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Listen up Minnesota student writers: Nine fresh writing competitions are calling for your attention—and work. Whether you’ve entered a writing contest in the past or you’re waiting for the perfect opportunity, now’s the time to get crafting and submit. These nine contests cover the gambit of ages, topics, and genres, which means no student is left out. That’s right, there’s no excuse not to enter! So put down your phones, pull up a chair, and check out this listing of Minnesota student writing contests for Spring 2018:

Frankenstein Project – Novella Contest 2018

Theme: One or more fundamental themes of the Mary Shelley novel Frankenstein

Age: Any person living in southeastern Minnesota/SELCO library region

Contests participants are asked to write a novella on a Frankenstein theme, like vengeance and futility or creativity and the responsibility of what has been created. Submissions must be between 20,000 and 50,000 words. The contest is free to enter and includes monetary prizes and publication in an anthology. Deadline for submissions: March 4, 2018.


Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis – Student Essay Contest 2018

Theme: Should the Federal Government increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour?

Age: All high school students living in the Ninth Federal Reserve District

Essays must be limited to three pages on the topic and under the direction and supervision of a teacher. Monetary prizes for 30 finalists, along with first, second, and third cash prizes and a paid summer internship for the first prize winner. Teachers can also receive cash prizes. Deadline for submissions: April 20, 2018.


Minnesota State Fair – K-12 Competition

Theme: Reports and Creative Writing

Age: K – 12

Teachers or students submit work as an exhibit. Online registration begins May 7, 2018. Students may submit a variety of items; projects executed at home and school are welcome. Projects include drawings, paintings, reports, and creative writing. Entry is free. Deadline for submissions: August 7, 2018.


Twin Cities Juneteenth Celebration and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Youth Drawing and Essay Contest 2018

Theme: What Juneteenth means to you or your family or Why is Juneteenth an important historical event?

Age: 11-18

Juneteenth celebrates the end of African slavery in the U.S. Entrants must write a 250-word essay on one of the above themes. Contest is free to enter. First and second place winners are awarded prizes and honored at the Annual Juneteenth Celebration on June 16. Deadline for submissions: June 1, 2018.


2018 Lutherans for Life Minnesota Essay Contest

Theme: From Age-to-Age the Same and Bible verse Isaiah 46:3b-4

Age: Lutheran students in grades 6 – 12

Students must write a life-affirming essay on the topic, no more than 400 words for grades 6-8 and 750 words for grades 9-12. Monetary awards are given to top winners, along with advancement to the national contest. No entry fee. Deadline for submissions: March 18, 2018.


The Great River Shakespeare Festival/Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest 2018 (Winona)

Theme: Sonnet (see information below)

Age: Youth Category, ages 17 and younger

According to the website: “Sonnets may be written in Shakespearean, Spenserian, Petrarchan or Non-Traditional rhyme schemes, but each must be in the fourteen-line, iambic pentameter form.” Best youth category for this contest awards three winners, who will receive cash prizes. No fee to enter for youth category. Deadline for submissions: June 1, 2018.


The Great American Think-Off Writing Contest 2018

Theme: Which plays a greater role in shaping one’s life: success or failure?

Age: All ages

Essays must be no longer than 750 words. Four winners receive cash prizes and an invitation to a live debate on June 9 in New York Mills, MN, to answer the question. No fee to enter. Deadline for submissions: April 1, 2018.


2018 SCSC Writing Contest (South Central Service Cooperative & Minnesota State/Mankato)

Theme: Conservation and Sustainability

Age: Students in grades K - 12

Write a poem, fiction, or nonfiction piece that relates to the theme. Word length varies. The contest was created to recognize talented young writers in south-central Minnesota. Awards include publication in an anthology and copies for themselves and their school. Additional prizes may be awarded. Entry fee of $3 per submission, multiple submissions accepted. Deadline for submissions: March 19, 2018.


Lake Superior Writers 2018 Annual Contest

Theme: Rescue

Age: Must be 18 or older – open to college students

The LSW 2018 Annual Writing Contest covers multiple genres, including poetry, short-short fiction, short fiction, and creative nonfiction. Monetary prizes and publication for winners. Entry fees are free for members of LSW; $35 fee for nonmembers. Deadline for submissions: April 1, 2018.


Good luck to all contestants!

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It’s that time again in Minnesota—time to get ready to enter a spring writing contest. This year’s offerings target everyone from fiction writers to poets to students in the great North Star State, so you’d be hard pressed not to find something that suits your style and interests. Check out the list of Spring 2017 writing contests for Minnesota writers below, then gear up to get creative, share your writing, and earn some recognition—and cash—for your work.

2017 GPS (Geek Partnership Society) Writing Contest

Topic: Sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, graphic, poetry & short fiction pieces, youth and adult.

