First-Timers Contest

Never attended the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference but always wanted to go?

The First-Timers Contest awards ten full scholarships, including economy lodging (multiple occupancy) and conference meals.

Below are the details for next year's conference. (We will begin taking submissions in the fall.)

There is NO FEE to enter this contest. It is open to both published and unpublished writers.

Submission Details

BETWEEN OCTOBER 10 AND DECEMBER 10, Send a five-page fiction or nonfiction writing sample. Do not send more than five pages, even if the last page ends in mid-sentence. One entry per person, please.

For articles, blog posts, and short stories, submit the FIRST five pages. 

For novellas or book-length manuscripts (including young adult, middle grade, and children’s), submit the FIRST five pages of any chapter. Your manuscript does not have to be completed.   

Your submission does not need to be overtly Christian but must have a Judeo-Christian worldview.

Must be written in English.

Deadline to enter is December 10 at midnight Pacific Standard Time. 

Entry Format

Submissions must be formatted according to the following guidelines:

  • Word document (.doc or .docx). 

  • All margins 1 inch. Left aligned. Double-spaced. Times New Roman 12-point font.

  • Using the header feature, all pages must have a working title, your first and last name (real name, not pen name), e-mail address, and a running page number.

  • The filename should be your first and last name, then an underscore (_), then the working title of your entry. Example: Jane Doe_The Big Sky.


Submissions will be judged in part on the quality of the writing, including:

  • Intriguing opener and keeps reader’s interest

  • appealing tone/style

  • good flow/pace/smoothness

  • clarity, ease of readability

  • cleanness (few if any typos, inconsistencies, or errors in punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling)

To give your entry the best chance of winning, you may want to consider having a fellow writer read your submission for clarity, grammar, and typos. This is only a suggestion; it is not a requirement for entering the contest.

More of a consideration than the quality of the writing will be the answers to the three essay questions (see below).

As our judges are narrowing down the submissions, they will prayerfully consider which entrants they believe the Lord is leading them to choose—the ones He knows need to be at the Mount Hermon conference at this juncture in their writing path.

The Prize

The winners of this contest will receive conference registration, meals during the conference, and economy lodging (multiple occupancy) for the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. (Travel expenses not included.)

Winners may upgrade lodging or add pre-conference or a mentoring clinic at their own cost.

Winners will be notified by e-mail no later than January 30.

Submission Instructions

E-mail your entry to the contest coordinator at

Put “First-Timers Contest” in the subject line of your e-mail, followed by your first and last name. 

In the body of the e-mail, let us know: (a) where you live, and (b) what other writers conferences you’ve attended (if any). Then write a one-paragraph answer for each of the following questions: 

       1. Why do you want to attend the Mount Hermon Writers Conference?

       2. Why have you never attended before?

       3. What do you hope to get out of attending the next conference?

In addition to writing quality, winners will be determined based on the answers to these questions. And guidance from the Holy Spirit.

Deadline to enter is December 10 at midnight Pacific Standard Time.



  I was honored to be one of the winners last year. This conference changed me and taught me so much. I am so grateful for the chance to have attended. I encourage all first-timers to try! I can’t wait to go back.

–Erin Kincaid