2019 Contest Guidelines


2019 Young Writers Contest Guidelines

Writing for Peace challenges young writers (ages 13-19) to expand their empathy skills by researching an unfamiliar culture and writing from the point-of-view of a character within that new world, while exploring social, political, and environmental pressures, and universal themes.

  • The deadline for entrance is June 1st, 2019.
  • There is no fee for participation.
  • Writers, ages 13-19, may submit in one of three categories – poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. Ages are counted from the entry date, and entrants are required to show proof of age (those images are never shared publicly).
  • Winners and published finalists will be asked to submit an author’s photograph and biography. We encourage you to explore the winners’ pages on the site to see the types of information and pictures authors share.
  • The contest is open internationally, but all submissions must be written in English and submitted with the completed form. Both American and British English are accepted.

In all divisions your work should attempt to:

  • Show day-to-day life.
  • Show family relations and friendships.
  • Show outside forces at work (weather, government/politics, social pressures, etc.)
  • Avoid stereotypes and generalizations.  Dig beneath the surface to explore common humanity and universal themes.

All submissions (even fiction) should be about a real country or culture, although it could be a country that no longer exists. For example, you could choose to write a period piece that takes place between 1918 and 1992 about Czechoslovakia, or a fiction piece about Anatolia that takes place during the 13th century. The challenge is to research the pressures faced by your characters so that you are able to convey their point-of-view convincingly.

While there are different cultures within the man-made borders of our countries, and there is value in exploring those differences, the purpose of this challenge is to stretch as a writer and develop the empathy that not only leads to powerful writing, but a greater understanding and compassion between peoples. If you feel strongly that researching a culture within your borders would be a stretch for you, and beneficial to your writing development, then we will allow it. But be sure to give a thorough explanation of your decision.

Fiction Division:

Submit an original unpublished short story of 800-1000 words in the voice of a character from another country or culture.

Poetry Division:

Submit one poem in the voice of a character from another country or culture.

Nonfiction Division:

Write an 800-1000 word essay about a social, political, environmental, or familial challenge faced by individuals within a cultural group, or a personal experience with another culture.


First, second, and third place prizes will be awarded in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry categories. Announcements will be made on July 1st on the Writing for Peace Blog. Be sure to subscribe to our blog to receive email posts and updates.

  • First place winners will receive $50. Second place winners will receive $25. Third place winners will receive $10.
  • Winners’ work, photo, bio, and a follow-up interview will be published in our August 1st, 2019, online journal, DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts.
  • Winners will be invited to participate in our 2019 Youth Summit on October 12th.
  • Finalists may be eligible for online publication in our Writing for Peace blog, and an opportunity to work with Writing for Peace editors.
  • Winners and finalists may receive invitations to participate in other Writing for Peace events, such as our Annual Youth Summit, readings, and possible mentoring opportunities.
  • The author will retain copyright of the literary work with the understanding that Writing for Peace may publish in DoveTales, online, and/or republish at a later date in a printed anthology.

Copyright © 2019 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

10 Responses to 2019 Contest Guidelines

  1. Pingback: Recharge for Upcoming Writing Deadlines | Writing For Peace

  2. Sabrina says:

    Can one person submit in multiple divisions?

  3. Anne says:

    can we write an essay on a particular topic or is it supposed to be a story with the character’s pov

  4. Aindrila Rakshit says:

    I am 17 years old but I graduated high school this month. Can I participate?
    If yes then what should I fill in the school, grade and language teacher boxes in the submission form?

  5. mika says:

    Hi, I have a question about prove of my age.
    I have a student ID which I used last year but it’s written about my birthday and year. Also it’s a school one so it’s not a kind of national thing as passport and drive license. Can I use it to prove my age?

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