Creative Writing Competition

The time has come.

Submissions for Creative Writing Competition 2016 are now open. Closing date for soft-copy entries is 31st January 2016, and corresponding hard-copy entries must be received by 31st January 2016 as well.

As usual, the three categories this year are Prose, Poetry and Playwriting. Prizes will be awarded as follows:

1st Prize: $150 (and bragging rights)!

2nd Prize: $100

3rd Prize: $50

All entries must be accompanied by the entrant registration form and are subject to the CWC Rules and Regulations, which can be found here:

Hosted by NUS Literary Society, CWC has been an annual competition meant for young adult writers to flex their literary muscles. Winning works from past CWCs can be found on Litsoc’s very own creative e-zine at

All the best!

162 thoughts on “Creative Writing Competition

  1. Hi,

    I would like to enquire about point 1 of the CWC Rules & Regulations. It states that the competition is open to all students from pre-university and tertiary institutions. As of which date must the participant be a student? For example, in order to join the competition, do I need to be a student at the time of submitting the entry, at the time of the submission deadline or as of the beginning of the year Jan 1, 2006?

    I am extremely keen on joining the CWC but have recently graduated from university. However, the entry I would like to submit was written earlier this year, while I was still a full-time undergrad.

    Do hope to gain your advice on this matter.

    Thanks lots and have a pleasant day ahead.


  2. Hi Jocelyn,

    I’m afraid that you won’t qualify to join the competition, as you will not be a university student at the time of submitting the entry. Thank you for your interest!

  3. Hi,

    I have submitted an original poem of mine years ago in an online poetry website. Can I re-use it for this competition?


  4. Hi Lin,

    Please refer to this rule in the complete copy of the rules and an entry form which you can download from this very site :

    “6. All entries must be original work that have not been submitted or published elsewhere before (electronically or otherwise). Any entry found to have been previously published will immediately be disqualified from the competition.”


  5. Vikram: they are not currently available.

    Nabeel: Please refer to the rules that you can download from this page. Thank you!

  6. Hi,
    as I’ve officially graduated from my JC as of October 2006, am I still eligible to take part in this competition?

    Thank you.

  7. Hi,
    regarding the works that are to be submitted, are they allowed to be submitted for publishing in the future, if the author so chooses to?

  8. Hi Terence,

    Yes, certainly. It is, after all, your intellectual property.

    Naturally, however, it would make sense to publish elsewhere *after* the results of the competition.

    In the event that you win any prizes in this competition, and you wish to make known this fact when you publish, you are also welcome to do so.

    We look forward to your participation.

  9. “6. All entries must be original work that have not been submitted or published elsewhere before (electronically or otherwise). Any entry found to have been previously published will immediately be disqualified from the competition.”

    Can I ask, does putting up your poem on your own blog consider as published? Because the thing with blogs, it’s like online diary. And sometimes, people write out their poems straight into their blogs, like the way most others write their poems onto paper. I hope that personal blogs are not considered as a form of publishing.

  10. Hi Shane,

    No, we won’t consider that published. In fact, we will not consider it at all. Thus, if you submit a piece you have written on your blog, you do so at your own risk: if, for instance, you claim that someone else’s entry was lifted from your blog, we would have no way of verifying the claim. We would thus have to accept that person’s entry.

    Exceptions include any recognized collections of poetry online, that are readily retrievable by the general public. It is not advisable for anyone to plagiarize from these sources, since we would find out quite easily!

    My advice is to lock the relevant posts on your blog, until the competition is over.

  11. Hi there,

    I’m just as curious as Janedoe(posted on 18th November)about what the prizes for this competition are. Following Xin Tian’s advice to check the downloadable entry form did not provide answers to the question.

    The only part of the 2 page form where the word ‘prizes’ was mentioned is: “10.The organisers reserve the right to amend the conditions and prizes of the competition at any time.”

    Also, there is hardly any helpful mention of the exact prizes anywhere on the website.

    Although it is stated: ‘prizes to be given out to the top 3 entrants of each category’, I still think there should be transparancy as to what the exact prizes are. Most competitions state very clearly what participants stand to win and I think that’s only fair.

    Yours Sincerely,

  12. Hi Tara,

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We will rectify this as soon as possible. Details will be on this page shortly. Do check in soon. We look forward to receiving your entry!

    Hi Grace,

    Yes, certainly. Go ahead, and all the best!

