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The Best Student Writing Contests for 2022-2023
Help your students take their writing to the next level.
When students write for teachers, it can feel like an assignment. When they write for a real purpose, they are empowered! Student writing contests are an easy and inspiring way to try writing for an authentic audience—a real panel of judges—and the possibility of prize money or other incentives. We’ve gathered a list of student writing contests below. From poetry to plays, essays to science fiction, there is something for everyone. See if any of them suit your curriculum, and get prepared to see some motivated students!
1. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
With a wide range of categories—from critical essays to science fiction and fantasy—you’ll find something for nearly every student. Each category has its own rules and word counts, so be sure to check out the options before you decide which one is best for your students.
How to Enter
Students in grades 7-12, ages 13 and up, may begin submitting work in September by uploading to an online account at Scholastic. There are entry fees, but those can be waived for students in need.
2. YoungArts’ National Arts Competition
This ends soon, but if you have students who are ready to submit, it’s worth it. YoungArts offers a national competition in the categories of creative nonfiction, novel, play or script, poetry, short story, and spoken word. Student winners may receive awards of up to $10,000 as well as the chance to participate in artistic development with leaders in their fields.
YoungArts accepts submissions in each category through October 14. Students submit their work online and pay a $35 fee (there is a fee waiver option).
3. American Foreign Service National High School Essay Contest
If you’re looking to help students take a deep dive into international relations, history, and writing, look no further than this essay contest. Winners receive full tuition to the Semester at Sea program as well as a trip to Washington, DC, to meet with a leader at the Department of State.
A new prompt is published each September. The deadline to enter is the first week of April.
4. John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest
This annual contest invites students to write about a political official’s act of political courage that occurred after Kennedy’s birth. The winner receives $10,000 as well as a trip to Boston to accept the award.
Students must submit 700-to-1,000-word essays between September and January. The essays must feature more than five sources and a full bibliography.
5. Bennington Young Writers Awards
Bennington College offers competitions in three categories: poetry (a group of three poems), fiction (a short story or one-act play), and nonfiction (a personal or academic essay). First-place winners receive $500. Grab a poster for your classroom here .
The contest runs from September 1 to November 1, so stay tuned to the website for information about how to submit entries.
6. The Princeton Ten-Minute Play Contest
Looking for student writing contests for budding playwrights? In this competition, judged by the theater faculty of Princeton University, students submit short plays in an effort to win recognition and cash prizes of up to $500. ( Note: Only open to 11th graders. )
Eleventh-grade students submit one 10-page play script online or by mail. The deadline is the end of March. Contest details will be published this fall.
7. Princeton University Poetry Contest for High School Students
The Leonard L. Milberg ’53 High School Poetry Prize recognizes outstanding work by student writers in 11th grade. Prizes range from $100 to $500.
Students in 11th grade can submit their poetry. Contest details will be published this fall.
8. Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest
The deadline for this contest is the end of October! Sponsored by Hollins University, the Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest awards prizes for the best poems submitted by young women who are sophomores or juniors in high school or preparatory school. Prizes include cash and scholarships. Winners are chosen by students and faculty members in the creative writing program at Hollins.
Students may submit either one or two poems.
9. The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers
The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers is open to high school sophomores and juniors, and the winner receives a full scholarship to a Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop .
Submissions for the prize are accepted electronically from November 1 through November 30.
10. Jane Austen Society Essay Contest
High school students can win up to $1,000 by entering an essay on a specified topic related to Jane Austen novels.
Details for the 2023 contest will be announced in November. Essay length is from six to eight pages, not including works cited.
11. Rattle Young Poets Anthology
Open to students between 15 and 18 who are interested in publication and exposure over monetary awards. Submissions can come through teachers or directly from students.
Submit up to four poems electronically. The deadline is November 15.
12. The Black River Chapbook Competition
This is a chance for new and emerging writers to gain publication in their own professionally published chapbook.
There is a $17 entry fee, and submissions are made online.
13. YouthPlays New Voices
For students under 18, the YouthPlays one-act competition is designed for young writers to create new works for the stage. Winners receive cash awards and publication.
Non-musical plays between 10 and 40 minutes long can be submitted electronically. The website has more details about guidelines.
14. The Ocean Awareness Contest
This unique competition invites students to use their creativity to make a difference for our planet. As the creators share on their website, “Our contest is a call for young artists, conservationists, makers, thinkers, and activists who are concerned about the future of our blue planet.” Students are eligible for a wide range of monetary prizes.
Students may submit work in the categories of art, creative writing, poetry and spoken word, film, interactive and multi-media, or music and dance, accompanied by a reflection. The deadline is June 13.
15. EngineerGirl Annual Essay Contest
Each year, EngineerGirl sponsors an essay contest with topics centered on the impact of engineering on the world, and students can win up to $500 in prize money. This contest is a nice bridge between ELA and STEM and great for teachers interested in incorporating an interdisciplinary project into their curriculum. The new contest asks for pieces that show how female and/or non-white engineers have contributed to or can enhance engineering’s great achievements. Check out the educator’s page for more information about how to support this contest at your school.
Students submit their work electronically. Check out the full list of rules and requirements here .
16. NCTE Student Writing Awards
The National Council of Teachers of English offers several student writing awards, including Achievement Awards in Writing (for 10th- and 11th-grade students), Promising Young Writers (for 8th-grade students), and an award to recognize Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines.
Deadlines range from February 15 to July 31. Check out the rules for more details.
17. See Us, Support Us Art Contest
Children of incarcerated parents can submit artwork, poetry, photos, videos, and more. Submissions are free and the website has a great collection of past winners.
Students can submit their entries via social media or email by October 23.
18. The Adroit Prizes for Poetry & Prose
The Adroit Journal, an education-minded nonprofit publication, awards annual prizes for poetry and prose to exceptional high school and college students. Adroit charges an entry fee but also provides a form for financial assistance.
Sign up at the website for updates for the next round of submissions.
19. National PTA Reflections Awards
The National PTA offers a variety of awards, including one for literature, in their annual Reflections Contest. Students of all ages can submit entries on the specified topic to their local PTA Reflections program. From there, winners move to the local area, state, and national levels. National-level awards include an $800 prize and a trip to the National PTA Convention.
This program requires submitting to PTAs who participate in the program. Check your school’s PTA for their deadlines.
20. World Historian Student Essay Competition
The World Historian Student Essay Competition is an international competition open to students enrolled in grades K–12 in public, private, and parochial schools, and those in home-study programs. The $500 prize is based on an essay that addresses the issue: In what way has the study of world history affected my understanding of the world in which I live?
Students can submit entries before May 1.
21. NSHSS Creative Writing Scholarship
The National Society of High School Scholars awards three $2,000 scholarships for both poetry and fiction. They accept poetry, short stories, and graphic novel writing.
Apply online by October 31.
Whether you let your students blog, start a podcast or video channel, or enter student writing contests, giving them an authentic audience for their work is always a powerful classroom choice.
If you like this list of student writing contests and want more articles like it, subscribe to our newsletters !
Plus, check out our favorite anchor charts for teaching writing..
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The Big List of Student Contests and Competitions
50+ contests for STEM, ELA and the arts, and more! Continue Reading
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The Best Children's Writing Contests of 2023
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Showing 25 contests
The atom learning young author award.
The theme for 2023 is 'If I were in charge for a day…'. Entrants must submit a creative response to this theme no more than 500 words. All entrants must be aged between 7–11 on the day the competition closes (10th September 2023). Submissions must be written by the child and must not be supported by an adult. We’re looking for aspiring writers, not perfect wordsmiths!
A trip to Disneyland Paris for a family of 4
Chromebook worth £250 | More prizes for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th
💰 Fee: FREE
Deadline: September 10, 2023
National Youth Foundation "I Matter" Contest
National Youth Foundation
Founded by Black women with a vision for change, the mission of the National Youth Foundation is to promote diversity, inclusion and gender equality through innovative literary programs. The “I Matter” poetry contest was launched by a 14-year old student who took action to educate the world about why Black Lives Matter. The contest calls upon students across the country to submit poems on this important topic.
Deadline: July 23, 2023 (Expired)
100 Word Writing Contest
100 words per entry. Submit as many entries as you’d like. All ages. All genders. All nationalities. All writers welcome. The theme is using humor as healing.
2nd: writing coach package 3rd: developmental or diversity editing package.
Deadline: April 30, 2023 (Expired)
Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Thriller, Young Adult, Children's, Poetry, Romance, Short Story, Suspense, Travel
The Betty Award
As one of the few competitions for elementary and middle school students, The Betty Award grants cash prizes for written pieces below 1,000 words. The Betty Award has both a Spring & Fall contest.
Deadline: May 13, 2023 (Expired)
North Street Book Prize
Submit a self-published or hybrid-published book, up to 200,000 words in length. One grand prize winner will receive $10,000, a marketing analysis and one-hour phone consultation with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, a $300 credit at BookBaby, three months of Plus service (a $207 value) and a $500 account credit from Book Award Pro, and 3 free ads in the Winning Writers newsletter (a $525 value)
$1,000 for top winner in each category | $300 for honorable mentions
Deadline: June 30, 2023 (Expired)
Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, Poetry, Children's, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult
"It's All Write!" Teen Writing Contest
Ann Arbor District Library
The Ann Arbor District Library is excited to host its 30th annual “It’s All Write!” Teen Writing Contest in Winter 2022! Young Adult authors take part as judges each year, who then read and select the winning stories. Stories are judged in three different categories: Grades 6-8, Grades 9 & 10, and Grades 11 & 12. The top three writers in each age group receive fabulous prizes. This is an ever-growing, state-wide contest.
