Merriam-Frontier Writing Competition Open to UM Students

September 29, 2015

MISSOULA – The Creative Writing Program at the University of Montana is accepting submissions for the 2016 Merriam-Frontier Award.

The annual writing competition is open to all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at UM during fall semester 2015. The award was established by H.G. Merriam, UM professor of English and creative writing from 1919 to 1954, and consists of a $500 prize and publication of the winning entry as a chapbook.

Submissions are limited to one per student and must include a cover page with the title of the manuscript, student’s name, email, phone number and address. All entries must be delivered to Liberal Arts Building Room 133 by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16.

The manuscripts will be judged by a committee of local writers. A winner will be announced Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, and will be invited to give a public reading.

Entries must be previously unpublished works that qualify in one of the following categories:

  • Poetry: 20 to 25 poems
  • Fiction: two or more stories (40 to 60 double-spaced pages)
  • Creative nonfiction: two or more essays (40 to 60 double-spaced pages)

Frontier, later titled Frontier and Midland, was a distinguished quarterly journal founded and edited by Merriam and published at UM from 1920 to 1939. Contributors included then-emerging talents Wallace Stegner, A.B. Guthrie Jr., William Saroyan, Dorothy Johnson, John Mason Brown, Weldon Kees, Thomas McGrath and many others. A particular strength of the journal was its frequent publication of work by young authors, a tradition the Merriam-Frontier Award honors and continues.

More information is available online at

Contact: Karin Schalm, UM Creative Writing Program coordinator, 406-243-5267,