Winter 2022 Annual Writing Contest – Proverbs & Idioms

Image by Amador Loureiro @unsplash

The family that prays together, stays together… Good things come to those who wait… Be in the world, but not of the world… Take this with a grain of salt… You can’t have your cake and eat it too… It was a tender mercy.

No matter where and how we grew up, we are surrounded by idioms, figures of speech, and proverbs—especially within the Church. They are saturated with history, culture, and meaning, often said but not as often pondered or interrogated. What happens if we take a closer look?

Brainstorm a list of these phrases that are familiar to you. When has one of these common sayings been challenged, complicated, or appeared more true than you ever imagined? When has it proved ironic? Funny? Flawed? What happens if people take it literally? Seriously? When has it haunted you or maybe even saved you or a fictional character?

Show us how a figure of speech has played out in your life or for another character. We are seeking a balance of fiction and nonfiction through short story and personal essay submissions. Get creative! If your idiom or proverb does not appear explicitly in your piece, be sure to put it as an epigraph under your title. If the saying is from another language, you can include the original language along with a translation.

Submissions should be 700-2400 words and in Google Doc or Word form. They can be sent to exponentiieditor AT gmail DOT com. Authors should identify with the mission of Exponent II. The deadline for submissions is October 1, 2021.

The winner of the contest will receive a one-week’s stay at Anam Cara, a writer’s retreat in Ireland. Our sincere thanks go to Sue Booth-Forbes, former Exponent II Editor, for making this award available.

We so look forward to reading your submissions!

All Best,

Exponent Editors


  1. I’m in process on an essay that I wasn’t quite sure where it would fit best. Enter this call for submissions, and I think it just found its home. Can’t wait!

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