2nd: $150 | 3rd: $75
Deadline: March 05, 2023 (Expired)
Promising Young Writers Contest
National Council of Teachers of English
Through collaboration and community, shared stories and shared experiences, NCTE supports teachers and their students in classrooms, on college campuses, and in online learning environments. The Promising Young Writers Program stimulates and recognizes the writing talents of eighth-grade students and to emphasize the importance of writing skills among eighth-grade students.
The NCTE Certificate of Recognition
Deadline: February 15, 2023 (Expired)
$1000 for 1000 Words Contest
The Layla Beban Young Authors
The $1000 for 1000 Words fiction writing contest is open to all students enrolled in grades 6-12. Each entrant may submit a fiction piece consisting of exactly 1,000 words (not including title or author’s name). The fiction piece can be on any topic, as long as it is not vulgar or offensive, does not use inappropriate profanity, and is the original work of the entrant not previously published.
Deadline: February 01, 2023 (Expired)
Children's, Short Story
EngineerGirl Writing Contest
Every year, the EngineerGirl website sponsors a contest dealing with engineering and its impact on our world. The topic and detailed instructions for the contest are posted in September with a deadline for submissions on February 1st of the following year. Winners are announced in the spring.
Bennington Young Writers Awards
Bennington College has a unique literary legacy, including twelve Pulitzer Prize winners, three U.S. poet laureates, four MacArthur Geniuses, countless New York Times bestsellers, and two of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. In celebration of this legacy, Bennington launched the Young Writers Awards to promote excellence in writing at the high school level. Our goal with this competition is to recognize outstanding writing achievement by high school students.
2nd: $500 | 3rd: $250
Deadline: November 01, 2022 (Expired)
World Historian Student Essay Competition
World History Association
The World Historian Student Essay Competition is an international competition open to students enrolled in grades K–12 in public, private, and parochial schools, and those in home-study programs. Membership in the World History Association is not a requirement for submission. Past winners may not compete in the same category again.
Deadline: May 01, 2023 (Expired)
Seven Hills Literary Contest and Penumbra Poetry and Haiku Contest
Tallahassee Writers Association
The Seven Hills Literary Contest and Penumbra Poetry and Haiku Contest (collectively, “the Contest”) is sponsored annually by the Tallahassee Writers Association. The contest is open to English-language entries from around the world. For the first time, we are open to published entries as well as unpublished entries.
Published in the Seven Hills Review
Deadline: September 30, 2022 (Expired)
Children's, Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult
Rattle Young Poets
Rattle is a publication of the Rattle Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the practice of poetry, and is not affiliated with any other organization. The author of the poem must have been age 15 or younger when the poem was written, and 18 or younger when submitted.
Publication in Rattle Magazine
Deadline: November 15, 2022 (Expired)
Celebration Day Writing Contest
The Celebration Day Competition gets children to connect with the oldest person they know and interview them about the person who inspired them most growing up. They will retell the story in a creative way to win their work being read out on camera by a star-studded collection of celebrity guests, an iPad, and a £100 Amazon voucher. You must be aged between five and 18 to enter the competition, or be a teacher, and can live anywhere in the world.
£100 Amazon Voucher
Celebrities reading out winning entries, publication on website.
Deadline: June 21, 2022 (Expired)
"Write On!" Short Story Contest
The annual "Write On!" Short Story Contest for Grades 3-5 accepts story entries each winter. All writers, their friends, and families are invited to a Story Celebration and awards ceremony on Saturday, April 23, 2022, featuring a published children's author and the top three writers in each grade will receive an award.
Publication on website
Deadline: March 06, 2022 (Expired)
Cricket Magazine Contest
’Tis winter, and the cold wind doth blow. But it can be fun to frolic in the ice and snow. So, bundle up! For our January contest, everybuggy would love to read your best wintry tale. Welcome to an opportunity to get published in Cricket Magazine! Your contest entry must be your very own original work. Ideas and words should not be copied. Your entry must be signed by your parent or guardian, stating that it is your own work, that no help was given, and that Cricket has permission to publish it in the magazine and on our website.
Publication in Cricket Magazine
Deadline: January 25, 2022 (Expired)
PFD Children's Queer Fiction Prize
Peter Fraser + Dunlop
Judged by E. Latimer and agents Silvia Molteni and Lucy Irvine. Accepting middle grade (aimed at readers aged 8-12) and chapter books (aimed at readers aged 6-8) fiction samples across all genres. Applicants are asked to submit a three-chapter sample and synopsis. Works may be finished or in-progress.
Publishing contract with PFD
Deadline: March 01, 2022 (Expired)
Children's, Fiction, LGBTQ
Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award
Society of Children's Book Writers
The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award recognizes and encourages the publication of an excellent book of poetry or anthology for children and/or young adults. The award will be given to a book of poetry originally published in English. It can be a book by an individual poet or poets or an anthology.
Deadline: March 15, 2022 (Expired)
Funny Festival Fables
Write us a short story about the festive period. We want tales about silly snowmen, naughty elves, and hilarious stories that would make Santa go HO! HO! HO! Entries should be around 1,000 words or less and must be sent as a Word Document with no pictures.
Deadline: August 31, 2022 (Expired)
Children's, Flash Fiction
IEW Writing Contest
Institute for Excellent Writing
We are delighted to present our annual writing contest for all aspiring and accomplished writers, ages eight to eighteen. Whether or not they have experience with IEW's Structure and Style® Writing Method, your students are invited to participate.
Deadline: April 30, 2021 (Expired)
Stone Soup Flash Fiction Contest
Stone Soup holds a Flash Contest during the first week of every month. The month’s first Weekly Creativity prompt provides the contest challenge. Submissions are due by midnight on Sunday of the same week. Up to five winners are chosen for publication on our blog. The winners, along with up to five honorable mentions, are announced in the following Saturday Newsletter.
Publication on Stone Soup's blog
Deadline: December 01, 2022 (Expired)
VFW Voice of Democracy
Veterans of Foreign Wars
The VFW is dedicated to promoting patriotism and investing in our future generation. If you are a democracy-loving high school student interested in a $30,000 college scholarship or a patriotic middle school student interested in winning $5,000, these scholarships may be for you.
$30,000 college scholarship
Deadline: October 31, 2022 (Expired)
Amazing Women’s Edition Contest
Founded by Black women with a vision for change, the mission of the National Youth Foundation is to promote diversity, inclusion and gender equality through innovative literary programs. To honor the vast accomplishments of women in the United States, the National Youth Foundation is pleased to announce the Amazing Women’s Edition (AWE) competition. This writing contest is open to students in grades K to 8 residing in the United States.
Deadline: January 07, 2022 (Expired)
Jane Austen Society of North America Essay Contest
Jane Austen Society of North America
JASNA conducts an annual student Essay Contest to foster the study and appreciation of Jane Austen's works in new generations of readers. Students world-wide are invited to compete for scholarship awards in three divisions: high school, college, and graduate school.
Two nights’ lodging for JASNA’s Annual General Meeting
Deadline: June 02, 2022 (Expired)
We the Students Essay Contest
Bill of Rights Institute
The Bill of Rights Institute engages, educates, and empowers individuals with a passion for the freedom and opportunity that exist in a free society. Students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Armed Forces schools abroad, and students in United States territories are eligible to participate in its contest.
Deadline: April 15, 2021 (Expired)
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Writing Contests for Young Writers – the NewPages Guide
Updated August 7, 2023
View Publications for Young Writers
Where young writers can find print and online literary magazines to read, places to publish their own works, and legitimate contests. Some publish only young writers, some publish all ages for young readers. For specific submission guidelines, visit the publication’s website. Ages can include elementary, teen, or early college. This is an ad-free resource: publications and writing contests listed here have not paid to be included. This guide is maintained by Editor Denise Hill, a teacher who loves to encourage young writers.
Safety Matters! We expect sites listed in this guide to adhere to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act . This includes a transparent method for obtaining parental/guardian permission when collecting information from contributors under the age of 13 years old.
This is a select list of contests from reputable sources. There are many contests that charge fees, but for this resource, I have sought contests which mean to recognize and encourage young writers and do not charge reading or entry fees. Of those listed that do charge a fee, some provide a publication subscription in return as they are trying to gain new readers; that seems fair and the publishers are upfront about it. Other fee-based contests are from reputable members of the literary community, and the fee is considered reasonable in relation to the prize winnings being offered.
Please avoid contests that tell you you’ve won and then want you to purchase expensive copies of the book in which you have been published. These types of “scam” contests publish hundreds, even thousands of entrants, and profit greatly from book sales. These contests take advantage of young writers and inexperienced writers of all ages.
Also see the NCTE Guidelines for Contests , which is helpful for contest organizers who want to reach out to K-12 students and for teachers assessing the legitimacy of contests for their students.
Contest Deadlines : I make every effort to update the contest list monthly and update deadline dates as the contest sponsors update them on their websites. Contest dates may change without anyone notifying me, so users of this guide should check the contest website for the most accurate information. If a previous year’s date is noted here, then the contest sponsor may not have updated their website yet, but they will likely be running the contest again. Please check back here or on the contest sponsor’s site if you are interested in that contest.
