Monday, October 23, 2017

Scissortail Submission Guidelines

13th Annual Scissortail Festival, April 5-7, 2018

Between 40 and 60 authors will be selected for the program. Selections (and rejections) are determined by members of the ECU English faculty. Selections to the program are accepted on the basis of:

            Quality, Published Work (peer-reviewed journals, for example)
            Freshness of Material (reading some new stuff)
            Appropriateness for Time Restraints and Subject Matter
            Meeting the Submission Deadline

Unaccepted submissions do not necessarily reflect quality of writing - space, time and personnel limit our ability to accept as many as we would like. All applicants (those accepted and those not accepted for the program) are cordially invited to attend the festival to enjoy the benefits of interacting with fellow authors (the festival hotel rate is available for all guests of the festival).

Please review the following guidelines before submitting. To fit the schedule, authors will have 15 minutes to present their material.  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).

Guidelines: Please read closely and follow exactlyPlease look at your calendar before submitting! Due to the increasing number of festival participants, it is very difficult to accommodate special scheduling requests. Please do not ask. 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.


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.

Sessions usually consist of 3 or 4 readers per session. Authors should plan for 15 minutes total time at the mic (including prose) depending on how the session is scheduled. Please respect your audience and fellow readers by diligently adhering to time restraints.

Email submissions are preferred. Submit: 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 29, 2017. 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 copy your submission to

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 at that site.

The 14th Annual R. Darryl Fisher Creative Writing Contest

East Central University presents
Oklahoma’s Most Prestigious High School Writing Competition

Prizes awarded at the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, April 5-7, 2018

     Fiction:      1st Place   $200                          Poetry:       1st Place   $200
                        2nd Place  $150                                             2nd Place  $150
                        3rd Place   $100                                            3rd Place  $ 100
                                       16 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) Teacher’s name
   3) School 4) Classification (senior, junior, etc.) 5) Phone number, Email and mailing address.
* Work may be submitted through conventional mail or email.

DEADLINE: Conventional mail must be postmarked on or before Friday, February 2, 2018. Email entries must be sent by 11:59 p.m. on February 2, 2018. There will be no exceptions.
Winners will be notified in early March, and awards will be presented Saturday, April 7 in the Cole University Center (Estep Auditorium), on the East Central University campus.  A list of winners and winning entries may be posted on this websitePlease visit this site for festival and contest history and information.       

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., Ada, OK 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., Ada, OK 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)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Scissortail 2017: It's On!

As of 9:30 this morning, the Twelfth Annual the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival is under way. If you're not here yet, come soon! We'll be here through Saturday afternoon.

Monday, April 3, 2017

From the Director, 2017

It’s Festival time again! Welcome to ECU and to the 12th annual Scissortail Festival. On behalf of colleagues, students and administrators who work so hard to make this gathering successful, I welcome you.

Bring your work. Bring your creativity, your voice. Join together in celebration of the writing arts. What could be more important? As Austin Phelps once said, “wear the old coat and buy the new book.” I hope you buy books. I hope you make friends. I hope you are inspired as you inspire others. Another quote: “The purpose of a Liberal Arts education is to learn that a person can like both cats and dogs” (Sonjay Anand), and Seamus Heaney says “the end of art is peace.” Too much divisiveness. Too many muggles and mudbloods! Thank you for bringing your unique voice to us. We hope that all of us, with our various voices, blend together to demonstrate the value of the Liberal Arts.

It is with wonderful anticipation that I welcome each of you to our campus and to this renewal of energy, spirit and friendship.

Ken Hada

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Scissortail 2017: The Poster

Winners of the 13th Annual R. Darryl Fisher Creative Writing Contest

Poetry Winners
First Place: Carmela Holt, “Creation.” Norman High School (Sara Doolitle)
Second Place: Heather Smith, “Forgotten Detail.” Edmond Memorial High School (Kelly Bristow)
Third Place: Daniel Lamothe, “Infirm Days.” Norman North High School (Lezlie Christian)

Honorable Mention
Pranshu Adhikari, “Tell Me.” Norman High School (Sara Doolitle)
Grace Pantalone “Kids These Days.” Norman High School (Sara Doolittle)
Brenna Sawney, “Boys Will Be Boys.” Sallisaw High School (Whitney Sharp)
Liberty Walton, “Serrated.” Edmond Memorial High School (Kelly Bristow)
Victoria Butler, “Animal Instincts.” Norman North High School (Lezile Christian)
Martha Beliveau, “I Am Providence.” Norman North High School (Lezlie Christian)
Macy Bratcher, “Unengaged.” Norman North High School (Lezlie Christian)
Rachel Le, “Every Wand’ring Home.” Union High School (Mrs. Flower)

Fiction Winners
1st Place: Taylor Johnson, “The Shadow and His Christopher Wren.” Allen High School (Allie Gastineau)
2nd Place:  Ashley Gorton, “A Girl Who Tocks to Clocks.” Norman North High School (Lezlie Christian)
3rd Place: Jacob Perry, “The Wreck of the HMS Paragon.” Norman High School (Sara Doolittle

