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Home > academics & student life > Events > A Call to Pens 2012-2013 instructions


Winning entries for the competition have been announced!

Check back in Fall 2013 for next year's contest guidelines.


2012-2013 Competition

Take up your pens and prepare to write! Students between the ages of 12 and 18 are invited to submit original works of fiction that thoughtfully reflect some aspect of God’s truth, in accordance with the rules and guidelines of two separate divisions. Further details are below.

If you have any questions, please contact Hannah Walker at Some questions may also be answered on the Call to Pens blog.


Submitting Your Entry
To submit your manuscript, you have three options. (NOTE: If you submit your entry online, you do not have to mail in an entry form as well.)

(1) Hard-Copy Submission

Please fill out the entry form (you can type in the PDF) and mail it to us with a check for the appropriate fee and a stapled hard copy of your manuscript.

(2) Email Submission

You can also email your manuscript to as a MS Word document. (Please be aware that if you choose to email it, it will be set aside until your entry form and fee are received in the mail.)

(3) Online Submission

You can fill out the online submission form and submit your payment electronically.
Submit all fees, entry forms, and printed manuscripts to the following address:

ATTN: PHC Short Story Competition
Patrick Henry College
10 Patrick Henry Circle
Purcellville, VA, 20132

Manuscripts will not be returned, so don’t submit your only copy.


Prizes, Fees, Deadlines & Dates

There are four prizes in each division, as follows:

  • 1st: $225
  • 2nd: $125
  • 3rd: $75
  • 4th: $50

There is a $10 fee per manuscript; two manuscripts per person are allowed. The deadline for submission is January 7, 2013. Check above for submission information.

Winners will be announced in April, 2013. The exact date has not been determined yet.

The First Division

Theme: Reaping the Reward; or
Harvest Time

Age group: 12-15

Word limit: 1,500

The Second Division

Theme: Finding Beauty in Brokenness; or
Life Through Death

Age group: 16-18

Word limit: 2,500


Rules on Format & Content:

  1. Submit an original, unpublished work of narrative prose fiction (an ordinary short story). No poetry, essays, novellas, etc.
  2. Double-space the text.
  3. Use a regular font and size (e.g., 12-point Times New Roman).
  4. No handwritten entries! Please type.
  5. Number each page in the upper right hand corner.
  6. Do not put your name or contact information on the manuscript itself. (Do title your work, however.)
  7. Do your own revising and editing: no one else is allowed to do this for you.
  8. Failure to comply with the rules may result in disqualification.



  1. Winning entries will thoughtfully reflect a Christian worldview, but not necessarily in an overt manner.
  2. Edit and revise several times before you submit! Clarity of style and grammatical excellence are both a “must.”
  3. If you have more general questions about the themes, good writing, or even the link between fiction and Christianity, please submit them to the blog! We will try to answer such questions there in more depth.  

Legal Stuff

Once you submit your manuscript, Patrick Henry College has the right to publish all or part of it. The college is not responsible for any manuscripts that have been lost, damaged, misdirected, etc. Entrants must be U.S. citizens and must agree to abide by the rules and accept the judges’ decisions. All profits from the contest will be given to PHC’s Annual Fund.

View results from 2008-2009.

View results from 2009-2010.

View results from 2010-2011.

View results from 2011-2012.