January February March April May June July August September October November December
The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Grades 7-12 during the current school year Deadline: Varies by Region – Enter zip code to find deadline
The Earth Chronicles
Monthly Summer Writing Contests June/July/August Grades 6-12
Prompt-based Ages 10-22 Bimonthly
Manningham Trust Student Poetry Contest
National Federation of State Poetry Societies Grades 6-12 Each participating state conducts its own contest with deadline. Each participating state sends its top entrants to the national contest. Click here for a list of participating states.
NAACP ACT-SO Program
Open to U.S. citizen students of African descent grades 9-12 Multiple categories within academic, scientific, and artistic achievement Requires local program oversight and participation that culminates in a national competition.
National History Day Project Competition
Junior Division (grades 6, 7, 8) and Senior Division (grades 9, 10, 11, 12) Categories: Paper, Performance, Documentary, Exhibit, Website Check the website for an affiliate region near you for timelines.
National PTA Reflections Awards
Grades Pre-K to 12 Dance Choreography, Film Production, Literature, Music Composition, Photography and Visual Arts Each state holds its own contest, submitting winners to the national contest.
The New York Times
Ages 13-19 Various contests with varying deadlines Editorial Cartoon Contest, Civil Conversation Challenge, Review Contest, Year in Rap Contest, Vocabulary Video Contest, Editorial Contest, Found Poetry Contest, Summer Reading Contest
Poetry in Voice
A monthly poetry contest for Canadian students grades 9-12. Based on a monthly prompt. All poems submitted are considered for publication in Voices/Voix.
Six Word Memoirs
Six Words hold monthly contests for which writers must respond to a prompt in exactly six words.
Stone Soup Flash Contest
Stone Soup holds a monthly flash contest challenge based on a prompt for writers 13 and under.
Write the World
WtW holds monthly contests based on an idea or genre (poetry, fantasy, sports journalism, fiction, etc.). For young writers 13-18 years old.
An organization that runs quarterly writing contests with topics centered around different world issues, encouraging charity donations, and prompting teens 12-18 years old to reflect on current crises and inspiring solutions.
Every three months, YC will highlight five recent articles and ask readers ages 14-19 to write a response to the author of a story (up to 300 words). Three winners will receive prizes of $150 (1st prize), $75 (2nd prize), and $50 (3rd prize.)
VSA Playwright Discovery Competition
Grades 6-12 / Ages 11-18 Ten-minute play, screenplay, or music theater exploring the disability experience Written by young writers with disabilities and collaborative groups that include students with disabilities Deadline: January 4, 2023
National Youth Foundation
Amazing Women Writing Contest Theme: Local Heroines Grades K-8 Deadline: January 9, 2023
John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest
Sponsored by the JFK Memorial Library and John Hancock Grades 9-12 Deadline: January 13, 2023 postmark
Atkins Center for Ethics Essay Contest
Carlow University Grades 11 and 12 Deadline: January 15, 2023
Ringling College of Art and Design
High School Creative Writing Contest High School Age Writers Deadline: January 15, 2023
In Search of Walt Whitman
East Rock Films Essay, Video Essay, Performance High School Juniors/Seniors (U.S. or Canada) College Freshman/Sophomore (U.S. or Canada) Deadline: January 15, 2023
Northeastern University – London
[Formerly New College of the Humanities] Essay Competition Prompts provided in humanities and social sciences. Grade 12 only Deadline: January 16, 2023
Power to Explore Writing Challenge
California Institute of Technology U.S. Students in grades K-12 Deadline: January 17, 2023
Columbus State University
The Carson McCullars Literary Award Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, Expository Essay, Playwriting, Screenwriting High School Age Category for Georgia and Alabama High School Students Deadline: January 27, 2023
Columbia College Chicago
Young Authors Writing Competition Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry High School Age Writers Deadline: January 30, 2023
Saint Mary’s College
River of Words Poetry and Art Contest Grades K-12 (Ages 5-19) Deadline: January 31, 2023
Outdoor Writers Association of America
Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards Grades 6-8 or 9-12 For outdoor-oriented works. Deadline: January 31, 2023
Arizona Mystery Writers
Mary Ann Hutchison Memorial Story Contest for Youths Ages 9-13; 14-17 Both age groups awarded prizes. Deadline: February 1, 2023
Bluefire 1000-word Story Contest
Leyla Beban Young Authors Foundation Grades 6-12 Deadline: February 1, 2023
EngineerGirl Writing Contest
Fiction in which the main character is a female who uses engineering skills to solve a problem. Grades 3-12 Deadline: February 1, 2023
High School Poetry Contest Grades 9-12 Deadline: February 1, 2023
Holocaust Art and Writing Contest
Chapman University Grades Middle and High School Deadline: Postmark February 1, 2023 or by February 3, 2023 for digital submissions
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society
University of Central Florida Middle & High School Writing Contest Story, Poem, Essay Deadline: February 1, 2023
North Carolina Poetry Society
Student Poetry Contest Grades 3-College Undergraduate North Carolina Residents Only Deadline: February 3, 2023
U.S. Kids Annual Cover Art Contest
Ages 2-12 Deadline: February 1, 2023
Write On! Story Writing Contest
Ann Arbor District Library Flash Fiction and Short Story Grades 3-5 Open to Michigan Residents Only Deadline: February 6, 2023 [See March for Grades 6-12 contest.]
Korean Spirit & Culture Promotion Project
Nationwide Essay Contest Topic provided on website. Middle School and High School Deadline: February 12, 2023
Davidson Fellows Scholarship
Davidson Institute, Reno, NV Ages 18 and under as application date For completion of a significant work in STEM or Humanities categories Deadline: February 15, 2023
NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing
For Juniors in the current academic school year Students must be nominated by their school’s English Department Deadline: February 15, 2023
NCTE Promising Young Writers Program
For 8th grade students in the current academic year Students must be nominated by a school committee or department Deadline: February 15, 2023
Writopia Labs Worldwide Plays Festival
Micro-Play Contest Grades 1-12 Deadline: February 15, 2023
Society of Professional Journalists and Journalism Education Association
Essay based on prompt. Grades 9-12 U.S. Public, Private, & Home Schools Deadline: February 19, 2023
Curieux Research Scholarship Award
Middle or High School Students Deadline: February 20, 2023
Keats-Shelley Memorial Association
Young Romantics Prizes Poetry, Essay Ages 16-18 Deadline: February 23, 2022
Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
Open to books published in the previous year FOR young readers. Categories: Pre-K to Grade 3; Grades 4-6; Grades 7-12 Deadline: February 1, 2023
Polyphony Lit Black History Month Contest
Open to High School Students Globally Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Deadline: Open February 1-February 28, 2023
Polyphony Lit Winter Contest
Open to High School Students Globally Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Deadline: Open February 1 – February 28, 2023
American Society of Human Genetics
DNA Day Essay Contest Grades 9-12 Deadline: March 1, 2023
Carl Sandburg Student Poetry Contest
Grades 3-12 Deadline: March 1, 2023
Dear Poet Project
Grades 5-12 Letters written in response to poets reading poems Select letters will be published online; Select letters will receive a response Deadline: March 1, 2023
Elephant Aid International Essay Contest
Essay Prompts Grade 3-5 and 6-8 Deadline: March 1, 2023
Project Yellow Light
Scholarship Competition Grades High School or College Video, Billboard, Radio PSA on not driving distracted [Also listed under April] Deadline: March 1, 2023
Cancer Unwrapped Teen Essay Writing Contest
Cancer Pathways Grades: 9-12 Deadline: March 3, 2023
It’s All Write! Teen Writing Contest
Ann Arbor District Library Flash Fiction and Short Story Grades 6-12 Open to Michigan Residents Only Deadline: March 5, 2023 [See February for Grades 3-5 contest.]
Taradiddle Youth Writing Contests
Animal-themed prompt-based fiction Age Categories: Elementary under 13; High School 14-18 Deadline: March 9, 2023
Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program
Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction/Memoir Online Flexible Dates June 20-August 1 High School and Gap Year Students Financial Aid Available Deadline: March 15, 2023
The Blank Theatre Young Playwrights Festival Competition
Original Plays or Musicals on any subject Ages 9-19 Deadline: March 15, 2023
Jacklyn Potter Young Poets Competition
The Word Works Grades 9-12 Deadline: March 15, 2023
West Chester University
Several contests for undergraduate college/university. Deadline: March 15, 2023
The Haiku Society of America
Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku Competition Grades 7-12 Deadline: March 27, 2023
Radiant Peace Education Awards
Essay, Art, Video, Projects Grades 1-12 Deadline: Postmark March 23, 2023
Essay and Art Contest on Human and Civil Rights
Hindus for Human Rights Open to South Asian American students in grades 6-12 Deadline: March 30, 2022 [sent inquiry 3/19: plan to update soon]
Haiku Contest All Ages – Some Regional to California Counties No Fee (except for Adult Contemporary Haiku) Deadline: Will reopen in 2023 The website includes helpful guidelines for writing haiku.
