Young Writers Contest

Since 1984, the West Virginia Young Writers Contest has celebrated student writing in the state. The contest grows out of a deep commitment to writing in all subjects, and to the publishing, displaying, and celebrating of student writing.

Contest Guidelines
Teachers and administrators in each county will encourage students to submit writing for judging, first at the school, and then the county level. Submissions may be on any topic and in any prose genre: fiction, nonfiction, narrative, memoir, or essay. Poetry is not eligible for submission and submissions must be free of graphics. Entries should be the sole creation of the student and composed during the current school year. The entry should be drafted in a manner which best supports the use of process writing and the concept of the writer’s workshop.

Home-schooled students and students in private schools may participate, subject to the guidelines and supervision by the county in which they reside. YWC County Coordinators are encouraged to share contest information with private schools and home school associations. Winning entries from private schools and from home-schooled students must be judged at the county level.

Leaders from the Central West Virginia Writing Project (CWVWP) at Marshall University will judge entries on the following criteria: Ideas, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, and Conventions.

Entries submitted for state competition at categories below must not exceed word length limits:

Grade 1-2
300 words

Grade 3-4
500 words

Grade 5-6
800 words

Grade 7-8
800 words

Grade 9-10
1,000 words

Grade 11-12
1,200 words

Schools need to submit entries to County Coordinators by February 12, 2024.

A completed cover sheet must accompany each entry for county judging. Additional directions from individual counties will be forwarded to schools regarding the preparation and submission of entries for judging at the county level. County Coordinators submit winning entries and related documents to the state level contest. No entries will be accepted from students, teachers, or school personnel. State winners will be notified in March, but not announced to the public until Young Writers Day on May 3, 2024, which will be held at the University of Charleston. First-place county winners will receive commemorative certificates and participate in workshops with published authors/presenters on WV Young Writers Day. State winners in each of the six contest categories will receive checks of $100 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place.

Contest forms and submission directions can be found under the CWVWP/YWC website page

and at the West Virginia Department of Education website.

Questions about the Contest?
Contact: Dr. Barbara O’Byrne, Director CWVWP or 304.746.1986
County Coordinators
Teachers and Students