Wednesday, November 29, 2023

19th Annual Scissortail: The Poster


2024 Undergraduate Creative Writing Contest

Prizes: * 1st - $100 * 2nd - $75 * 3rd - $50
(Plus Books & Honorable Mentions)


• Contest is open only to currently enrolled undergraduate students.

• Eligible students are expected to attend the Festival. Recognition will occur Friday evening, April 5, 2024. (Please do not submit if you cannot attend the festival).

• Submissions must be confirmed by a sponsoring faculty member.

• Each institution is allowed a maximum of 5 (five entries); This includes ECU.

• Each institution is responsible for selecting its contestants.

• Submissions are limited to one of three categories: 1) one piece of short fiction (up to 7500 words), or one piece of creative nonfiction (up to 7500 words), or up to three poems (150 lines total).

• Prizes will not be designated by genre, but will be awarded for best writing.

• All entries must be the original work of the student.

• All entries must be neatly typed; please double-space prose entries.

• Entries will not be returned, so keep your originals.

• No identifying marks should be on the manuscript itself, except for the title.

• Provide separate Cover page with contact information: 1) Student’s Name; 2) Student’s email address AND mailing address 3) Faculty Member’s Name & Email address 3) Institution 4) Classification 5) Phone number 6) Title of original work submitted

• Submit work by email to Dr. Joshua Grasso at In the subject line of your email submission, type “Scissortail Undergraduate Contest.”

• Professor Grasso will screen entries, then an outside judge will judge all entries that meet minimum guidelines.

DEADLINE: Email entries to must be received by Midnight March 1, 2024. There will be no exceptions. Recognition of writers will occur Friday April 5 as part of the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival held at East Central University (April 4 - 6, 2024). Please regularly visit to view festival updates. Contact: Ken Hada, (580) 559-5557 for information regarding the Festival

Judge: Denise Tolan is graduate of The Red Earth MFA at Oklahoma City University. Her work has been included in places such as The Best Small Fictions, The Best Short Stories from The Saturday Evening Post, The Penn Review, Blue Mountain Review, Atlas and Alice, and Lunch Ticket. Her memoir, Italian Blood, was published by CavanKerry Press in October 2023.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Scissortail Submission Guidelines 2023-2024

The 19th Annual Scissortail Festival will be held April 4-6, 2024.

We invite submissions to be considered for an in-person program. Please send your best work, while considering the following guidelines. Please follow exactly.

* We anticipate that authors will have up to 20 minutes to present their material – this is the total time at the mic, including any comments you make in addition to the presented material.

* Scissortail is a reading festival. No workshops, how-to, propaganda or pre-arranged panels are acceptable. Reading sessions feature a mixture of authors and genre.

* Fiction and creative nonfiction writers are encouraged to Excerpt their submission to fit into the time restraints (The appeal of a narrative may, in fact, be heightened by presenting a carefully selected excerpt, rather than speed-reading).

* Due to the number of participants, it is not possible to accommodate scheduling requests.

* Please understand that Ada, Oklahoma is a small town with very limited public transportation and has a limited number of hotel rooms. Ada is a two-hour drive from the Oklahoma City airport, three hours from DFW (in good traffic) and two and half hours from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Scissortail Festival is unable to provide shuttle service to and from these airports, so please consider these factors before submitting.

* Sessions usually consist of 3 or 4 readers per session. Authors may NOT exceed 20 minutes total time at the mic – including prose, including commentary. Please respect your audience and fellow readers by diligently adhering to time restraints.

Submit by email: 1) complete contact information 2) the title of your program and the work to be considered – please consider the time restraints per reader. 3) a paragraph-length biographical narrative summarizing publications and significant accomplishments (please write bios in 3rd person).

Deadline for submission is December 15, 2023. The schedule will be announced as early as possible, in January, and certainly by early February at the latest.

Send email submissions to: Identify “Scissortail Submission” in the subject line.

Please check your calendar before submitting. Participants are not charged registration fees, nor are authors compensated. Please subscribe by providing your email at in order to receive notice of information regarding the festival and related events. Updates are posted on this site.

COVID DISCLAIMER:  By submitting your work to be included as a participant and/or audience member of the 2024 Scissortail Festival, you voluntarily acknowledge that you have been vaccinated for COVID and/or you fully accept all responsibility for any potential health risk when gathering in these public events. By submitting work to be included on the festival program, applicants further agree to hold harmless the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival and East Central University. You also recognize that plans to hold an in-person festival, could be changed at the last minute, as necessary, due to unforeseen circumstances associated with Covid, and/or the festival could be canceled at the discretion of East Central University.

