2022 Young Writers Contest Rules

Who May Enter:
All students in grades 1-12 in Huntsville, Madison City, and Madison County public, private, virtual and home schools are eligible.

When to Enter:
The 54th Annual Young Writers Contest opens on February 1, 2022.
All entries must be submitted by midnight March 4, 2022.

Entry Categories
Grades 1, 2
Lower Elementary Poetry
No more than 300 words

Grades 3, 4, 5
Upper Elementary Poetry
No more than 300 words

Grades 6, 7, 8
Junior Poetry
No more than 300 words
Junior Short Story
Minimum story length of 800 words and no more than 2,000 words

Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
Senior Poetry
No more than 400 words
Senior Short Story
Minimum story length of 800 words and no more than 2,500 words
Senior Art Work
Image size not to exceed 5MB

Contest Entry Rules


1. All entries must be the original work of the individual student with only general constructive assistance from the teacher. Plagiarism or cheating has not been and will not be tolerated by the Young Writers Contest Committee and judges. Teachers and parents, please emphasize the importance of original creations. (We realize that some young students may require parent/teacher assistance with online submissions. This is perfectly acceptable, provided the entry content is the student’s original work.)

2. Entries must NOT have been previously published elsewhere, including school newspapers and magazines, and must NOT have previously received recognition in another contest. An entry must NOT be sent simultaneously to the Young Writers Contest and to any other contest or publication except to the student’s own school magazine, other school or PTA sponsored contest.

3. All Poetry and Short Story Entries should have a title included in the poem or short story.

4.There should be NO identifying information (name, school, email) included in the entry.

5. Each student may submit no more than one entry in each category.

6. Children of the judges may not enter the contest under the same category in which the parent is a judge.

7. The Young Writers Contest may not be judged by any teacher employed in the city, county, or private school where the contest is held.

8. For all entry categories, students will submit entries online at the website HLAYoungWriters.org. Students must first register for the contest on that site, after which they can then upload their entry to the site. When the student’s entry is received by the site, it is automatically assigned a unique number. There must be no student information in the entry itself or in the file name, so that the contest judges will see only the assigned number when evaluating an entry. Poetry and Short Story entries should be .doc, .docx, .odt, .rtf or .txt files and comply with the length requirements for the entry category. Senior Art Work entries should be .jpg, .jpeg, or .png files with a maximum file size of 5MB. There should be no identifying information in the art work itself.

9. HLA reserves the right to make no awards in a category if, in the opinion of the judges, there are no qualifying entries of sufficient quality to merit the award.

If pandemic restrictions allow, all winners, their parents, and teachers will be guests of HLA at the annual Awards Ceremony and reception on May 1, 2022, to be held at Chan Auditorium in the Business Administration Bldg. on the UAH campus. 1St, 2nd and 3rd place Poetry and Short Story winning entries will be published in the Awards Ceremony booklet. The 1st place Art Work will appear on the front cover and the 2nd and 3rd place Art Works will appear on the back cover.

For more information contact:
Melissa Ford Thornton, Chair @ writershaven@knology.net
or Carol Ashburn Roach, Co-Chair @ cashroche@bellsouth.net

This program is made possible with a grant from the Huntsville Arts and Cultural Grant Program.