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Know about a great writing contest for teens or young adults? Feel free to reach out to Sally Familia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONTEST SOURCES FOR YOUTH
Approaching writing contests can be overwhelming. Where do you even start?
- Submittable.com is a great source for perusing around different writing contests. From annual contests to general submissions and publications, Submittable is a place where many journals and literary organizations list their search for unpublished writing of all genres! Once you set up a Submittable account, you’ll even have a neat little dashboard to keep all your submissions in order. No mess = less stress!
SELECT YOUTH CONTESTS
These select contests are not only specific to youth, but they will also come and go faster than you can spell “onomatopoeia.” Check back periodically for new contests throughout the year!
Ink of Ages Fiction Prize
Deadline: October 7, 2023
If you write historical or mythology-inspired short fiction, and are 18 years old or above, you can enter a story of between 1,500 and 2,000 words to win some great prizes from World History Encyclopedia and Oxford University Press! Make sure it’s set before 1939, the current cut-off date for World History Encyclopedia. Submission Deadline: October 7, 2023.
Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest
Deadline: November 6, 2023
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand is a provocative novel that presents one of the most challenging ideas in all of fiction—that man’s ego is the fountainhead of human progress. Enter the Fountainhead Essay Contest to win a $5,000 prize! Follow the instructions on the website to receive more information on how to apply.
Scholastic Art and Writing Awards
Deadline: Dependent on your region, for writers in grades 7-12
The nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens, The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards recognizes art in 28 categories. Students will first apply for regional awards, and those that receive a Gold Key will be judged in the national competition. Find your region to determine your deadline and learn more about submitting at: https://www.artandwriting.org/awards/how-to-enter/. When you apply, make sure to identify Girls Write Now as your organization. Click here for more details about how to have your fee waived as a Girls Write Now mentee.
NY State Youth Poet Laureate
Application open November 2023
The New York State (NYS) Youth Poet Laureate Program aims to identify young writers and leaders committed to creating change through civic engagement and poetic excellence. Along with the official title and a cash prize of $500, the NYS Youth Poet Laureate gets both high-level performance and learning opportunities and the chance to apply to be the National Youth Poet Laureate.
Select Annual Contest Schedules
Annual Contests & Awards
Open September 1-November 1
9th-12th grade students.
Bennington’s Young Writers Awards exists to promote excellence in writing at the high school level. Included genres are poetry, fiction and nonfiction. A first, second, and third place winner is selected in each category. The details below can be found on their Submittable page at https://www.bennington.edu/events/young-writers-awards.
Awards & Rules
First-place winners in each category are awarded a prize of $1,000; second-place winners receive $500; third-place winners receive $250.
There is no entry fee.
All entries must be original work reviewed, approved and sponsored by a high school teacher. We will use your sponsoring teacher as a contact for the competition should we have any questions. For homeschooled students, please contact a mentor to sponsor your writing.
Young Writers Award finalists and winners are also eligible for undergraduate scholarships at Bennington. YWA finalists who apply, are admitted, and enroll at Bennington will receive a $10,000 scholarship every year for four years, for a total of $40,000. YWA winners who apply, are admitted, and enroll at Bennington will receive a $15,000 scholarship every year for four years, for a total of $60,000.
Black Lawrence Press
Annual Deadlines starting January 31.
All Ages, some awards only available to new or emerging authors.
Black Lawrence Press has annual awards and competitions for a variety of genres. The schedule below, as well as individual descriptions for each award, can be found on their Submittable page at https://blacklawrencepress.submittable.com/submit.
The Big Moose Prize: Open December 1 – January 31
(Open competition, novels)
The Hudson Prize: Open February 1 – March 31
(Open competition, poetry and short story collections)
The Spring Black River Chapbook Competition: Open April 1 – May 31
(Open competition, poetry and prose chaps)
Open Reading Period 1: Between June 1 – June 30
The St. Lawrence Book Award: Open July 1- August 31
(First book competition, poetry and short story collections)
The Fall Black River Chapbook Competition: Open September 1 – October 31
(Open competition, poetry and prose chaps)
Open Reading Period 2: Between November 1 – November 30
(Please note that Black Lawrence Press occasionally offers early bird specials on their contests. These specials allow authors to submit their manuscripts ahead of time at a discounted rate.)
Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest
This contest challenges students to submit a sonnet in iambic pentameter, using Shakespearean, Spenserian, Petrarchan or Non-Traditional rhyme schemes. Winners will be announced in early August with cash prizes totaling over $3,000. Learn more at https://sonnetcontest.org/sonnet-contest/.
International Essay Contest for Young People
This Goi Peace Foundation essay contest aims to inspire society to learn from the young minds and to think about how each of us can make a difference in the world. This year’s theme challenges writers to explore their values, and how those values shape their lives. Three winners will be selected, with cash prizes of up to $840. To learn more, visit https://www.goipeace.or.jp/en/work/essay-contest/.
PUBLICATION OPPORTUNITIES FOR EMERGING WRITERS
Journals + Online Magazines
A – D
THE ADROIT JOURNAL is run by high school students, college students, and emerging writers. Adroit publishes within “over 21” and “under 21” categories, so your writing will appear alongside great work by writers of any age. Adroit publishes fiction and poetry, and includes art and photography. They will reopen our submission reading period in January 2021. Find them online at: http://www.theadroitjournal.org/
AFFINITY MAGAZINE works to spotlight teen voices about current events. We find that the media sometimes forgets the voices of teens on many topics! So we are here to give them a voice. Affinity Magazine allows you to get your writing published and read by thousands of people! You can get your work published and sharpen up on your writing so you can write for The New York Times one day (hopefully!!). For ages 13-20. Visit
http://affinitymagazine.us/write-for-us/ for more information on all the different
AGNI is Boston University’s well-respected journal. It appears in both print and online. AGNI submissions are not limited to high school writers, but the journal is known to accept and publish lots of work by new writers. Get published in high school at AGNI and you’ve taken an important step to becoming a writer in the real world! Find them online at: http://www.bu.edu/agni/submit.htm
THE ALCOTT YOUTH MAGAZINE is a magazine devoted to sharing the written perspectives of young people. The magazine publishes work on a variety of topics, including current events, young adult life, and women’s rights issues. Published works are primarily focused on young women from ages thirteen to twenty-two. However, anyone who is interested in sharing their voice is encouraged to submit to the magazine, regardless of age or gender. The Alcott Youth Magazine is open to publishing articles, essays, short stories, illustrations, cartoons, photographs, or any other works. Visit https://www.alcottmagazine.com/submit
THE AUDACITY is Roxanne Gay’s bi-monthly newsletter where she features emerging writers with fewer than three article/essay/short story publications and no published books or book contracts. The Audacity features only non-fiction and is particularly interested in literary essays and memoir. All essays are paid a flat fee of $2,000. For more information, visit https://gay.submittable.com/submit
BLUE MARBLE publishes four times a year and accepts submissions of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, essays, opinion pieces, travel writing, photography and art on a rolling basis. Blue Marble looks for new work from writers ages 13-21 that hasn’t been published anywhere else either online or in print. For more details on how to submit your work, visit https://bluemarblereview.com/submit/.
DIALOGUE HUMANITIES is an online, biannual journal that publishes high quality, humanities-focused essays written by middle and high school students. Essays will be reviewed by a panel of experts in various humanities-based fields and will be chosen based on the strength of the writing, the author’s familiarity with his or her chosen topic, and the appropriateness of the essay’s content. Dialogue Humanities Review aims to include academic essays from a wide variety of fields, including but not limited to: African-American Studies; American Studies; Anthropology; Archaeology; Art Criticism, History, and Theory; Classics; Ethics; Ethnic Studies; Folklore; Geography; History; History and Ethics of Science; International Studies; Jurisprudence; Languages and Linguistics; Literature; Music History and Criticism; Philosophy; Political Science; Psychology; Religion and Comparative Religion; Sociology; Social Sciences; Theatre History and Criticism; and Women’s Studies. If selected, authors will be asked to revise their essays to ready it for publication. Please visit http://dialoguehumanitiesreview.org/about/ or contact Jessica Rafferty at email@example.com for more information.
E – H
ÉLAN LITERARY MAGAZINE accepts original fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, plays, and all kinds of art from students ages 14-18 in locations internationally. Élan produces two online editions a year, one in the Fall/Winter and another in the Spring/Summer. The two editions are combined into a single Print Edition each Summer. For more information on how to submit, visit: https://www.elanlitmag.com/submit.
