third place chapter winners may request their manuscripts be included in the spring journal through their cover sheet.


Entries must be received by the chapter no later than July 15, 2024.  Chapter winners will be announced at the September meeting.  State winners are announced at the VWC annual meeting in November.

Submission Formatting

  • Entries will only be accepted via email.
  • Entries must be in Microsoft Word .doc or .docx, or .rtf 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

  • Please use this fillable Golden Nib Cover Sheet.
  • The cover sheet must be a separate file from the manuscript.
  • Please note that a short (no more than 200 words) bio must included on the cover sheet.

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.
  • The entry manuscript must only include one entry in one category.
  • All pages must show contest category, title, word (or line for Poetry) count and page number in the header.
  • Prose (fiction and non-fiction) manuscripts:
    • Double-spaced, in 12pt Times New Roman font.
    • Formatted to print on 8 ½ by 11-inch page.
    • One-inch margins on all sides and a ragged right margin.
    • Indent the 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.
    • Fiction and nonfiction entries should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Poetry manuscripts:
    • Single-spaced, in 12pt Times New Roman font.
    • Formatted to print on 8 ½ by 11-inch page.
    • One-inch margins on all sides.

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. Writing published in your personal blogs is permitted. Writing published in blogs other than your own or on social network sites or in an online publication is 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 not be longer than 3,500 words, including any notes, bibliographies, or other supporting text.
  6. Poetry entries must not be longer than 50 lines.
  7. Submissions not in accord with the formatting requirements and contest rules will be disqualified.
  8. Contest coordinator and judges are ineligible to enter the contest.
  9. The decisions of the contest coordinator and judges are final.

Failure to adhere to the contest rules, including submission formatting, will result in disqualification.

Good luck!