Short Story & Poetry Writing Contests
Beside being overachievers, all three share one other trait: they could’ve been eligible for the Rotary Club of Summit County and Summit County Library’s writing contest! The Rotary Club has hosted the contest for several years, offering winners cash prizes, celebratory dinners, and a column in the Summit Daily for winning entries.
This year, Summit County Library is helping expand the contest. Young authors may submit short stories and/or poems, and submissions can now include works from BOTH middle school- and high school-aged writers!
Anyone between 6th and 12th grade, whether enrolled in a Summit School District school or not, may submit one or more entries. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three submissions in four different categories: middle school poetry, middle school short stories, high school poetry, and high school short stories.
Some entries may even find their way onto the shelves at a Summit County Library branch near you!
Why submit? Why write? Why should a student spend their precious free time penning poems and scribbling stories?
- Beside a chance at money, glory, and perhaps even a lucrative movie deal (Christopher Paolini was 15 when he started writing Eragon; the movie may have been disappointing, but I doubt the money, fame, and fast-track to future NYT-best sellers were). Young writers can hone a lifelong skill and develop a guiding passion; expertise that will lead them to rewarding careers.
Take the author of this blog as an example. In sixth grade, his teacher urged him to participate in his library’s writing contest. The young wanna-be NFL/World Cup/astronaut-superstar begrudgingly set aside his other dreams and agreed to try. He found an idea, wrote his story, and won! Twelve years later, he’s a librarian in love with what he does.
- Clear and effective communication is, was, and will be necessary for success in any career. Storytelling and poetry are two fantastic means to practice. When writing a story, every word carries weight. Extraneous adjectives can and should be ditched, especially when a more powerful verb will do the trick. When writing poetry, a weak word eats into your rhythm and meter without giving the reader anything hearty to chew on. Those skills will transfer when writing college application letters, cover letters, and even the banal world of inter-office emails (every adult reading this can name one peer incapable of coherence).
- The best education comes when a student is having fun—when they read books they enjoy and write the stories they want to tell. (Check out our Rocky Mountain Readers and It's a Hardback Life book clubs to have some fun reading with peers!)
- At the end of the day, there’s one final reason to write. It’s rather plain and insignificant to the stars above, but imperative to sustaining the never-before-seen idea that is you: It’s just fun.
When asked why writes, author Jerry Spinelli said, “As a writer, I can be everything. And everybody…You become that goofy, always-in-trouble kid you dreamed up. You become that group of terrified kids on the runaway school bus. You become the snaggle-toothed monster lurking in the clothes closet. And the better you become these creations, the better you write. In short, you are a storyteller. Is there anything better to be?”
What to submit?
- Poems: Sonnet. Haiku, Free Verse, Acrostic, Cinquain, Limerick, Tanka, etc
- Short Stories: On any subject!
What age can enter?
Middle and High School students
How to submit?
- Email submission (as Word Document) to Marcy24148@gmail.com
- Please include your name, email, phone number and school (or if home-schooled) on your entry
- Subject: Grade Level/Entry Type Ex. High School Poetry Contest
Is there a length limit?
What do I need to submit by?
Sunday, March 17, 2024
What are the prizes?
The top 3 winners in each contest (middle and high school) will earn CASH PRIZES! ($300, $200, $100) A published anthology of winning and meritorious entries will also be available for purchase.