Note:  This is a work-in-progress, as these are just the ways I’ve gotten my work out there.  I’d love to hear what other opportunities exist!

youngARTS:  Sponsored by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, this program selects up to 20 creative writers in the genres of poetry, short fiction, novel, script, and nonfiction to attend an all-expenses paid week in Miami (no, really—and in January, no less).  All attendees will earn anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000 for their work, and those winners who receive the $10,000 or the $5,000 awards will also get a free week in New York City.

This program is also the selection process for Presidential Scholar in the Arts,

Nominating up to 60 artists out of the 150 invited to Miami. 20 are ultimately selected for an all-expenses paid trip to DC.  (It seems like most years 4 or 5 writers are nominated; my year had 10.  And for whatever reason, we do better than other art forms at making our nominees Presidential Scholars.)


OPEN TO:  17-and-18-year-old high school seniors and college freshmen


Scholastics Art and Writing Awards:  In my opinion, this is really the best contest for young students.  You can enter in your local region or in Region-at-Large in one of a kajillion categories (your best bet will be in the more obscure categories like Humor).  Regional Gold Key winners are then forwarded for national adjudication, and national Honorable Mentions, Silver Keys, and Gold Keys (in total, about 1,200 kids nationwide) are invited to a ceremony at Carnegie Hall in June (not all-expenses paid, sadly).

Further, about 50 pieces will be published in Scholastics annual Best Teen Writing anthology.  High school seniors also have the opportunity to submit writing portfolios with the opportunity for up to $10,000 in award money.


OPEN TO:  All high school students

APPLICATION DUE BY:  Winter; specific date will vary by region

Polyphony H.S:  The only national literary magazine solely for high school students.  The strength of the voices included is highly impressive—it’s worth buying an old edition just to take a look.

They also have editing opportunities for high school students, with several ranks involving different time commitments.  The earlier you start, the more rungs you can climb before you graduate.


OPEN TO:  All high school students

DEADLINE:  Mid-April for submissions; anytime to join the staff (must commit through August)

Also try:  The Apprentice Writer, Cicada, The Louisville Review, and The Claremont Review.  Or look on the website for your state’s writing society.  Or email local college professors and ask if they would mind emailing occasionally about your work.

Etc.  The possibilities are endless if you keep your eyes open.  So let go of those little darlings and see what people have to say about your work.