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 2020 contest is open from February 1st through February 29, 2020.
2020 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:
Remember, young writers may enter the contest online here.
2019 Winning Entries
2019 Young People's Creative Writing Contest Winners
Below are this year's winners - congratulations!
1st Place: Hanah Rahmatullah, "Uniqueness"
2nd Place: Kameron Tate, "Woodland Music"
3rd Place: Isabella Ambrose, "A Poem for Papa"
1st Place: Caleb Mangesho, "The Confession Forms"
2nd Place: Sarah Rahmatullah, "The Lone Owl Calls"
3rd Place: Kyndall Cook, "The Death of Summer"
1st Place: Alexa Wicklund, "The Morning Routine of a Ghost"
2nd Place: Sarah Fitzhugh, "I Choose Not to Be Blind"
3rd Place: Anna Farley, "Hunger"
1st Place: Gabriella Ross, "Budding Tulips"
2nd Place: Shannon Pirie, "The Undreamed Dream"
3rd Place: Sia Chatterjee, "True Colors"
1st Place: Makenna Smoliak, "The Youngest Raccoon"
2nd Place: Finn Pieratt, "Imprisoned"
3rd Place: Aramaea Sewell, "Paws and Prejudice"
1st Place: Joseph Dorren, "All These Countless Breaths"
2nd Place: Kacie Anderson, "Echoes"
3rd Place: Juliette Snyder, "Real"
1st Place: Hanah Rahmatullah, "India: My Reflections"
2nd Place: Harini Senthil, "Say 'Cheese'"
3rd Place: August Dickman, "Dyslexia"
1st Place: Rachel Ray, "Zombie Bite"
2nd Place: Callie Schurr, "Close Only Counts with Shovels and Snowballs"
3rd Place: Brynlee Smith, "The World's Silent Killer"
1st Place: Charlotte Suttee, "Are You Getting Excited for Prom?"
2nd Place: Anna McMullen, "Red and Green"
3rd Place: Sarah Fitzhugh, "The Benefits of ADHD"
1st Place: Harini Senthil, "Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall"
2nd Place: Alexandra Harris, "The Orphan"
3rd Place: August Dickman, "The Smartest Game Show"
1st Place: Aubrey McNiel, "The World a Stage"
2nd Place: Trace Burchart, "If You Loved Me, You'd Like It"
3rd Place: Michal Smith, "As of Yet, Untitled"
1st Place: Elsie Burns, "Dear Mr. Nazi"
2nd Place: Juliette Snyder, "Penny Goldfish"
3rd Place: Alexa Wicklund, "Blurred Lines"
1st Place: Zoel-Joseph Louis, "Oatmeal Man and the Radiation Rampage"
2nd Place: Maddie McQuade, "Hurt"
3rd Place: Harini Senthil, "Polygon High"
1st Place: Viranda Kwok, "I Wish You Were Here"
2nd Place: Aloria Sewell, "Couch Potato"
3rd Place: Liberty Laws, "All Women, All Men"
1st Place: Leticia Almanza, "A+ Parenting"
2nd Place: Charity Farell, "See Me"
3rd Place: Caitlyn Brooner, "Aqua Life"
Writer to Watch Award
The Writer to Watch Award, given to a current winner who has won the most times previously and is aging out of the contest, was awarded to Charlotte Suttee in 2019.
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 2020 contest is February 29, 2020.
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 Friday in May, at Connor's Cove Theatre in Hardesty Regional Library. The current winner of the Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young People's Literature will be the featured speaker and will hand out the awards.
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.