Honorable Mention
Emma Rose, “Smile for the Camera.” Norman High School (Sara Doolittle)
Chloe Shames, “An Account of Sleep Paralysis.” Norman High School (Sara Doolittle)
Tala Trad, “Underground Encounters.” Edmond Memorial High School (Kelly Bristow)
JoJo Roberson, “Untitled.” Stratford High School (Tina Benge)
Kenneth McGraw, “The Isle of Enigma.” Sallisaw High School (Dusty Sifers)
Augustus Kmetz, “Key in a Locked Drawer.” Norman High School (Sara Doolitle)
Casey Butler, “Again Some Day.” Norman North High School (Lezlie Christian)
Lauren Barnes, “Full Moon.” Norman North High School (Lezlie Christian)

Friday, January 13, 2017

2017: Schedule of Readings

12th Annual: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival
April 6-8, 2017
East Central University
Ada, Oklahoma

Thursday, April 6

I. 9:30 – 10: 45 Estep Auditorium  

Brady Peterson – Belton, Texas
From an Upstairs Window
Rebecca Hatcher Travis – Sulphur, Oklahoma
Constant Fires
Michael Dooley – Tarleton State University
Mary, Mother of …

II. 11:00 – 12: 15 Estep Auditorium

Elizabeth Raby – Santa Fe, New Mexico
A Matter of Time
Paul Bowers – Northern Oklahoma College
The Lone, Cautious, Animal Life
Dorothy Alexander – Santa Fe & Oklahoma City
Birds, Bees and Misogyny: Verse & Paragraphs

*** Lunch ***

III. 2:00 – 3: 15 North Lounge

George McCormick – Cameron University
Sarah Webb – Burnet, Texas
What the Moon Saw
Jim Benton – Ft. Worth, Texas
Poems of the Scissortail’s Nest

IV. 2:00 – 3:15 Estep Auditorium

John Morris – Cameron University
On Wickedness, Art and Solubility
Mary Anna Evans – University of Oklahoma
Only a Time Machine
Gary Worth Moody – Santa Fe, New Mexico
Upon Fevered Ground

V. 3:30 – 4:45 Estep Auditorium

Jennifer Kidney – Norman, Oklahoma
Deadhead, Hog Farm, Grass and Other Things
William Peter Grasso – Tulsa, Oklahoma
Just a Matter of Time …
Greg Stapp – Norman, Oklahoma
Whatever Counts as Blood among Locusts

VI. 3:30 – 4:45 North Lounge

Tom Murphy – Corpus Christi, Texas
Prometheus Unbound
Carol Coffee Reposa – San Antonio, Texas
Incident at a Party
Richard Dixon – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Winding Stair

VII. 7:00 – Estep Auditorium
(Musical Prelude: begins at 6:30pm)

Featuring: Patricia Hampl

(Authors’ Reception follows at Vintage 22)

Friday, April 7

VIII. 9:00 – 9:50 Estep Auditorium

Sally Rhoades – Albany, New York
Through the Layers
Rob Roensch – Oklahoma City University
Victor, Jonah, Laney

IX. 9:00 – 9:50 North Lounge

Jessica Issacs – Seminole State College
The Deer in the Corn & Other Poems
Michael Howarth – Missouri Southern State U
Scream Three Times

X. 10:00 – 10:50 Estep Auditorium

Paul Austin – Norman, Oklahoma
Michelle Hartman – Ft. Worth, Texas
Lost Journal of My Second Trip to Purgatory

XI. 10:00 – 10:50 North Lounge

Shaun Perkins – Locust Grove, Oklahoma
The Book with the Beacon Lights
Juan Perez – Corpus Christi, Texas
Protesting Politically

XII. 11:00 – 11:50 Estep Auditorium

Ben Myers – Oklahoma Baptist University
Poems in Various Forms
Roxie Faulkner Kirk – Morris, Oklahoma
The Northeast Corner Section

XIII. 11:00 – 11:50 North Lounge

Joey Brown – Missouri Southern State U
Cross-Cut Stanzas
Todd Fuller – University of Oklahoma
Cherry Kool-Aid vs. Post-Truth America

*** Lunch ***

XIV. 2:00 – 3:15 North Lounge

Clarence Wolfshohl – Fulton, Missouri
Scattering Ashes
Terri L. Cummings – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The Nature of Nature
Ron Wallace – Durant, Oklahoma
Songs for Lesser Gods

XV. 2:00 -3:15 Estep Auditorium

Alan Berecka – Del Mar College
The Hamlet of Stittville
Margaret Dornaus – Ozark, Arkansas
Prayer for the Dead: Recently Collected Poems
Terry Lucas – Mill Valley, California
A Small Desert Town

