Rita Williams-Garcia with the winners of the 2019 Young People's Creative Writing Contest

Entering the Contest

Each year in late winter, Tulsa Library hosts the Young People's Creative Writing Contest for students in Tulsa County ages 10-18. The 2021 contest is open from February 1st through February 28, 2021.

Enter the 2021 Young People's Creative Writing Contest online here, starting February 1, 2021!


Find the 2020 winners' names and entries below!

Young People's Creative Writing Contest FAQs

2020 Winning Entries

2020 Young People's Creative Writing Contest Winners

Below are this year's winners - congratulations! Click on each entry title to read.



1st Place: Abigail Woodward, "Body Parts"

2nd Place: Weston Smoliak, "Seasons Delight"

3rd Place: Olive Branham, "Anything But Normal"


1st Place: Makenna Smoliak, "The River"

2nd Place: Abigail Carter, "I Am Lucky"

3rd Place: Elaine Gao, "Ode to Snow"


1st Place: Audrey Chisum, "Counting"

2nd Place: Jen Pogue, "Tight Jeans"

3rd Place: Colette Campbell, "The Spirit of London"

Short Story


1st Place: Senna Miller, "My Page-Turning Adventure"

2nd Place: Ash Garringer, "The True Story of the Homework of Thomas McAlister"

3rd Place: Lillian Charles, "Into the Nighttide"


1st Place: Makenna Smoliak, "The Last of the Leopards"

2nd Place: Miriam Logsdon, "Hope in a Dark Night"

3rd Place: Lydia Spicer, "The China Figure"


1st Place: Olivia Calle, "Migration"

2nd Place: Madelyn Grant, "Every Road Ends"

3rd Place: Deborah Horn, "The Feast"

Informal Essay


1st Place: Brady Tuggle, "The Pantano"

2nd Place: Caroline Draper, "Cell Phones in School? Absolutely Not!"

3rd Place: Isabella Gonzalez, "The Day That Changed My Life"


1st Place: Grace Muñoz, "Poetry"

2nd Place: Natalie Reyes, "Being Mrs. Banks"

3rd Place: Katherine Farell, "Sticky Hands and Contagious Smiles"


1st Place: Emily Newby, "Math Matters"

2nd Place: Leticia Almanza, "If I Don't Dig the Ditch, Who Will?"

3rd Place: Dillon Smith, "Real Joy"

Short Play


Not enough entries received to judge


1st Place: Caroline Moses, "Freedom"

2nd Place: Hannah Regier, "The "Accident""

3rd Place: Harini Senthil, "The Ultimate Tea Party"


1st Place: Aubrey McNiel, "Prodigal"

2nd Place: Elsie Burns, "The Years We Lost"

3rd Place: Charity Farell, "How to Catch a Monster"



1st Place: Noelle Gilliss, "Worth the Risk?"

2nd Place: Nathan Thompson, "Corny Runs for President"

3rd Place: Osvaldo Carrillo, "Nexis"


1st Place: Makenna Smoliak, "Roy's Teddy Bear"

2nd Place: Elizabeth Scheer, "The Safety of Closed Eyes"

3rd Place: Philip Way, "Zendor"


1st Place: Leticia Almanza, "A Special Visitor"

2nd Place: Brianna Herrold, "Sonder"

3rd Place: Vicious Butler, "The Irony of Your Eyes"

Writer to Watch Award

The Writer to Watch Award is given to a current winner who has won the most times previously and is aging out of the contest. This year's Writer to Watch is Leticia Almanza. Congratulations, Leticia!

2021 Contest Promotional Materials

Educators and others who want to promote the contest may request promotional materials from their local library, or can use these files:

2021 Young People's Creative Writing Contest Entry Brochure

2021 Young People's Creative Writing Contest Poster

2021 Young People's Creative Writing Contest Social Media Graphics, version 1 and version 2

Remember, young writers may enter the contest online here, starting February 1, 2021.

Who can enter the contest?

You may enter the contest if you are: 

  • Between the ages of 10 and 18 by the last day of the contest, and
  • Live in Tulsa County
    • Or attend school in Tulsa County
    • Or have a non-expired Tulsa City-County Library nonresident library card.

What are the age divisions, categories and rules for each category?

There are three age divisions - 10-12, 13-15, and 16-18. There are five categories for entries: Poetry, Short Story, Informal Essay, Short Play, and Comix. You may enter ONLY one manuscript per category, but you may enter all categories within your age division.

  • Poetry - One poem, no more than 300 words
  • Short Story - Each entry no more than 1,500 words
  • Informal Essay - A short composition on a topic or issue giving your opinion or recounting a personal experience. Limited to 1,500 words.
  • Short Play - No more than six characters, no more than three locations, no more than 10 pages. Limited to five to 10 minutes in length.
  • Comix - Entry must be complete in and of itself, and not a fragment of a larger work. No more than eight pages. Work can be with or without words, in black and white or color, and fiction or nonfiction. Computer-generated images are acceptable as long as they are original works (no clip art). Use 8 1/2" by 11" (standard) paper and submit as a flat work, not as a booklet.

How should I format my entry?

Make sure your entry adheres to the following rules. Manuscripts that are illegible, single-spaced, or that otherwise don't meet the following requirements will not be judged.

  • Do not put your name anywhere on your manuscript. That information should only be on the entry form.
  • Double-space and TYPE or PRINT LEGIBLY in blue or black ink on 8 1/2" by 11" (standard) paper. Do not use lined notebook paper.
  • Include the title and page number in the upper right-hand corner of every page, including the first page.
  • A completed and signed entry form MUST accompany each individual entry, even for the same contestant entering multiple categories.

How do I enter the contest?

Before you submit your entry:

  • Double-check that you have adhered to all the instructions regarding entries.
  • If submitting by mail or at your library, staple your manuscript and completed entry form together.
  • Don't be late! The deadline for entries in the 2021 contest is February 28, 2021.

Eligible entrants can enter their work in the contest by submitting entries:

  • In person at any library location, with a separate entry form for each entry
  • Online, by uploading their entry as a PDF file at this webpage
  • By mail, with a separate entry form for each entry (though all entries with their forms may be mailed in one envelope):

Young People's Creative Writing Contest
c/o Youth Services Department
Tulsa City-County Library
400 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK 74103-3857

Do not send your only copy of your entry. Keep a copy for yourself. Manuscripts will not be returned.

How are entries judged?

All entries are judged on the basis of content, originality, and quality of expression. Judges' decisions are final. Judges do not critique entries. All entries are anonymous when given to judges.

When/how are winners notified?

Winners will be notified by phone each year in early April, prior to the award ceremony.

Can teachers enter their students' work?

If you are a teacher submitting students' works, make sure that you have the current year's entry form and that each student completes and signs an entry form for each of their entries. Entries with incomplete forms are not judged. Please determine that your students' manuscripts comply with all contest rules before submitting.

What are the awards given?

Cash prizes are awarded as follows: $100 for first place, $50 for second place, and $25 for third place. Winners will be notified by phone and in a separate mailing from the awards program invitation.

All entrants will receive an invitation to the awards program, which will be held on the first Thursday in May, online. The current winner of the Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young People's Literature will be the featured speaker and will congratulate the award recipients.

Entrants, winners, and their families are invited to attend the awards program.

Can more than one person work on the same entry?

No, for this contest, each entry must have only one author.