Do you remember the feeling when you saw your name in print in the Writers In the Schools anthology, when you read your work at a Café reading, or saw it included in WITS online chapbooks? Here’s how to achieve that feeling again. And if you never published before, but have a stack of your favorite art and writing sitting on your desk, this is a perfect place to start.
The exciting thing about being young and unknown is that many experienced writers are dedicated to your growth and run publications that want to give you constructive criticism and edit your work. Spend some time browsing the links below for publications that fit your writing style, and send in your most polished work.
***Remember that if you are under 18, most of these publications require some form of parental permission.***
Publications for Young Authors:
Aerie International: A literary magazine for young adult writers based at a high school in Montana. The magazine is published once per year, and accepts poetry, short prose (fiction and nonfiction), and poetry in languages other than English along with translations. Submissions are due by February 1 of each year.
The Blue Pencil Online: Online journal for writers ages 12-18.
Not only do they publish fiction, verse, playwriting and essays, but they also publish translations of work from foreign languages to English, as well as audio recordings of interviews and readings. They also offer large scholarship prizes for students who submit to Blue Pencil Online—up to $6,000 in prize money a year!
Blue Pencil is also a great place to read the work of other young writers—you can download a PDF of every Blue Pencil edition for free off the website.
chixLIT: Print ‘zine for girls ages 13-17
By girls, for girls! This ’zine includes a lively online community and chixPIX photo gallery. They publish poems, short shorts, reviews, rants, love letters, and songs—but only your shorter ones (300 words max). Young writers just like you edit the ’zine, and if you are interested in editing, you can apply via email. To submit work, visit the chixLIT website to fill out a submission form where you will also upload your work.
The Claremont Review: Canadian print journal publishing the short stories, poems, short plays, graphic art, photography, and interviews crafted by students between the ages of 13 and 19.
The coolest thing about the Claremont Review is that the editing team of professional writers will reply to your submission with comments and suggestions, whether or not they decide to publish you.
Cicada Magazine: An esteemed, bimonthly print magazine for young writers ages 14+. The magazine welcomes submissions for many different categories:
The magazine accepts fiction, non-fiction, poetry, artwork, and also submissions to their “expressions category”—where you can express your opinion and observation about anything. Cicada is especially looking for HUMOR! Of absolutely any kind, even the laughing-through-tears kind. Visit the Cicada’s webpage for detailed information on general submissions.
You might also answer the Call for Creative Endeavors , a recurring opportunity for young po
ets, photographers, and visual artists to submit work centered on a particular theme, the most recent of which is MEMORY.
**Another resource you can access through Cicada’s website is THE SLAM—I write in all caps because it is a brutally honest, “not for the faint of heart,” online writing forum, where you can submit your work to be critiqued by anyone who visits the website. A little scary but could be awesomely helpful. www.cicadamag.com/theslam
Figment: An online community for writers of all ages
Figment is an online community where you can share your writing, connect with other readers, and discover new authors and stories. You can sign up for Figment using Facebook, Twitter or your personal email; once you are signed in, you can read stories posted by other writers, browse different groups and chat forums, or submit to one of Figment’s many writing contests. Figment is an online presence only, and they don’t publish a print magazine. This creative and dynamic website is a great way for young writers to get their work out there and connect with students who share their love of writing.
Hanging Loose Press: Print publication primarily for new writers, with a section devoted to high school writers. Hanging Loose Press has also published many works by Sherman Alexie!
The editors of Hanging Loose Magazine take young writers seriously. If you include a note with your submission asking for editorial advice, they will spend the time to respond to you and your work. Students may submit 3-6 poems or 1-3 short stories per submission. Detailed submission guidelines may be found here.
Louisville Review: A poetry journal with a “Children’s Corner” that publishes the poetry of student writers (k-12). From their website: “The Louisville Review accepts submissions of previously unpublished poetry from students in grades K-12. We seek writing that looks for fresh ways to recreate scenes and feelings. Honest emotion and original imagery are more important to a poem than rhyming and big topics—such as life, moralizing, and other abstractions.”
Native Youth Magazine: An online magazine for Native American youth that accepts submissions.
Navigating the Maze: A print anthology of poetry and artwork from teens in grades 6-12. Navigating the Maze also accepts class submissions from art and English teachers.