Best Poem for Children Contest This contest is actually for adults writing for readers ages 7-11(ish). Deadline: March 31, 2023
Lewis Arts Center Ten-Minute Play Contest Grades 11 and 12 in the current school year Deadline: March 31, 2023
Sarah Mook Poetry Prize
Grades K-12 Deadline: March 31, 2023
The Sejong Cultural Society
Essay, Sijo (Poetry) Open to Pre-college and Young Adults Deadline: March 31, 2023
Scholarship Competition Grades High School or College Video, Billboard, Radio PSA on not driving distracted [Also listed under March] Deadline: April 1, 2023
United States Institute for Peace
High School Essay Contest Deadline: April 3, 2023
American Foreign Service Association
High School Essay Contest Grades 9-12 Deadline: April 4, 2023
All-Media Public Anti-Hate Message Contest Grade Categories: K12; 7-12 Grade; Higher Education Individual and Class Group Submissions Deadline: December 1, 2023 and April 5, 2024
The Legacy Project
“Listen to a Life” Writing Contest Ages 8-18 Deadline: April 14, 2023
We the Students Essay Contest
Bill of Rights Institute Ages 14-19 Deadline: on hiatus for 22-23
Americans Against Gun Violence
National High School Essay Contest Theme provided on website. Deadline: April 15, 2023
Short on Words
Poetry or Prose in response to one of ten photographs. Age Categories 17 and under, 18 and older $10 Nonprofit fundraising entry fee Deadline: April 22, 2022 [Sent inquiry 3/19; said site should be updated soon.]
fingers comma toes
National Flash Fiction Day Youth Competition All ages Deadline: April 30, 2023
The Wilbur & NISO Smith Foundation
Author of Tomorrow Adventure Writing Contest Ages 11 and under; 12-15; 16-21 Deadline: April 30, 2023
Under the Madness Magazine
Teen Poetry Contest Ages 13-19 Deadline: April 30, 2023
Leaders Igniting Generational Healing & Transformation Under 18 category “How might we recreate public health as art, letters, stories, and poetry?” Letters, Poetry, Stories, Art, and a “Surprise Us” category Deadline: May 1, 2023
New Voices One-Act Competition for Young Playwrights
YouthPLAYS Non-musical, one-act play suitable for HS audience Written by Playwrights 19 years and under Deadline: May 1, 2023
World Historian Student Essay Competition
World History Association Grades K-12 Deadline: May 1, 2023
Skipping Stones Asian Celebration Haiku Contest
Ages 7-18 Deadline: May 5, 2023
Skipping Stones Youth Honors Award
Promoting Multicultural Awareness, International Understanding and Nature Appreciation Original Writing and Art Ages 7-17 Deadline: May 5, 2023
Holocaust Center for Humanity
Holocaust Writing, Art, and Film Contest Open to ages 9-18 in WA, OR, ID, AK Deadline: May 15, 2023
Go On Girl! Scholarships
Aspiring Writer and Unpublished Writer Each has unique criteria; See website Deadline: May 15, 2023
The Roadrunner Review
High School Writing Contest Poetry and Prose (“any genre”) Deadline: May 15, 2022 [Publication on hiatus as of 1/4/23.]
Toyin Fálọlá Prize
Short Story Theme: Africanfuturism Ages 15-35 Entrants must be African Deadline: May 15, 2022 [sent inquiry 3/19]
Quills and Keyboard
Poetry, Song Lyrics, SciFi, Fantasy, Short Story, Personal Essay, Memoir, Novel Excerpts, Journalism, Humor, Flash Fiction, Dramatic Script, Critical Essay, Horror, Philosophy, Speeches, Classic Literary Adaptations High School Students 14+ Deadline: May 20, 2023
Humane Education Network
A Voice for Animals Essay Contest for 14-15 and 16-18-year-olds Video Action Project for 16-18-year-olds Essay with Photos for 16-18-year-olds Deadline: May 21, 2023
The Adroit Journal
Prizes for Poetry and Prose Open to Secondary and Undergraduate Students Fee Waiver Request Form available Deadline: May 31, 2022
Last House Writing Contest for Emerging Writers
Sponsored by Audubon Canyon Ranch Essay, Short Story, Poetry Age Categories 8-12 years old and 13-17 years old Deadline: May 17, 2023
California Young Playwrights Contest
Open to residents of California only. Ages Under 19 as of June 1 Deadline: June 1, 2023
Fraser Institute Student Essay Contest
Open to students studying in Canada and Canadian students studying abroad. High School / Undergraduate / Graduate Categories Topic changes each year Deadline: June 1, 2023
Jane Austen Society of North America Essay Contest
Ages High School / College / Graduate School Topic changes each year Deadline: June 1, 2023
Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest
“Youth” Category of High School Age and Younger Deadline: June 1, 2023
Natures Wild Neighbour Society
“Get to Know Your Wild Neighbors” Art, Writing, Photography, Videography, Music Ages 11-18 Deadline: June 1, 2023
John Estey Student Writing Competition
American Writers Museum Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Cross-Genre, Drama/Playwriting, Hybrid Elementary, Middle, and High School Categories Deadline: June 5, 2023
Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Contest
Art, Poetry, Prose, Film, Music, Multimedia, Performing Arts, Spoken Word Ages 11-18 Deadline: June 13, 2023
Goi Peace Foundation International Essay Contest
Theme Essay Contest Ages 25 and under Deadline: June 15, 2023
National Teen Storyteller Contest: Solidarity
The Center for Fiction and The Decameron Project Ages 13-18 Deadline: June 1-June 25, 2022
Chicago Young Writers Review (CYWR)
Theme: “The Story That Made Me Feel” Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry Grades K-8 Deadline: June 30, 2022
Eden Mills Writers’ Festival
Poetry Contest for Children Ontario Residents Only Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8 Deadline: June 30, 2022
Poetry Contest for Teens Ontario Residents Only Grades 9-10 and Grades 11-12 Deadline: June 30, 2022
The Geek Partnership Society
Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural and Alternate History Fiction Poetry, Fiction, Graphic Novel Various age categories (K-Adult) Deadline: [on hiatus for 2023]
Polyphony Lit Pride Month Contest
Open to High School Students Globally Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Deadline: Open June 1-June 30, 2023
Polyphony Lit Summer Contest
Theme: “2020 Hindsight” Open to High School Students Globally Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Deadline: Open June 1-June 30, 2023
Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Award
Ages: Adult; Youth (13-18); Youth (12 and under) No fee for 12 and under. Deadline: Postmark July 1, 2023
1455 Teen Poetry Contest
Ages 13-19 Deadline: July 4, 2023
Johnson County Library Youth Short Story Contest
Short Story in Verse on a theme Grades 3-12 Deadline: Postmark July 6, 2023
Johnson County Library Youth Sticker Design Contest
Theme: “Oceans of Possibilities!” Ages 11 and under Deadline: Postmark July 6, 2023
Stony Brook Short Fiction Prize
State University of New York Only undergraduates enrolled full-time in American and Canadian universities and colleges for the academic year are eligible Deadline: July 14, 2022
Youth Innovation Challange
Global Environmental Education Partnership Themed Essay Contest Ages 15-30 Deadline: July 19, 2023
NCTE Excellence in Student Literary Magazines
Open to all accredited middle and secondary schools (US, CA, VI, US schools abroad) Deadline: July 31, 2023
Student Book Scholars
National Youth Foundation Theme: Anti-Bullying Grades K-8 Deadline: July 15, 2023
“I Matter” Poetry Contest
National Youth Foundation Topic: “Black Lives Matter” Grades: K-12 Deadline: July 23, 2023
Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award
The Poetry Society Ages 11-17 Deadline: July 31, 2023
The Lincoln Forum
Platt Family Scholarship Prize Essay Contest Specific topic posted on the website. For full-time college/university students. Deadline: Postmark July 31, 2023
Stone Soup Book Contest
Fiction, Memoir, Poetry Manuscript Ages 14 or under for 2023 Deadline: August 15, 2023
Young Writers Project
Summer of Stories 2022 Written and Visual Submissions – All genres Grades K-12 Deadline: August 15, 2022
Wax Poetry and Art Poetry Contest
Ages under 25 Deadline: August 31, 2023
William Faulkner Literary Competition
Student Short Story Category Open to Mississippi High School Students Deadline: August 31, 2023
Woolgathering Young Voices Prize
Poetry Ages under 22 years Deadline: September 1, 2022
Lloyd Davies Philosophy Prize
Topic Essay Contest Grade 12 or equivalent Deadline: September 2, 2022
Youth Free Expression Film Contest
National Coalition Against Censorship Ages 19 and under Deadline: September 8, 2023
Gigantic Sequins: Teen Sequins
Poetry Ages 14-18 (before June 2022) Deadline: September 12, 2022
Animal-themed prompt-based fiction Age Categories: Elementary under 13; High School 14-18 Deadline: September 21, 2023
Art of Unity Creative Award
International Human Rights Art Festival Poetry, Short Story, Essay as well as any creative media Youth Age Category 18 and under Deadline: September 30, 2022
Creators of Justice Literary Awards
International Human Rights Art Festival Poetry, Short Story, Essay 2500 words or less on Human Rights Theme Youth Age Category 18 and under Deadline: September 30, 2022
Embracing Our Differences
Art Exhibit and Quote Contest For all ages Deadline: October 5, 2023
National YoungArts Foundation
Ages 15-18 Various Arts Categories Receive up to $10k + educational support Applications Open June 12 – October 13, 2023
American Geosciences Institute
Earth Science Week Essay Contest Theme: “Finding ‘Art’ in Earth” Grades 6-9 Deadline: October 13, 2023
Polyphony Lit Latin Heritage Contest
Open to High School Students Globally Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Deadline: Open September 15 – October 15, 2023
Polyphony Lit Fall Contest
Open to High School Students Globally Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Deadline: Open October 1 – October 31, 2023
VFW Patriot’s Pen
Themed Essay Competition Grades 6-8 Deadline: October 31, 2023
VFW Voice of Democracy
Audio Essay Competition Grades 9-12 Deadline: October 31, 2023
Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest For High School Sophomore and Junior Girls Deadline: October 31, 2022
Young Writers Competition Grades 10-12 Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction Deadline: November 1, 2022
The Bridges Collaborative Student Contest
Performance Response to Prompt Grades K-12 Video, Podcast, Classroom Lessons, Written Pieces, Poetry, Art, Music, Prezis, Powerpoint, & Other Creative Medium Deadline: November 1, 2021
Interlochen Arts Academy
Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing Competition Fiction, Poetry, Spoken Word Personal essay or memoir, Screenwriting, Playwriting, Comics, Experimental or unclassifiable writing Grades 8-11 Deadline: November 6, 2022
Theme: A Story Worth Telling Fiction, Nonfiction, POetry Grades K-8 Deadline: November 7, 2022
International Peace Essay Contest Ages 11, 12, 13 years old on November 15, 2023 Open to students who are considered visually impaired according to their national guidelines.