Monday, October 9, 2023

20th Annual R. Darryl Fisher Creative Writing Contest

East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma presents 

Oklahoma’s Most Prestigious High School Writing Competition 

Fiction: 1st Place $250; 2nd place: $150; 3rd Place $100
Poetry: 1st Place $250; 2nd place: $150; 3rd Place $100
20 Honorable Mention Awards of $25 each


* All Oklahoma high school students (9th - 12th grade) are eligible.

* Poetry (up to 100 lines) or Short Fiction (up to 6,000 words) is acceptable.

* Limit 5 poems and 1 short fiction piece per student.

* All entries must be the original work of the student.

* All entries must be neatly typed; please double-space fiction entries.

* Entries will not be returned, so keep your originals.

* No identifying marks should be on the manuscript itself, except for the title.

* Provide cover page with contact information: 1) Student’s name; 2) High School and Teacher’s name 3) Classification (senior, junior, etc.) 4) Phone number, Email and student’s mailing address. (Work submitted without a mailing address for each student will not be judged)

* Work may be submitted through conventional mail or email.

DEADLINE: Conventional mail must be postmarked on or before Friday, February 9, 2024. Email entries must be sent via email by 11:59 p.m. on February 9, 2024. There will be no exceptions. Winners will be notified and awards will be presented to students during the annual Scissortail Festival at ECU, April 8, 2023. The names of winning writers will be posted online at:

Poetry Submissions: send work electronically as attached files to or mail to Dr. Joshua Grasso, East Central University, Dept. of English & Languages, 1100 E. 14th St.AdaOK 74820

Fiction Submissions: send work electronically as attached files to or mail to Dr. Mark Walling, East Central University, Dept. of English and Languages, 1100 E. 14th St.AdaOK 74820

Contest Information: Dr. Joshua Grasso (580-235-3197); Dr. Mark Walling (580-559-5440).  Scissortail Creative Writing Festival Information: Dr. Ken Hada (580-559-5557) 

Friday, October 6, 2023

Tribute to Dr. Hugh Tribbey

With sadness, we acknowledge the passing of colleague and cofounder of the Scissortail Festival, Dr. Hugh Tribbey, October 5, 2023.

It was Dr. Tribbey’s original idea for ECU to host a writing festival; he wrote the first grant for the inaugural event, and secured our first feature author – Mark Cox.

Quoting from the obituary: “Dr. Tribbey was a brilliant individual with an exceptionally creative and gifted mind.” He earned his Bachelors of Arts degree from Philips University in Enid, Oklahoma. He earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from Oklahoma City University, a Master of Arts from Midwestern University in Wichita Falls, Texas, and a PhD from Oklahoma State University. He taught twenty years in the Department of English & Languages at East Central University. He was an accomplished poet, publishing nine books and hundreds of individual poems.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

18th Annual Scissortail: The Poster


2023: Schedule of Readings

18th Annual: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival
April 6 - 8, 2023
East Central University
Ada, Oklahoma 

Thursday, April 6

I. 9:30 – 10: 45 Estep Auditorium 

Ben Myers: Oklahoma Baptist University
The Family Book of Martyrs
Denise Tolan: San Antonio, Texas
Italian Blood & This is What Love Looks Like
Gary Worth Moody: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Cartography of Random Graves Antlered with Unfamiliar Desert Bird 

II. 11:00 – 12: 10 Estep Auditorium

Andrew Geyer: U. South Carolina - Aiken
Molly Sizer: Lawton, Oklahoma
Loving Our Neighbors
Cullen Whisenhunt: Eastern OK State College
Childish Thing & other poems 

III. 11:00 - 12:10 Regents Room

David Meischen: Albuquerque, New Mexico
An Alphabet for Mockingbirds
Julie Chappell: Cleveland, Oklahoma
Watermarks – Only Visible in the Light
Corbett Buchly: Richardson, Texas
Like All Strong Things Leave Us 

*** Lunch ***

IV. 2:15 – 3: 35 Estep Auditorium

Maryann Hurtt: Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Bedlam and Blossoms
Alan Birkelbach: Raton, New Mexico
Transformation:Absence, Silence, and Distance
Richard Dixon: Oklahoma City, OK
West on the 40 

