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The Ohio Writers’ Association received so many outstanding submissions to the Great Novel Contest 2020. Thank you to all who took a risk and submitted your work for consideration.

After much deliberation, this year’s finalists have been announced! Read on to see the shortlist.

The contest was open to all narrative (fiction and non-fiction) manuscripts of 50,000-125,000 words in length. All genres were accepted except for erotica and books for children.

Judges considered a variety of factors when choosing finalists, including organization, style, viability of concept, and prose quality.  All submissions were judged “blind”—no names, history, demographics, or identifying information were shared with the judges.

The winner of this year’s contest will receive $1,000 cash and a publishing contract from Bellwether (that’s us!).

Bellwether Publishing

The runner-up will receive $500, a publishing consultation with OWA President Brad Pauquette, and a letter of recommendation for agents and publishers.

This contest is sponsored by Columbus Publishing Lab, an outstanding company that helps authors and small presses produce books that compete with the largest publishing houses. Learn more at

Columbus Publishing Lab

If you’d like to enter this contest next year, mark your calendar for January 1, 2021 and join the Ohio Writers’ Association today.

With no further ado, we are pleased to announce the following ten finalists, presented in random order.

Threshing of Straw by Kim Catron

Everything Counts by Marcus Herzberg

Stalked by Sara Condrey

Fightgirl by Tony Clark

Surfing the Linoleum by Michael Batdorf

Devil Strip Musketeers by Michael Clark

She Went Missing by John White

Words Will Never Hurt Me by Toni Wilbarger

Winter Skies by Doug Ramspeck

Rewrite the Stars by Christina Consolino

Congratulations to all ten finalists!

These finalists were selected from a competitive pool of submissions. Our team of judges will now evaluate these ten manuscripts to determine the winner and runner-up.

All finalists will receive a voucher to attend an Ohio Writers’ Association class or seminar this year. Learn more about our classes here.

Thank you to all of the authors who entered the Great Novel Contest 2020.  While only a limited number of manuscripts could be selected as finalists, we were overwhelmed with the quality of the submissions that we received this year.

Thank you again to Columbus Publishing Lab for sponsoring this contest. Please visit to learn more about their services.

Learn more about The Great Novel Contest at Don’t forget to mark your calendar for next year!