Archive for the “Writing Contests” Category


On Sept. 21 the U.S. Department of Education launched the video contest “I Am What I Learn,” challenging students across America to imagine how an education can help them realize their dreams.

For the chance to win $1000, submit a video answering the question, “Why is your education important to fulfilling your dreams?”  Let your voice be heard in our nation’s capitol, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll help inspire others to believe in the power of education.

Deadline for submissions is November 2nd and winners will be announced in December. For more information about rules and submission guidelines visit the I Am What I Learn website.

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I’m a huge advocate of using film to raise awareness about important issues, so I was super excited to hear about Scenarios USA, a non-profit organization that holds an annual story, play, and scriptwriting contest for youth (ages 12-22) called “What’s the REAL DEAL?”  Teens have the opportunity to share their perspectives on the issues that today’s youth face, and the winning entries are then directed and produced by some of Hollywood’s finest talent and are ultimately distributed at film festivals, high schools, and other outlets across the country.  Some of last year’s films were directed by Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace), Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball), and Gina Prince-Blythewood (The Secret Life of Bees).

These short films address topics like communication, relationships, and decision-making and open up conversations about issues like STDs, teen pregnancy, body image and a host of other experiences written from a teen’s perspective. You can check out the inspiring short films on the Scenarios USA website, and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the next contest deadline.

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Here’s a great opportunity for all you aspiring journalists! PBS along with MacNeil/Lehrer Productions is holding its annual YOU.report competition which invites high school and middle school students to submit journalistic video reports of no more than 5 minutes on the topic of: Made in Washington - How do decisions made in Washington affect your community?

1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes will be awarded in each grade (6th-12th), and the winning submissions will be featured in a national web campaign.  The postmark deadline for entries is March 31st, 2009, and more details about submission requirements can be found on the.News website.  Good luck!

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I’m really moved by Lisa McMann, YA author of Wake and the forthcoming Fade, and her recent announcement of the Fund Your Dreams Essay Contest.  Inspired by her own challenging childhood and path to college (you can read her story here), McMann and her publisher Simon and Schuster are sponsoring a writing contest where the winner will receive $1000 to further his or her life goals.  To be considered, applicants must answer the question “What is the greatest obstacle you’ve ever overcome?” in 500 words or less.  Contest starts today and the deadline for entries is March 6, 2009.  For the official rules and more information, visit Lisa McMann’s website.  Good luck, and happy holidays!!

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Olive Garden is now accepting entries for the 13th Annual Pasta Tales Contest, and this year’s essay topic is “How would you use the Internet to change your community for the better?”

The author of the overall winning essay will receive a trip to New York City, $2500 savings bond, and a dinner at Olive Garden in Times Square.  A winner also will be chosen in each grade category and will receive a $500 savings bond and a family dinner at their local Olive Garden.

Entries must be received by December 19th, 2008.  For more details and to submit your essay visit Olive Garden’s website. !Buona fortuna!

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Calling all teen writers! Seventeen has announced a call for entries for their 2009 Fiction Contest. You could win:

• $2,500 cash prize from Scholastic

• a chance to be published in Seventeen

• lunch with Meg Cabot

• a high-performance laptop powered by Intel

To enter, click on the link below and include an original fiction short story of no more than 500 words. Or mail your entry to: Seventeen, 2009 Fiction Contest, 300 W. 57th St., 17th Floor, New York, NY 10019. Mail entry must be postmarked by December 31, 2008, and received by January 7, 2009. Submissions must be typed, double-spaced, on one side of each sheet of paper, and must not have been previously published in any form, with the exception of school publications. All entries must include your full name, age, home and e-mail addresses (if available), telephone number, date of birth, and signature in the top right-hand corner of each page of every story you enter.

Enter here, and good luck!

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The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers invites students in grades 7 - 12 to participate in The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards of 2009, the nation’s longest-running, largest, most prestigious recognition program for creative teenagers in the visual and literary arts.

To participate in The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, students must be:

  • currently enrolled in grades 7 – 12 for the 2008/2009 school year;
  • enrolled in a public, private, parochial or home school in the United States, Canada, or an American school abroad.

Students may submit in the following categories:

Visual Arts: Animation, Art Portfolio, Ceramics & Glass, Computer Art, Design, Drawing, Graphic Story, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography, Photography Portfolio, Printmaking, Sculpture, Video & Film

Writing: Dramatic Script, General Writing Portfolio, Humor, Journalism, Nonfiction Portfolio, Novel Writing, Personal Essay/Memoir, Poetry, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Short Story, Short Short Story

More than $3.25 million in scholarships are available to graduating seniors who earn national medals through the Alliance Scholarship Provider Network (PDF). Twelve Portfolio Gold Medalists will earn $10,000 scholarships from the Alliance. Select regions also offer cash awards, grants and other incentives.

Click here for local deadlines (PDF). Formatting and delivery instructions are available in the local guidelines, which can be obtained during registration.

For more information, visit the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers.

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