Cultivate Your Creativity with the Teen Writing Contest!

Entries accepted June 1 - July 31

Plant, nourish and watch your creativity grow this summer at the Library! Teens are invited to sow the seeds of their own creation as part of this year's Teen Writing Contest. Let your imagination blossom as you improve your writing and build skills as a storyteller.

Winners will be announced Sept. 1.

Contest Rules

 “A kind act can sometimes be as powerful as a sword.”
—Rick Riordan, The Battle of the Labyrinth

Write a 5,000-word or less short story inspired by this quote from YA fantasy author Rick Riordan. Stories must be written in prose, and there is no need to mention the quote in the story itself.

After the entry period closes on July 31, a team of qualified judges will evaluate submissions and determine the top five stories within each age group. Then, local YA authors will review the top-five selections to determine first and second-place winners in each age group. In the event of a tie, our teen librarians will review entries and determine final winners.

Submissions will be scored using a rubric based on the following criteria:

  • Addresses theme
  • Plot structure
  • Character development and dialogue
  • Language use
  • Organization and structure

Download, opens a new window and print a copy of the rubric and rules to help your narrative take root!


First and second-place winners will be awarded for both Middle School and High School categories.

  • First Place Prize: A brand-new iPad
  • Second Place Prize: A fun writing gift basket.

Winners will be announced on Sept. 1. Prizes must be picked up in person at any JCPL location. A reception celebrating the winners and runners-up in both categories will be held on Sept. 9.

Get Your Work Reviewed by YA Authors

Cultivate your skills as a young author by getting to know local authors of the YA genre. JCPL is once again partnering with a talented panel of local authors to support our up-and-coming teen writers this summer:

Writing Tips and Tricks

We love fostering creativity for our writing community just as much as we love supporting our readers! Our Writing Guide is blooming with plenty of online resources to help you develop your craft. Check out this list of writing resources specific for teens to help you cultivate your writing this summer.

2023 Library Summer Challenge: Cultivate Kindness

Learn more at