  13. also, as for the hard copy, its alrite to print on both sides of the paper…. right? 😛 and can other fonts be used for certain parts if its vital for effect and such. thanks again

  14. Dear Gerri,

    There are no restrictions on the use of any particular words. Yes you may print on both sides of the paper and use different fonts if required for effect. We look forward to your entry!

  15. Hi am I allowed to submit both poetry and prose? And in the same envelope? Thanks.
    Oh yes, do we cash in the cheque for the admin fee or do we put it in the envelope?=)

  16. Hi Michelle,

    Yes, please place all entries in your envelope, and indicate on the form (download link given above) how many of each category you are submitting.

    If you mean, including both poetry and prose within the same piece, the final categorization will be up to the judges, e.g. poetry or prose. But you may offer the piece in either category to begin with.

    The entry form contains the relevant information for the entry fee. Please refer to point 3.

    We look forward to your participation!

  17. Dear Tara,

    Details on the prizes have now been included in the post. My apologies for the delay.

    Do note that we allow our judges the right to not award a first prize at their own discretion. This will happen if they feel that the caliber of entries does not merit the awarding of a first prize.

    Dear Terence,

    Chuan has given you the answer that will prevent the LitSoc from running into any problems, but there is a another part to the answer that is important to prevent [i]you[/i] form running into any problems. 😉

    In addition to what he’s said, you will have to remember that if your entry is selected to win, the LitSoc reserves the right to publish the work. If we do publish it, this means that if you submit it to another venue for publication at a later date, you will not be able to offer the editor first rights (as you will have given them to us), and so will have to state in your submission that it is a reprint, and where it is reprinted from. Paying markets will generally not be interested in reprints. (This doesn’t apply to collections, where it is common for a great deal of the contents to have been previously published in magazines etc.)

    Dear Michelle,

    I suspect your first question was really about whether or not you are allowed to enter in both categories. The answer is yes.

  18. Hi Leonard,

    The entry should primarily be in English. We have no restrictions on the creative inclusion of Chinese or other languages — however, the entry should be mainly in English.

    We look forward to your participation!

  19. hey guys, can i say something? i don’t think unlimited usage of the author’s work is fair, especially given the prizes. i’m fine with the admin fee and prizes (whether there are any or not) but to give unlimited freedom over the usage of my work with or without my permission, that’s quite extreme. perhaps for the next contest, you should redraft the conditions to make it fairer for those who win? I’m sure you’re poets/ writers yourselves and can identify with what I’m saying.

  20. Hi Galven,

    If you deliver it to the correct mailbox, please go ahead.

    Also, be reminded that the deadline is Saturday, 5pm. Entries received after this time will not be considered.

  21. The CWC is closed as of December 30th, 5pm. We thank all of you who participated, and wish everyone here a happy New Year.

    Watch this space for more announcements!

  22. Hi Khushboo,

    The winners will be informed one week before the Literary Society’s Evening of Poetry and Music, during which they will receive their prizes.
    The EPM will be held on Saturday, 10 Feb 2007, 3.30pm-5.30pm, at library@Orchard, and is open to the public. Do join us there!

  23. hi,
    i submitted several entries but am an anxious as to whethere they were accepted or have even been received by the organizers.

    I think since we did pay an admin fee, albeit a small one, its only fair to let the participants to know confirmation of acceptance.


  24. Hi Billy,

    May I have your full name here please?

    This goes for those of you who anticipated problems with submission, and wish confirmation from us. Please let us know your full name, and we will let you know shortly if the entries are with us.

  25. My full name is Galven Lee Keng Yue. I would like to know if my short story is with you. It was placed underneath the door of the General Office.

  26. Dear Hosannah,
    I’m afraid secondary school entries are not accepted in the competition. Thank you for your interest!

  27. Do you want to consider pushing back the deadline?

    Sat, 01 Dec is right smack in the middle of exams for NUS students.

    I’d say either Sat, 15 Dec or Sat, 22 Dec would be much better if you would like to cater to the NUS crowd as well.

  28. Oops…

    One more thing: this year is it possible to include some sort of system whereby the organisers inform the entrant if they have received the entrant’s works?

    Cos I feel it’s more professional that way – the GPA does it – and at least entrants can rest assured knowing that their entries were received in the first place.

  29. Hello ^^ Got to know about this through my Language & Comm. lecturer (Singapore Poly). I’d like to enquire if its okay to use an alias for my entries but still providing my real name for processing and liability purposes?

  30. Dear Laremy,
    Unfortunately, we are unable to change this year’s competition deadline. We will acknowledge receipt of each entrant’s entries. Thank you!

    Dear praise,
    Yes, multiple entries are most welcome. We look forward to your participation!

