$30.00 Membership + $15.00 Contest entry



Contest entry

OWL Writing Contest Rules

Join us for another exciting year of award-winning writing. OWL members may enter as many of the adult categories for a flat fee of only $15! NON-members may pay $45 to include membership and contest entry.

You must be an OWL member to enter the contest. You are most welcome to join and submit your entry fee at the same time.


More information coming at the Spring Conference!

2021 Writing Contest (for adults) Categories





Congratulations to the 2020 OWL Writing Contest Winners!

OWL Writing Contest

President’s Award



Sponsor: Jan Morrill

1st Place: “Cool Rain in Late June” by Larry Wood

2nd Place: “Question of motive” by Russell Gayer

3rd Place: “Pond in Moonlight” by Margarite Stever

HM: “My Sons” by Terry McDermid

Crawford Poetry Theme: Mountains:

36Sponsor: John Crawford-

1st place: "The Mountain” by Russell Gayer

2nd place:  A Week in the Mountains” by Terry McDermid

3rd place, "Call to Mato Paha" by Ronda Del Boccio          

1st HM: "Rockies at Rest" by Bonnie Tesh

2nd HM  "Grandfather Mountain" by Annie Smith

3rd HM: "Goodbye Mountain" by Joy Keeney


Magazine Article

Sponsor: Anonymous

1st Place: “’For Pete’s Sake’: Charity Gives Cancer Patients a Needed Getaway” by Marti Attoun  

2nd Place: “Datura: Toxic Beauty” by Billie Holladay Skelley

3rd Place: “Bass Reeves, U.S. Deputy Marshal” by Diana West

HM: “The Terrible McWaters” by Larry Wood

HM: “Keeping Your Leader Dog Happy and Well-adjusted During the Pandemic” by Ronda Del Boccio

Memoir & Creative Nonfiction

Sponsor: Brenda Black

1st Place: “Believing in Thunder” by Ronda Del Boccio

2nd Place: “The Elephant's Whiskers” by Mary-Lane Kamberg

3rd Place: “A Little Different” by Billie Holladay Skelley

HM: "Christmas by Candlelight” by Bonnie Tesh  

HM: “I Never Saw My Father Cry” by Jim Hamilton

Short Story

Paranormal Short Story (FICTION): Ghost stories, cryptid hunts, UFO sightings, and the like are all welcome in this category.

Sponsor: Ronda Del Boccio

1st Place: “The Haunted House Contest” by Terry McDermid

2nd Place: “A Prosperity Halloween” by Larry Wood           

3rd Place: Lost Souls of Havenhurst” by Rhonda Harvey

Humorous Short Story


Sponsor: Russell Gayer

1st place: “Jenny’s Curtain Call” by Annie Lisenby Smith

2nd place: “Runaway Asses” by Margarite Stever

3rd place: “A Truly Bonafide Random Drawing” by Joan Banks

HM: “Food for Thought (or Idiom Schmidiom)” by Billie Holladay Skelley

Historical Romance

Sponsor: Parris Afton-Bond

1st Place: “The Lady Governess” by Annie Lisenby Smith

2nd Pace: “Out of the Blue” by Cassandra Jordan

3rd Place: “It Had to be You” by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Flash Fiction

Sponsor: Jan Wayne Fields

1st Place: “Dark Star, Bright Light” by Billie Holladay Skelley

Place: “Revenge” by Lonnie Whitaker

3rd Place: “Poverty at School” by Margarite Stever


Western Short Story

Sponsor: Duke Pennell

First Place: “The Sage Grouse and the Bandit Queen” by Billie Holladay Skelley

Second Place: “Showdown at Leadville” by Larry Wood

Third Place: “A Cowboy's Frustration in Manhood” by Michael Koch


Inspirational Story

Sponsor: Diane Yates

1st Place: “Requiem in C Sharp Minor” by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

2nd Place: “The Pear Tree” by Bonnie Tesh

Place: “A Candle in the Window by Cassandra Jordan

HM: “And I Always Will” by Ronda Del Boccio

HM: “Summer of His Life” by Larry Wood

Short Story Western Romance

Sponsor: Bud Hanks

1st Place: “Home on the Ranch” by Larry Wood

2nd Place: “Mail Order Husband” by Annie Lisenby Smith

3rd Place: “Montana Rose” by Bonnie Tesh

Short Story – O. Henry Style Story

Sponsor: Bud Hanks

1st Place: “Little Orange Lies” by Marti Attoun

2nd Place: “A Rocky Mountain Prayer” by Larry Wood

3rd Place: “ A Terrible Neighbor” by Margarite Stever

HM: “Order Up” by Ronda Del Boccio

HM: “Operation Tooth Fairy” by Annie Lisenby Smith

HM: “Annabell West” by Haley Humbird

Wilshire Short Story

Sponsors: Dr. Gil Wilshire – in memory of his parents, Professor Bruce and Donna Wilshire 

