University of Oregon

2014 Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest

Oregon Quarterly invites entries to its 15th annual Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest, a competitive forum for outstanding nonfiction writing with a northwest perspective. The Oregon Quarterly staff will select finalists in both the open and student categories, and the contest judge will choose the top three winners in each category. Past judges have been Ellen Waterston, Kim Stafford, Barry Lopez, John Daniel, Karen Karbo, Brian Doyle, Lauren Kessler, Craig Lesley, Molly Gloss, Kathleen Dean Moore, Kenny Moore, and Robin Cody.


Open Category

First place: $750
Second place: $300
Third place: $100

Student Category

First place: $500
Second place: $200
Third place: $75

In addition

  • First place essay in the open category will appear in Oregon Quarterly.
  • A selection of top essays will be featured in a public reading on May 29, 2014, on the UO campus.
  • Finalists will be announced in the summer 2014 issue of Oregon Quarterly.
  • All finalists will be invited to participate in a writing workshop with the contest judge.
  • The contest is open to all nonfiction writers, except: (1) first-place winners from previous years’ contests, (2) authors who have written a feature for Oregon Quarterly in the past calendar year, and (3) staff of Oregon Quarterly, University Relations, or their family members. The student contest is open to any student enrolled and pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree at a college or university at the time of the deadline. Previously published essays will not be considered.

Manuscript Submission Guidelines

  • Submit two copies of your manuscript.
  • Paperclip a cover sheet to the two copies that includes only the essay’s title; a word count; and the entrant's name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. Indicate whether the essay is for the student or open category.
  • Entrant's name must not appear on any pages of the manuscript other than the cover sheet.
  • One entry per person.
  • Manuscripts should be printed double-spaced on 8½-by-11-inch white paper with minimum 1-inch margins.
  • Word length is 2,000 words maximum for the open category, 1,500 words for the student contest.
  • Faxed or e-mail entries are not accepted.
  • Postmark deadline is January 15, 2014.

Entries will not be returned. Those that do not meet these submission guidelines are automatically disqualified. There is no entry fee.

Send entries to:
Oregon Quarterly Essay Contest
5228 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-5228

Still have questions? E-mail us at

Sponsored by Oregon Quarterly magazine and The Duck Store

Click on the links below to view winning and finalist essays from past Northwest Perpectives Essay Contests:

2009 Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest essays

2010 Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest essays

2011 Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest essays

2012 Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest essays

2013 Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest essays

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