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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 2020 contest is open from February 1st through February 29, 2020.

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

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Young People's Creative Writing Contest FAQs

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:

2021 Young People's Creative Writing Contest Entry Brochure (coming in early January 2021)

2021 Young People's Creative Writing Contest Poster (coming in early January, 2021)

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

2020 Winning Entries

2020 Young People's Creative Writing Contest Winners

Below are this year's winners - congratulations!

Poetry

10-12

1st Place: 

2nd Place: 

3rd Place: 

13-15

1st Place: 

2nd Place: 

3rd Place: 

16-18

1st Place: 

2nd Place: 

3rd Place: 

Short Story

10-12

1st Place: 

2nd Place: 

3rd Place: 

13-15

1st Place: 

2nd Place: 

3rd Place:

16-18

1st Place: 

2nd Place: 

3rd Place: Juliette Snyder, "Real"

Informal Essay

10-12

1st Place: 

2nd Place: 

3rd Place: 

13-15

1st Place: 

2nd Place: 

3rd Place: 

16-18

1st Place: 

2nd Place: 

3rd Place: 

Short Play

10-12

1st Place: 

2nd Place: 

3rd Place: 

13-15

1st Place: 

2nd Place: 

3rd Place: 

16-18

1st Place: 

2nd Place: 

3rd Place: 

Comix

10-12

1st Place: 

2nd Place: 

3rd Place: 

13-15

1st Place: 

2nd Place: 

3rd Place: 

16-18

1st Place: 

2nd Place: 

3rd Place: 

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 [WINNER] in 2020.

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 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.