Midland College Rebecca T. Watson Creative Writing Contest


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Creative Writing ContestRebecca T. Watson

"Teachers must understand … that their students potentially know everything, no matter how young they are. … Students who are only seventeen have lived, after all, on earth seventeen years, and that’s a good deal of time. They’ve been born and they’ve had parents, they’ve lived in houses, they’ve had friends, they’ve had sweethearts, they’ve been angry, they’ve been jealous, they’ve been proud, they’ve been ambitious, they’ve been ashamed. There isn’t any passion that they haven’t experienced in one sense or another. … It’s necessary to remember how much they know and to have faith in the knowledge that they do have." (pronouns adjusted)

— Mark Van Doren, The Dialogues of Archibald MacLeish and Mark Van Doren 99; New York: E.P. Dutton, 1964

The Rebecca Watson Creative Writing Contest is held each Fall, in this spirit of faith in Midland College (MC) students to share their creativity, with a larger audience than their classrooms. MC English agrees with Van Doren that our students' experiences of life provide them with the rich material necessary to create writing that excites, delights, and informs.

MC began the creative writing contest in 1975, and in 2012, the contest was renamed in honor of retired MC English Professor Rebecca Watson. Ms. Watson judged the first contest when she was an adjunct instructor. Later, as a full-time instructor, she grew the Creative Writing class and guided the contest to maturity as director of the contest.


Any full-time or part-time student registered in an English class at MC may enter the contest. Past first-place winners are eligible only in a new category.


The contest accepts entries in three categories: poetry, short fiction, and essay. Contestants may submit a maximum of three poems, three fiction pieces, and/or three essays (three per category). Each category must be submitted separately.

Do NOT include your name anywhere in the submitted documents.

Formatting Entries

Each entry should be submitted on a separate page in a Microsoft Word (doc,docx) document using the following guidelines:

  • Use 1” margins on all sides.
  • Center the title, capitalizing important letters (follow standard MLA guidelines for titles) one inch from the top of the first page. Do not include your name or any other identifying information.
  • Double-space after the title and between stanzas. Otherwise, single-space throughout.
  • Place the title and the page number in a header in the top right corner every page.
  • Do not include your name anywhere in the entry.
  • Your filename should be the title of the entry.

Submitting Entries

The English Department invites you to submit your work using the Entry Form link below. Deadline for submitting your entries is Friday, November 20, 2020.

Entry Form

Entry Deadline

Friday, November 20, 2020

Awards Ceremony

Due to the COVID-19 social distancing requirements, the Awards Ceremony will be virtual. Winners will share videos of themselves reading brief excerpts of their writing, which will then be shared on Midland College social media platforms.


The 2020 Rebecca Watson Creative Writing Contest has the following prizes:

  • First place: $200 and Certificate of Award
  • Second Place: $150 and Certificate of Award
  • Third Place: $100 and Certificate of Award
  • Fourth Place: $50 and Certificate of Award
  • Honorable Mention: Certificate of Award

Midland College reserves the right to withhold awards in any category.

Contest winners may be published in MC's "Tableau" magazine


Selected writings from the Rebecca Watson Creative Writing Contest will be published in Tableau or Chaparral, annual Midland College magazines published in Spring and Fall.

A submitted work may also appear on the Midland College website. Material selected for publication will be subject to approval of the President of Midland College.


Dr. William Christopher Brown
(432) 685-5568


Other Opportunities

Spring Poetry Contest

The Rebecca Watson Creative Writing Contest is one of two writing contests hosted by the MC English department for students. The Hilda Simmons Levitt Poetry Contest is held each Spring. Start thinking about your submissions to the Spring contest now.

Hilda Simmons Levitt Poetry Contest

Creative Writing Classes at Midland College

The MC English Department invites you to further your creativity by taking our Creative Writing classes. Published authors teach MC's ENGL 2307. Register soon!


Apply to MC Now

Thank you for choosing Midland College! If you are here to collect a few credits, take courses to transfer, or here to start a new career, we welcome you.

How to Apply