Suicide Prevention is Everyone's Business
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Paul G. Quinnett Lived Experience Writing Contest

Sponsored by the QPR Institute for the American Association of Suicidology

The stories of those who have attempted suicide or experienced persistent suicidal ideation have, for too long, remained untold. Due to stigma and taboo, the world has been denied important educational narratives. The purpose of the Paul G. Quinnett Lived Experience Writing Contest is to encourage the publication of these stories of survival, hope, recovery, and revival. 

Writing must be: a first person account of suicidal ideation and/or attempt(s). The winning entry will focus on the progression from before the attempt, or the time of the attempt, until the current time.  The writing will describe impact on the writer, and will tell this story in a way that is accessible and understandable to the greater community.


  • First place: $1500 
  • Second place: $1000
  • Third place: $500

Deadline: To be considered, the submission must be electronically submitted as .pdf, .doc, or .docx format through the AAS website on or before 11:59pm EST on October 18, 2018. The contest will open on September 10, 2018.

Word limit: 2,500 words 

Application fee: A $10.00 application fee must accompany each writing submitted. Note: A small entry fee is charged to each contestant upon final application. These fees make it possible to offer higher cash prizes to contest winners. Submissions will only be considered accepted and eligible for judging once the online payment has been completed. 

Forms of literary works: All forms of writing are accepted.  Examples of exceptional works are available here on the AAS website.

Waiver: Writers must waive copyright restrictions and must allow AAS and others to reprint or reproduce the writing.

To find out more, please see the Participant Guidelines

To see how the submissions will be scored, please the Judging Criteria

Winners will be announced in February of 2019 and awards will be presented during AAS’ 52nd Annual Conference in Denver, CO April 24-27th, 2019. 

We encourage any interested participants to review the judging criteria and participant guidelines, as well as other important listed information, before submitting your literary piece. 

If you have lived through the dark night of a suicidal journey and lived to tell about it, we want your story to be shared with the world, and with those who may be about to embark on a similar, possibly life-threatening, path. AAS is very proud to share the winning submissions to promote the message of hope, healing, and recovery for attempt survivors and those with lived experiences. Click here to view all past Paul G. Quinnett Lived Experience Writing Contest Winners.

Contest sponsor Paul Quinnett describes the importance hearing all voices, and answers the main question "Why a Writing Contest?" Read his own words here

Please find the Self Care Guide for tips and information on strategies for mental well-being as some of the first-hand accounts of attempt survivors listed on this website may be triggering.

Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide is also a helpful resource for the safe media coverage of suicide and suicide-related topics.

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