Challenge into Change Writing Contest

Everyone has a story to tell. WHAT'S YOURS?

Submission deadline is December 15, 2017

Challenge into Change is a forum for real-life stories about women overcoming personal struggles to find growth and healing.

Challenge into Change is a forum for real-life stories about women overcoming personal struggles to find growth and healing.

Challenge into Change is a forum for real-life stories about women overcoming personal struggles to find growth and healing. We invite you to submit a piece of writing of 500 words or less about a woman (yourself or someone you know) surmounting a difficult situation in her life. Both prose and poetry are welcome. Winners will receive cash awards; all entrants will have the chance to be published in our Challenge into Change book and will be honored at a ceremony at the 2018 Festival of the Book in Charlottesville.

Contest Guidelines

Submission deadline is December 15, 2017.

1. Authors must live in central Virginia to be eligible.
2. Each author may submit only one entry, no more than 500 words. Women may write about their own challenge into change. Anyone may write about a woman they want to honor for her challenge into change.
3. Our focus is on celebrating each woman’s story. Perfect grammar and spelling are not required.
4. Writings must be the entrant’s own original work, and the subject must be true.
5. Obscene, sexist, racist, inciting or salacious language will not be eligible.
6. All contestants who submit their writing for publication will receive a free book and can purchase more.

Entries can be in English, Spanish and other languages.

Previous entrants are eligible to submit. Previous winners are not eligible to win again but are still welcome to submit and be published in our book.

HONORING WOMEN’S STORIES: From left: Becca Pizmoht, third place winner of our 2016 Challenge into Change writing contest; Seema Reza, Festival of the Book featured author; Eboni Bugg, Program Director at The Women’s Initiative; Kaity L. Yang, second place winner; Aerial Perkins, first place winner.

HONORING WOMEN’S STORIES: From left: Becca Pizmoht, third place winner of our 2016 Challenge into Change writing contest; Seema Reza, Festival of the Book featured author; Eboni Bugg, Program Director at The Women’s Initiative; Kaity L. Yang, second place winner; Aerial Perkins, first place winner.

Submit Your Work

Interested in lending your voice to this community effort? We’re so glad! You can submit your piece of writing (500 words or less), a brief bio (80 words or less), and the Entry Form in the following ways:

1. Fill out our Online Entry Form
2. Fax to... (434) 872-0049
3. Mail to...
The Women’s Initiative
ATTN: Challenge into Change
1101 E High Street, Suite A
Charlottesville, VA 22902
4.    Drop off at either of our office locations:
1101 East High Street, Suite A
or
Jefferson School City Center
233 4th Street NW, Suite W (2nd Floor)

Once we receive your entry, we’ll confirm receipt by phone or email. If you don’t hear from us two weeks after submitting, please contact us at info@thewomensinitiative.org or call our office at (434) 872-0047.

One entry per person, please.

Join our writing group

Looking for a place to start? Join our women's writing group, Everyone Has a Story to Tell, in Fall 2017 for a supportive place to put words to paper.

Everyone Has a Story to Tell: Women's Writing Group

  • TIME: Tuesdays, 6:45–8 pm
  • DATES: September 12–October 17
  • LOCATION: TWI Main Office, 1101 E High St
  • FACILITATOR: Katelyn Durkin

Explore writing as a practice in self-care and stress reduction. In this group, women will write stories about our personal histories, our everyday emotional experiences, and our loved ones. We will also share our stories in a supportive environment. Additionally, we will read short stories and personal narratives to help us practice writing skills. No writing experience necessary. Space is limited. Contact The Women’s Initiative at (434) 872-0047 or info@thewomensinitiative.org to register by September 7.

Tips for Writing

Find your focus
Write a statement about what you want to talk about (achieved goal). For example:

  • How I started a business
  • How I became educated
  • How I overcame depression
  • How I got out of an abusive relationship

1. See if you can identify a turning point...sometimes it is gradual. But still there will be a point at which the change is identifiable—when you realized you were not the same.
2. What kind of change was it? Was it a change in your attitude and understanding or a change in your circumstances or both? (It’s often both.) Who or what made the difference...you and others...faith...a friend...a counselor...an inner strength...a memory...a new job...education?
3. What did your new Self feel like? How is life now different for you?

Do you feel inspired to write a poem? 

  • Find your focus just as you would if you were writing a story.
  • Your poem will probably be much less than 500 words, but you will enjoy finding just the right words to say what you want to say.
  • Poems do not need to rhyme. In fact trying to make a rhyme can hinder you from saying what you need to say.
  • Create images with words of the person you were, and of the person you have become.

Poems can be magical...one thing changes into another just as you have changed. Here’s Charlottesville’s own Rita Dove describing a sunset:

“The sun like a dragon spreading its tail,
Burns the blue air to ribbons”

Perhaps you, too, have felt yourself to be something other than yourself and yet yourself. See if you can find the words and tell us!

Read Past Winners' Work

All entries will have a chance to be published in the Challenge into Change book. Click on the image of the books to read excerpts of past winners.

2015-16 Contest

2015-16 Contest

2016-17 Contest

2016-17 Contest

Questions?

Call or email us: 434.872.0047 or info@thewomensinitiative.org.

Para leer sobre los lineamientos en español del concurso, dé click aquí.


2016 Challenge into Change

Thank you to everyone who made this year’s Challenge into Change at the Virginia Festival of the Book such a success. On Wednesday, March 22, 180 people filled the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center to celebrate women’s stories of healing and renewal. All the authors contributed their courage and wisdom; we are so grateful to them for sharing their stories with us.

We are honored to present this year’s winners:
First Place, Aerial Perkins, for her essay “Pretty Brown Girl”
Second Place, Kaity L. Yang, for her poem “Chronic Guest”
Third Place, Becca Pizmoht, for her essay “Alive”

How to Get Your Copy of the Book

The 2016 Challenge into Change book contains the amazing essays and poetry of all of this year's participants. A limited number of copies of the book are available for purchase for $10 each at our office at 1101 East High Street, Charlottesville. You may also order copies from Lulu Press or Amazon. by clicking here. The books will be available through other distributors soon; check back here for details.

 

 

 



Challenge into Change
at the 2017 Festival of the Book