Top Ten 2019 Young Authors Writing Competition

We are delighted to share with you the finalists in each category—creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry—of the 2019 Young Authors Writing Competition!

It was a huge challenge to select the finalists from the hundreds of wonderful pieces we received – over 1,500 stories, poems, and essays in total, from all over the world. Congratulations to everyone who entered, and to the finalists listed below!

On behalf of the English and Creative Writing Department of Columbia College Chicago, we want to thank everyone who submitted to the contest. We are grateful for the opportunity to read your work. We hope everyone who entered keeps writing, and we encourage everyone who will still be in high school next year to enter the 2020 Young Authors Competition next fall.

Keep watching this space for the announcement of the first, second, and third place winners in each category, and for the publication of the winning pieces.

Thanks again everyone, and keep writing!
Young Authors Writing Competition Team


Finalist pieces are listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.

Creative Nonfiction

“The American Dream Revised and Re-envisioned” by Akhila Bandlora

“The Firsts in My Life” by Emoijah Bridges

“Things I Could Tell You About My Mother” by Jonathan Chen

“FOMO” by Taylor Fang

“Teta” by Laila Kayyali

“Eat Bitter (Sweet)” by Kate Li

“Pinkets” by Pia Mulleady

“I Am a Raven” by Clarise Reichley

“Impressions on Hair” by Emily Tian

“Palimpsest Uncertainty” by Anna Wang



“Hercules” by Amelia Ao

“June 23, 1925” by Kathleen Castro

“Elise Sleeps at Midnight” by Madison Condrey

“Smile” by Greta Gilbert

“My Nights with the Worm” by Kristen Li

“The Lost History of You” by Jeffrey Liao

“Saltwater Grieving” by Andrea Salvador

“Vitiligo” by Priyanka Sebeni

“New Tongue” by Nazanin Soghrati

“Flesh” by Grace Wang

“Four from the Graveyard” by Adam Zhou



“Barefoot Queen” by Adachi Amaram

“I’m Thinking About You” by Sarah Brownlee

“Heritage” by Jonathan Chen

“Season Bouquet” by Josephine Chou

“Cotton Fluff and Sexism” by Akshata Kapoor

“Heart of Pain” by Gerrell H.S.

“Life at Lollapalooza” by Stephanie Olson

“CHARLIE” by Remi Seamon

“Ode Per Sempre” by Nikki Velletri

“How Would You Prefer to Die?” by Raleigh Walter