Inscription Journal

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


  • Academic:
    These can include research papers, argumentative or persuasive essays, rhetorical and literary analyses, and the like.
  • Creative Nonfiction:
    These are true stories written in a vivid, compelling form. Literacy and personal narratives, memoirs, journalistic work, reflections, and profiles are all examples of creative or literary non-fiction.
  • Fiction:
    Imaginative short-stories which should include a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Poetry:
    All genres and forms are welcome.

2019 Contest

Submissions for the 2019 contest have closed. The 2020 contest will open in November 2019.

Past Winners

For more questions contact Dr. Cassandra Bausman.


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.

Now, he and his wife Don Nell sponsor the Cunningham contest each year. Mr. Cunningham says, “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.”