Veterans Writing Prize

Veteran Author Submissions Needed for Second Annual Competition

James Teller was the winner of the 2017 Veterans Writing Prize.

Veteran authors are invited to compete for the 2017 South Dakota Festival of Books Veterans Writing Prize.

Mail submissions to:

Kyle Schaefer, Program and Development Officer
South Dakota Humanities Council
1215 Trail Ridge Road, Suite A
Brookings, SD 57006

OR send in digital format as a single PDF to

Veterans of or current service members in any branch of the United States military currently living in South Dakota are invited to compete for the 2017 Veterans Writing Prize. The contest winner will be announced at the 2017 South Dakota Festival of Books in Deadwood Sept. 23.  

Submissions Accepted May 1 - Sept. 1

Submissions, in the form of a story, are being accepted through Sept. 1.


  • Submit new, unpublished material on any aspect of the military experience.
  • You may include up to five pages (1-inch margin, single-spaced paragraphs, and 12 point font).
  • Include a cover page with the author's name, address, military branch/service dates, and the words "Veterans Writing Prize Submission." The cover page does not count as one of the five pages. 
  • The format of the submitted material is up to you. Submissions can be in the form of poetry, prose, fiction, creative non-fiction, etc. 
  • Send submissions to

Creativity is Essential

Whatever format you choose to share your story, please write as creatively as possible. Consider using creative comparisons and vivid sensory details in your submission.

Finalists will have the option to publish their work on the South Dakota Humanities Council website.

Three finalists will be invited to the South Dakota Festival of Books for a reading at an event with Pulitzer Prize winner and contest judge, Robert Olen Butler, who will announce the winner at the event.

SDHC will pay state-rate mileage to finalists to attend the South Dakota Festival of Books Veterans Writing Prize event on Sept. 23, 2017 in Deadwood. Writers do not need to be available to attend the Festival to submit work; a representative can read the author's work on the finalist's behalf. One finalist will be selected as the winner and will receive a cash prize of $1,000, second place will receive $500 and third will receive $250.

Download Submission Information

If you'd like to download a PDF of the submission requirements for later reference, please click the link below. 

*2017 Veterans Writing Prize Submission Requirements*

Inaugural Event a Success

The inaugural Veterans Writing Prize in 2016 received 32 submissions from around South Dakota. Of the 32 submissions, writers represented 17 communities, several branches of the military, and service periods ranging from the 1940s to current active duty.

Ron Capps, director of the Veterans Writing Project, chose the three finalists, who also read their pieces at the 2016 South Dakota Festival of Books in Brookings on Sept. 23. A panel of four readers with backgrounds in military service, writing, and scholarship independently selected the pool of semi-finalists from the 32 submissions. Capps selected from that pool.

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