Go to Content
Columbia College Chicago
Young Authors
Print this PageEmail this Page

Young Authors

Dear Student,

The Columbia College Chicago Department of Creative Writing announces the YOUNG AUTHORS 2014 writing competition. Young Authors began as a local contest in 1995. Since then, this national competition has received tens of thousands of submissions from high school students across the country. This year, in addition to fiction and creative nonfiction, we have a new category: poetry. So if you're a 9th-12th grade student interested in writing, we invite you to submit up to two manuscripts in each category: fiction, creative nonfiction, and/or poetry.

In an effort to conserve paper, we will accept only electronic submissions during the submission period beginning November 18, 2013, through January 11, 2014. Submissions will not be accepted before or after the submission window.

Thank you for submitting. The submission window is now closed.

This contest offers an opportunity for you to become involved in the submission process. First-, second-, and third-place winners in each category will receive a cash prize of $200, $100, or $50, respectively. Winning entry excerpts will be published online.

We hope you will submit a manuscript or two (limit two entries per category) for consideration by our judges. This year's judges are:

Poetry Judge: Tony Trigilio, Director of Poetry Programs, Professor
Creative Nonfiction Judge: Garnett Kilberg-Cohen, Director of Undergraduate Nonfiction, Professor
Fiction Judge: Nami Mun, Director of Undergraduate Fiction, Assistant Professor

Out of respect for the integrity of students' writing efforts, we set no limitations on content or language. Students may submit in a range of prose forms, including short story, novel excerpt, letter story, folktale, story-within-a-story, parody, and dream story, to name a few. Fiction Guidelines: 10-page max, double-spaced, 12-point type. Submissions longer than 10 pages will not be considered.

Creative Nonfiction is a genre of fact-based storytelling distinguished from journalism, reportage, and the traditional high school composition assignment by the use of fictional techniques and by the invested presence of the writer's personal voice and vision.

Drawing on the techniques and forms of fiction writers—scene, character, dialogue, point-of-view, gestural imagery, and narration—creative nonfiction emerges out of the strongest vein of fiction writing to explore and interpret research and personal experience in the literary traditions of Truman Capote, Zora Neale Hurston, and Mark Twain. Creative Nonfiction Guidelines: 10-page max, double-spaced, 12-point type. Submissions longer than 10 pages will not be considered.

Poetry is more than just rhymes and pretty language. A poem can be dark or funny or have no rhymes at all.  It can be messy or clean. There are no limitations to content or form: prose poems, long poems, short poems, lyric poems, list poems, love poems, political poems, sonnets, villanelles, haiku, and much more. We are looking for original poetry in all forms, styles, and subjects. Poetry Guidelines: 3-5 poems (one-poem-per-page), 10-page max, 12-point type.

Limit two (2) entries per category.

The Department of Creative Writing is proud of its students' and faculty's many individual writing awards. Our Department publishes a number of award-winning publications including Hair Trigger, F Magazine, Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, Hotel America, and the South Loop Review.

You can learn more about each publication at www.colum.edu/Academics/CreativeWriting/Publications/.

As we extend Columbia College's mission into the community—"to educate students who will communicate creatively and shape the public's perceptions of issues and events and who will author the culture of their times"—we can't imagine a better place to begin than with you. We look forward to a relationship with you, your parents, your counselors, and your teachers.

For further information on programs sponsored by the Department of Creative Writing, including fiction workshops in Columbia's High School Summer Institute and the full four-year undergraduate BA and BFA majors in the Department of Creative Writing (including all forms of fiction writing, poetry, and creative nonfiction writing, as well as publishing and teaching classes), see www.colum.edu/Academics/CreativeWriting/. You are also welcome to email us at creativewriting@colum.edu or call (312) 369-7611.

You can also keep up with the Department of Creative Writing announcements and news on Twitter.  Find us @dcwccc.

Matthew Shenoda
Chair, Department of Creative Writing