SCWA Contests

The Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Award Winners!

The Petigru Review had more submissions than ever. Almost 200! Poetry had the most entries with Novel First Chapter coming in second with roughly one-fifth of that number.

Novel First Chapter

1st-The Disappearance of Audrey Thorpe Heather Adams
2nd-The Star I Flee Irena Tervo
3rd-Center of Gravity Patricia Brandon

FINALISTS (Listed Alphabetically by Title)
The Back Gate Mike Lee
The Betwixt Lisa Glisson
Diamondlife Thomas Sabino
The Manicurist Kathryn Etters Lovatt
Rook Stephen Eoannou
The Travels of Quinn O’Neil Sasscer Hill
Whispers T. Michael Manos
Yesteryear Stephen Eoannou



1st-Light Captured Bob Strother
2nd-The Disobedience of Love Robert Wallace
3rd-Suzi Douglas’ Search for Her Muse Carolyn Hartley



1st-17 Letters Rosemarie Dombrowski
2nd-A Fitting Answer Melissa Fast
3rd-Messenger Paddy Reid

The Shifting Winds of El Niño and the Greatest Game on Earth Kerri Devine



1st-Moon Sonnet, After Chagall Michael Lythgoe
2nd-The Bee Mauricio Novoa
3rd-Auribus Teneo Lupum (I hold the Wolf by the Ears) Amanda Rachelle Warren

Plein Air Painting (Vox Humana) James Raff


Prizes will be awarded at The Petigru Review Launch Party held in conjunction with the Opening Reception of The BIG DREAM Conference, and/or mailed to winners unable to attend at the close of the conference.

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. No cash prizes for honorable mention pieces. However, we offer publication and one (1) contributor copy.

Winners are also invited to a special ‘By Invitation Only’ Pizza Party to be held at the Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort on Pawley’s Island during SCWA’s 2017 ‘BIG DREAM’ Conference. Conference attendance is not mandatory for attending the party. Details announced near the date.


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 she wrote about her mother that remains largely her story as well, 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, but continues to live on in our memory through this award.

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.

Purchase Links:



The Petigru Review Senior Editors:

Managing and Production Editor Adrienne Mathues
Content and Technical Editor Torie Amarie Dale

The Petigru Review Associate Editors:

Amber Wheeler Bacon
Carol-Ann Rudy
Susan Osteen

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 – word count limit 3,000 word limit.
  • Creative Nonfiction – word count limit 3,000 word limit.
  • Poetry – submit up to three (3) poems, not to exceed 80 lines in total.

Reading fee

$15 for Nonmembers.
$10 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 font, Times New Roman font, auto-indents to paragraphs, be double spaced, except for poetry which can be spaced according to what the author feels is the best fit or the poem.

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. If the work is accepted elsewhere, just let us know. And congratulations!

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 s/he 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. So pay strict attention to line/word count.

Anyone winning or placing 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 generally get a response by the late summer. Publication date is late fall of every year.


All entries will be read blind. Judges or anyone associated with the judge should not enter to avoid any appearance of favoritism. Moreover, judges are expressly prohibited from commenting on works they might have seen in any capacity previously or for authors for which work(s) they may 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—basic writing stuff here (Did you pay attention to the guidelines?)
  2. Content—genre, tone, style, content. Do things fit nicely?
  3. Grammar and word choice—spelling, punctuation, syntax.
  4. Structure and aesthetics—sequencing, plot lines, interruption(s), flow, back story. Suspense and intrigue often come into play here as well.
  5. Character development—does your character fit your story? Is your protagonist believable? Do they fit their goals, aspirations, personality, background, etc.?  Are your characters complex?
  6. Freshness—have we heard this before? Is it too “preachy?” Is there a hidden (or obvious) agenda to the piece? Does it open up something new to the reader?
  7. Tension—every story needs it. Is there enough: action, change, conflict, tension. Keep in mind that tension can also be acquired through thought-provoking content. We don’t always need sex and emotion to pull a reader into a story.
  8. Craft—we will leave this up to the judge. In a nutshell it comes down to this question: How well do you write?

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


“Give us your best work. Inspire or destroy us. Make us feel something. Surprise us.”

Best of luck!



One Response to SCWA Contests

  1. Pingback: Petigru Review, Scott Lax Scholarship and Carrie McCray Awards Guidelines Are Posted

Comments are closed.