Reflections Personal Essay Contest
Mid-September - Mid-October, 2018

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Annual Outdoor Art Exhibit Celebrating Diversity

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Topic: Finding Common Ground


Finding Common Ground

We each have unique traditions, customs, beliefs, and values, and we are encouraged to embrace those unique qualities. However, upon closer examination, people—especially women—can almost always find common ground with each other, no matter their race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, political bent, or upbringing.

In an essay of no more than 1200 words, tell us about an event or time where you encountered a person or group from who you felt very different. Show how finding common ground made it possible to come to some sort of consensus and agree to a workable solution for an issue. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about community?


Awards: One prize of $100, one prize of $50, and one prize of $25. Winning stories will be published in a special section of the Story Circle Journal and will be featured on the SCN's award-winning website. Upon the judges' recommendation, other entries may be published in later issues of the Journal and in other SCN print and on-line publications.


  1. 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.)
  2. There is a $15 entry fee, which can be paid online or by check (send to the address below).
  3. One entry per member.
  4. To be eligible, your entry must be unpublished.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."
  5. Winners of contests within the last calendar year 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 October 15, 2018. It is unfair to writers who observe these rules to ask for an exception.

Notification: Winners will be notified by December 1, 2018.

How to Enter: All contest entries should be made via the web form, here. The contest opens on September, 15, 2018.

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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,