Young Writers

Contest :: 2023 Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing Competition

2023 Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing Competition from Interlochen Arts Academy

Interlochen Arts Academy’s creative writing program is accepting applications for its Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing Competition. This is open to students in grades 8-11 during the 2022-23 school year and awards a full-tuition scholarship.

Stop by the NewPages Classifieds to learn more.

Event :: 2022 Daphne Review Online Mentorship Program Session I

Daphne Review Online Mentorship banner

Every year literary magazine The Daphne Review hosts an online mentorship program for rising seniors. This year they will be hosting three sessions. The first session will take place from July 25 – August 15. In these sessions 5-7 students work with professional writers on a one-on-one basis. See their ad in the NewPages Classifieds to learn more. Mentors and students need to apply for Session I by July 11.

Magazine Review :: Youth Communication

Youth Communication My Parents are Anti Vaxxers story image

I curate the NewPages Publications for Young Writers Guide, and as much as I do this to provide a resource for young readers, writers, teachers, and parents, we could all benefit from spending some time reading the voices of young people. I was distracted from my work (a regular occurrence here, as you can imagine) when I came across “My Parents Are Anti-Vaxxers” by an anonymous contributor to YouthComm Magazine. In it, the author recounts how shocked they were when their parents went down the Facebook “Covid hoax” rabbit hole, declined vaccinations even in the face of losing a job/income, and then what they put their children through when one parent contracted the virus and declined medical care. The plaintive yet matter-of-fact style in which the author presents their perspective is frustrating to read, even heartbreaking, “It has made me question the people that I idolized growing up. The people that I believed, in my childhood innocence, could do no wrong.” Yet there is some consolation, “This experience has taught me a lot about the complexities of humans. It’s hard to accept that we can be good people and still go down the wrong paths. That things aren’t always simply black and white, though it’d be easier if they were.” And the final resolution, “But I’ve learned other people can provide guidance when your parents can’t.” It’s a sad commentary on the kind of division this experience created, and that we see continue among family, friends, and communities. It’s tough to imagine these youth experiencing the need to break away from their parents’ ideologies, but at the same time, encouraging that they (and we all) may be better off as adults as a result.

Youth Communication offers short, nonfiction stories and related lessons to help students improve their reading and writing skills, and improve the social and emotional skills that support school success. They provide workshops and publications, including Represent Magazine: Stories by Teens in Foster Care.

New Lit on the Block :: Chicago Young Writers Review

Chicago Young Writers Review literary magazine Winter 2022 cover image

NewPages welcomes Chicago Young Writers Review to the scene, “a space uniquely created with the K-8 students in mind” says founder Daria Volkova. A native Chicagoan, Volkova wanted to preserve Chicago’s influence on her as a dynamic, diverse, multiethnic and multicultural city in their organization’s name. “We encourage young authors from all backgrounds to submit their work. In fact, we’ve had the most enthusiastic response from the communities of color and immigrant communities in and around Chicago. We also wanted the name to speak to our mission. There is an abundance of literary magazines for older writers, but there are less accessible spaces for the younger kids with whom we work. By including the ‘young writers’ within our name, we are stating exactly what we are and who we were made for. We are a playground (forgive the pun) for young creators to gain confidence in their work and blossom into stronger readers, thinkers, and writers.”

Continue reading “New Lit on the Block :: Chicago Young Writers Review”

New Lit On the Block :: The Prose Train

The Prose Train is a unique online publication that is more than just a place to find great reading, it is also a place for young writers to engage in the writing process with other writers. The concept is in the name, according to Founder and Executive Director Irene Tsen, “’Prose’ refers to the short stories we create, and ‘Train’ refers to the collaborative aspect of how writers add sentences sequentially. Our slogan, ‘train your prose,’ is a rearrangement of our name, encapsulating how writers who join The Prose Train improve their skills with a different type of writing.”

Continue reading “New Lit On the Block :: The Prose Train”

Young Writer Summer Mentor Program

Adroit Journal logo

Now in its tenth year, The Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program is an entirely online program that pairs experienced writers with high school and secondary students (students in grades 9-12 and gap year students, high school class of ’21 or ’22) interested in learning more about the creative writing processes of drafting, redrafting, and editing. The program offers mentorships in the genres of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. The aim of the program is not formalized instruction, but rather an individualized, flexible, and often informal correspondence. Poetry students will share weekly work with mentors and peers, while fiction and creative nonfiction/memoir students will share biweekly work with mentors and peers.

Participation in the mentorship for students who do not qualify for financial aid will cost $450 per mentee. There is no application fee. Mentee applicants for whom tuition will be a barrier are assured that fee remission and robust financial aid will be available.

Applications will be open through March 15, 2022.

Publications for Young Writers

Drawn image of a face in profile looking at a full moon with the words Community Journalism Project

NewPages maintains two guides where young readers and writers can find print and online literary magazines to read, places to publish their own works, and legitimate contests: Publications for Young Writers and Writing Contests for Young Writers. Both of these are ad-free resources regularly updated with carefully vetted content.

