September 13-16, 2018
Lexington, Kentucky


Betty Gabehart Prizes

Each year the Kentucky Women Writers Conference offers opportunities for both emerging and established voices to be singled out and cheered on by our community. The Betty Gabehart Prize honors our good friend, patron, and former director who led the conference during its seminal decade in the 1980s. Entries must be postmarked by June 1, and winners are announced by July 15. Three prizes are awarded, in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Each winner receives $200, conference admission for herself and one guest, and the opportunity to read her winning manuscript at the conference.

2017 WINNERS ANNOUNCED! (please click on this link)

As of June 1, 2017, we are no longer accepting entries in this year's Betty Gabehart Prizes in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Entry form and guidelines for next year's prizes are available at the links to the right.


Postgraduate Scholarships

We offer a handful of merit scholarships to women in graduate school, any age, residing in any state, attending any school, in any degree program, though typically an M.F.A. Applicants submitted a 5-page writing sample postmarked by June 1, along with a cover letter describing their interest in our event and the workshop they wanted to take. Applications are reviewed by a committee of the director plus one advisor, and awards are announced on June 15. These scholarships provide enrollment in a small-group writing workshop and admission to all seminars, craft talks, panels, and readings.

***This opportunity is available thanks to two anonymous donors.***

The Prize for Women Playwrights

The Kentucky Women Writers Conference awards a national playwriting prize to bring more scripts by women to the stage, especially those featuring majority-female casts. The winner will receive a full production in Lexington or Louisville, plus a cash prize of $500. The winning play will be workshopped prior to its world premier for a paying audience.

If you would like to receive our bi-monthly listserv with updates about this contest and our other programming, please send your request to

Wild Women of Poetry Slam / Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize

The Wild Women of Poetry Slam has thrived since 2006 as an opportunity for nationally renowned spoken-word artists to perform in a women-only slam. Formerly known as the Gypsy Poetry Slam, it has taken place in various venues and featured a stellar cast of headliners and winners from throughout the United States.