The Northwest Science Writers Association is thrilled to launch the Best of the Northwest Science Writing Award to recognize and celebrate outstanding writing published by our members during the past year.

Awards will be given in two categories:

  • Journalism
  • Institutional writing

In each category, two writers will be recognized:

  • First Prize: $250 cash and award certificate
  • Honorable mention award certificate

Rules for participation

  • Submitted work must have been either published (in print or online) or broadcast (if the entry is a script or screenplay) between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.
  • Submissions may be up to 10,000 words in length. Permissible submissions include but are not limited to articles, book excerpts, press releases, and scripts of audio/visual work. (Note that in the latter case, only the script, not the multimedia itself, will be evaluated.)]
  • Failure to meet all submission requirements may disqualify an entry from consideration.
  • Writers must be members of NSWA at the time of submission, during judging and when the award is announced to be eligible. Current board members and their families are not eligible.
  • A limit of 1 article per writer may be submitted.
  • Articles bylined by more than one writer may be submitted as long as all coauthors meet the eligibility criteria. Any award in such cases will be shared among all coauthors equally.

Submission Instructions

  • Submissions are due by 11:59 PM PDT on September 1, 2019.
  • Submissions must be in English, but English translations of entries published in another language will be considered.
  • Submissions may be made by the writer or by another NSWA member on their behalf. Writers submitting their own work may enter one piece of writing or a series if all pieces in the series are part of the same story and total no more than 10,000 words.
  • Submissions must be made in Microsoft Word or RTF file format, with normal paragraphing format (indent first line of each paragraph, do not skip a line between paragraphs).
  • IMPORTANT: Do not include the writer’s or nominator’s name or the name of the publication anywhere on or within your submission, as judging is blinded.
  • Do include the title and page number as a header on every page.
  • Each entry must be submitted using the online form that includes:
    1. Name
    2. Email
    3. Phone number
    4. Information on nominator (if nominating someone else’s work)
    5. Title
    6. Date published
    7. Word count


Q. Can I just send a link to the publication where it is published?
A. No. To make the judging as fair as possible, all entries will be presented to judges as text only, without identifying the writers or the places of publication. We therefore ask that you submit a Word document without images or elaborate formatting.

Q. Will this be an annual award?
A. Our hope is to offer this award annually or biannually, as funding allows.

Q. I’m a freelance writer and want to submit an article I wrote for a magazine/website published by a university/hospital/NGO/government agency. I reported and wrote it just as I would any other piece of journalism, but I was paid by the institution. Should I submit to the journalism or institutional writing category?
A. The institutional writing category. To be eligible for the journalism award, writing must have been published by an outlet that has full editorial independence from its source of funding.

Q. Can I submit writing to both categories in the same year?
A. No. Choose one.


  • Judging will be done by a NSWA Board committee, and the decision of the judges is final. Each entry is judged anonymously; neither the author’s identity nor the publication in which the work appeared is revealed to the judges.
  • Awards are judged on the basis of style, clarity, accuracy and originality in presentation and content.
  • Winners will be announced and given their awards at the NSWA Annual Meeting and Holiday Party in January 2020.

Important dates

Submission deadline: Sep. 1, 2019
Winners will be announced at the Annual Meeting/New Year’s Party in January/February 2020

Submission Form

Please fill out the online form and upload a copy of your submission.