    Dear Aishah,
    We’ll only accept entrants’ real names; if your entry is one of the winners, they will have to be published under your real name to affirm their authorship. Thank you!

  31. “6. All entries must be original work that have not been submitted or published elsewhere before (electronically or otherwise). Any entry found to have been previously published will immediately be disqualified from the competition.”

    I have a question regarding this rule. I have posted a poem, that I want to use as an entry in this competition, in an online forum. Considering poems that have been posted on blogs are allowed to be used as entries, I wonder if this would apply to a poem that has been posted on a forum.

  32. For the purposes of this competition, posting on a private forum–i.e. a passworded/limited access one–will not be regarded as previous publication, as it is akin to sharing one’s work with friends. Works posted on a public forum, however, *will* be deemed to have been previously published, and as such should not be entered into the CWC.

    Incidentally, publicly accessible blog posts will also constitute previous publication.



  33. Does this mean that even if I published my poetry on my own blog, because its been “published elsewhere before (electronically or otherwise)”, that work is not valid, then? The logic of this seems rather warped so I have to clarify…


    “6. All entries must be original work that have not been submitted or published elsewhere before (electronically or otherwise). Any entry found to have been previously published will immediately be disqualified from the competition.”

  34. Oh right, nevermind, I just took a look at the previous posts. I think that’s a rather silly that one should be forefeited for work that has not gained any sense of recognition.

  35. Dear Sarah,

    I understand the sentiment, but I’m afraid we are not able to make exceptions based on the fact that the work “has not gained any sense of recognition.” A poem published in a magazine with a very small circulation would still be counted as having been published; likewise, a poem posted on your blog, so long as it is publicly accessible, will be counted as having been published electronically, even though it may well be the case that not many people read your blog.

    I’m sorry that your existing work is ineligible for the competition this year. Do try again next time around (with unpublished work, of course). You may also be interested in submitting something for our magazine, for which we do accept previously published work.


    Nicholas Liu

  36. Hi,
    I just graduated from poly (May 2007) but missed the uni application date, so I’m working till the next year’s intake. Am I still eligible for this year’s contest?

  37. Hi, just submitted my entry (after some delay) but turns out the place was locked; I put my envelope under the door.

    Could you please confirm if you received my submission? Thanks!

  38. Yeah me too, I too slid my entry under the door but definitey did that before 5 pm on 1 December. Could you confirm my entry too?

  39. Dear Zheng Ping and Swati,

    Thanks for letting us know! The entries will be collated over the course of this week and we will make sure to confirm receipt of your submissions as soon as possible.

  40. Hi,
    I would like to ask. If I am a polytechnic student graduating in may 2008 but I will be sending my entries before the end of may 2008,

    will it be possible to still be in this CWC 08/09 because the deadline is 01 november 2008, 5pm?

  41. Dear Fatin Amirah,

    I’m afraid secondary school students are not eligible for the competition. Thank you for your interest!

  42. Hi,
    I would like to know if we would be given any form of certificate for participating or for winning any prizes.I’m also trying my best to build up on my non-academic achievements and am wondering if this is something that would be included into my testimonial.Will credit be given to my school(JC/CI)?
    Thank you.

  43. Dear Anna,

    All winners and honorary mention recipients will receive certificates. It is up to participants whether they wish to include their CWC prizes in their testimonials. CWC prizes are individual ones, and are not awarded to educational institutions. Thank you very much and we look forward tom your entry!

  44. As aishah has said earlier,

    I’d like to enquire if its okay to use an alias for my entries but still providing my real name for processing and liability purposes?



  45. Hi,
    I’m waiting to hear back on my application to LA SALLE and I’m wondering if this makes me illegible for the CWC. Do I have to be a current student of a tertiary institute to enter?

  46. Hi

    An early draft of one of my short stories was published in an online JC school newsletter that no one read (according to the site’s hit count) and is no longer online. I’ve since heavily edited and revised that story such that it’s fairly different from that original draft; can I send that in?


  47. Dear Tenchan,

    As above, we’ll only accept entrants’ real names.

    Please be assured that during the judging process, all entries are given a number for reference and names are withheld from judges until the winners’ names are announced. This is to ensure fair judging.

    For the same reason, please do not write your name on your entries, but do so on your entry forms and label your CD with your entries saved on it with your real name.

    Thank you!

    Dear Mattie,

    Do enter our competition once you are accepted by your institution. We wish you the best of luck on your application!

