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Rita Williams-Garcia with the winners of the 2019 Young People's Creative Writing Contest
Young People's Creative Writing Contest Banner Image, white with multicolored tree, bird, and book


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 2024 contest is now open from February 1st through February 29, 2024.

Enter the 2024 Young People's Creative Writing Contest online here!

Find the 2023 winners' names and entries below.

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Young People's Creative Writing Contest FAQs

2023 Winning Entries

2023 Young People's Creative Writing Contest Winners

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

Poetry

10-12

1st Place: Fatma Nur Altinalan, "Glass Frog"

2nd Place: Juliette Jackson, "The Story of a Flower"

3rd Place: Abby Pontious, "The Sock Monster"

13-15

1st Place: Griffin Rørvik, "Death of an Ant"

2nd Place: Khadeeja Arastu, "To Run"

3rd Place: Isabella Damon, "Pretty"

16-18

1st Place: Emma Cinocca, "After Eighteen Years of Mispronunciation"

2nd Place: Adi Jones Radford, "Seeker, Receive Me"

3rd Place: Lila Warlick, "The White Whale Turned Boy "

Short Story

10-12

1st Place: Annika Walker, "The Elephant Sanctuary"

2nd Place: Sam Saint Laurent, "World War of Woe"

3rd Place: Dontay Adams, "The Personal Life of a Sandal"

13-15

1st Place: Kade Johnson, "Goldie’s Revenge"

2nd Place: Olivia Ragan, "Indiscriminate Imagination"

3rd Place: Violet Voelker, "Leia and Atasi"

16-18

1st Place: Lila Warlick, "Sunbeam"

2nd Place: Elizabeth Scheer, "The Bradbury Residence"

3rd Place: Ashlyn Fuller, "D. B. Cooper: The Ultimate Hide-and-Seek Champion"

Informal Essay

10-12

1st Place: Nathan Riffe, "Effects of Biotechnology"

2nd Place: Grey Garringer, "My Best Friend Squirrel"

3rd Place: Marsiha Chowdhury, "Fight for Freedom"

13-15

1st Place: Mykail Ford, "We Ain't Wrong: Why Black English Should be Considered Proper"

2nd Place: Ravie Rørvik, "Of Velvet Millipedes and Chocolate Lullabies"

3rd Place: Judah Brown, "Privacy as a Right"

16-18

1st Place: Gracie Earley, "Different"

2nd Place: Emma Cinocca, "The Uncertainty Princple"

3rd Place: Elaine Gao, "I Want My Water Hot"

Short Play

10-12

There were not enough entries to judge this category.

13-15

1st Place: Ravie Rørvik, "Nose to the Grindstone"

2nd Place: Natalia Guerra, "Small Repairs with Japanese Paper"

3rd Place: Hayden Armstrong, "The Powerful, Clueless, Adorable Lord"

16-18

1st Place: Jacob Shaddock, "The Indignity of the Peanut"

2nd Place: Gracie Earley, "The Overpopulation Committee"

3rd Place: Denise Dominguez, "Eleven Fifty-nine"

Comix

10-12

1st Place: Constance Palmer, "Gummy Bear"

2nd Place: Jared Purley, "Epic Man"

3rd Place: River Wilson, "Radioactive Food Crew"

13-15

1st Place: Ash Garringer, "Heist"

2nd Place: Osvaldo Carrillo, "Annie"

3rd Place: Lexi Sevrinus, "Friends in the Forest"

16-18

1st Place: Gracie Earley, "The Harlequinade"

2nd Place: Eowyn Garringer, "The Delivery Drivers"

3rd Place: Trinity Concepcion, "Behind Closed 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 will be announced at the ceremony on May 5, 2023.

2024 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:

2024 Young People's Creative Writing Contest Entry Form (to attach to print entries)

2024 Young People's Creative Writing Contest Poster

2024 Young People's Creative Writing Contest Social Media Graphics, Size 1; size 2 

Remember, writers may enter the contest online here, starting February 1, 2024.

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 2023 contest is February 28, 2023.

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 email or 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. 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.