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Thompson Awards for Western American Writing – and Video!

 Eleven $500 prizes will be awarded to CU Boulder students in the Spring of 2021– one of those winners could be you!

 Entry Deadline: March 15, 2021 

Open to CU Boulder students (graduate AND undergraduate) only. See contest RULES for full details and eligibility requirements.

 SPECIAL VIDEO CATEGORY: “2020 Through My Lens”

We have added a special category for video entries this year called “2020 Through My Lens.” This category is not limited to Western topics, and instead is open to work inspired by any of the many remarkable events – social, political, health-related, etc. – that burst onto the scene or simply became louder and more visible in the year 2020. Your video may take any form you wish, including documentary, video essay, spoken word, animation, dance, music — even
standup comedy — to name just some of the possibilities.

Our writing categories this year continue to focus on Western topics.


It’s writing about the West. And what is that? That’s for you to decide. Regardless of whether
you call the West your home or you are just passing through, as a student at CU Boulder you
live, breathe, eat, drink, and sleep the West.

You could write about:

  • the spiny ridge of the continental divide;
  • or a random rodeo you stumbled upon on a road trip;
  • or branding time on a ranch;
  • or Western history;
  • or your experience growing up in a border town;
  • or environmental conservation;
  • or public lands management

And you can write in whichever genre suits your creative impulse — the writing categories are
poetry, memoir, fiction, academic nonfiction, and creative nonfiction.

Visit our WINNERS page to read previous years’ winning entries.

Here is an opportunity to transform your unique perspective into cash by putting it to paper or
video. You can even enter all six contest categories.

With no entry fee, there is nothing to lose. So go ahead – “Write West!” — or show us “2020
Through Your Lens!”

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