Submit Your Work! 2021 Best of the Northwest Science Writing Awards, Deadline November 15


The Northwest Science Writers Association is pleased to announce the third year of The Best of the Northwest Science Writing Awards! Our awards recognize and celebrate outstanding writing published by our members during the past year.

Awards will be given in two categories:

  • Journalism
  • Institutional writing

Award winners in each category will receive a first prize of $300 cash and an award certificate.

An Honorable Mention may also be awarded in each category at the judges’ discretion. Recipients of Honorable Mentions will receive $50 and a 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 October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021.
  • 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. If you’d like to share multimedia in an un-judged exhibition, check out the new Northwest Science Multimedia Showcase.)
  • Failure to meet all submission requirements may disqualify an entry from consideration.
  • To be eligible, writers must be members of NSWA at the time of submission, during judging, and when the award is announced. Current board members and their families are not eligible.
  • A limit of one 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 November 15, 2021.
  • 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 the writer’s 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, 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. I work for and wrote the article for an institution and the article mentions the institution. Should I remove the institution’s name?
A: No. You don’t need to remove the institution’s name from the article.

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


  • Judging will be done by a committee made up of NSWA Board members, 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. The significance and impact of the piece may also be considered during discussion and judging.
  • Winners will be announced and given their awards at the NSWA Annual Meeting and Holiday Party in January 2022.

Important dates

Submission deadline: 11:59 PM PDT on November 15, 2021
Winners will be announced at the Annual Meeting/New Year’s Party in January 2022.