Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books: Festival of Books student essay, poetry, and short stroy contests announced


UWM at Waukesha

1500 N. University Drive

Waukesha WI 53218

[email protected]

Candace Decker, SEWI Festival of Books Coordinator

Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books’ contests offers prizes up to $2000

Waukesha, Wis. – May 29, 2019 – “Opening Doors” is the theme of this year’s Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books Essay and Poetry Contest, sponsored by Century Fence Company of Pewaukee WI. The writing contests are open to all Waukesha County middle and high school students. Essays and poems must be submitted by October 1, 2019 to be eligible for the cash prizes.

“Century Fence has generously offered to sponsor a poetry contest in additional to the annual essay contest, celebrating the many poetry sessions, talks, and panels at this year’s festival. And we’re so pleased that Wisconsin’s Poet Laureate, Margaret Rozga, will be a featured keynote on November 2.” says festival coordinator, Candace Decker.

First, second and third place essay contest winners will be selected from both the middle and high school categories. Winners for the poetry contest – first, second and third place – will be chosen from all grade submissions.

First place winners will receive $250 each. The second-place prize is $175, and those winning third place will receive $75 each.

New this year is a short story contest – the Duane Stein Short Story Competition for middle school and high school students. The Southeast Wisconsin the Festival of Books will begin to accepting submissions on September 1st, 2019. Submissions will end on October 1st, 2019.

The short story competition is in honor of Duane Stein, a beloved educator in the

Waukesha School District from 1974 to 2011. Stein is well-known for his enthusiasm and encouragement in a variety of classes and in leading the Academic Decathlon Teams at Waukesha North High School and Waukesha West High School respectively. Stein also served as the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books event chair for many years.

The first place winner will receive $2,000. The second-place winner will receive $1,000, and third place winner $500.

Awards will be presented November 1 at 5:30 p.m. during the opening reception of the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books, to be held at the University of Milwaukee at Waukesha.

Winners must be present during the awards celebration to receive their prizes, and essay and poetry first place winners will read their essays at the event.

“Contest entries should be thoughtful, well-written,” explained Decker. “Additional contest guidelines can be found on the Festival of Books website at”

Now in its tenth year, the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books is an annual community celebration of literacy and the arts, where local and national authors and readers of all ages come together to enjoy presentations, performances, creativity and conversation.

The Festival of Books will be held November 1-2 on the University of Milwaukee at Waukesha campus at 1500 N. University Drive, in Waukesha. Apart from the opening keynote by author Andre Dubus III, (a ticketed event at 6:30 on the evening of November 1) admission is free. The UWM at Waukesha Foundation organizes this community-wide event in cooperation with partners in the community.

Festival Authors Connect to Schools returns for its third year. Here, several Wisconsin authors will be visiting Waukesha County Schools to discuss their inspirations, their writing process, as well as their own published works, on October 25.

A Writer’s Marketplace is also available for authors and Exhibitors Hall for organizations to promote their work and services for a small fee.

Visit or email [email protected] with questions, inquiries or information about the writing contests or volunteering.