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 2022 contest will open from February 1st through February 28, 2022.

Enter the 2022 Young People's Creative Writing Contest online here, starting February 1, 2022!


Find the 2021 winners' names and entries below.

Young People's Creative Writing Contest FAQs

2021 Winning Entries

2021 Young People's Creative Writing Contest Winners

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



1st Place: Elliott Bellassai, "My Dream"

2nd Place: Sanya Irlinger, "Faraway Friends"

3rd Place: Ava Brown, "Wildest Dream"


1st Place: Elaine Gao, "What the West Wind Saw"

2nd Place: Abigail Coakley, ""Human", a reverse poem"

3rd Place: Madileen Reimer, "My Birthday Sleepover"


1st Place: Alexa Wicklund, "Daughter"

2nd Place: Julie Allison, "Polly"

3rd Place: Jazyn Sanchez, "Quinceañera"

Short Story


1st Place: Danica Glidden, "A Valentine's Coming Out"

2nd Place: Abigail Woodward, "The Giving Girl"

3rd Place: Hudson Avery, "A Ninja Quest"


1st Place: Miriam Logsdon, "Babcia's Necklace"

2nd Place: Elaine Gao, "Who's the Robot?"

3rd Place: Dykota Williamson, "Chasing Stars"


1st Place: Trace Burchart, "A Comprehensive List of Things That I Hate"

2nd Place: Abigail Fincher, "A Wish for Beth"

3rd Place: Victoria Clingan, "The Dog Hates Greg"

Informal Essay


1st Place: Adelaide Mize, "My Favorite Mistake"

2nd Place: Dhea Pushpraj, "Therapists for School"

3rd Place: Isaac Blalock, "Tulsa Race Riot Massacre"


1st Place: Lauren Fairfield, "Inside Joke"

2nd Place: Oswaldo Atilano, "The Fear Among Immigrants"

3rd Place: Molly Avery, "The Peet Incident"


1st Place: Sarah Ray, "Five O'Clock Memories"

2nd Place: Natasha Perez, "Exploring Atlas"

3rd Place: Alexa Wicklund, "Quarantine Blues"

Short Play


Not enough entries received to judge


1st Place: Harini Senthil, "Life in Balance"

2nd Place: Elaine Gao, "Monica"

3rd Place: Charlotte Palmer, "After the Wizard of Oz"


1st Place: Trace Burchart, "Little Miss Conspiracy"

2nd Place: Aramaea Sewell, "Examination"

3rd Place: Briana-Miracle Louis, "King "The" Finds His Raison D'etre"



1st Place: Ash Garringer, "Jhon the Ninja and the Horrible Hungry Bots"

2nd Place: Julia Isley, "The Choice Before Us"

3rd Place: Sian Thawng, "Nightmare"


1st Place: Eowyn Garringer, "Tribute"

2nd Place: Nathan Thompson, "Checkmate!"

3rd Place: Harini Senthil, "When Pigs Fly"


1st Place: Lillian Philips, "Snake Eyes"

2nd Place: Aloria Sewell, "Concealed"

3rd Place: Makenna Smoliak, "Love"

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 Alexa Wicklund.

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.