ISFiC Writers Contest
This is our annual competition for unpublished writers of science fiction and fantasy. The award is presented at Windycon, and the winning story is printed in the Windycon program book.
ISFiC will be running the ISFiC Writer's Contest this year despite the lack of a physical Windycon. Submissions are due no later than 11:59 pm on Friday, November 27, 2020. A winner and possible runners up will be announced in December.
- Windycon 47 in 2021 Membership
- Double Room for Windycon 47 in 2021
- The winning story will be included in the Windycon 47 in 2021 program book and archived on the ISFiC Website.
Honorable Mentions (Up to 2)
- American 1 oz. Silver Coin
- The submission must be a science fiction or fantasy short story of no more than 7,500 words.
- Each entrant must have attended Windycon 2019, registered for Windycon 47 in 2021, or be a resident of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, or Wisconsin.
- The entrant must not have received payment for any previously published or accepted work of fiction by any source.
- The ISFiC Writers Contest is open to all ages. If you are under 18, please include a letter from a parent or guardian indicating approval to participate.
- ISFiC reserves the right to cancel this contest for any reason prior to the awarding of prizes.
- Manuscripts must be received by 11:59 pm on Friday, November 27, 2020.
- The winner will be notified no later than December 2020.
How Should I Format My Entry?
- Entries must be typed and double-spaced.
- Please number the pages.
- Each entry must have a cover page with the title of the work, the author’s name, address, and phone number, and the approximate word count.
- Please be sure that your name appears only on the cover page. Since most entries are from Windycon attendees, this reduces the chance that a writer’s name will be recognized and perhaps accrue an unfair advantage.
How Do I Submit My Entry?
You can submit your entry one of two ways.
Submit by EmailYou can email your entry to writers_contest at windycon dot org. Please submit your file in RTF format, as that is the format used to publish it, in the event you are the winner.
Submit by PostIf you wish to send your story via mail, please print it and send to:
ISFiC Writers Contest
c/o Tracy Townsend
PO Box 2251
Bolingbrook, IL 60440
If you wish to have a printed copy of your story returned to you, you must include a self-addressed stamped envelope with suitable postage. Printed entries not accompanied by an adequately stamped SASE will not be returned.
Do I have to live in Illinois to enter?
No. You can be a resident of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, or Wisconsin. If you do not live in one of these states, you can enter if you were registered with Windycon 46, or are registered with Windycon 47.
Do I have to be registered with Windycon to enter?
No. If you live in one of the states mentioned above, you can enter without registering for the convention.
Does my story have to be 7,500 words long?
No. That is just the maximum word count allowed. As long as it is no more than 7,500 words, your story can be as long or short as you would like it to be.
Does my story have to be Science Fiction or Fantasy?
Yes. ISFiC stands for Illinois Science Fiction in Chicago. Our mission is to promote Science Fiction Fandom and Literacy in Chicago and the Midwest. However, Science Fiction and Fantasy are very broad categories, from classic Space Operas to modern Urban Fantasy. We encourage you to stretch your imagination!
Does my story have to tie in to this year’s convention theme?
No. Feel free to submit a Science Fiction or Fantasy story on any topic.
Can my story include adult content?
Please keep any content to PG-13 or safer. The winning story is printed in the Windycon Program Book, and we are a family-friendly event.
Can I submit more than one story?
Yes! We will accept up to five stories from a single author.
My fiction has been published in a blog/school newsletter/fanzine. Am I still eligible?
Yes, as long as you have not received payment for your stories.
I have previously won a cash award for a work of fiction. Am I still eligible?
Yes. For purposes of this contest, ISFiC does not consider cash awards as payment.
I have self-published works of fiction. Am I still eligible?
If you have received payment for your self-published works, you are not eligible for this contest.
I have been paid for works of non-fiction. Am I still eligible?
Yes. To enter, you must not have previously received payment for the publication of fiction.
I am still in Grammar School/High School. Can I enter?
Yes. We encourage writing no matter what your age is. However, if you are under 18, please include a letter from a parent or guardian indicating approval to participate.
If I win, who owns the rights to my story?
You do. By submitting a story to our contest, you give us the right to print your story in the Windycon 47 in 2021 Program Book, if it is chosen as the winning story. The complete Windycon program book is also archived on the ISFiC website. All other rights remain with you. However, we do request that you do not publish your story elsewhere until after our convention, November 2021.
If I lose, who owns the rights to my story?
You do. In fact, we encourage you to submit your story to other publications.
If you have any more questions about the ISFiC Writers Contest, feel free to email us at writers_contest at windycon dot org.
Winners of the ISFiC Writers Contest
The first ISFiC Writers Contest was held in 1986. Here are the winners, beginning with the most recent:
- 2020: No Award
- 2019: John M. Cowan, for "Dead Man Stalking"
- 2018: No Award
- 2017: No Award
- 2016: Siobhan Duffy, for "The Furrier"
- 2015: M. Aruguete, for "Catamount"
- 2014: Siobhan Duffey, for "Under the Hill"
- 2013: Liz A. Vogel, for "Windy van Hooten’s Was Never Like This"
- 2012: No Award
- 2011: Mary Mascari, for "The Pod"
- 2010: Mary Mascari, for "Lost and Found"
- 2009: John M. Cowan, for "Oracle"
- 2008: No Award
- 2007: Joe McCauley, for "Ivan and the Plate of Fried Chicken"
- 2006: P.R. Gomez, for "Ad Alienos"
- 2005: No Award
- 2004: Chris Krolczyk, for "Orbital One"
- 2003: John D. Nikitow, for "Trueworth"
- 2002: No Award
- 2001: No Award
- 2000: No Award
- 1999: Sharon L. Nelson, for "Passing Through"
- 1998: Susan L. Wachowski, for "Grandpa"
- 1997: David W. Crawford, for "Little Girl Lost"
- 1996: C.T. Fluhr, for "All Through the House"
- 1995: William McMahon, for "In Memoriam"
- 1994: Emmett Gard Pittman, for "Packers"
- 1993: C.T. Fluhr, for "Dead Chute"
- 1992: Sheila Insley, for "Make-Up Magic"
- 1991: Vanessa Crouther, for "Soul to Take"
- 1990: Robin Leigh Michaels, for "Ailin's Castle"
- 1989: No Award
- 1988: Richard Chwedyk, for "A Man Makes a Machine" (This story was later published in Amazing Stories).
- 1987: Eugenia M. Hayden, for "The Library"
- 1986: Richard Chwedyk, for "Getting Along with Larga"