Teen Writing Contest

THEME: Tall Tails

Calling young writers and poets… Tell us a tale!

Write a short story or a small collection of poems featuring an animal, preferably in a tall tale, fable, or folktale context. Ideas include—but are not limited to—pieces about pets, pieces with animal narrators, and pieces involving monsters or cryptids.

Submission categories:

  • Middle School (Fiction)
  • Middle School (Poetry)
  • High School (Fiction)
  • High School (Poetry)

Students entering 6th grade in the 2021–2022 school year are eligible for the Middle School age category. Students entering 9th grade should submit in the High School age group.

Contest Guidelines

Teen Writing Contest–Printable Guidelines

1. Limit (1) entry per category; a person’s entries may not exceed (2) total entries in the contest. YOU MAY NOT enter the same work in two categories. All entries must be your original, unpublished work.

2. Format:

  • Fiction entries should be a minimum of 500 words and no more than 3,000 words.
  • Poetry entries may contain 1–3 poems. The complete entry should be no more than 5 pages double spaced.
  • All entries must be typed and double spaced.
  • Entries must be submitted in the Word (.doc/.docx) or PDF (.pdf) file format.
  • DO NOT include your name anywhere in your entry. Your name will be listed separately on the online form used to submit your entry.

3. Submission:

  • Entries must be submitted in the month of June, no later than 11:59 PM on Wednesday, June 30th. 
  • Entries must be submitted using the online form below. You will receive an e-mail confirmation once your entry is successfully submitted. If you do not receive a confirmation e-mail, contact Kathryn at kgillespie@bcplib.org.
  • Submitting your work grants BCPL permission to publish your work, your name, and your photo in print materials or electronic media.

4. Entries that do not follow the guidelines above risk disqualification.

Judging Process & Winners

This is a blind judged contest, meaning judges will not know the identity of the author they are critiquing. Each entry will be judged by at least three judges, using a standardized judging rubric. Judges’ decisions are final. Winners will be announced no later than Wednesday, August 4th.

Contest winners will receive a special author prize pack including a moleskin notebook and other writer goodies.


Submit Your Entry

Please submit a separate entry for each category you are entering. Files must be in PDF or Word format.
  • Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf, Max. file size: 256 MB.
  • Choose your age division based on your grade in the 2021–2022 school year.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.