1st Place: “Praying For Rain” by Joan Banks

2nd Place: “Memory Lane by Joy Keeney

3rd Place: "Untitled countdown story" by Haley Humbird

HM “Please, Jesus, Don’t Let Me Wet Myself” by Ronda Del Boccio


Best First Page of a Book in Progress

Sponsors: The Prose Sisters  


1st Place: “James E. Hanger and His Artificial Leg” by Mary-Lane Kamberg

2nd Place: "Walnut Creek Chronicles" by Terry McDermid

3rd Place: "Shadow Walking" by Cassandra Jordan

HM "Texas Heat" by Rhonda Harvey

Best Unpublished Book Manuscript

Sponsor: Robert Lawrence

1st Place, "Deadly Mist" by Ronda Del Boccio

2nd Place: "The I Love to Write Poetry Book" by Mary-Lane Kamberg

3rd Place: "Deadly Memories" by Larry Wood


Best Published Book of 2019-2020

Sponsor: Veda Boyd Jones

Fiction: "Where Light No Longer Shines" by H. D. Pelton

Nonfiction: "Ozarks RFD" by Jim Hamilton 

HM "Missouri Innovators" by Paul W. Bass   


Congratulations to the 2019 OWL Writing Contest Winners!

OWL Youth Writing Contest

OWL Writing Contest

2019 Youth Contest Winners


1st Place- “The Piano” by Addysen Garrett, Skyline High School, Urbana, MO

2nd Place- “The Words of a Writer” by Savannah Barnett, Skyline High School, Urbana, MO

3rd Place- “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Ella Dougherty, Skyline High School, Urbana, MO


Short Story

1st Place- “Evelyn and the Imp” by Harmony Ortman, Gainesville High School, Gainesville, MO

2nd Place- “The House that Creams” by Destiny Holt, Skyline High School, Urbana, MO

3rd Place- “Satisfaction” by Angelina Curtis, Skyline High School, Urbana, MO


Thanks to contest coordinator April Brock. 

2019 Writing contest winners


Presidents Award

Brenda Clem Black for Black and Kiddo



1st Place - Annie Lisenby for Puerto Rico

2nd Place - Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for Pernicious

3rd Place - April Brock for Worth It

Honorable Mention - Ronda Del Boccio for Torment



1st Place - April Brock for Love Conquers Fear

2nd Place - Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for Dearly Beloved

3rd Place - Karen Williamson for Gypsy


O. Henry Style

1st Place - Larry Wood for Blacklist

2nd Place - Joy Keeney for Desperate Call

3rd Place - Rhonda Harvey for Blind Fate


Humorous Short Story

1st Place - Sasha Ball-Rives for Harebrained Christmas

2nd Place - Larry Wood for Bowled Over

3rd Place - Annie Lisenby for Wasps!


Wilshire Short Story

1st Place - Billie Holladay Skelley for One-Two-Three

2nd Place - Sasha Ball-Rives for Riding the Waves

3rd Place - Annie Lisenby for The Listener


Crawford Poetry Prize

1st Place - Jennifer Johnson Conner for Wild Ozark Song

2nd Place - Bonnie Tesh for Belle Starr and Richey Mansion

3rd Place - Ronda Del Boccio for Branson's Haunted Railway

1st Honorable Mention - Billie Holladay Skelley for Honoring the Plant Doctor

2nd Honorable Mention - Diana West for Ozark Spook Light

3rd Honorable Mention - Larry Wood for Triolet at Carver National Park


Paranormal/Fantasy Fiction

1st Place - Joy Keeney for Hartsville Asylum

2nd Place - Jessica Carrick for Shadowland

3rd Place - Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for Day of Atonement

Honorable Mention - Jennifer Johnson Connor for Final Flight


Unpublished Manuscript

1st Place - Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for What the Heart Wants

2nd Place - Annie Lisenby for Contributing Members

3rd Place - Larry Wood for Wild in His Sorrow


WIP First Page

1st Place - Ronda Del Boccio for Hypnotic Deception

2nd Place - Rhonda Harvey for Liquid Silver

3rd Place - Billie Holladay Skelley for Manumission

1st Honorable Mention - Gary R. Hoffman for Highway 50

2nd Honrable Mention Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for Last Dance with Annie


Underdog Short Story

1st Place - Larry Wood for A Grave Situation

2nd Place - Gary R. Hoffman for Saul and Mordecai

3rd Place - Joy Keeney for Struggles of the Heart

Honorable Mention - Sasha Ball-Rives for Why We Don't Tell


Western Romance

1st Place - Billie Holladay Skelley for A Ruse for Romance

2nd Place - Rhonda Harvey for Between Sisters

3rd Place - April Brock for Bradford's Mare

Honorable Mention - Annie Lisenby for Falling Hard and Running Wild


Memoir/Creative Nonfiction

1st Place - Gary R. Hoffman for Traveling Picture Show

2nd Place - Bonnie Tesh for The Wino Goose

3rd Place - Larry Wood for Decoration Day

Honorable Mention - Jennifer Johnson Conner for The Soul of Wild Places


Best Book Award

1st Place - Brenda Clem Black for Black and Kiddo

2nd Place - Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for A Stone for the Journey

3rd Place - Ronda Del Boccio for The All Died Smiling

Honorable Mention - Larry Wood for Show-Me Atrocities

© 2015 by Ozarks Writers League

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