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A bicycle ride that ends tragically is the springboard for the winner of the Chicago Writers Association’s inaugural First Chapter Contest.

Victoria Freund’s opening chapter to “Estate” captured first place.  Victoria will be awarded a full scholarship to attend the Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp & Writing Retreat May 7 to 13, 2017, at the Cedar Valley Center & Spa, 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee, near West Bend, Wisconsin (value: $1350).

Second place and a cash award of $150 goes to Molly DiRago for the first chapter of her noir thriller, “Our Lovely War.”

Third place and a cash award of $75 is awarded to Lisa Maggiore for the opening chapter of her young adult historical story, “The Forgotten American.”

Members of CWA’s Board of Directors and staff of the Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp selected the three prize winners, which will be published in CWA’s e-zine, The Write City, from over 40 entries. Judging was based on merits that should be found in a first chapter, including a good opening hook, strong characterizations, compelling voice, conflict, dialogue, and no grammar/mechanical errors.

Those who entered and did not win but want to attend the Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp & Writing Retreat may apply the $15 entry fee towards the already reduced Bookcamp registration cost for CWA members.



  1. when the next contest please?

    855 w aldine ave

    Comment by Mahmoud Saeed on October 1, 2017 at 10:31 am

  2. We are open to entries through October 15. Details on this website at http://www.chicagowrites.org/first-chapter-contest/

    Comment by cwa-admin on October 6, 2017 at 1:36 pm

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