    Dear Davina,

    Since the story was not read and in addition, has been greatly changed, it is alright to send it in. We look forward to your entry!

  48. Hihi! I read that entries should not be more than 3000 words. So if I go over the limit, it will not be accepted?

  49. Dear YH,

    The word limit is a guideline rather than a rule set in stone, so do try to follow it, but if you feel the extra words are absolutely necessary to your short story/poem, do submit them in. The quality of writing, rather than the quantity of words, is more important. All the best with your writing and we look forward to your entry!

  50. Hello,

    I was quite interested in participating, but the CD_R part made me not want to join anymore, since I found it’s quite troublesome for me. Just want to leave a comment, anyway.

    Hope that your competition goes well

  51. Thank you for the well-wishes, Hung. I am sorry that you find the process too inconvenient for your liking. It may well be made simpler in future; for now, let me just point out that entry has only become easier in the past two years, as we have dropped the $2 entry fee previously required.

    Best regards,
    Nicholas Liu

  52. Hi, I am about to complete my NS next month. My university will not start until next year. Am I still eligible for the competition during this period?

  53. Hi Zareth,

    Yes. The Creative Writing Competition is open to young people in Junior Colleges, NSFs, and those in Universities. I look forward to seeing your entry! =)

    If by “second grader” you mean that of K-12 or primary two, then I’m afraid not. The Creative Writing Competition is for tertiary students (JC, Poly, Universities, etc) and NSFs only.

    Best Regards,

  54. Hi Nash,

    As you are considered a tertiary student in Singapore, I am pleased to say that the answer is yes. Happy writing! =)

    Best Regards,

  55. Mmm,

    It would depend on what you mean by “suck”. If it is bad because the writer is inept, then of course it is not okay! If on the other hand it “sucks” because the character or persona is an uneducated person, or if it is central and necessary to the poem/story, then I would say that it is okay.

    Best Regards,

  56. HELLO!!
    I am currently studying at a secondary school in Seychelles.I just wanted to know if I can participate in this competition.THANKS ALOT!!!!

  57. Hi ml, we are still finalising the judges for the CWC competition this year. We’d make an announcement once we have the judges are confirmed.

    For Hani, the CWC is a competition for young people in tertiary institutions. If you are under 35, you qualify! =)

  58. Hi, do poems need to be double-spaced as well? If so, does this mean double-double-spacing for stanza breaks? They look weird that way, and waste trees.


  59. Hi Davina,

    There is no need for double-double spacing in between stanzas, but you could perhaps select the option to add space after a paragraph on the word processor you are using.

    If you feel that your creativity will be compromised by double spacing, do feel free to space it your way 🙂

  60. Hello, for the cwc 08/09… could someone explain in more details for point 11 of the rules and regulations? Thanks! =)

  61. Hi Cynthia

    Point 11 just means that by submitting your entries to us, you are giving us the right to publish them on platforms directly related to the NUS Literary Society for one year, either online or on print.

    You as the author can request for your work to be removed from any electronic platforms we have published it on after a year is up.

    We however will not be able to remove your work from printed publications should you request it.

    Hope this helps!

  62. hi! i’m thinking of dropping off my entries personally tomorrow (since i found out about this only a day ago!) but ive got a question. my burner broke down unexpectedly on me and it seems help isnt rly that available after all, is there any way to go around the cd-r rule? like maybe through email or by using a thumbdrive?

  63. Hi Nicole

    Sorry to hear about your burner!

    If you have already submitted hard copies of your entries to our mailbox, we’ll make an exception for you.

    Please give us the soft copies via email by Sunday 2 November. Thanks 🙂

  64. Hi, I dropped my entry in the mailbox in late Oct. Was wondering if I’m supposed to receive a confirmatory email saying that the NUS litsoc has received my entry….thanks.

  65. Hi Guan Liang

    Not to worry, we have received your entries.

    All participants who have submitted their entries to us will receive a confirmatory email as soon as we finish collating and compiling everything.

    Thank you for bearing with us!

  66. Hi. I would just like to know, when will the 09/10 creative writing competition be opened for participation? Hope to hear a reply soon.

  67. Hi ZW,
    The creative writing competition 09/10 is open now and will be so until 15 November (see details at the top of this page). You can submit your desired entries now. Thanks!

  68. Hi. With reference to paragraph 6 of this year’s rules, does the unsuccessful submission of an entry for another creative writing competition count as previous submission for “academic evaluation”?

