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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Bess Streeter Aldrich Short Story Contest, 2020

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Deadline midnight February 17, 2020.

Objective/Theme: To generate a fictional short story that is written in the wholesome spirit displayed by Bess Streeter Aldrich in her works while incorporating a theme that focuses on Nebraska’s family life, economy, history, cultural diversity, and/or geography (past, present, and/or future). Writers are encouraged to focus on historical and/or realistic topics.

This year the Aldrich Foundation is paying tribute to Mrs. Aldrich’s book Spring Came on Forever and believe it would be an excellent resource.

Resources: Other books by the author that writers can read to generate ideas about content and style are: Short Works 1907-1919; Short Works 1920-1954; Mother Mason; The Rim of the Prairie; The Cutters; A Lantern in Her Hand; A White Bird Flying; Miss Bishop; Song of Years; The Lieutenant's Lady; Journey into Christmas; The Drum Goes Dead; and The Man Who Caught the Weather.

Eligibility (Four divisions):

  • Adult: 1st Prize $100; 2nd Prize $50; 3rd Prize $25
  • High School (Grades 9-12): 1st Prize $50; 2nd Prize $25; 3rd Prize $15 Middle School (Grades 6-8): 1st Prize $50; 2nd Prize $25; 3rd Prize $15 Intermediate School (Grades 3-5): 1st Prize $25; 2nd Prize $15; 3rd Prize $10
*Schools are limited to 15 submissions per teacher. Family members of the Aldrich Foundation Board are not eligible.

Length: 1,000 to 2,000 words (there is no minimum word requirement for the Intermediate Category)

Scoring: Stories will be based upon the writer’s effective use of theme and the use of the six-traits of writing.

Results: Winners will be notified in late March and invited to the Aldrich Foundation's spring banquet in April. A winners’ list will be posted on the Bess Streeter Aldrich website (

The judges’ critiques are available if they are requested via separate email to by the submission date. Winners grant the BSA Foundation the right to reprint the stories.

 Submission Process: Stories should be submitted here by midnight February 17, 2020.

A submission link is also found at Questions about the contest or an alternative paper submission can be directed to Kurk Shrader, Executive Director (email or call 402-867-4233).

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