Rachel Carson Sense of the Wild Contest
Poetry and Prose w/ or w/o Photograph Intergenerational Team of two or more only Deadline: November 16, 2023
Rattle Young Poets Anthology
Open Call for Submissions Ages 15 or younger Deadline: November 16, 2023
One Teen Story Contest
Open Call for Submissions Ages 13-15, 16-17, 18-19 Deadline: November 19, 2022
Leonard Milberg ’53 Secondary School Poetry Prize Any student who is in the eleventh grade in the academic year is eligible. Deadline: November 27, 2022
International Bipolar Foundation
High School Essay Contest Ages 13-29 Deadline: October 15 – November 30, 2022
Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers
The Kenyon Review High School Sophomores and Juniors Award: First place: Full scholarship to the Kenyon Review Young Writers workshop and publication. Second and third place: Publication. Deadline: November 1 – 30, 2023
NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program
National Novel Writing Month November 1 – 30, 2023 Many free events year-round; visit their website for details.
The Telling Room
Themed Poetry and Fiction Grades 6-12 / Ages 11-18 For Maine Residents only Deadline: November 30, 2023
Literacy In Place
Rural Teen Writing Contest Fiction, Nonfiction Grades 9-12 Deadline: December 1, 2023
The Poetry Center High School Prize An annual prize for sophomore & junior girls in New England Deadline: September 1 – December 1, 2022
Essay, Art Grades 1-8 Deadline: December 4, 2022 Note: This contest is run twice each year. See entry under March/April.
Short Story “Entries must take inspiration from quantum physics and be no longer than 1000 words.” Ages 13+ Alternates between sci-fi and sci films each year. Deadline: December 6, 2022
Kemper Human Rights Education Foundation Essay Contest
Kemper Human Rights Education Foundation Essay Contest High School Students Deadline: December 10, 2022
Annual High School Writing Contest Grades 9-12 Essay, Short Story, Poetry Deadline: December 20, 2022
The Fire Scholarship Contest
Essay: Prompt using video examples on topic of Free Speech Grades High School Juniors & Seniors Deadline: December 31, 2021 [On hiatus 2022; check back in August for 2023]
The Fitzgerald Museum
Fiction, Poetry, Multi-Genre High School and College Students Deadline: September 1 – December 31, 2022
Kay Snow Student Writing Contest
Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry Grades 1-12 and College Deadline: December 31, 2021
Kay Snow YA Writing Contest
Roland Smith Award for YA and Middle-Grade Fiction Written by adults for young adult or middle-grade readers. Deadline: December 31, 2021 [Submissions open in November; check back for deadline.]
The Lyric Magazine
Poetry Contest Undergraduate Students – USA and Canada Deadline: Postmark December 31, 2023
Poetry Society of America
Louise Louis/Emily F. Bourn Student Award Poetry Award Teacher/Administrator Nominated unpublished poem by 9-12 grade student. Deadline: Postmark October 1-December 31, 2023
The Society of Classical Poets
Poetry Competition Ages 13-19 Deadline: December 31, 2023 [New info is posted September 1]
Looking for a list of publications that publish young writers? Check out our guide here .
The NewPages Young Writers Guide to Contests is a free and ad-free resource for anyone looking for writing contests for teens, writing contests for high school students, scholastic writing contests, writing contests for middle school students, writing contests for kids, high school writing contests, writing contests for elementary students, creative writing contests for high school students, poetry contests for high school students.
The Ultimate List of Student Writing Contests
No one would argue against the importance of writing. Writing expresses who we are as individuals; writing makes our ideas, thoughts, and memories visible. For students, writing is the primary basis upon which one’s learning and development are assessed, whether it is a book review for an English class, a research brief for a STEM class, or the college admissions essays. Writing is undeniably one of the most important skills any student must master.
Becoming a better writer takes time and practice--you have to keep writing, a lot. There are no shortcuts or secret formulas. While some students may be more talented with writing, writing is first and foremost a skill that can be honed, developed, and perfected. “Keep writing” is easier said than done, however. For the majority of students who are not passionate writers, how can you stay motivated and disciplined to keep writing?
Participate in writing contests! There are many writing contests for students from kindergarten to high school, with different types of awards from medals to cash prizes to scholarships. No matter what the award is, participating in writing contests will push you to stay focused and keep improving. Moreover, the prestige of a respected award will certainly boost your college application profile, giving you an edge in a selection process that is fiercely competitive.
Contrary to conventional belief, you don’t have to be a humanities enthusiast to participate in these writing contests. There is a great variety of topics to choose from: history, supernatural, foreign affairs, STEM, business, and even restaurant reviews! The categories range from poetry to play to academic essay. No matter what your academic interest is or where your writing skills shine, there is a writing contest for you. Below is our carefully curated list of the best student writing contests. Find the ones that fit your interest and skill set and start writing!
Contests of Essays and Reviews
Scholastic art and writing awards.
Organization: Alliance for Young Artists & Writers
Category: 28 categories, including critical essays, journalism, personal essay, among others
Subject/topic: Free to choose
Award Amount: $1,000 to $10,000
Eligibility: Grades 7-12 (ages 13 and up)
Wharton Youth Comment & Win Contest
Organization: U of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business
Category: Review and reflection
Subject/topic: Entrepreneurship, economics, leadership, business, finance and careers
Award Amount: Recognition from Wharton
Deadline: 4 rounds from June to August
Eligibility: Grades 9-12
Bennington Young Writers Awards
Organization: Bennington College
Category: 3 categories, including personal or academic essay, poetry, play
Award Amount: $125 to $500
Deadline: Usually in November
Eligibility: Grades 10-12
The American Foreign Services Association Essay Contest
Organization: American Foreign Services Association
Subject/topic: International relations and foreign affairs
Award Amount: $1,250-$2,500
Deadline: Usually April
John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Contest
Organization: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Subject/topic: An act of political courage by a US elected official
Award Amount: $100-$10,000
Deadline: Usually January
We the Students Essay Contest
Organization: Bill of Rights Institute
Subject/topic: Government, democracy, civics, public policy, among others
Award Amount: $500-$7,500
Deadline: Usually February
Eligibility: Ages 14-19
Voice of Democracy Audio-Essay Contest
Organization: Veterans of Foreign Wars
Category: Audio essay
Subject/topic: Democracy and patriotism
Award Amount: $1,000-$30,000
Deadline: Usually October
Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest
Subject/topic: American history, society, and citizenship
Award Amount: $500-$5,000
Eligibility: Grades 6-8
John Locke Essay Competition
Organization: John Locke Institute
Subject/topic: Philosophy, politics, economics, history, psychology, theology and law
Award Amount: $2,000 to $10,000
Deadline: Usually June
Eligibility: Ages 18 and under
New York Times STEM Writing Contest
Organization: The New York Times
Subject/topic: Science, technology, engineering, math or health
Award Amount: None
Eligibility: Ages 11-19
New York Times Summer Reading Contest
Deadline: June to August
New York Times Student Review Contest
New york times personal narrative writing contest.
Deadline: Usually November
New York Times Editorial Writing Contest
New york times review contest.
EngineerGirl Writing Contest
Organization: National Academy of Engineering
Award Amount: $100-$500
Eligibility: Grades 3-12
SPJ/JEA High School Essay Contest
Organization: Journalism Education Association
Award Amount: $300-$1,000
YoungArts’ National Arts Competition
Organization: National YoungArts Foundation
Category: Multiple categories, including writing, art, and music
Award Amount: Up to $10,000
Eligibility: Grades 10-12 or ages 15-18
NCTE Student Writing Awards
Organization: National Council of Teachers of English
Eligibility: Grade 11
NCTE Promising Young Writers Awards
Eligibility: Grade 8
World Historian Student Essay Contest
Organization: World History Association
Award Amount: $500
Deadline: Usually May
Eligibility: Grades K-12
Jane Austen Society Essay Contest
Organization: Jane Austen Society of North America
Subject/topic: Jane Austen’s works
Award Amount: $250-$1,000
Contests of Poetry, Play, and Fiction
Category: 28 categories, including science fiction, among others
Young Lions Fiction Award
Organization: New York Public Library
Award Amount: $10,000
Deadline: Usually in September
Eligibility: Ages 35 or under
Category: 3 categories, including poetry, play, personal or academic essay,
Organization: The National Poetry Quarterly
Deadline: March, June, September, December
Creative Communications Poetry Contest
Organization: Creative Communication
Award Amount: $25
Deadline: Usually December
Eligibility: Grades K-9
Leonard L. Milberg ‘53 High School Poetry Prize
Organization: Princeton University
The Lewis Center Ten-Minute Play Contest
Award Amount: $100 to $500
Deadline: Usually March
Worldwide Plays Festival Competition
Organization: Writopia Lab
Award Amount: Professional production in New York
Eligibility: Grades 1-12
NSHSS Creative Writing Scholarship Contest
Organization: National Society of High School Scholars
Category: Poetry and fiction
Award Amount: $2,000
The Adroit Prizes for Poetry and Prose
Organization: The Adroit Journal
Category: Poetry and prose
Award Amount: $200
Award Amount: $50-$200
Eligibility: Ages 19 and under
Nancy Thorp Poetry Prize
Organization: Hollins University
Award Amount: $350-$5,000
Eligibility: Female students in grades 10-11
Ocean Awareness Contest
Organization: Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs
Category: Multiple categories, including poetry, prose, art, among others
Subject/topic: Ocean awareness
Award Amount: Up to $1,500
Eligibility: Ages 11-18
River of Words
Organization: Saint Mary’s College of California
Subject/topic: Environmental literacy
Eligibility: Ages 5-19
Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers
Organization: Kenyon Review
Award Amount: Scholarship to attend the Kenyon Review Young Writers workshop
Eligibility: Grades 10-11
Geek Partnership Society Writing Contest
Organization: Geek Partnership Society
Category: Multiple categories, including fiction, poetry, and comics
Subject/topic: Science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural, alternate history
Award Amount: Up to $100
Deadline: Usually July
Eligibility: Any age
Essential Editing Tips to Use in Your Essay Writing
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A powerhouse of voices. A champion of different perspectives. A pipeline of talent.
