Vinnie Ream Competition Call for Submissions

Entries accepted between January 31, 2021 and March 15, 2021 (postmark deadline)

To honor the legacy of Vinnie Ream, awards of $300 will be given to each first-place winner in art, letters, and music categories at the Vinnie Ream Banquet at the 2022 Biennial. One goal of the Vinnie Ream competition is to challenge participants to follow Ream’s sterling example of elevating one’s artwork to the highest level.

General Guidelines

To enter the contest, you must be an active member of NLAPW in good standing. Materials entered in previous Vinnie Ream competitions will not be accepted.

Independent, outside judges will select the first-place winner for each category: art, letters, and music. Each first-place winner (or a designated representative) must attend the Vinnie Ream Banquet to receive the award.

The entry fee is $40 for each submission. All entry fees must be submitted to NLAPW via either check or PayPal (see below). You may submit for any category in which you are a qualified member.

Entries may be new or created at any time in the past. You retain all rights to your work. Entries accepted beginning Jan. 31; postmark deadline no later than March 15.

Winners will be notified prior to the 2022 Biennial.

A short artist statement (not to exceed 250 words) must accompany each entry in response to the following quotation from Vinnie Ream: “I think that history is particularly correct in writing Lincoln down as the man of sorrow. The one great, lasting, all-dominating impression that I have always carried of Lincoln has been that of unfathomable sorrow, and it was this that I tried to put into my statue.”

Writers, artists, and musicians should address the evocative nature of their art. Musicians and artists, imagine a perplexed art show viewer examining your painting or concert attendee listening to your composition and asking you, “What emotion does your work evoke? Help me understand.” Your short, written response for the competition could be framed in this manner.

For an award to be given, there must be at least 10 submissions in a category ensure a competitive contest.

Guidelines for Art Category

Entries may be in any of the following categories:

a. Painting: all mediums, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, encaustic, mixed media
b. Drawing and graphics: all mediums
c. Photography
d. Printmaking (original prints only)
e. Pottery (hand-formed or wheel-thrown)
f. Sculpture

Entry images must be saved as a baseline JPG minimum of 1,200-1,500 pixels on the longest side. The jpg must be a separate attachment to your email (not embedded in the body text). The file name should be the title of the piece only. The image should be of the artwork alone without mat or frame. Please submit 1 image of each 2-dimensional entry; 3 images (front, back and side views) of all 3-dimensional entries.

Your artist statement required by the competition must accompany your submission. Please include your contact information, art category, medium, and title of your piece with your submission.

Email your entries to Subject of your email should read: Art Submission Vinnie Ream.

The Art Competition will be a juried and judged event. First-place award will be based on the artwork and the artist statement about her piece.

Artists whose work is selected by the juror will be asked to ship the piece to Pen Arts for in person judging later. Any accepted artwork that does not closely resemble the jpg of the work submitted will be disqualified.

Entries may be used in a slide show during the Vinnie Ream Banquet and shown on the League’s website in low resolution, along with the artist’s contact information.

Pay the entry fee via PayPal (see below) or mail check made out to NLAPW with your entry. Send entries to Mary Lou Griffin, National Art Chair, NLAPW, 1300 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-1901. Include contact information and title of your piece with your check.

Guidelines for Letters Category

The letters competition will cover three specific areas: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. From these categories, one overall Letters entry will be chosen the first-place winner.

Fiction categories include a short story (25 pages max.) or a screen/stage play excerpt and synopsis (total of 30 pages max.); chapter from a children’s, young adult, or adult novel, plus a detailed synopsis (total of 30 pages max.); or manuscript of young children’s story (30 pages max.).

Nonfiction categories include an article or an essay (25 pages max.), a chapter of a nonfiction book plus detailed abstract (total of 30 pages max.), or chapter of a memoir plus detailed outline (total of 30 pages max.).

Poetry categories include a chapbook (manuscript form only, 25 pages max.) or a series of linked poems (20 poems max.).

Submissions may be published or unpublished.

Entries must be typed on 8.5-by-11 white paper. Prose should be double-spaced. Poetry should be single-spaced with double spacing between stanzas.

Only the title of the work should appear on the manuscript. Do not include your name.

On a separate cover sheet (either as attachment to email or mail) include your name, contact information, and the category and title of your work. Example: Fiction—short story: Title.

No manuscripts will be returned. Do not send books or chapbooks. They will not be returned.

Make sure to include your statement responding to the Vinnie Ream quotation as part of your submission.

Preliminary judge(s) for each of the three letters categories will select the best pieces in that category; finalist judge(s) will consider the selected pieces and choose the first place.

Pay the entry fee via PayPal (see below) or mail check made out to NLAPW with your entry. Send entries to Nancy Dafoe, National Letters Chair, NLAPW, 1300 17th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036-1901. Email questions to

Guidelines for Music Category

All original musical compositions must be between 3 and 12 minutes. Entries may be for solo or small ensembles (up to five players). Any instrumentation is acceptable. Choreography can be for up to five dancers.

All entries will be considered for possible performances in 2022. Possible performance venues include the 2022 Biennial plus individual branch meetings throughout 2021-’22.

Submission formats (select the format appropriate for your composition):

a. For nontraditional composition, submit two lead sheets with melody, lyrics and chord symbols, along with two CDs of the composition.
b. For traditional composition, submit two legibly scored copies of the musical composition, and two accompanying CD recordings of the composition performed.
c. For choreography, send choreography notation, with a DVD recording of the choreography being performed.
d. Only the title of the composition must appear on all written and recorded materials. Do NOT include your name. CDs will not be returned.

On a separate cover sheet or a 3×5 index card, include your name, contact information, and the category and title of your work.

Be sure to include a one-page statement (not to exceed 250 words) to accompany your entry as per #7 under General Guidelines, to discuss the meaning of how your musical process “evokes an emotion.”

Pay the entry fee via PayPal (below) or mail check made out to NLAPW with your entry. Send entries to Kathy Pate, National Music Chair, NLAPW, Inc., 1300 17th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036-1901. Email questions to

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