Deadline: May 1, 2017

Prizes: $50 - $75 Amazon gift cards

Basic guidelines: Submit original, unpublished works on the above topics to open, youth, poetry, and graphic novel (comics) divisions. No entry fee. This contest is not exclusive to Minnesota writers; the organization is simply based in Minneapolis. For more info, click here.

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis 2016-2017 Student Essay Contest

Topic: Can the U.S. economy still grow the way it once did?

Deadline: March 31, 2017

Prizes: $100 (for 30 finalists) - $500, plus a paid internship for first place winner. Cash prize for teacher of winners, too.

Basic guidelines: Open to high school students in the Ninth Federal Reserve District, which includes Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Montana, northwestern Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For contest rules, check here.

2017 Great American Think-Off

Topic: Has the 2016 election changed our perception of truth?

Deadline: April 1, 2017

Prizes: Four $500 cash prizes and invitation to debate in New York Mills, MN

Basic guidelines: This contest is sponsored by the Cultural Center of New York Mills. Submit an essay of up to 750 words on the topic using personal experience and observations. Enter online, no fee, and all ages welcome. See the website for further details.

Minnesota Christian Writers Guild 2017 Writing Contest

Topic: Everyday people who are making a difference for Jesus.

Deadline: March 13, 2017

Prizes: $25 - $75 cash, plus a mentor session with an editor

Basic guidelines: Submit a personal experience article between 800 and 1,200 words. You must be a member of MCWG to enter, plus pay a $5 entry fee. For more information, click here.

2017 Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest

Topic: Unpublished sonnet written in Shakespearean, Spenserian, Petrarchan, or Non-traditional rhyme scheme.

Deadline: June 1, 2017

Prizes: Cash totaling over $2,000 in several categories, including Local Area (Winona, MN, and adjacent counties), Best Youth, and Laureate’s Choice.

Basic guidelines: $5 entry fee; free for youth 17 and under. Click here for more info.

2017 LSW (Lake Superior Writers) Writing Contest

Topic: Rivers: mapped and unmapped

Deadline: April 1, 2017

Prizes: $250 per category for winner, plus publication

Basic guidelines: Theme of submissions must be real or metaphorical rivers. Categories include poetry, short-short fiction, creative nonfiction, and short story. Free to LSW members, or you can join and pay a membership fee of $35 to enter. Visit the site for complete rules.

BestPrep and Thomson Reuters High School Essay Contest

Topic: Martin Luther King famously wrote: “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. Why is it important for students to develop their character alongside academics? How has your educational journey and life experiences developed your character?

Deadline: April 15, 2017

Prizes: MacBook Air, iPads, Beats headphones, Google Home, and Walmart gift cards, plus an invitation to an Education Forum and private reception at the Saint Paul River Centre in October. Visa gift card for teachers of top five winners.

Basic guidelines: Open to Minnesota high school students. Submit an essay of 600-750 words on the above topic. See website to download essay competition packet.

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sunset beach joyLife is full of joy, sadness, laughter, hardship, surprises—and stories. Why not share your life story in one of these new writing contests? Deadlines are coming soon, so get your creativity flowing and your fingers typing. Your effort may pay off in publication and cash. And what a great way to end the summer and welcome in the fall. Check these out:

Real Simple Magazine – Life Lessons Essay Contest. Did one decision change your life? If so, Real Simple Magazine’s Eighth Annual Life Lessons Essay Contest might be just for you. There is no entry fee for this contest, and essays should be no longer than 1,500 words. First, second, and third prizes of $3,000, $750, and $500 are available, along with publication for winners. Deadline to enter is August 21, 2015. See guidelines for more information.

Silver Linings Story Contest – Good Housekeeping. Here’s your chance to tell about a time when your life took a wrong turn but it all worked out in the end. Good Housekeeping Magazine is sponsoring this summer writing contest that offers a $2,000 prize and publication for the lucky winner. Stories should be 1,500 to 2,500 words, and the deadline for entries is September 1, 2015. Click here for more information.

Stage of Life Vacation Contest. Are you in high school? A college student? On your own? Whatever your stage of life, you can enter this fun contest by writing about a specific memory from a vacation. There are no writer’s fees, and essays should be no longer than 500 words. Gift card prizes go to winners. Deadline is August 31, 2015. Stage of Life holds monthly contests, so check back next month for more opportunities to enter.

Fan Story – What’s Your Story Contest. “Everyone has a memoir. Not an autobiography.” Write a story about a piece of your life for this Fan Story contest, and get the chance to take away a $100 cash prize. Stories should be anywhere from 500 to 7,000 words and be submitted by September 28, 2015. Contest is free to enter, and all writers receive feedback on their entries. What’s there to lose?

Everyone has an interesting life story to tell. Take advantage of these four exciting contests, and get the chance to share yours.