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Inscription Journal

The Walter Cunningham Writing Contest is an annual, campus-wide competition to find the best submissions in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and academic writing.


  • Academic:
    These submissions include research papers, argumentative or persuasive essays, rhetorical and literary analyses, and other styles of formal writing.
  • Creative Nonfiction:
    These entries are true stories written in vivid, compelling styles. Literacy and personal narratives, memoirs, journalistic work, reflections, and profiles are all examples of creative or literary non-fiction.
  • Fiction:
    Entries for this category include imaginative short-stories which follow a general story structure and incorporate literary techniques.
  • Poetry:
    All genres and forms of poetry are welcome in this category.

2021 Contest

The 2021 Contest is now complete and winners have been selected. This year, we created a bound book with all winning submissions, which is available for purchase for $5.00. Get your copy today! Please contact Dr. Janelle Pulczinski at for details on how to purchase your copy.

Past Winners

For more questions contact Dr. Janelle Pulczinski.


The Cunningham contest is named after Walter Cunningham, a Tri-State University alumnus from the school of business. Early in his career, while working for the U.S Department of Labor, Mr. Cunningham and his team were asked to write reports that would be used as evidence in federal court cases. He found this experience so challenging that he was inspired to embark on a successful campaign to teach himself to write more effectively.

Consequently, he and his wife Don Nell sponsored the Cunningham contest. Mr. Cunningham noted, “It has been my lack of English and writing skills throughout my life that encourages me at this time in life to attempt to help others understand in some small way, the importance of obtaining these skills early.”