SCWA Contests

Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Awards

The contest is open to anyone, from any country, anywhere in the world. However, entries must be written in English.

Winning entries receive:

  • $200—First Place
  • $100—Second Place
  • $50—Third Place
  • Publication in The Petigru Review
  • One (1) contributor copy

Honorable Mentions will be given for exceptional work and publication may be offered for those pieces the judges deem of high quality.  There will be no cash prizes for honorable mention pieces, However, anyone who wins an honorable mention will receive one (1) contributor copy.

History of the Award

The Carrie McCray Award seeks to honor the life of one of the South Carolina Writers Association’s (formerly the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop) founders and first board member: Carrie Allen McCray. Her published works include Ajös Means Goodbye (1966), The Black Woman and Family Rules (1980), and a memoir about her mother, Freedom’s Child: The life of a Confederate General’s Black Daughter (1998). Her poetry has appeared in such magazines as Ms. and The River Styx. She died on July 25, 2008 at the age of 94.

Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Award winners specifically highlighted for praise in the Kirkus Review

TPR -coverWe, the editors of The Petigru Review, are proud to announce that five (5) of our 2016 Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Award (CM) winners, representing every submission category listed below, were specifically chosen for a favorable Kirkus Review. And we wish to congratulate all of our 2016 Carry McCray Award winners for a job well done!

Read the review here.

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The Petigru Review Editors:

 Editor Adrienne Mathues
Vice Editor Jayne Bowers

The Petigru Review Associate Editors:

Carrie McCray Awards – Submission Guidelines

Submission taken: April 1 through May 31 each year.

The Carrie McCray Awards feature four (4) genres:

  • First Chapter of a Novel – 3,500 word limit.
  • Short Fiction – 3,000 word limit.
  • Creative Nonfiction – 3,000 word limit.
  • Poetry – submit up to three (3) poems, not to exceed 80 lines in total.

Reading fee

$20 for Nonmembers.
$15 for Members.

Required information

The author’s name, address, email, or any identifying features must not appear anywhere on the manuscript(s), including in the body of the work.

All submissions must follow standard manuscript formatting: 12 point Times New Roman font, auto-indents for paragraphs, and be double spaced, except for poetry which can be spaced according to the author’s choice.

The title and page number must appear on every page of the submission.

Please include an author biography of up to 100 words in your cover letter.

Rules & Rights

All submissions must be previously un-published. If you work has appeared in any capacity in print or online (such as self-publishing to blogs, message boards, and/or Facebook or any other place where it can be viewed publicly) we will not be able to accept it.

Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but the editors request you inform them if the work is accepted elsewhere.

SCWA retains first-time print publication rights until the anthology is published, after which the rights revert back to the author. The Petigru Review also reserves e-book rights for the anthology only. SCWA solicits authors’ non-exclusive first internet archival rights for online archiving.

Contestants are free to enter as many categories as he or she chooses and multiple submission are encouraged. However, a reading fee must be submitted for each additional entry. Submissions that exceed the length limit in any category/genre or in total will be disqualified. 

Contestants who won or placed in a category cannot enter that same category the following year; anyone winning or placing in the Carrie McCray Memorial Awards for two (2) consecutive years is not eligible for one (1) year in any category.

Editors of the The Petigru Review or SCWA Board of Directors are not eligible for the contest.

Any entry that fails to comply with any of the guidelines mentioned above or adhere to our manuscript formatting guidelines will be disqualified. If any submission is disqualified the author forfeits their entry fee to SCWA.

Response Time

Submitters should receive a response by the late summer. The publication date is late fall, during the annual SCWA conference. 


All entries are read blind. Judges, or anyone associated with the judge may not enter the contest and are prohibited from grading works they have seen previously or any authors’ work(s) they recognize. If this happens, the judge will be forced to disqualify that submission regardless of the quality of the piece.

Each entry will be scored in the areas listed below:

  1. Formatting
  2. Content
  3. Grammar and word choice
  4. Structure and aesthetics
  5. Character development
  6. Freshness
  7. Tension
  8. Craft

Scoring will consist of one (1) through five (5) and pieces are scored as follows:

  1. One = Poor
  2. Two = Fair
  3. Three = Good
  4. Four = Very Good
  5. Five = Excellent

Best of luck!



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