EMBER only publishes twice a year, but this beautiful and dreamy journal of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction appeals to all age groups. Although it doesn’t exclusively publish young writers, submissions from writers and artists ages 10 to 18 are strongly encouraged. Submissions open March 1, 2023. For more details, visit them online at: http://emberjournal.org/.
ENOUGH PLAYS is taking submissions from teen writers (ages 13-19) of 10-MIN PLAYS confronting the issue of gun violence. Six plays will be selected by a panel of astonishing writers to be published and performed nationwide and the writers will receive $500. Deadline for submissions is April 20, 2023. Visit them online: https://www.enoughplays.com/amplify
GIRLS RIGHT THE WORLD is a literary journal inviting young, female-identified writers and artists, ages 14–21, to submit work for consideration for the fourth annual issue. They believe girls’ voices transform the world for the better. We accept poetry, prose, and visual art of any style or theme. Girls Right The World ask to be the first to publish your work in North America; after publication, the rights return to you. Please include a note mentioning your age, where you’re from, and a bit about your submission. Send your best work, in English or English translation, to firstname.lastname@example.org between September 1 and December 31.
HANGING LOOSE PRESS has had a section of high school writing in their issues since 1968. Hanging Loose has long been known for its special interest in new writers. This press reads manuscripts throughout the year, accepting poetry and prose. For more details on the submission process, visit https://www.hangingloosepress.com/submissions/.
HELLOGIGGLES a positive online community for female-identifying readers (although others are always welcome!) covering the latest in beauty and style, relationships, career and money, culture, identity, and more. Featuring a mix of news, personal essays, reported features, and service, we’re committed to providing our readers with smart, thoughtful, and relatable content representing a range of voices. We were founded by Zooey Deschanel, Molly McAleer, and Sophia Rossi in 2011 as a place on the Internet to inspire a smile, and years later, we’re still doing just that. for ages 14 and up
HOT DISH MAGAZINE, an online journal serving up a bubbling mixture of poetry and fiction by teens (grades 9–12), wants your voice to be heard! We award cash prizes for fiction, poetry, and the Hot Dish Challenge. Our submission period is October-January. Visit us at www.hotdishmagazine.com.
I – Z
ICE LOLLY REVIEW: Ice Lolly Review accepts a variety of pieces including, creative nonfiction, fiction, haikus, poems, plays, spoken word, and etc. They are looking for pieces that have a strong, solid voice and aren’t afraid of delving into deep topics. For more details, go to https://www.icelollyreview.com/submissions.
jGIRLS MAGAZINE: jGirls Magazine accepts submissions on an ongoing basis from self-identifying Jewish teenage girls and gender-expansive youth ages 13-19. You can submit articles, essays, fiction, poetry, cultural reviews, humor, photographs, music, videos, artwork and other creative materials. You can submit as often as you’d like. For more details, visit https://jgirlsmagazine.org/submission-guidelines/.
KIDSPIRIT is a nonprofit online magazine and community by and for youth to engage each other about life’s big questions in an open and inclusive spirit. Its mission is to promote mutual understanding among 11- to 17-year-olds of diverse backgrounds and support their development into world citizens with strong inner grounding. KidSpirit is in syndication on the Huffington Post and Spirituality & Practice and has won numerous awards from major educational, parenting, and spiritual organizations. Visit the Get Involved section to learn more about publishing your work, becoming an editor, or facilitating a conversation about one of the 50 themes KidSpirit contributors have explored: https://kidspiritonline.com/get-involved/
THE LUMIERE REVIEW is a literary magazine dedicated to shining the light on all voices through poetry, prose, and art. General submissions are now open. Submissions to the forthcoming Issue 08 of The Lumiere Review in poetry, prose (creative fiction and non-fiction), and all forms of art can be sent to email@example.com. Details on how to submit and format your work can be found at: https://lumierereview.com/submit.
THE MORGAN LIBRARY & MUSEUM: invites middle and high school students to enter the Morgan’s Teen Writing contest with a first-person poem or narrative telling a story from the perspective of a hero or heroine. Submission deadline is February 24, 2023. Written work should be submitted using this online form. Submissions must be written in English. Works can contain mature themes but inappropriate or graphic content is subject for removal. More details can be found at: https://www.themorgan.org/education/writing-contest
POLYPHONY LIT: invites submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction from high school students worldwide. Student editors provide feedback to all submissions, including the ones not accepted for publication. Submissions are open from February 1-28, 2022 and June 1-30, 2022. More details can be found at https://www.polyphonylit.org/.
