Submissions for our 2019 contest are now closed, and the winner will be announced in October 2019. Please check back next spring for details on the 2020 contest.

2019 Judge: Savannah Sipple

Contest submission window: April 1 – June 1, 2019

A writing practice requires us to slow down, reflect, attend. HeartWood Literary Magazine & West Virginia Wesleyan’s MFA Program seek to honor this practice with an annual broadside series and contest. Partnering with West Virginia letterpress company Base Camp Printing, we print the winning entry (poetry or flash prose) on a limited-edition letterpress broadside featuring an original image inspired by the text. The annual broadside serves as artifact companion to the fall issue of the digital magazine. Both the handmade and the electronic HeartWood venues aim to showcase work that gets to the heart of the matter.

Contest Judge: SAVANNAH SIPPLE is a writer from east Kentucky. Her debut poetry collection WWJD and Other Poems (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019) explores what it is to be a queer woman in Appalachia and is rooted in its culture and in her body. With a beer-drinking Jesus as her wing man, she navigates this difficult terrain of stereotype, conservative Evangelicalism, and, perhaps most, shame. Her poems have recently been published in Appalachian Heritage, Waxwing, Talking River, The Offing, and The Louisville Review. She is also the recipient of grants from the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

“Savannah Sipple is the poet we need right now. WWJD and Other full of truth and light and so much fierceness it threatens to take flight from our hands while we're reading it, buoyed by the very power of language.” —SILAS HOUSE, author of Southernmost and Clay's Quilt


  • $15 entry fee (includes a mailed copy of the winning broadside)

  • Contest opens April 1, 2019. The submission deadline for the prize is midnight June 1, 2019

  • Submit one poem (of any form) or flash prose piece (fiction or nonfiction) per entry; regardless of genre, the entry must be 200 words or less. There is no limit on the number of entries per person.

  • $500 cash prize + 25 copies of limited-edition letterpress broadside will be awarded to the winner.

  • All entries will also be considered for publication in HeartWood

  • All submissions must be anonymous: no name or contact information should appear on the poem or prose piece.

  • Entries must be submitted via our online submission form manager, Submittable, at: We will not accept mail or email submissions, but please do include a mailing address in the Submittable contact fields. We do not accept previously published entries. You may enter simultaneously submitted work as long as you notify us if the work is accepted elsewhere before our contest closes on June 1.

  • 1st round of judging will be performed by HeartWood Editors. Finalists (approximately 20 poems and/or flash prose) will then be forwarded to the Contest Judge for the final round of judging.

  • Winner will be selected by August 1, 2019, along with honorable mentions at the judge's discretion.

  • Entrants not selected for winning broadside or honorable mention will be notified of contest results and of the editors' decision about publication of their entries by August 1, 2019.

  • Winner (and honorable mentions) will be publicly announced in the October 2019 issue of HeartWood.

  • Broadside will be printed/mailed October 2019.

  • Please note that current or past faculty, current or past students, and alumni of WV Wesleyan’s MFA program are not eligible for the broadside contest. We wish you much luck with your work elsewhere! However, employees, students, and alumni of WV Wesleyan College who are unaffiliated with the MFA program are eligible for the contest.