Polyphony H.S.: An international, student-run print journal for high schoolers that publishes poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.
The editors are devoted to helping you improve your writing and enter the larger literary community so they provide feedback for every submission, whether accepted or not. You can also apply to be a reader or editor for the magazine.
A River & Sound Review: This Pacific Northwest online journal accepts poetry, fiction, non-fiction and humor. Two issues come out each year, in the spring and fall. They also publish translations of the above categories and create podcasts out of live literary productions.
Skipping Stones: This children’s magazine based in Eugene focuses especially on publishing work produced by writers from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. They accept work from both children and adults, but their focus age group is 7-17. They ask especially for stories about your family and home lif, personal experiences, and cultural heritage. They also accept art and recipes.
Speak Up Press: This press publishes Speak Up Online quarterly, which features the poetry, fiction, and non-fiction of teens ages 13-19.
Teen Ink: A website and print magazine for teens (13-19).
The Writer’s Slate: An online anthology of work submitted by student writers in kindergarten through 12th grade and published three times per year. One of these issues is devoted each year to the work of contest winners.
Writing Contests for Young Authors:
The Annual Elizabeth Bishop Prizes: Named in honor of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop and sponsored by The Blue Pencil Online, these prizes are given each year in the categories of poetry, fiction, and playwriting. Winners are given $3,000 scholarships that fully cover tuition to Summer Writing Program at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Metro West Boston. Winners’ also have their work published The Blue Pencil Online and receive copies of Elizabeth Bishop’s Poems, Prose, and Letters.
Annual Ray Bradbury Creative Contest: A creative writing contest open to writers of all ages, in honor of beloved science fiction writer Ray Bradbury who passed away in 2012.
Bennington College Young Writers Awards: Organized each year by Bennington College, this contest welcomes fiction, nonfiction, and poetic submissions from students in grades 10-12. First and second place prizes of $500 and $250 respectively are awarded in each category of writing.
The Fire Escape Writing Contests: Fire escape holds annual writing contests for both fiction and poetry. The contests are open to writers ages 13-19 who were themselves, or who have one or two parents who were born in another country. The Fire Escape is looking for stories and poems that reflect the joys and struggles of navigating two cultures.
Leonard L. Milberg ‘53 Secondary School Poetry Prize: A poetry contest for students in their junior year of high school administered by Princeton University. Students may submit up to 3 poems to be judged by a jury made up of members of the university’s creative writing faculty. The first-, second-, and third-place winners receive prizes of $500, $250, and $100 respectively.
Letters About Literature: A reading and writing contest sponsored by the Library of Congress for students in grades 4-12. Each year students read books, poems, and speeches, and are invited to write a letter to an author (living or deceased) whose work personally affects their lives. Letters are judged at state and national levels.
Lewis and Clark National Historic Park Youth Nature Writing Contest: High school students (grades 9-12) are invited to submit 500-word nonfiction stories centered on hiking. $100 goes to the first-place winner, $75 to the writer who comes in second, and $50 for third place.
NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program: November is National Novel Writing Month, and there is a resource-rich program made especially for young novelists. Young writers set word-count goals for themselves, which they write diligently to meet by the end of November. Encouragement from the community of NaNoWriMo participants is abundant. All participants receive certificates.
Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers: This contest is open to sophomores and juniors in high schools across the world. The first-place writer will receive a full scholarship to attend the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop and a publication spot in the renowned literary journal The Kenyon Review. The two runners-up will also have their work featured in the journal. Deadline to submit is November 30!
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards: A highly esteemed, genre-spanning contest with a 90-year history sponsored by Scholastic, Inc. The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers identifies teenagers with exceptional artistic and literary talent and brings their remarkable work to a national audience. This is not an opportunity that you will want to miss!
Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing Competition: First-prize winners receive a $30,000 Creative Writing Scholarship to the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy boarding high school and publication in the Interlochen Review. Contestants must submit both poetry and prose.
The Writing Conference, Inc.: The Writing Conference, Inc. sponsors writing contests for elementary, middle and high school students. Students may create a poem, narrative, or essay. Each of the first place winners will receive a plaque and the option to have their work published in The Writers’ Slate.