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Erma Bombeck Writing Competition

The Erma Bombeck Writing Competition is hosted every two years by the University of Dayton and the Washington-Centerville Public Library in Centerville, Ohio, where Erma wrote the books and columns that launched her national fame. Entries will be accepted Dec. 4-Jan. 8 for the 2024 competition. Over the years, the contest has drawn thousands of hopeful entries, submissions inspired by Erma Bombeck’s humor and humanity. The four winning writers will receive a free registration to the April 4-6, 2024, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, $1,000 and publication of their essays online and in the workshop’s program. A select number will receive honorable mentions, $100 and publication of their essays online.  In 2022, 486 writers from six countries, 48 states and the District of Columbia entered previously unpublished essays in humor and human interest categories — roughly 218,000 words. 

Enjoy Their Essays

Mark your calendar! The Washington-Centerville Public Library will host a 7 p.m. awards ceremony on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. It's free and open to the public. Finalist judges and a keynote speaker have not been announced yet for the 2024 competition. Max Pross, an Emmy Award-winning producer and writer known for The Simpsons, Seinfeld and Late Night with David Letterman, and Susan Pohlman, a memoirist who writes with grace and vulnerability, served as finalist judges for the 2022 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff (the inspirational duo behind Queen of Your Own Life) keynoted the 2022 awards presentation.

Meet the 2022 Judges