A POWERHOUSE OF VOICES. A CHAMPION OF DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES. A PIPELINE OF TALENT. This is Girls Write Now.
Connect with us, writing contests & publication opportunities for youth.
Girls Write Now is a dynamic, multi-generational community of writers on a mission. For more than 20 years, our nationally award-winning programs have provided creative, critical and digital writing training, college and career readiness, personalized mentoring and massive opportunities for the next generation of leaders.
Know about a great writing contest for teens or young adults? Feel free to reach out to Sally Familia at [email protected] .
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!
Anthem is Ayn Rand’s classic tale of a dystopian future of the great “We”—a world that deprives individuals of a name or independence. Enter the Anthem Essay Contest to win a $2,000 prize! Follow the instructions on the website to receive more information on how to apply.
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.
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.
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 To learn more, visit https://twc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/YPL-Rules-Eligibility.pdf
F(r)iction is a triannual publication that boasts work from both industry legends and emerging writers. Each issue is carefully curated to evaluate an important cultural topic from vastly different perspectives. F(r)iction accepts short fiction, creative nonfiction, flash fiction, comics, and poetry submissions all year round, and also host contests featuring celebrity guest judges and cash prizes twice a year (each spring and fall). Every piece published in F(r)iction is also accompanied by custom artwork, making our journal a visual odyssey from cover to cover! https://frictionlit.org/contests/
The ruth weiss Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to create opportunities to support poetic artists through their annual grant program. In 2023, the Foundation will be offering $6,000 in prizes that seek out works of verbal and stylistic originality. To learn more, visit https://twc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/YPL-Rules-Eligibility.pdf
The ruth weiss Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to create opportunities to support poetic artists through their annual grant program. In 2023, the Foundation will be offering $6,000 in prizes that seek out works of verbal and stylistic originality. To learn more, visit https://www.ruthweissfoundation.org/grants2023/p/the-school-poetry-award-900-three-300-school-donationpoet-grants
Select Annual Contest Schedules
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 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.)
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 h ttps://sonnetcontest.org/sonnet-contest/ .
Learn more at http://www.bowseat.org/contest .
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/ .
The American Writers Museum, John Estey Student Writing Competition, has opened its 4th annual student writing competition. To learn more, visit American Writers Museum
PUBLICATION OPPORTUNITIES FOR EMERGING WRITERS
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 protected] for more information.
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 girlsri[email protected] 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 .
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 protected]. 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/
Auroras & Blossoms’ third annual PoArtMo Anthology , gives a voice to people whose stories and/or art seek to nurture hope and optimism. The theme of this year’s anthology is: “Positivity / Uplifting.” 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
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.
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.
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/ .
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27 Writing Competitions for High School Students in 2023
- Last modified 2023-08-21
- Published on 2021-04-03
Feel free to save the infographic at the end of the article to keep track of all writing competitions for high school students happening throughout the year of 2023. Please keep in mind that the infographic provides a deadline for competitions; however, each competition’s actual preparation time can vary, from 2 weeks to several months.
1. Ocean Awareness Writing Contest
- Junior Division: 11-14 years old
- Senior Division: 15-18 years old
2. New York Times Summer Reading Competition
Competition Introduction: Since 2010, the New York Times has held a summer reading competition for middle school students from all over the world every summer. So far, more than 50,000 middle school students have participated.
The Summer Reading Contest invites students to choose something in The Times that has sparked their interest, then tell us why. At the end of every week, judges from the Times newsroom pick their favorite responses, and the winner’s work will be published in NY Times.
Competition schedule : Before the end of the competition (August), participants can choose any article, essay, video, interaction, podcast, or photo published in the New York Times to analyze, write about, and submit to the competition.
Every Tuesday after the start of the competition, the previous week’s winners will be announced and their writing pieces will be published.
Competition time: June 9 – August 18, 2023
Suitable for students: 13-19-year-old students from all over the world;
- Students aged 13-15 can submit via the form in the link to the weekly article, subject to parent or guardian consent;
- Students aged 16-19 can directly submit in the comments of the weekly articles.
Official website of the competition
3. Write the World Series Writing Contest
4. john locke essay competition.
Competition Introduction: The John Locke Essay Competition is organized by John Locke Institute, an independent education organization located in Oxford, UK. The John Locke Institute encourages young people to cultivate the characteristics that turn good students into great writers: independent thought, depth of knowledge, clear reasoning, critical analysis, and persuasive style. All of their essay prizes are judged by senior academics from the University of Oxford. The judges will choose their favorite essay from each subject category and an overall ‘best essay’ across seven subjects. Read more about the complete guide to John Locke Competition .
Competition time: June 30, 2023
Suitable for students: 2 Levels – High school students 18 years old or younger and Middle School students 14 years old or younger at the submission deadline.
Official website of the competition.
5. National Scholastic Art and Writing Competition
Competition Introduction: The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is the longest-running, oldest, and most prestigious literary and art competition in the United States, aiming to find creative works and original technical skills by students in grades 7-12. Since 1923, the Academic Art and Writing Award has recognized the vision, originality, and talent of young people, and has provided opportunities and academic awards for creative young people to express their talent. The high school award is a symbol of the pursuit of excellence and will help students stand out in university and scholarship applications .
Competition time: Deadlines vary by region and can be as early as December 1
Suitable for students: Teens in grades 7–12 (ages 13 and up) can apply in 28 categories of art and writing.
6. Young Authors Writing Competition
Competition Introduction: Young Authors Writing Competition is sponsored by the English and Creative Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago. The competition has grown into a yearly international contest of high school writers. You may enter up to two works (in separate files) in each category of Creative Nonfiction and Fiction. In the Poetry category, you may enter up to two files, but each can have 1-5 poems. You can submit up to six files (two in each category). You cannot upload three or more files in the same category.
Competition time: The deadline was January 31, 2023
Suitable for students: Open to students in grades 9-12 worldwide
7. River of Words Poetry and Art Contest
Competition Introduction: River of Words Poetry and Art Contest is a free, international youth poetry and art contest — the largest in the world — inspires children ages 5 to 19 to translate their observations into creative expression. River of Words® (ROW) is a program of The Center for Environmental Literacy and a part of the Kalmanovitz School of Education, at Saint Mary’s College of California.
Competition deadline: January 31, 2023
Suitable for students: K through 12th-grade students, ages 5-20. Students must be enrolled in school to be eligible. All entries must be submitted by a parent, guardian, educator, or facilitator unless the student is 18 years old or older.
8. Harvard International Economics Essay Contest (HIEEC)
Competition Introduction: The Harvard Undergraduate Economics Association (HUEA) is organizing its flagship Harvard International Economics Essay Contest with the collaboration of the Harvard College Economics Review. HIEEC allows students to demonstrate an accomplished level of writing and understanding of economic theory. Students hone their academic and professional skills through the contest and exhibit their knowledge.
Competition deadline: 11:59pm EST January 7, 2023
Suitable for students: Students in grades 9 to 12
9. Annual DNA Day Essay Contest
10. new york times stem writing contest, 11. princeton university 10-minute play contest.
Competition Introduction: The Princeton Ten-minute Play Contest is hosted by the Lewis Art Center of Princeton University. The annual competition’s judging committee comprises faculty and staff from the Program in Theater of Princeton University. They are all members of Princeton University.
Competition date: January 17, 2023 to March 31, 2023
Suitable for students: U.S. domestic or international students studying in the eleventh grade. International students in the equivalent of eleventh grade in the US
Official website of the competition.
12. Write the World Series - Opinion Writing
Competition Introduction: Write the World, developed by David Weinstein – who’s currently working at Harvard University, is dedicated to improving the writing of high school students through a global online community and guided interactive process. The monthly competition is developed around a particular idea or genre of writing, such as poetry, fantasy, sports journalism, or flash fiction. Through multiple competitions throughout the year, students are encouraged to develop their voices, refine their editing skills, and publish on an international platform. Write the World helps students develop the writing strategies and communication tools essential for success in school, career, and life. Students can receive peer and expert feedback before submitting their final piece.
Competition date: March 21, 2023
Suitable for students: Young writers ages 13-18
More information on the competition.