  69. Hi Bill,
    No, an entry submitted for another creative writing competition does not count as a submission for “academic evaluation”. Only entries submitted for some academic purpose (e.g. creative writing module in a university) would count as such. If you have submitted a piece of work that was not accepted for another creative writing competition, it has not been published yet, and so is eligible for submission. Thanks.

    1. Hi Victoria,
      Sorry for the terribly late reply. We’ll send you a confirmation email after the 4th of December on your submission, so please do wait for it. Thank you and sorry again for the delayed response. Hope you enjoyed writing your piece(s) for the competition.

  70. Hi,

    Do the organizers send confirmation emails to everyone confirm their entries were sent and under consideration? Because I am wondering if my entries are sent and are in the right hands.

    Fikri Iskandar

  71. Dear participants,
    Please note that that the NUS Literary Society has sent out confirmation emails to each of you who has submitted an entry for this competition. If you have not received any confirmation email, please send us an email to inform us of it. Thank you.

  72. Hi,

    Must all entries (whether in CD-R or hardcopy) be delivered to the address specified? Is it possible to email my submission instead?


    1. Dear Alicia,

      Yes, the hardcopy must be delivered (either by hand or post) to the address specified. There are reasons for our request – if you are submitting poems, the alignment may shift or the font type may change, and the spatial or aesthetic effect intended may be lost.

      If you are submitting short stories/plays, we would have to print out the pages ourselves for the judges; with multiple pages and hundreds of participants, the cost can be very significant.

      By the way, we require a hardcopy and a softcopy, and not either of them. Please submit both the CD-R and the hardcopy.

      Thank you.

    1. Hi Elaine,

      The Creative Writing Competition is for tertiary students (JC, Poly, Universities, etc) and NSFs only. As you would not be a tertiary student at the time of submission, I’m afraid you do not qualify.

      Keep writing, and we hope to see you next year! =)


  73. Hi,

    It is stated that “entries must not have been submitted for academic evaluation at any institution of learning (for example, as coursework for a creative writing module)”. Would that also include graded exercise pieces? What about an edited version of the graded piece?

    Thank You

  74. hello I would like to enquire if works posted as Facebook notes for sharing with friends are eligible for this comp. Thanks

    1. Hi Jack

      Facebook notes will not be considered as published, but the danger of sending something that has already been shown to the public is that there is a possibility that someone else might take your work as theirs and send it for our competition as well. Should that be the case, both of your entries will be disregarded. You are running your own risk if you submit this already publicised note, though we are open to accepting your entry. You might like to lock your note to prevent this from happening (assuming it has not already happened). Do also send other “fresh” works if possible, to increase your chances!

    1. Hi Nisa,

      As this competition is for tertiary students, I’m afraid you are not eligible. Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to seeing your entry in the near future. =)


  75. How risque can the submitted literature be?

    What are the standards regarding content of sexual nature, for example, a passionate endeavor between two lovers. Appreciate any advise in this matter.

  76. Hello again,

    I have sent my entry thru post to the address specified. Could you check if it has been received? Thank you!


      1. Dear Alicia,

        We will look at the date stamp on the envelope – if it is before the deadline of 1 Dec, we will generally accept it. Of course, if it took so long that it arrived after our judges have announced the winners, then it can’t be helped.

        As for your enquiry, I will have to check our mailbox first.

        Best Regards,

    1. Dear Ian,

      As the Creative Writing Competition is for tertiary students, I’m afraid you are ineligible. Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to seeing your work in a few years’ time.


    1. Hi Ludwig Van,

      Andrew has graduated already 🙂

      To answer your question, there will be an upcoming CWC 2011/2012. Details will be out soon. Keep a look out 🙂


      1. Hello GuanHui,

        Thanks for your reply… but omg you meant he graduated in the span of 7 days? He replied someone on 27th Sept =/

        PS: Would be nice if you have a gays or lesbians as judges for this year competition for a change #justsaying

      1. Hi Melodily!

        Thanks for the update. Btw referring to the reply on word limit above, we wouldn’t be disqualified if our shorts are over 3000 words right but of course not like 4000 perhaps 3200 to 3500 words?

  77. Hi Ludwig Van

    yup 3200 to 3500 words should be fine, if it’s absolutely necessary to the development of your piece. ultimately, you’ll be judged based on the quality of your work (:

  78. Hi NUS LitSoc, I’m saddened to learn that past winners are now precluded from participating in future competitions.. Is there any other avenue where we can submit our work if we write new pieces? I am keen to rejoin the artistic community…

  79. Hi, I am Staff at NUS (Research Assistant) and earlier I was a student at NUS.

    Can I participate in the competition?

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