Friday, October 23, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Scissortail Submission Guidelines

11th Annual Scissortail Festival, March 31 - April 2, 2016

Due to the increased popularity of the festival, the competition for a place on the program is keen. Obviously there is a limited amount of time and space available, and unfortunately, not all submissions can be accepted. Selections (and rejections) are determined by members of the ECU English faculty. Selections to the program are accepted on the basis of:

            Quality, Published Work (peer-reviewed journals, for example)
            Freshness of Material (reading some new stuff)
            Appropriateness for Time Restraints and Subject Matter
            Meeting the Submission Deadline

Unaccepted submissions do not necessarily reflect quality of writing. All applicants (those accepted and those not accepted for the program) are cordially invited to attend the festival to enjoy the benefits of interacting with fellow authors (the festival hotel rate is available for all guests of the festival).

Even if you have been on the program in the past, please review the following guidelines before submitting. To fit the schedule, some authors will have 15 minutes and some will have 20 minutes to present their material. Fiction and creative nonfiction writers are encouraged to excerpt their submission to fit into the time restraints (The appeal of a narrative may in fact be heightened by presenting a carefully selected excerpt).

Guidelines: Please read closely and follow exactly. Please look at your calendar before submitting! Due to the increasing number of festival participants, it is very difficult to accommodate special scheduling requests. Please do not ask. Please understand that Ada, Oklahoma is a small town with very limited public transportation and has a limited number of hotel rooms. Ada is a two-hour drive from the Oklahoma City airport, three hours from DFW (in good traffic) and two and half hours from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Scissortail Festival is unable to provide shuttle service to and from these airports, so please consider these factors before submitting.


Scissortail is a reading festival. No workshops, how-to, propaganda or pre-arranged panels are acceptable. Reading sessions feature a mixture of authors and genre.

Sessions usually consist of 3 or 4 readers per session. Authors should plan for either 15 or 20 minutes total time at the mic (including prose) depending on how the session is scheduled. In other words, some readers will get 15 minutes, and some will get 20 minutes. Please respect your audience and fellow readers by diligently adhering to time restraints.

Email submissions are encouraged. Submit: 1) complete contact information 2) the title of your program and the work to be considered – please consider the time restraints per reader
3) a paragraph-length biographical narrative summarizing publications and significant accomplishments (please write bios in 3rd person).

Deadline for submission is December 30, 2015. The schedule will be announced by February.

Send email submissions to: Identify “Scissortail Submission” in the subject line. (Please copy your submission to You may send submissions to: Dr. Ken Hada, Department of English & Languages, East Central University, 1100 E. 14th St., Ada, OK 74820.

Please check your calendar before submitting. Participants are not charged registration fees, nor are authors compensated. Please subscribe by email at in order to receive notice of information regarding the festival and related events. Updates are posted at that site.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Scissortail 2016: Press Release

Creative Writers to gather at East Central University

The 11th annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival will draw many creative writers and fans alike to East Central University in Ada, Okla., March 31-April 2, 2016.

Authors Naomi Shihab Nye and Dr. Ben Myers will be featured in addition to more than 50 author presentations from Oklahoma and beyond. All sessions are free and open to the public.

Myers was named Oklahoma Poet Laureate in 2015. He is a literature professor at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Okla., and an award-winning author and scholar. Myers was born and raised in Oklahoma and is the author of two books of poetry, Lapse Americana and Elegy for Trains. His poems have appeared in many prominent journals, including The Yale Review, Nimrod, 32 Poems, Poetry Northwest, The New York Quarterly and Borderlands.

After appointing Dr. Myers as State Poet Laureate, Governor Mary Fallin said, “Through his poetry, Dr. Benjamin Myers demonstrates a deep love and kinship to Oklahoma. His poetry about our state offers a nuanced view of our people, our land and the values that we hold dear.”

Born to a Palestinian refugee father and an American mother in Missouri, Nye’s voice as a writer is attributed to her experience as an Arab-American. Her poems often reflect heritage, peace and humanitarian spirit. In high school, she moved to Palestine, then Jerusalem and finally back to San Antonio, Texas, where she currently calls home. She earned her bachelor’s degrees in English and World Religions from Trinity University.

Nye is the author of numerous books of poems, including Transfer, You and Yours, which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award; 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East, a collection of new and selected poems about the Middle East; Fuel, Red Suitcase and Hugging the Jukebox.

She is also the author of several books of poetry and fiction for children, including Habibi,,for which she received the Jane Addams Children’s Book award in 1998.

Nye’s work has won several awards including the Charity Randall Prize, four Pushcart Prizes. She has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow and a Witter Bynner Fellow. She was also elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2009.