V. 2:15 – 3:35 Regents Room

Ann Howells: Carrollton, Texas
My Most Unforgettable Character
Patrick Kindig: Tarleton State University
The Stephenville Poems
John Morris: Cameron University
The Laws of Physics & other poems 

VI. 3:55 – 5:10 Estep Auditorium

Sarah Webb: Burnet, Texas
Neal Ostman: Colleyville, Texas
Earthman – Churned Earth
Alan Gann: Dallas, Texas
In Dorothy's Shadow 

VII. 3:55 – 5:10 Regents Room

Bill McCloud: Rogers State University
Hypnotic Poetry
Keely Record: Tulsa, Oklahoma
What I've Seen
Mark Walling: East Central University
Mother Merry Turns Contrary 

VIII. 7:00 – 8:30 Estep Auditorium

Featuring: Major Jackson
(Authors’ Reception – Polo’s Restaurant)

Friday, April 7

IX. 9:00 – 9:50 Estep Auditorium
Rob Roensch: Oklahoma City University
The World and the Zoo
Tina Carlson: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Let's Say My Lover is a Volcano 

X. 9:00 - 9:50 Regents Room

Joey Brown: Missouri Southern State U.
Paul Austin: Norman, Oklahoma
Looking, Listening, Feeling 

XI. 10:00 – 10:50 Estep Auditorium

karla k. morton: Raton, New Mexico
Politics of the Minotaur
Marc DiPaolo: SWOSU
He Saved My Life, He Save My Bongo 

XII. 10:00 – 10:50 Regents Room

Ron Wallace: Durant, Oklahoma
Winter Descending
Josh Grasso: East Central University
Psychics Always Cheat 

XIII. 11:00 – 12:10 Estep Auditorium

Chris Murphy: Northeastern State University
The Soviet Bloc: Studies in Genre
Linda Neal Reising: Poseyville, Indiana
Stone Roses: Voices of Oklahoma Women Pioneers
Tom Murphy: Corpus Christi, Texas
Where Does Love Go & other poems 

XIV. 11:00 – 12:10 Regents Room

Paul Juhasz: Seminole State College
The Inner Life of Comics
Sally Rhoades: Albany, New York
Don Stinson: Northern Oklahoma College
Dark Rooms in Silent Houses 

*** Lunch ***

XV. 2:15 – 3:35 Estep Auditorium

Sharon Edge Martin: Oilton, Oklahoma
Turning Life Experiences into Fiction
Roy Beckemeyer: Wichita, Kansas
The Currency of His Light
Steven Pedersen: East Central University
Dog Days 

XVI. 2:15 -3:35 Regents Room

Woodstok Farley: Tarleton State University
The Glass Factory Menagerie
Lyman Grant: Harrisonburg, Virginia
Symptom and Desire
Bill Hagen: Shawnee, Oklahoma
Others and Upsets 

XVII. 7:00 – 8:30 pm Estep Auditorium 

Featuring: Allison Amend

Recognition of Undergraduate Writers

(Reception for Authors, Guests & Students:

Ross-Osborn Family Foundation Event Center) 

Saturday, April 8

XVIII. 9:00 – 10:10 Estep Auditorium
Wendy Dunmeyer: Lawton, Oklahoma
My Grandmother’s Last Letter
Markham Johnson: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Summer's Discordant Joy
John Yozzo – Tulsa, Oklahoma
Emanations of Angels: Dreams That Never Say Enough 

XIX. 9:00 – 10:10 Regents Room
Brady Peterson: Belton, Texas
Selected Love Letters
Rilla Askew: University of Oklahoma
Two of Her
Robert Wynne: Burleson, Texas
Recent Poems 

XX. 10:25 -11:35 Estep Auditorium
Alan Berecka: Sinton, Texas
Selected Poems
Chloe Lafevers: Tishomingo, Oklahoma
Peak, and other poems
Aaron Glover: Dallas, Texas
Caftan Season & Other Considerations 

XXI. 10:25 -11:35 Regents Room
Nathan Brown: Wimberly, Texas
Saved by the Fire: Pandemic Poems Project
Ky George: Gallup, New Mexico
Oil and Water
Zhenya Yevtushenko: Tulsa, Oklahoma
A Country Yet to Be 

XXII. 12:00 – 1:00 pm Estep Auditorium

Grand Finale, Featuring:
Octavio Quintanilla 

Awarding the Dr. Darryl Fisher
State High School Contest Winners