13. Ayn Rand Essay Contests
14. young reporters for the environment competition.
Competition Introduction: Young Reporters for the Environment Competition is operated by Foundation for Environmental Education. YRE gives young people aged 11-25 a platform to research environmental issues and promote solutions through investigative reporting, photography, and video journalism. Competition Structure: There are three ways to participate in the YRE International Competition: General YRE International Competition, Litter Less Campaign Competition, and International Collaboration
Competition date: Competitions open during end of March
Suitable for students: Three age categories in the International Competition: 11-14, 15-18, and 19-25
15. New York Times Student Editorial Contest
Competition Introduction: New York Times invited students to write short, evidence-based persuasive essays through the New York Times Students Editorial Contest. Students can choose a topic of interest, then gather evidence from sources within and outside The NY Times and write a concise editorial (450 words or fewer) to convince readers of their view. The Editorial should focus on a topic that matters to students, cite reliable sources that illustrate different perspectives, and persuade readers of the student’s opinions. Last year, the competition received a peak of 16,664 submissions came in, about 5,000 more than ever before.
Competition date: March 15 to April 19, 2023.
Suitable for students: You must be a student ages 13 to 19 in middle or high school to participate. All students must have parent or guardian permission to enter.
16. Jane Austen Society of North America
Competition Introduction: JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) conducts an annual student Essay Contest to foster the study and appreciation of Jane Austen’s works in new generations of readers.
Competition date: June 1, 2023
Suitable for students: Students and home-schooled students enrolled at the high school level during the contest year
17. Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest
Competition Introduction: Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest is created by Winning Writers, the organization finding and creating quality resources for poets and writers. Winning Writers is among the “101 Best Websites for Writers” (Writer’s Digest, 2015-2019). The judges are Soma Mei Sheng Frazier, the winner of CutBank’s 2018 contest, released in 2019, and Michal Jones, Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, and parent in Oakland, California.
Competition date: April 15 – September 30, 2023
Suitable for students: No restriction on the age of the author. All countries eligible except Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Crimea (due to US government restrictions)
18. Marshall Society Essay Competition
Competition Introduction: Established in 1927, the Marshall Society is the Economics Society of the University of Cambridge. The competition invites pre-university students to write a convincing and well-structured essay related to economic theories.
Competition date: August 19, 2022
Suitable for students: Preuniversity students around the world
19. Bennington College Young Writers Award
Competition Introduction: Bennington College Young Writers Awards are created by Bennington College, to promote excellence in writing at the high school level and to recognize outstanding writing achievement by high school students. The competition runs annually from September 1 to November 1. Over 5,000 students submitted poetry, fiction, and nonfiction to the Young Writers Awards competition each year. Each year, students in the 9th-12th grades are invited to enter one of the following categories with the following submission:
Poetry: A group of three poems Fiction: A short story (1,500 words or fewer) or one-act play (run no more than 30 minutes of playing time) Nonfiction: A personal or academic essay (1,500 words or fewer)
Competition date: September 1 to November 1
Suitable for students: 9th-12th grades, welcome submissions from both US and international students.
20. Leonard L. Milberg ’53 High School Poetry Prize
Competition Introduction: The Leonard Milberg High School Poetry Prize recognizes outstanding work by student writers in the 11th grade in the U.S. or abroad. Contest judges are poets on the Princeton University Creative Writing faculty, which includes Michael Dickman, Paul Muldoon, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, James Richardson, Tracy K. Smith, Susan Wheeler, Jenny Xie, and Monica Youn.
Competition date: November 27, 2022
Suitable for students: Students in the 11th grade in the U.S or around the world
21. New York Times Personal Narrative Writing Contest
Competition Introduction: The New York Times Personal Narrative Writing Contest invites middle and high school students ages 11-19 to tell a short story in 100 words or less. Your work will be read by New York Times journalists, Learning Network staff members, and educators from around the United States.
Competition date : October – November
Suitable for students: Students ages 13 to 19 who are in middle or high school worldwide.
22. New York Times Annual Student Review Contest
Competition Introduction: The NY Times invites students to play critic and write an original review for their New York Times Student Review Contest. Students can review anything that fits into a category of creative expression that The New York Times covers — from architecture to music.
Competition date: December 2022
Suitable for students: Students ages 11-19 anywhere in the world attending middle or high school can participate
23. John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest
Competition Introduction: In Profile in Courage, John F. Kennedy tells the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers to do the right thing for their country. These leaders demonstrated political courage by standing up for the public good despite pressure from interest groups, political parties, and even constituents. The JFK Courage Essay Contest asks students to write an original and creative essay demonstrating an understanding of the political courage described in John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage.
Competition date: January 13, 2023
Suitable for students: High school students in the United States and its territories in grades 9-12
24. New York Times 100-Word Tiny Memoir Contest
Competition Introduction: The New York Times invites all junior and senior high school students to write a memoir in less than 100 words that is very meaningful to each person. This can be a special situation, a scene, or a meaningful event. New York Times hopes to hear unique stories from the “young writers” in their own words. The judges hope to see how the “young authors” solve a problem in this short story and see the larger meaning behind the story.
Competition date: October 12
Suitable for students: Writers of all ages and levels of experience
25. SPJ/JEA High School Essay Contest
26. the concord review (tcr).
Competition Introduction: The Concord Review (TCR) is an academic journal dedicated to publishing historical research papers of high school students in English. With the spring issue, the quarterly journal has published 1,362 research papers from authors in 46 states and 41 countries. Many of the authors of TCR have gone to prestigious universities and colleges across the US and around the world.
Competition date: Summer: February 1. Fall: May 1. Winter: August 1. Spring issue: November 1.
Suitable for students: Students must complete the paper before finishing secondary school and you have not yet enrolled in a college or university
27. The Foyle Young Poets
Competition Introduction: Founded in 1998, the Foyle Young Poets Competition is a highly regarded global contest that attracts thousands of entries annually from aspiring poets around the globe. The competition is free to enter and allows young writers to showcase their work, gain recognition for their talents, and receive support and guidance from established poets. Many previous winners have succeeded in the literary world, becoming published authors and receiving numerous accolades for their work.
Competition date: Midnight July 31, 2023 (BST)
Suitable for students: Everyone aged between 11-17 on 31st July 2023.
28. F(r)iction Contest
Competition Introduction: F(r)iction is a triannual publication that boasts work from both industry legends and emerging writers. Each issue is carefully curated to evaluate an important cultural topic from vastly different perspectives. They accept short fiction, creative nonfiction, flash fiction, comics, and poetry submissions all year round, and also host contests featuring celebrity guest judges and cash prizes twice a year (each spring and fall). Every piece published in F(r)iction is also accompanied by custom artwork.
Competition date: April 27, 2023<
Submission length: Short stories: 1,001 – 7,500 words; Flash fiction: up to 1,000 words per piece; Poetry: up the three pages per poem
Prizes: $300 (Poetry and Flash), $500 (Creative Nonfiction), or $1,000 (Short Fiction)
Entry fee: $10 – $15
Judges: Jennifer Wortman (Short Fiction), Charlie Clare Burgess (Creative Nonfic), Exodus Oktavia Brownlow (Flash Fiction), Kyle Carrero Lopez (Poetry)
In early 2021, the nation’s art and writing contest (Scholastic Art & Writing Awards) announced their winners. Excitingly, Aralia students received a total of 38 awards, which consisted of 10 Golden Key Awards, 8 Silver Key Awards, and 20 Honorable Mentions! More information about the awards can be found here .
In order to achieve these great results, most of the award-winning students have participated in the writing competition preparation program with the instruction and leadership of Aralia’s famous writing teachers. Aralia’s tutors are inspired teachers and professors who are committed to student success. They are recognized in their field or are currently teaching at top high schools and colleges/universities in the US.
How can I improve my writing? 20 Tips to Improve Your Writing
How can I stand out in writing competitions? The only 5 tips you need to know are here: 5 Tips to Stand Out in a Writing Competition
Heard about John Locke Essay Competition but not sure where to start? Read this Complete Guide to John Locke Essay Competition
Finished your writing work but not sure where to submit it? Where to Submit Your Writing Works: 5 Main Platforms will answer your questions
This class is offered in the summer every year. Students from 13 to 18 years old wanting to learn how to shape their written English into effective and publishable creative pieces will find this particular Writing Competition course very exciting. The class will be shown a range of tools to learn the nuances of controlled, purposeful writing, including: figurative language, effective structuring and specific forms that they will apply to their own pieces.
Interested in learning more?
Aralia Education is an open online course provider for students. We offer small group and 1-on-1 online tutoring classes that bring students and instructors together, completely online. Our teachers are beyond regular tutors because we are committed to bringing the best knowledge possible for students’ growth.
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Excellent Writing Contests for Kids (and Other Ways To Get Published)
This post may contain affiliate links.
I’ve been searching for writing contests for kids for my daughter and her friend. Many kids, like mine, want to write for an audience; they’d love to be published. This round-up of writing contests for kids and other opportunities might help give emerging writers their first chance at publication.
Let me also suggest that you temper your kids’ enthusiasm with a bit of reality. It’s a tricky thing because you don’t want to be a killjoy, but you also want your children to understand that good, award-winning writing is hard work and takes dedication. So if your child applies to a writing competition and gets rejected or doesn’t win any writing prize, encourage your kids to persevere and keep writing. (Feel free to share stories of authors such as Madeline L’Engle, J.K. Rowlings, and Dr. Seuss, who were rejected for publishing a lot.)