The Scissortail Creative Writing Festival runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 2pm. on Saturday. Each day is broken into several sessions. For a complete schedule of readers, visit

The Darryl Fisher High School Creative Writing Contest and a Collegiate Creative Writing Contest are held in conjunction with the festival. Winners will be awarded during the festival. The Scissortail Creative Writing Festival is sponsored in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council. For more information, contact Dr. Ken Hada at 580-559-5557 or visit

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Scissortail 2015: It's On!

As of 9:30 this morning, the Tenth Annual the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival is under way. If you are attending the Festival and have heard something you like, please leave a comment here so that the authors and everyone else can know what you think. Just click on the comment button below to leave a comment and read the comments left by others. And if you're not attending the Festival, come on over!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Scissortail Creative Writing Festival Undergraduate Creative Writing Contest

Prizes: 1st - $100 2nd - $75 3rd - $50
(plus a few Honorable Mentions)

· Contest is open only to currently enrolled undergraduate students who attend the festival on Friday April 1, 2016 (no graduate level).
· To be eligible, undergraduates MUST be in attendance at the Festival, Friday April 1 (no fooling J please do not submit if you cannot attend the festival).
· Submissions must be confirmed by a sponsoring faculty member.
· Submissions are limited to one of three categories: 1) one piece of short fiction (up to 7500 words), or one piece of creative nonfiction (up to 7500 words), or up to three poems (150 lines total).
· Prizes will not be designated by genre, but will be awarded for best submissions.
· All entries must be the original work of the student.
· All entries must be neatly typed; please double-space prose entries.
· Entries will not be returned, so keep your originals.
· No identifying marks should be on the manuscript itself, except for the title.
· Provide cover page with contact information: 1) Student’s Name; 2) Faculty Member’s Name 3) Institution 4) Classification 5) Phone number, Email address.
· Submit work by email to Dr. Ken Hada at (and please copy submission to In the subject line of your email submission, type “Scissortail Undergraduate Contest.”

DEADLINE: Email entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. on February 1, 2016. There will be no exceptions. Awards will be presented Friday April 1 as part of the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival held at East Central University (March 31 – April 2, 2016). Please visit (and subscribe via email) to receive festival updates. Contact: Ken Hada, (580) 559-5557.

Friday, March 27, 2015

From the Director: 2015

On behalf of the administration, faculty, staff and students of ECU, I welcome you, artists and guests, to the 10th annual Scissortail Festival. We are honored that you have chosen to spend time with us in Ada, Oklahoma. This year we welcome 15 new voices to the Scissortail Program. Every year we look forward to the quality presentations, so inspiring, so provocative. This year will be no different, I’m sure.

Though it sounds contrived, I saw my first Scissortail of this spring Thursday afternoon as I was driving to McAlester for a library discussion on Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. A cold front with hail and high winds had passed through the night before, so I was surprised and delighted to see this harbinger among us already. Of course, I take that as a good omen for all of you traveling to Ada for this annual spring ritual.

As much as we need the Scissortails, and all other life forms of Nature, we also need the creativity expressed in the literature that our authors annually provide us. The library discussion of Coriolanus led to the consideration of the tension between individual liberty and social well-being, between pride and duty, how humanity was never intended to be only a raging war machine – as Shakespeare’s marred, single-minded hero becomes. One of the lessons of the play suggests that our physical nature needs to be balanced with a reflective, social nature – and that liberal democracy functions best in response to a collection of honest, balanced, reflective citizens. Duty to the common good may occur in many ways.

Though most of us are not as bluntly obsessed with warfare and physical arrogance as Shakespeare’s protagonist is, there are many sources that contend for our attention, that pull us awkwardly out of balance, that keep us from the necessary functions of reflection and inspiration. One of the best things about our annual Scissortail ritual is that we have the opportunity to engage one another with various creative voices, offering a variety of approaches to this human experience of living respectfully among each other. Comedy, tragedy, and every approach between will be on display, and the collective result is something we know we must value.

Ben Myers recently pointed me to this Flannery O’Connor quote: “I’m always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge into reality and it’s very shocking to the system.” And I remember Adam Nossiter’s New York Times Review quote referring to the horror, denial and coverup of the Tulsa Race Riot. Speaking of us he says, “a society so deeply unreflective is capable of just about anything.” I think between the reality of honest fiction and the ironic grace of poetry, we have the unique opportunity to reflect, to find courage and insight to balance our otherwise tipsy world. Scissortail Festival affords us this opportunity.


Often I open the door to let in
the sound of rain tapping
along with a Brahms’ symphony
or the Allman Brothers – often
my pen cannot keep pace
with dropping water
or chilling violins
or the tragic guitars – often
I remind myself that rain,
like music, like a pen moving
on paper, is what the world
needs most. It could be
that the thunder outside
is no match for singing birds
at rainy dawn – the collection
of voices, a light that brings us home.

from Margaritas & Redfish

(Lamar UP, 2013)

Welcome! Enjoy!

Ken Hada