Olive Woolley Burt Awards

For Creative Writing

The Olive Woolley Burt Awards are open to the general public for previously unpublished work. Discounts for entry given to members of the League of Utah Writers.

Winners announced at the Quills Conference Awards Ceremony
August 13, 2022



•       Submission period begins January 20th and closes May 13th.

•       All entries must be the original work of the contestant.

•       Previously published works do not qualify for this contest.

•       Entries may not be entered into more than one category.

•       Works previously awarded a LUW cash prize do not qualify for this contest.


Submitted entries are judged as initially submitted (although you may withdraw your entry and resubmit anytime prior to the submission deadline). 



The submission process, judging, and feedback will all be done via jotform. 



In no way does the League of Utah Writers share your personal information with any third party. Any information of such a nature is only for use in contacting the submitter or allowing Jotform to identify your account, should you need assistance.


Please make sure your submission via Jotform provides a valid MAILING ADDRESS, along with your email address. You do not need to be present at the awards ceremony to win. If you are not present and you place in a category, we will mail you your award, but can only do so with a valid mailing address




All categories are judged on a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being the best score. Judges will also be required to leave feedback on your work. 


Note: contacting a judge, editor, or agent regarding the contest (before, during, and after) will result in the contestant being disqualified from current and future participation in any hosted contests by The League.



IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN BLIND JUDGING, your name or any other identifying information should NOT appear anywhere on your entry: not in the header, not in the body of the entry, not in the file name, no URL references, etc. Names are tracked through the Airtable account info, to which the judges have no access. 









  • Use a 1″ margin on all sides

  • Begin numbering with the first page of the text of the book, usually the introduction, prologue, or chapter one.

  • Use a header on each page including the title of your entry, and the page number. e.g.  Once Upon a Time in Utah/12

  • Start each new chapter on its own page, one-third of the way down the page.

  • The chapter number and chapter title should be in all caps, separated by two hyphens: CHAPTER 1—NOT MY MONKEYS NOT MY CIRCUS.

  • Begin the body of the chapter four to six lines below the chapter title.

  • Indent five spaces for each new paragraph. 

  • Double-space the entire text.

  • Fonts should be Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier, in 12-point. 




  • Type one poem to a page, single-spaced with double-spacing between stanzas. 

  • Leave at least a one-inch margin on all sides of the page.

  • Use a header on each page with the title of your entry, e.g. Thoughts of a Young Lyricist

  • The title of your poem should appear centered, six lines underneath your header.

  • Begin the poem one line beneath the title.






The contest is open for traditionally non-published work only. Self-published work is allowable provided you have sold fewer than 100 copies.


Each submission to the 2022 Olive Woolley Burt Awards may be entered into one category only. 


These guidelines are meant to assist you in deciding which category is most appropriate for each of your submissions. 


Some submissions might be appropriate for more than one category, nevertheless, a unique entry may only be submitted to one category. For example, a funny 1,000-word story about a botanist and a flight commander stranded on Mars might be suitable for flash fiction, science fiction, or romance, but may only be submitted to one of these. It is ultimately up to you to decide the category in which you feel your submission will fare best. 


If you have three unique pieces that fit a single category, you can enter all three in that category.  






Submission fee will be $10


  • Narrative Poem - Poetry that tells a story. It is usually dramatic, with objectives, diverse characters, and meter. Form can be open or closed.

  • Freeform/Slam

  • Light Verse (Humor) - Verse with playful themes written primarily to please, amuse, and entertain.

  • Rotating Category 2022: Soliloquy  

  • Rotating Category 2022: Sonnets



Unless otherwise specified, the word limit for these categories will be up to 5,000 words.


Submission fee will be $10 


  • General Creative Nonfiction - Factually accurate prose about real people and events, written in a compelling, vivid, dramatic manner. 

  • Nonfiction [up to 2,000 words] - This includes essays and media articles. 

  • Spiritual Essay [up to 2,000 words] - Spirituality can have many different definitions, depending on who is asked. It can be something as simple as looking for a higher meaning to life, or something so complex that one can base their beliefs, religion and overall life around it.

  • Flash Fiction [up to 1,000 words] - 2022 Theme: Art & Sedition. A story with a fully developed theme, plot, and story arc in fewer than 1000 words.

  • Science Fiction & Fantasy

  • Horror

  • Romance - The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work, while including an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. 

  • Mystery & Thriller 

  • General & Literary Fiction - Stories explore themes such as the human condition, interpersonal relationships, and societal issues. May also be described as "short story," "literary fiction," "straight fiction," or "up-market fiction."

  • Feature Length Screenplay [up to 120 pages] [$75 entry fee] - Fiction or nonfiction. 

  • Short Comic Script or Screenplay [up to 25 pages] -- 

  • First Chapter (Adult) - The first chapter of a novel that is intended for an adult readership, but of any genre or style. 

  • First Chapter YA/Middle Grade/Childrens - The first chapter of a novel that is intended for the young adult, middle grade market, or children’s market but of any genre or style. Please be sure to include one of these three labels in your text’s header.



New Writer (New Voices)

To be considered a New Writer, you must not have any paid publishing credits via a traditional publisher or self-published text.


Unless otherwise specified, the word limit for these categories will be up to 5,000 words.

  • Creative Nonfiction

  • General Nonfiction [up to 2000 words] 

  • Poetry - $10

  • General & Literary Fiction

  • Genre Fiction

  • First Chapter (Adult)

  • First Chapter YA/Middle Grade/Children’s


  • First place: $75 

  • Second place: $50

  • Third place: $25


  • First place: $150

  • Second place: $125

  • Third place: $100



Contacting a judge, editor, or agent regarding the contest (before, during, and after) will result in the contestant being disqualified from future participation in any hosted contests by The League. 

Categories may be combined if there are insufficient entries. If there are insufficient entries even with combinations, submissions will be withdrawn and fees refunded.


Past Year's Results:




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About The Olive Woolley Burt Awards


The Woolley Awards are named in honor of Olive Woolley Burt.


Olive Woolley Burt (1894-1981) was the founding president of the League of Utah Writers, serving in that role from 1935 to 1939. In 1927, she quit her job as a teacher to take a job as the children's editor at the Salt Lake Tribune and later went to work for the Deseret News in 1945 where she remained until her retirement in 1967. Burt wrote over 50 books for children and adults, though the most notable might be American Murder Ballads and their Stories in 1958. It won a special Edgar Award in 1959. She spent all of her years working tirelessly for the League, promoting writing as a profession and a hobby for all of the writers of Utah for almost 50 years. 

She was particularly fond of writing children's books that illuminated stories of possibility to children with an aggressively progressive bent. One book, First Woman Editor: Sarah J. Hale tells the story of the first woman in the United States to be the editor of a magazine. Another, Black Women of Valor, brought positive stories of Black history to white audiences who wouldn't otherwise hear them in times where racist attitudes ran rampant.

Read more about her here:


See a video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1adMmab1M8