Inaugural Veterans Writing Prize Seeks Submissions

Above: Ron Capps, of the Veterans Writing Project, speaks at the 2015 South Dakota Festival of Books in Deadwood, following a screening of Debt of Honor: Disabled Veterans in America. Finalists in the 2016 SD Veterans Writing Prize will be invited to do a reading with Capps at the 2016 Festival of Books in Brookings. 

SD Humanities Council to help tell the stories of military experience at Festival of Books  

The first Veterans Writing Prize presented by the South Dakota Humanities Council will highlight the writings of South Dakota veterans and service members. A $1,000 cash prize is offered to the winning author.

Military veterans and current service members in any branch of the U.S. military and who live in South Dakota are invited to submit their original, unpublished work for consideration.

Three finalists will be invited to the South Dakota Festival of Books in Brookings, Sept. 22-25, for a reading with Ron Capps, creator of the Veterans Writing Project. Capps also spoke at the Festival in 2015.

“The Festival is a natural place to showcase these efforts and a place where we can connect interested veterans with additional writing resources,” said Kyle Schaefer, program and development officer at the SDHC.

Existing veterans programming at the council naturally grew to include the Veterans Writing Prize. Through the Standing Together initiative with the National Endowment for the Humanities and in partnership with the Maine Humanities Council, three veterans reading groups in eastern South Dakota were created and two of the groups eventually added a writing component.

“The prize seemed like a natural progression to incorporate as part of the SDHC’s mission to tell the stories that define our state,” Schaefer said. He also credits the state Department of Veterans Affairs for their support in sharing information about the prize. 

Submissions can include up to five pages of material in any literary form – poetry, prose, fiction, non-fiction, etc. The deadline to apply is August 20.

For full details, download the submission guidelines. Or, call (605) 688-6031 or email Schaefer at


NOTE: The veterans reading groups and the Standing Together initiative also prompted expanding the SDHC's Lending Library and Book Club to Go program to include more stories of veterans and the military experience.