XVI. 3:30 – 4:45 Estep Auditorium

Katherine Hoerth – U.T. –Rio Grande Valley
Revisionist Mythmaking in Texas
Chera Hammons – Amarillo, Texas
Born under a Bright Horizon
J.C. “Catfish” Mahan – Edmond, Oklahoma
I Hate Poetry

XVII. 3:30 – 4:45 North Lounge

Dan Wilcox – Albany, New York
Where’s the Nearest Ocean?
Jennifer Luckenbill – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The Water Below
Lyman Grant – Austin Community College
Old Men on Tuesday Mornings

XVIII. 7:00 Estep Auditorium

Featuring Leif Enger
(Musical prelude at 6:30 pm)

Saturday, April 8

XIX. 9:00– 10:15 Estep Auditorium

Ann Howells – Carrollton, Texas
Conjuring the Chesapeake
A.W. Marshall – Tulsa, Oklahoma
The Bend
Jeanetta Calhoun Mish – Oklahoma City U
Elegies & Love Poems

XX. 10:30 -11:45 Estep Auditorium

Andrew Geyer – Univ. of South Carolina-Aiken
Jenny Yang Cropp – Cameron University
Poems from Concordance
Nathan Brown – Wimberly, Texas
Don’t Try

XXI. 12:00 – 1:00 pm Estep Auditorium

Grand Finale: Rilla Askew
University of OklahomaSnake Season
& Awarding the Dr. Darryl Fisher
State High School Contest Winners

2017: Scissortail Biographies

Dorothy Alexander, author of four poetry collections and one memoir, is a founding member of the Oklahoma Woody Guthrie Poetry Readers. Her work, deeply rooted in Oklahoma, embraces a form she calls “narcissistic narrative.” She also indulges in “selfie” poetry. Her publications include a volume of ekphrastic poetry and art, Lessons From and Oklahoma Girlhood, The Art of Digression, a Memoir in Fragments, Borrowed Dust, The Dust Bowl Revisited, as well as poems and essays in several anthologies. Dorothy received the 2013 Carlile Distinguished Service Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book. In an alternate universe she is a lawyer and a municipal judge in rural western Oklahoma. She spends 35%  of her life in Santa Fe, New Mexico, along with her spouse, Devey Napier.

Rilla Askew is the author of four novels and a book of stories. She’s a PEN/Faulkner finalist, recipient of the Western Heritage Award, Oklahoma Book Award, and a 2009 Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her novel about the Tulsa Race Riot, Fire in Beulah, received the American Book Award in 2002, and was selected for Oklahoma’s One Book One State reading program. Askew’s essays and short fiction have appeared in Tin House, World Literature Today, Nimrod, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and elsewhere. Her recent novel, Kind of Kin, is published by Ecco Press, and her collection of essays, Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place will be forthcoming from the University of Oklahoma Press in 2017. She is married to actor/writer Paul Austin, and they live in Norman, where Askew teaches creative writing at the University of Oklahoma.

Scissortail Creative Writing Contest for Undergraduates

Prizes: 1st - $100  2nd - $75  3rd - $50
(plus a few Honorable Mentions)

  •  Contest is open only to currently enrolled undergraduate students who attend the festival on Friday April 7, 2017 (no graduate level).
  • To be eligible, undergraduates MUST be in attendance at the Festival, Friday April 7. Please do not submit if you cannot attend the festival.
  • Submissions must be confirmed by a sponsoring faculty member.
  • 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 submissions.
  • 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 cover page with contact information: 1) Student’s Name; 2) Faculty Member’s Name 3) Institution 4) Classification 5) Phone number, Email address.
  • Submit work by email to Dr. Ken Hada at (and please copy submission to In the subject line of your email submission, type “Undergraduate Contest.”
  •  ECU faculty will screen initial entries, then an outside judge will judge all entries that meet minimum guidelines.

DEADLINE: Email entries must be received by midnight February 24, 2017. There will be no exceptions. Awards and recognition will occur Friday April 7 as part of the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival held at East Central University (April 6-8, 2017). Please visit (and subscribe via email) to receive festival updates. Contact: Ken Hada, (580) 559-5557.

Judge:  Award-winning poet and professor Ron Wallace will serve as the 2017 judge. Ron is the author of six volumes of poetry published by TJMF Publishing of Clarksville, Indiana and a three time finalist in the Oklahoma Book Awards. He is also a three time winner of The Oklahoma Writer’s Federation Best Book of Poetry Award and a Pushcart Prize nominee for 2016. His work has been recently featured in Oklahoma Today, Poetry Bay, Concho River Review, Cybersoleil journal, Cobalt, Red Earth Review, Dragon Poets Review, Songs of Eretz Review, Gris-Gris, Oklahoma Poems and Their Poets and a number of other magazines and anthologies.

Sponsors: The Undergraduate Writing Contest is sponsored by The East Central University Foundation, Inc, in partnership with THE RED EARTH MFA program from Oklahoma City University, directed by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish. Red Earth representatives will be at the 2017 Scissortail Festival. Information about Red Earth MFA is available at