Adult Literary Arts

The Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival is proud to sponsor our annual Poetry & Short Story Contest, open to anyone writing in English. We encourage all national and international writers to practice their craft by submitting previously unpublished poems and short stories to be juried. Since 1975, our non-profit organization has striven to bring the arts and humanities to the community of Westmoreland County. Our Poetry & Short Story Contest allows us to do so while providing an exceptional forum for writers and poets to present their original work.

Two jurors are selected each year. One juror is chosen to evaluate poetry submissions and a second juror is responsible for reviewing short stories. Winners are notified by the end of March and their works are then displayed at our annual Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival for visitors to read. All cash prize winners and honorable mention recipients are also invited to read their works live onstage at the Festival.

2020 PSS Entry Form

If you are typing directly onto the entry form, you must save the application to your computer before adding the requested information. Close the application and reopen the application from your computer. Once you add the information re-save the document before printing or attaching to an email.

Postmark Deadline: January 17, 2020

Meet Our 2019 Jurors (2020 Jurors Coming Soon)

JoAnn Balingit (Poetry Juror)

JoAnn Balingit is the author of Words for House Story, a 2015 Best Books selection at Beltway Poetry, and two award-winning chapbooks fo poetry. She grew up in central Florida and has lived in Morocco, Portugal and Kentucky, where she taught writing and English language classes. She moved to Delaware in1990 and worked in the public schools as a librarian and teacher trainer. JoAnn has taught poetry writing at the University of Delaware, and at community organizations and libraries around the state. From 2008 to 2015, she served as Delaware’s poet laureate, and is currently state coordinator for Poetry Out Loud, a national poetry recitation contest for high school students.

JoAnn Balingit’s poetry and prose has been honored with fellowships from VONA/Voices of Our Nation Arts; Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation; Hedgebrook;  and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference as a Bakeless/Camargo Foundation Fellow. Recent work appears at The Rumpus,, Vallum Magazine and in Asian American Literary Review. She received the Westmoreland Award for Poetry in 2015.


Laurel Black (Short Story Juror)

Dr. Laurel Johnson Black is an Associate Professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  She teaches courses in composition, creative writing, law and literature, and language.  She has published She has read her work in numerous locations and has published a book, articles, poems, and memoirs.  She has conducted workshops on creative writing in the public schools and judged many speech and writing contests.





Congratulations to Our 2019 Poetry & Short Story Contest Winners!

Poetry Awards:

Short Story Awards: