Creative Writing Contests for Teens

Updated April 17, 2017

By entering creative writing contests, teenage writers can earn recognition and prizes for their talents and efforts. A number of writing contests are scams; if a fee is charged, consider who is holding the contest and where the money goes before sending money. However, many creative writing contests are run by reputable organisations and publications.

National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

One of the largest annual contests for teen writers (and artists) in the U.S., the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition was founded in 1923 by the Alliance for Young Writers and Artists. Creative writers in grades 7 through 12, including home-school students, can earn recognition and scholarships for their writing in categories, such as poetry, short story, humour and more. More than 165,000 literary and artistic works were submitted in 2010, and more than 50,000 students will receive awards in the regional competitions, with some of these students moving up the national competition. Entries are judged by professionals on originality, technical skill and emergence of a personal vision or voice. The general fee is £3 per entry or £13 for a portfolio entry as of December 2010, unless a different amount is stipulated by regional guidelines. If the fee is a barrier to entry, waivers are granted upon application.

Poetry Society of America

Since 2001 the Poetry Society of America has offered an annual writing competition for students in grades 9 through 12. Home-schooled and other alternative students are welcome along with students in traditional schools. The Louise Louis/Emily F. Bourne Student Poetry Award is bestowed for the best unpublished poem and offers a £162 prize (as of 2010). The entry fee is £3 per individual entry, but educators may submit unlimited amounts of poems -- one per student -- for a £13 entry fee, as of December 2010.

Teen Ink

"Teen Ink" holds a monthly poetry contest. Prizes include a free copy of the edition of the magazine that includes the published poem, special recognition in the magazine's print and online versions and small items, such as a pen and apparel. This monthly contest is ongoing. Also of possible interest to creative writers is the magazine's fiction writing contest. In January and June, "Teen Ink" honours one or more of the magazine's authors for outstanding fiction. Awards are similar to those for poetry. All young adult genres are accepted, from fantasy to romance. No entry fees are required, but the writer must be a teenager, 13 to 19 years old.

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About the Author

Cindy Blankenship, a California native, began reporting in 1996 for the Grants Pass Daily Courier after teaching in Hawaii where she lived 14 years. As assistant editor at the Rogue River Press, she wrote and edited several stories that earned awards from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. Her writing appears in numerous publications.