Many of the magazines listed on NewPages Publications for Young Writers include resources to inspire and mentor writing. One such publication is the Young Writers Project that features a full year’s worth of writing and visual art “Challenges.” These are organized by week, with all entries in response to these prompts being considered for various publications, including the monthly digital magazine, The Voice, as well as for the YWP annual anthology.

In addition to this, YWP’s Community Journalism Project runs weekly prompts based on “newsy, issue-based challenges” as well as a special Climate Change Project.

These are wonderful resources for teachers to use in the classroom as well as for anyone mentoring young readers or writers in their lives.

Girls Right the World Seeks Submissions

NewPages maintains two guides where young readers and writers can find print and online literary magazines to read, places to publish their own works, and legitimate contests: Publications for Young Writers and Writing Contests for Young Writers. Both of these are ad-free resources regularly updated with carefully vetted content.

Girls Right the World is one of those listed, their mission is to provide an “an international literary journal advocating for young, female-identified writers and artists. This journal values and promotes diversity of culture and expression.” The publication is edited by students at Miss Hall’s School in Massachusetts. Currently, Girls Right the World has extended their deadline for submissions.

Female-identified writers and artists, ages 14–21, are invited to submit poetry, prose, and visual art of any style or theme for consideration for the sixth annual issue by January 31, 2022. For full submission information, visit their site here.

Contests for Young Writers

Image of a poster for the I Matter poetry contest

NewPages maintains two guides where young readers and writers can find print and online literary magazines to read, places to publish their own works, and legitimate contests: Publications for Young Writers and Writing Contests for Young Writers. Both of these are ad-free resources regularly updated with carefully vetted content.

The Lions Club International Peace Essay Contest is one of those listed, and the 2020-2021 winning essay “Peace Through Service” by 13-year-old Australian Joshua Wood is a beautiful example of the kinds of writing these contests can inspire. He can be seen/heard reading his essay on the site here, and his essay is available to read online or download to print.

If you know young readers and writers in your life, or if you yourself enjoy writing for young readers, check out these guides today!

[Image: National Youth Foundation poster for the “I Matter Poetry Contest.”]

RYPA 2021

I am delighted each time the annual Rattle Young Poets Anthology appears wrapped in the package with the companion issue of Rattle. Over twenty poets ranging from age five to fifteen are featured in this year’s publication. It would be easy to fall into the trap of saying, “These are great poems for writers so young,” when the truth is quite simply: These are great poems. The opening work by Maria Arrango, “¿Identity?” which begins “El president Donald Trump said / they’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. // My brown sugar skin delicately / compresses me with warmth / as I try to understand / the anatomy of my body.” is the immediate indicator that these young poets hold their own among their elder peers. Age is indeed just a number.

There are poems that disrupt the idea of idyllic youth, such as Matthew Burk’s “The Roller Coaster” and Maria Gil Harris’s “Like Magic,” as well as those that confront reality, like Adrianna Ho’s “Pasta Sandwiches in Quarantine” and Ivy Hoffman’s “Only Days Before Leaving for College, I Note the Existence of My Brother.” Some poems reach deep to connect imagery and emotion: Ha Trang Tran’s “A Love Letter for Home,” imagining a “grand return” to Hà Nộ, and Hannah Straub’s “Cadillac Mountain” with haunting lines like, “Though I was not falling / I was stumbling, in the way I clung to people / I could not reach, memories as useless / As the wire guardrails.” And there are plenty of works that raised a smile through their intellectual rhetoric, like “The Weight of Heavens” by Emma Hoff, which begins with the barb, “Was the minotaur / Really / A monster?” Kakul Gupta’s “Ten Haiku” are each effective meditations, and Mackenzie Munoz’s “Catching Dreams” reaches the metaphysic, while other works were just plain fun, like Paul Ghatak’s “Counting to One,” Grant’s “Lions Roar,” and Melissa A. Di Martino’s “Saive Me By Thes Wendrous.” Shreya Vikram’s “DIY Project” is the kind of poem that can only be experienced, and with good reason, as, in response to the Contributor’s Note question, “Why do you like writing poetry?” Vikram’s answer begins, “Without poetry, I’d waste language.”

For any readers out there with young writers in your circle, please introduce them to Rattle and this annual collection. It’s essential for young writers to connect with other young writers and find encouragement for their own reading, writing, and submissions. For more resources, check out the NewPages Young Writers Guide to Publications and NewPages Young Writers Guide to Contests.

[It is challenging to include mention of every work in a review, but I want to acknowledge the remaining poets from this collection and commend them for their contributions, all of which brought me immense pleasure to read: Natalia Chepel, Natalie Friis, Kevin Gu, Jessie Johnson, Dahee Joy Kang, Chloe Lin, Naomi Ling, Joseph Miner, and Perry Sloan.]