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Mountain Heritage Literary Festival



Writing Contests


The Jesse Stuart Prize for Young Adult Fiction: Entries for this prize are limited to no more than 3,000 words and may not be entered simultaneously in the Still contest. Entries must be written for written with the intended audience of young readers, middle grade, or young adult. Judges reserve the right to determine if entry does or does not meet that criteria.



The James Still Prize for Fiction Short Story: Entries for this prize should be no more that 4,000 words and there is no restriction on subject matter. 



The George Scarbrough Prize for Poetry: There are no restrictions on subject matter for this prize. One entry is considered a single poem or a set of up to three poems. 



The Emma Bell Miles Prize for Nonfiction Essay: Entries for this prize should be no more than 4,000 words, and there is no restriction on subject matter. 



Submitted entries must be unpublished. Simultaneous entries are accepted. Manuscripts should be:

  • Typed in a "plain" 12 point font (ex: Times New Roman, Ariel, etc).
  • Prose must be double spaced.
  • Poetry should be single spaced except where poets landscaping of page requires otherwise.


Submit one copy of your manuscript with one title page that includes your name, address, telephone number, email address, the title of the piece(s), and the name of the contest to which you are submitting. Poetry submissions may include up to three poems per one entry. Make sure your name does not appear anywhere besides the title page to ensure blind judging.


Additionally you must be 18 years of age or older and attend the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival to enter, if money is an issue scholarships are available. Please see below for scholarship information. 


Contest winners will be announced at the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival and prizes will be mailed to the winners.


 All materials will be submitted online. Hard copies will not be accepted. 


 There is no submission fee

 Prize amounts:

First: $150

Second: $75

Third: $50


Submit to:  [email protected] with the subject line: MHLF 2022 Writing Contest Submission.


Deadline for submissions is: May 20, 2022.



At the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival, we believe the best writers of the region include those who are unknown, unpublished, and maybe even unaware of their own talent. That's why we have revamped our scholarship program and are offering 15 scholarships and several partial scholarships this year. We hope to foster new writers at our annual gathering through scholarships. Please note the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival will take place in person this year on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. 


Applying is easy, just write a short essay (1 page) about how attending this years Mountain Heritage Literary Festival would benefit your writing or other creative pursuits. There is no need to explain why you need financial assistance but we do ask that only those who apply be writers who find the festival difficult to afford. That way we're sure to be encouraging talent that might not otherwise be able to attend such gatherings. Please be sure to include your name, email address, full address, and phone number.


Please note: the scholarship only covers the cost of admission to the festival only. Housing arrangements are the applicant's responsibility. 


Must be 18 years of age or older to apply. 


Mountain Heritage Literary Scholarships are open to anyone seeking financial assistance to attend this year’s festival. We strongly encourage applicants of underserved populations, people of color, LGBTQ+, and disability to apply. The Mountain Heritage Literary Festival is a welcoming environment for all, and we are excited to write with you!


Send essays or questions by email to: Grace Mahieu at [email protected] with the subject line: MHLF Scholarship.


 Deadline to apply is: May 27, 2022.