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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 Nov. 30-Jan. 4 for the 2022 competition. Over the years, the contest has drawn thousands of hopeful entries, submissions inspired by Erma Bombeck’s humor and humanity. In 2020, 559 writers from 10 countries, 48 states and the District of Columbia entered previously unpublished essays in humor and human interest categories — roughly 251,550 words. The four winning writers received a free registration to the 2020 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, $1,000 and publication of their essays online and in the workshop’s program. Eight writers received honorable mentions, $100 and publication of their essays online. 

Enjoy Their Essays

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, will serve as finalist judges for the 2022 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff (the inspirational duo behind Queen of Your Own Life) will keynote the virtual 7 p.m. awards presentation on March 23. It's free and open to the public, but registration is required.