Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest – 2020

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. This was a logical first step, considering Shakespeare’s close association with the sonnet form. Winona’s then-Poet Laureate, Professor James Armstrong, and the directorship of the GRSF company launched the first Sonnet Contest in 2008.

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 has grown to reach poets from around the world. In 2019, entries were submitted from 9 countries and 35 U.S. states.

2020 will be a transition year for the Sonnet Contest. Ted Haaland has chosen to step back from his role as director. He will continue as the contest’s benefactor, with the goal of keeping Maria’s love of poetry alive in our community and beyond.

Sonnet Contest founder James Armstrong has assumed the director’s duties. Heidi Bryant will continue as the administrator of the contest, a role she took on in 2016. The contest is now a project of the River Arts Alliance, which will provide organizational support. And our partnership with GRSF continues, as they assist with events and promotion. The system for entering the contest will remain the same.

We of the Sonnet Contest very much appreciate your interest, and welcome you to our website, which includes guidelines for entering the Contest.

The 2020 Sonnet Contest is now closed. The deadline for entries was June 1, 2020.


The winners of the 2020 Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest will be announced on Saturday, August 8, 2020 during our Closing Event. Details about the online event are available at and at

Copyright © 2020 Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest

A project of the River Arts Alliance.

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