Young Writers Contest

For over 30 years, the West Virginia Young Writers Contest has celebrated student writing in the state. The YWC 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 5-6 700 words
Grade 7-8 700 words
Grade 9-10 1,000 words
Grade 11-12 1,200 words

Schools need to submit entries to County Coordinators by February 5, 2018. 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 April, but not announced to the public until Young Writers Day on May 11, 2018, 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: (Click Middle/Secondary Learning, English)

Questions about the Contest?

Contact: Dr. Barbara O’Byrne, Director CWVWP or 304.746.1986


County Coordinators Teachers and Students Forms
Blackboard Submission Directions

County Coordinator Memo

Directions for County Coordinators

Important Contest Dates

Contest Information

Plagiarism Policy

Registration for Young Writers Day

2018 Cover Sheet for Schools

2018 YWC Release Form

2018 Model of Letter to County Winners