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A Chance to Showcase Your Talent and Win Prizes

Do you have a knack for crafting suspenseful plots and intriguing mysteries? The Arizona Mystery Writers are calling on storytellers from the Southwest to put their detective hats on and pen down their best mystery, suspense, or thriller story. This contest is a fantastic opportunity for writers of all levels from Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado to showcase their talent and compete for exciting prizes.

A Contest for All Mystery Enthusiasts

No membership is necessary, nor any prior writing experience. If you’re a resident of the specified Southwest states and over the age of 18, you’re invited to participate. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or someone who’s been waiting for the right moment to start writing, this contest is for you.

What’s At Stake?

The contest boasts impressive prizes for the top stories:

First Place: $200
Second Place: $100
Third Place: $75
Your story, which can be up to 2,500 words or about 10 double-spaced pages, could not only win you one of these prizes but also the recognition among your peers and the wider writing community.

How to Participate

The contest opened on March 1st, 2024, and will accept submissions until August 1st, 2024. To ensure fairness and impartiality, the judging will be blind, meaning your name will not be disclosed to the judges. The entry fee is a modest $15, an investment in your writing career and a chance to support the vibrant community of mystery writers.

To enter, please visit, where you can find the Requirements and Official Entry Form. This website is your gateway to all the information you’ll need to participate in the contest.

Dedication and Disclaimer

This year’s contest is dedicated to Jim Martin, a figure whose contributions have significantly impacted our community. We honor his memory through the spirit of creativity and storytelling that this contest fosters.

Please note, the Southwest Writers Foundation (SWWF) is not responsible for the implementation or outcomes of this contest. All inquiries and submissions should be directed to the Arizona Mystery Writers through the official contest website.

A Final Word

This is more than a contest; it’s an opportunity to join a community of like-minded individuals passionate about mystery writing. It’s a chance to challenge yourself, refine your writing skills, and perhaps even see your work recognized and rewarded. So, if you’re from Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, or Colorado, and over 18, consider this your invitation to dive into the world of mystery writing. Who knows? The next great mystery author could be you.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Southwest Word Fiesta™ or its steering committee.

Enriching Life Through Learning in Community

We respectfully acknowledge that the entirety of southwestern New Mexico is the traditional territory, since time immemorial, of the Chis-Nde, also known as the people of the Chiricahua Apache Nation. The Chiricahua Apache Nation is recognized as a sovereign Native Nation by the United States in the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Friendship of 1 July 1852 (10 Stat. 979) (Treaty of Santa Fe ratified 23 March 1853 and proclaimed by President Franklin Pierce 25 March 1853).

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