When you’re looking at these writing contests, suggest that kids read through the past winners or published pieces to get an idea of what the contest or publication is looking for in a writing piece.
Revision, of course, is essential. You can help by giving kids specific feedback on technique — revision tips here . If your child is writing a short story or children’s fiction piece, make sure their story has a story arc . And insist that they proofread a million times to be sure they’re not sending in something with errors! Check my NanNoWriMo for Kids post for more writing and revision tips.
All that being said, publishing can be a very motivational goal. Encourage your kids to write essays, short stories, poetry, and creative nonfiction and apply for opportunities like these. But remind your writers that failure only means that they haven’t been published YET.
Consider carefully writing contests with entry fees. I have mixed feelings about fees because sometimes they do pay for hiring judges but other times, I worry that it means the contest is simply a money-maker for them.
**Check the comments for more contests.
Writing Contests for Kids
Roald Dahl’s ImaginormousChallenge ages: 5 – 12 Details: In this unique writing contest, kids submit story ideas in 100 words or less. The only judging criterion, in true Wonka style, is pure imagination. Five winners will get a Golden Ticket. See the website for all the prizes and opportunities.
Betty Award ages: 8 – 12 Details: Check the website for deadlines for their spring and fall writing contests. Cash prizes. $15 fee.
Funny Festive Fables ages: 7 – 13 In this writing contest, kids are asked to write a funny short story.
National Youth Foundation ages: grades K – 8 Details: It looks like you’ll be submitting a 20 to 30 page book with writing and art that incorporates the contest theme of anti-bullying.
Dandelion Press ages: all Get inspired by the illustration provided to write an original story.
Tadpole Press ages: all For writers of all ages, this is a 100-word writing contest in any genre. This contest offers cash prizes to winners.
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards ages: 13+ The Scholastic Awards look for work in writing and art that demonstrates originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision. Teenagers can apply to 28 art and writing categories including flash fiction, critical essay, digital art, humor, novel writing, personal essay, poetry, short story, and ceramics. The Scholastic writing contest is highly competitive, so submit your best work!
Literary Magazines and Online Publications for Kids and Teens
These publications are looking for submissions. These are NOT contests.
Hutch Magazine: A Creativity Magazine by Kids for Kids ages: grades 1 to 8 Hutch publishes art and writing submissions around a theme that imparts positive values and promotes self-esteem. Check the website for the latest theme and parent consent and media release forms.
Story Monsters ages 17 and younger Story Monsters is seeking articles, essays, book reviews, poems, short stories, and drawings.
Kidz Corner ages 6 to 12 Submit art, letters, and other writing. Guidelines here .
Magic Dragon ages: 12 years and younger Submit art, stories, essays, and poetry.
Cricket ages: 9 – 14 Details: Cricket is a well-known children’s magazine . Enter fiction, poetry, and nonfiction writing in this kids’ literary magazine. The magazine used to take submissions from young writers but now they’re offering other opportunities here: NewPages Writing Contests for Young Writers writing.
Stone Soup ages: 13 and YOUNGER Details: This magazine receives a lot of submissions, so read carefully what actually gets published for a better chance. It accepts stories, book reviews, and poems. $3 entry fee.
Elementia ages: not stated A literary arts magazine from a library, check back to see when submissions open for poetry, short stories, essays, comics, and artwork.
Skipping Stones ages: 7 to 17 Details: This publication has a multicultural focus for its writing opportunities for kids. Send in essays, interviews, poems, plays, or short stories. $5 fee. Winners are published in their autumn issue.
The Caterpillar ages: not stated Details: This is an Irish publication but accepts entries from anywhere in the world.
Guardian Angel Kids ages: up to age 14 Details: This is a literary magazine (ezine) for kids with submission themes here . If your work is accepted (articles, fiction, poetry), then the magazine will own it and will pay you for your work. Just be sure that if your writing is accepted, you don’t post it anywhere else since you will not own it anymore!
Chautauqua Young Voices ages: middle and high school Submissions can be in nonfiction, fiction, poetry, or flash.
Ember ages: 10 – 18 Details: This publication is searching for compelling poetry, short stories, flash fiction, and creative non-fiction that paint images with language. (THESE ARE NOT CONTESTS.)
Scholastic News Kids Press Corps ages: 10 – 14 Apply to be on a team of kid reporters from across the country and around the world covers “news for kids, by kids.” Kid writers who are ages 10–14 with a passion for telling great stories and discussing issues that matter most to kids are encouraged to apply in the spring for the following school year.
Bibliopunks ages 13 – 24 An online literary zine aimed at young adult writers. They are looking for writing in any genre.
Figment ages: 13+ Details: This is an online writing community meant to encourage teen writers to write and share their work. You can post your work and get feedback, as well as give feedback to other writers. Contests are posted throughout the year.
Cicada Magazine ages: 14+ Details: This magazine loves SF/fantasy and historical fiction as well as narrative nonfiction about teen topics.
Teen Ink ages: 13+ Details: This is an online writing community with a wealth of opportunities for young writers.
Canvas Literary Journal ages: 13 – 18 Canvas Teen Literary Journal is a quarterly journal that publishes the work of teen writers which are read and rated by a board of teen editors. If they’re not accepting submissions, follow them on social media to find out when submissions will open again.
Highlights Magazine ages: ages 16+ Details: This magazine publishes kids’ writing and will publish: drawings, poems, jokes, riddles, tongue twisters, stories, science questions, and book reviews. At the time of publication, they are closed to submissions.
Gifts for Young Writers
Write a Novel in November
Writing Prompts for Kids
How to Make a Book Trailer
Melissa Taylor, MA, is the creator of Imagination Soup. She's a mother, teacher, author, and freelance writer. She writes Imagination Soup and freelances for publications online and in print, including Brightly for Penguin Random House, USA Today Health, Colorado Parent, and Parenting.
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IndigoTeen Magazine is a literary periodical created for teenagers and by teenagers. It features the most successful text and imagery submissions from children and young people from 13 to 19 years old: short stories, essays, and novellas, memes, and comics, fan fiction and poetry, graphic design and artwork. It’s a collection of literary pieces that reflects the world of modern teenagers. Are you a teen who loves English? Do you want to test your illustrator’s skills or other visual art talents? Let your mind shine bright and be enjoyed! We are eager to hear from you and let your creation be part of our magazine. https://indigohub.net.au/indigoteen
Some of these contests aren’t taking any submissions which sucks
Is there a graphic novel contest?
Not that I know of.
Are these competitions open to kids from other countries? My daughter loves to write and we are based in India
I think some are but you’ll have to check the rules for each one to know for sure. Good luck!
What High School Is Like in 2023: A Multimedia Challenge for Teachers and Teens
What can you show or tell us to help explain what it’s like to be an educator or student in secondary school right now? Submit in words, images, audio or video, from Aug. 16-Oct. 4.
By The Learning Network
‘I Couldn’t Help Comparing Myself’: The Week 8 Winner of Our Summer Reading Contest
Jolie, a young woman with Tourette’s syndrome, writes about her reaction to the article, “How Teens Recovered From the ‘TikTok Tics’.”
The Winners of Our 6th Annual Student Podcast Contest
An oral history of Woodstock, an investigation into the origins of the fork, and an answer to the question of what makes a tune memorable. Listen to this year’s winning entries.
Our 2023-24 Student Contest Calendar
Here are 10 challenges to help us celebrate our 25th anniversary — including one open to both teachers and teenagers.
‘I Struggled to Understand the Concept of Love’: The Week 10 Winner of Our Summer Reading Contest
As our contest comes to a close, we honor Ruby Nguyen, 18, and hear from some of our New York Times judges about what it was like to read responses from teenagers around the world.
By The Learning Network
‘My Ancestors Speak to Me’: The Week 9 Winner of Our Summer Reading Contest
Ming-Li Sabina Wolfe, 16, writes about how the music of Astrud Gilberto, who died in June, has connected her family through the generations.
Documenting and Reflecting on the Experience of High School: A Guide to Our Contest for Teachers and Teens
Five practical steps for deciding what you most want to express, and experimenting with how to express it.
By Katherine Schulten
Summer Reading Contest, Week 10: What Got Your Attention in The Times This Week?
To participate, submit your response here by Aug. 18 at 9 a.m. Eastern. This week’s winners will be announced on Aug. 29.
Making Summer Special: The Week 7 Winner of Our Summer Reading Contest
Aaron Kim, 16, writes about what happened when he put advice from a Well article about staycations to the test.
Summer Reading Contest, Week 9: What Got Your Attention in The Times This Week?
To participate, submit your response here by Aug. 11 at 9 a.m. Eastern. This week’s winners will be announced on Aug. 22.
‘Now Is Our Time to Assemble’: The Week 6 Winner of Our Summer Reading Contest
Nathaniel Tok, 16, writes about his love of Marvel movies — and how we, the audience, should support the writers and actors who are striking.
Summer Reading Contest, Week 8: What Got Your Attention in The Times This Week?
To participate, submit your response here by Aug. 4 at 9 a.m. Eastern. This week’s winners will be announced on Aug. 15.
‘My Heart Was Racing’: The Week 5 Winner of Our Summer Reading Contest
Yugottam Koirala, 18, a student from Nepal, writes about what Himalayan glacier loss could mean for his country.
Summer Reading Contest, Week 7: What Got Your Attention in The Times This Week?
To participate, submit your response here by July 28 at 9 a.m. Eastern. This week’s winners will be announced on Aug. 8.