The Susan Wittig Albert
LifeWriting Competition
May-June, 2019

SCN is proud to announce its nineteenth annual lifewriting competition, named in honor our founder, best-selling author Susan Wittig Albert.
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Topic: Uncertainty



How many times in your life have you been uncertain—really uncertain? What kinds of uncertainties did you experience? Financial? Professional? Romantic? Physical (as in health or illness)?

We invite you to think about one of these periods of uncertainty that stands out in your memory. Tell us about the kinds of creativities that emerged in your life as a direct result of letting go of the certainties you cherished and that cushioned you and made you feel secure. What did you learn from this period of uncertainty? How did you grow?

"Creativity can be described as letting go of certainties."
—Gail Sheehy

"If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor."
—Eleanor Roosevelt

"The mind loves to not know completely. Situations that are not familiar tune the system. To get smarter, do the unfamiliar."
—Magaly Rodriguez Mossman


Awards: One prize of $100, one prize of $75, and two prizes of $50 each. The first-place story will be published in the Story Circle Journal. All winning stories will be featured on SCN's website. Upon the judges' recommendation, other entries may be published in later issues of the Journal and in other SCN print or on-line publications. An award may be withheld if, in the opinion of the judges, no entry achieves the expected standard. The judges' decision is final.


  • You must be a dues-paying member of Story Circle Network to enter. (To join, use our online membership form; you can pay online or mail your check to the address below.)
  • There is a $25 entry fee, which can be paid online or by check (send to the address below).
  • One entry per member.
  • To be eligible, your entry must be unpublished. We define a "published" piece as one that has been reviewed and accepted by an editor, either for a print or an online publication. For the purpose of this contest, blog posts are not considered "publications."
  • Winners of previous competitions for the last three years—2015, 2016, 2017—are not eligible. If you have previously won this competition and would like to volunteer to serve as a judge, we'd love to have you! Please email contest at
  • If you have internet access, you must submit your entry to us electronically by using our online form [see below]. If you do not have access to a computer, mail your entry (typed and single-spaced, on 8.5 x 11" paper). If you do not have access to a typewriter, we will accept entries that are clearly handwritten in dark black ink.
  • Each entry must be titled, and no longer than 1200 words (count actual words, or use the MS Word word-count function). Put the actual word count under your name/address. Entries that are longer than 1200 words will be rejected.
  • Be sure that your name and address appear on your entry (these will be removed for the judging process). Include a 100-word bio to be published with your entry if you win. Winners' stories must be available for publication; however, if you wish your story to be published anonymously, we will remove your name. Keep a copy of your entry.
  • By submitting your story, you are giving Story Circle the right to publish it in the Journal, in its other print publications, and on its web site. However, authors retain copyright.

Criteria and Judging: The judges look for entries that are fresh and original, tell a compelling story in a clear and authentic voice, are responsive to the topic, and have been polished and proofread for presentation in the competition. The most successful submissions are rich in evocative detail and avoid generalizations and abstractions. Entries will not be returned; evaluations will not be available. The judging team will be made up of Story Circle Facilitators and published authors.

Deadline: Your entry and your entry fee must both be postmarked (if by USPS) or date stamped (if online) NO LATER THAN midnight EDT June 30, 2019. It is unfair to writers who observe these rules to ask for an exception.

Notification: Winners will be notified by August 10, 2019.

How to Enter: All contest entries should be made via the web form, here. The contest opens on May, 1, 2019.

enter the contest

Hard-copy Submissions: Please send us your contest entry via the web form. If and only if you are really unable to submit your story electronically, you may submit your story by mailing us a paper copy. Hardcopy submissions should be sent to: Life Writing Competition,

Winners of Previous Years' Contests