Award-Winning Judges Set for Local Writing Contest

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Write by the Rails

Contributed by The Brandt Group

Prince William County–Award-winning writers and teachers are set to judge the first tier of the 2014 Golden Nib writing contest, sponsored by Write by the Rails, Prince William County’s chapter of the Virginia Writing Club. Entries are due July 31 and first-place winners advance to the state-level competition.
Prince William Today/InsideNoVa. Sports Editor David Fawcett will judge non-fiction entries. His awards include first place for feature writing portfolio, second place for feature writing story and first place for sports writing portfolio in the 2013 Virginia Press Association editorial contest. He’s has been recognized 20 times by the Virginia Press Association, the Associated Press Sports Editors and the Local Media Association for his writing. A Syracuse University graduate, he’s covered Prince William County for 25 years.
Fiction entries will be judged by Osbourn High School’s Ann Marie Stippey, an English teacher with Manassas City Public Schools for 10 years and the 2014 recipient of The Washington Post Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher of the Year award.
Recently named Prince William County Poets Laureate Dr. Robert Scott of Haymarket and Alexandra “Zan” Hailey of Manassas will co-judge poetry entries. Scott is a novelist, poet and English teacher at Osbourn Park High School and Hailey is an undergraduate at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The chapter deadline for Golden Nib is July 31 and, new this year, submissions will be required in email format in addition to paper format. Also new this year: entries published in personal blogs qualify.
The original and one copy of each entry should be submitted by regular mail to: Maureen Arvai, Director-Content, The Brandt Group, P.O. Box 10102, Manassas, VA 20108 and ALSO by email to . For overnight or private delivery services requiring a physical address: 9108 Church Street, #10102, Manassas, VA 20108. Please note all entries must be submitted to the local chapter for this first-tier process. Write by the Rails will recognize 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in each category. First place winners advance to state level, if they are, or become, Virginia Writers Club members.
Other requirements: (also found on
Follow state guidelines, including format, as described here
One entry per category per entrant
Fiction category: 3,500 words maximum
Non-fiction category: 3,500 words maximum
Poetry category: 50 line maximum
No late entries—both paper and email must arrive no later than July 31, 2014
Manuscripts must be the original, unpublished work of the entrant, and not a previous competition winner
Entries published in personal blogs are acceptable
Writing published in blogs other than author’s own, or on social network sites, or in an online publication are ineligible
Entrants must be in good standing of Write by the Rails, as evidenced by attending or volunteering for chapter events and activities. Information on joining available at:


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