The Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest is an annual event that welcomes entries from around the world to our artistic community in SE Minnesota – Winona. The contest originated as an extension of the Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF), founded in 2004.

In 2012, the contest was renamed in memory of Maria W. Faust: a Winona State University graduate in Communications; a twenty-year resident of Winona; an avid supporter of varied local arts; and a lover of poetry. Maria’s husband, Ted Haaland, took over directorship of the contest and, under his leadership, the contest grew to reach poets from around the world. In 2020, entries were submitted from 13 countries and 39 U.S. states.

We appreciate your interest in the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest and look forward to your participation in 2022. If you have any questions, please email

The 2021 Sonnet Contest Closing Event will be held on Saturday, July 31st at 2:00pm US central time. The winners will be announced and many will read their sonnets at this online celebration. Actors from the Great River Shakespeare Festival and our judges will also read winning sonnets.

To register for the event, please email GRSF will follow up with you and send you the link to attend as a guest. If you are not available at that time, you will be able to view the video of the event on our website at a later date. The winning sonnets will be posted on our website immediately following the event.

The entry period for the 2021 contest is now CLOSED.

Click the "How To Enter" button below to learn more about the entry process. The 2022 contest will open in January with a deadline of June 1, 2022.

The winners of the 2020 Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest were announced on Saturday, August 8, 2020 during our Closing Event. The video of the online event is available on the Events page and at To see the contest results and read the winning entries, click here.