SELTI Contest

Inaugural Southeastern Literacy Tourism Initiative (SELTI) Writing Contest

 – The First National Short Story Contest Designed to Promote Tourism –


Sponsored by the Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative
Co-sponsored by the University of Alabama Museums



The SELTI Contest has ended.  The winning story was “Digging Up Bones” by Kathryn C. Lang.  More information on the contest and the winning story can be found here.  Thank you to all our participants.

Official Rules


The famous carved stone Duck Bowl found at Moundville.
Could the maker of this legendary artifact come alive in a short story?

• story must be set in Moundville, Alabama
• story must use creative angle to encourage readers to visit Moundville
• maximum word count: 3,500
• no entry fee
• entry deadline: April 15, 2012
• projected announcement of winner: May 30, 2012
• Five finalists will be judged by a panel including:
three English professors from the University of Alabama
three Marketing professors from the University of Alabama
editor of the Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative
• Winning story will be published online at SELTI and include photos and a link to the Moundville museum. Museum will provide the photos
• Winner will receive international publicity from SELTI publication but no cash prize. This contest is meant to showcase how writers and government institutions can work together for mutual publicity
• All entries must be emailed to and include the title of the story followed by “Tourism Fiction Contest” in the subject line. Also email any questions about the contest to this email address.
• Stories should be pasted into entry email. No emails with attachments or other unrequested content will be opened
• Include your name, phone number, physical mailing address, and email address at the top of the story
• After winner is selected, a short bio and profile photo will be requested for online publication with the short story on SELTI
• Writers are encouraged to visit Moundville for inspiration and research, but understand that the museum staff will not participate in the judging process

The winged serpent played a pivotal role in Moundville mythology and art.
Could it reappear in a short story?
Tips for entrants

• Do your research. Browse the many novel and book excerpts on SELTI using the Stories By Month archive in the top left. These offer excellent free examples of published tourism fiction focused on a variety of unique attractions from all over the South. These examples are written in different genre styles from young adult to adult suspense/mystery to creative nonfiction.
• There are several tourism short stories on SELTI in the archives:
The Last Confession” June 2009 (scary twist on real archaeological state park)
Moccasin Gap” November 2009 (funny twists and turns on a kayaking trip)
Ohme” December 2009 (sentimental twist with a Christmas theme)
• The above examples are just for learning purposes and research. Write in your own style.
• Around 1350 A.D., Native Americans started to abandon the city of Moundville. No one knows why.
• As with any writing competition, many good submissions will not ultimately win. Keep in mind that no matter which story wins, all the entrants will have gained applied early experience in a writing field that is about to explode on the international scene.

Deadline Update: A request from the University of Alabama Museums to extend the contest deadline has extended the deadline to April 15, 2012.Alabama Tourism Department announces Moundville contest in newsletter.
Tuscaloosa Convention and Visitors Bureau announces Moundville contest.
Planet Weekly announces Moundville contest.
National Novel Writing Month announces Moundville contest.
Auburn University at Montgomery announces University of Alabama Museum contest.