Welcome to the Philadelphia Writers' Conference Contest and Scholarships Submittable site. You'll use this site to enter our various contests, apply for one of our many scholarships for the upcoming conference, or to submit a manuscript for a workshop leader to critique.


We offer three Memorial Scholarships (Florence Kerigan, Mabel Love, and Walter Breish.)  Memorial Scholarships are offered based on support you provide the writers' community and/or financial need. Applications must be received by April 1st of the conference year.  

Writers' Clubs and Senior Citizens Centers can apply for a single use scholarship code, good for 50% off the base price of the conference.  To apply, provide your club information and the name of the recipient. We also ask that you upload a club roster so we can provide your members with information about the conference. 


Annual Manuscript Contests

Our main contest is open to conferees registered at the current year's conference. See our website for the previous year's winners.

You must be registered for the entire Philadelphia Writers' Conference to enter the contest (Guests and Dinner Only attendees are not eligible to participate)  You'll be prompted to enter your confirmation number. 

You may enter manuscripts in up to three categories.  

You may use a contest entry that you also submitted for critique, but do not use the same piece for each of your contest entries….each of your entries should be unique.

Poetry should be no more than 40 lines. Screenplays should be under 10 pages.  All other work should be under 2,500 words.

Contest entries must be unpublished. This includes works that are posted on blogs or online magazines.  Published pieces will be disqualified.

Contest Manuscripts will not be returned.  Entries that do not meet the submission criteria will be discarded.

Annual Manuscript Prizes:

1st place: Free tuition for the following year's Philadelphia Writers' Conference, a $300 value (excludes dinner events and Master Classes)

2nd place: 50% tuition for the following year's Philadelphia Writers' Conference, a $150 value (excludes dinner events, Master Classes, and Social Media Bootcamp)

3rd place: $40 Gift Certificate

Submissions for the Annual Manuscript Contest are typically open from March until May.  Winners in each category will be announced at a dedicated Awards Ceremony on held on Sunday afternoon.

Please note, there is no guarantee that all three prizes will be awarded for each category.  Judges are not Workshop Leaders or PWC Board Members.


Participants in the conference are welcome to submit manuscripts to each of their 3-day workshop leaders for review and critique.  Critiques are limited to 2500 words (for prose) or 100 lines of poetry.  Each workshop has a unique submission link, so check your registration email to find out how to submit the manuscripts for your workshop leaders.  

The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference requests proposals for our Inaugural Philadelphia Writers’ Conference Fellowships. Potential PWC Fellows will propose a one-hour workshop in either fiction, poetry, or nonfiction. One Fellow will be selected in each genre and invited to deliver their proposed workshop the 71st Annual Philadelphia Writers Conference, June 7-9, 2019.

We’re looking for emerging authors, with publishing credentials and professional training, eager to share their knowledge with others. An appealing workshop will focus on either the craft, business, or community of writing and offer practical advice, creative exercises, and/or next steps for writers looking to grow their skills. It’s only an hour, so be specific!

  • Fiction proposals might focus on a specific genre (romance, mystery, etc); specific market (children’s literature, short stories, screenwriting, etc.); or general topics related to writing any type of fiction (plot, character, revision, outlining, etc.).
  • Nonfiction proposals could be broad or focus on a particular segment of the genre, such as memoir, creative nonfiction, biography, journalism, travel writing, etc. 
  • Poetry proposals might examine various styles, forms, or approaches, or focus closely on particular poetic elements, like voice, rhythm, line breaks, etc. 
  • Additionally, proposals could focus on the business of writing: getting published, finding representation, building community, and more. Likewise, proposals could focus on social considerations, influences, or implications. However, such proposals must still focus primarily on one specific genre: poetry, fiction, or nonfiction.

Each PWC Fellow will receive complimentary registration to the conference. There you can network with other writers, attend a wide array of workshops, and pitch your work to an agent or editor. We’ll also feature you in many of our marketing and media channels, and you may be invited to host and/or participate in one of our pre-conference events. 

Submission Requirements

Interested applicants should submit: 

1) a description of your proposed workshop (no more than 500 words), including what you will cover, what you expect conferees to take away from the session, and what makes your proposal unique and necessary.

2) a 50-word, 3rd person bio

3) a current CV, including relevant publications and any teaching experience

4) a 5-page writing sample in your proposed genre.

Applications will be accepted solely through Submittable until Jan. 1, 2019.

About the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference

Founded in 1949, the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference, Inc., is a nonprofit organization that  brings writers together for education, advice, friendship, and inspiration. The oldest, open-registration writing conference in the United States, the PWC draws writers at all stages of their careers -- from students and beginning writers who come to lay the foundation of their craft; to emerging writers seeking agents, editors, and publication advice; to published authors who return year after year for camaraderie and continued wisdom. Throughout the year, PWC holds free events around the Greater Philadelphia region to offer ongoing education and inspiration to local writers. We partner with area literary organizations to develop new and interesting programs. We administer contests to keep conferees and friends engaged all year long. The PWC is more than a conference; we are a community. 

A Philadelphia Writers’ Conference Community Service Award will be awarded in such years as the PWC-CSA committee decides a nominee is an appropriate recipient.  When given, it will be presented at either the annual conference or a PWC function.  Nominations are solicited from PWC conferees and staff.  Judges are a committee comprised of the chair of the CSA committee, the current president, and other board members. Judges may not submit nominees for consideration.

CRITERIA:  The award will be presented to a writer in recognition of his or her outstanding and significant volunteer service and dedication to the writing community.  Teaching, lecturing (if both are paid activities) and fame are not viable criteria.  

Three PWC Memorial Scholarships are awarded each year to individuals who have shown support to the writers' community and who display a hardship that makes it difficult to pay the tuition.  Applicants are reviewed by the PWC scholarship committee. The three scholarships are named in honor of:

Florence Kerigan
Mabel Love
Walter Breish

Please note, the Philadelphia Writers' Conference may use your name and key elements from your application or recommendations for publicity purposes, specifically publication on our blog, social media, and printed material associated with the conference. Acceptance of the scholarship indicates you agree to these terms.

If you have received a PWC Memorial Scholarship in the previous three years, you are not eligible to apply.

  • Writers' Club Scholarships are offered to clubs with at least seven active members.  
  • One scholarship, worth 50% of the basic tuition of the Philadelphia Writers' Conference (excluding dinner events and Master Classes) will be offered to each club who registers.  
  • The Philadelphia Writers' Conference is not responsible for determining who from your writers' club will receive the scholarship.
  • Senior Scholarships are available to senior citizens living at or attending senior centers in the Greater Philadelphia area, including the Pennsylvania Suburbs, Southern New Jersey, and Delaware.
  • One scholarship, worth 50% of the basic tuition of the Philadelphia Writers' Conference (excluding dinner events and Master Classes) will be offered to each senior center.   
Philadelphia Writers' Conference