TEEN INK is one of the most popular and diverse writing spaces to get published in high school. The broad categories for publication reflect the diversity of writing that this lively online magazine celebrates. Some publication categories include: community service, travel and culture, the environment, health, reviews of TV shows and video games, and college essays, among the more traditional poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Visit online at: http://www.teenink.com
THE TRAILBLAZER LITERARY MAGAZINE is an international high school publication dedicated to push for cultural diversity through creative writing. For general submissions, the magazine accepts fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction all year, from middle and high school students between 14 and 18 years old. In addition, they host the Cultural Heritage Writing Contest, which welcomes submissions about the young creatives’ cultural background, ancestry, values, customs, etc. Visit online at: https://www.thetrailblazerreview.com/
TRAVELNITCH was founded in 2018 to encourage a love of travel and make it more accessible to all families. Travelnitch believes travel has the power to changes lives, open minds, and build stronger communities. They love to feature new & aspiring travel writers who can delight and entertain readers. They currently need support developing family-centric travel content to engage kids (and sometimes parents) in fun and innovative ways. If you are a writer who loves to travel, this could be the perfect fit for you—turn your own passion into an inspiring story for our readers! https://travelnitch.org/writers/storyteller-spotlight/
TYRIAN INK is an independent LGBTQIA+ press that is dedicated to uplifting youth voices. TYRIAN INK is currently open to chapbook manuscripts of any genre (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, hybrid, etc) with a minimum of 30 pages and a maximum of 50 pages in length. Please only submit if you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community and are 22 or below. Writers will be paid $250 for their manuscripts and receive a percent of royalties for every chapbook sold. https://tyrianinkpress.com/home/submission-guidelines/
Anthologies (Teen, Youth)
The PoArtMo Anthology: Youth Edition (Volume 3)
Deadline: December 31, 2023 for writers ages 13-16
Auroras & Blossoms’ third annual PoArtMo Anthology, gives a voice to people whose stories and/or art seek to nurture hope and optimism. Writers of poetry, short stories, flash fiction, essays, and six-word stories are all encouraged to send in their work! To read more about The PoArtMo Anthology, visit the Auroras and Blossoms Anthology guidelines page at https://abpositiveart.com/youth.
WRITING RESIDENCIES & FELLOWSHIPS
Application Opens: mid- February
Hedgebrook’s mission is to support visionary women-identified writers,18 and older, whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. Writers must be women, which is inclusive of transgender women and female-identified individuals.
Hedgebrook’s Writer-in-Residence Program supports writers from all over the world for fully-funded residencies of two to four weeks (travel is not included and is the responsibility of the writer to arrange and pay for). Up to 6 writers can be in residence at a time, each housed in their own handcrafted cottage. They spend their days in solitude – writing, reading, taking walks in the woods on the property or on nearby Double Bluff beach. In the evenings, “The Gathering” is a social time for residents to connect and share over their freshly prepared meals.
Writers can apply here for a residency in Fiction, Non-fiction, Playwriting, Poetry, Screenwriting/TV Writing, or Songwriting. Read more and apply at https://www.hedgebrook.org/writers-in-residence.
Application opens: January 2024
MacDowell’s mission is to nurture the arts by offering creative individuals an inspiring environment in which they can produce enduring works of the imagination. We encourage applications from artists representing the widest possible range of perspectives and demographics, and who are investigating an unlimited array of inquiries and concerns.
MacDowell is currently accepting applications for the Spring Summer 2023 residency season (March – August 2023). Learn more at https://macdowell.slideroom.com/#/Login.
NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship
Application opens: Fall 2023
The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship is a $8,000 unrestricted cash grant available to artists living in New York State and/or one of the Indian Nations located therein. This grant is awarded in fifteen different disciplines over a three-year period (five categories a year) and the application is free to complete. The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship is not a project grant, but is intended to fund an artist’s vision or voice, at all levels of their artistic development.
Learn more at https://www.nyfa.org/awards-grants/artist-fellowships/.
Explore More College & Career Resources
InternshipS FOR YOUNG PROFESSIONALS
ScholarshipS FOR HIGH SCHOOL & COLLEGE STUDENTS
Writing CONTESTS & PUBLICATIONS OPEN TO youth
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