2019-2020 Young Authors Writing Competition FAQs

Simultaneous Submissions:

Q: Is it OK to submit my work to your contest as well as other contests or magazines?

A: Simultaneous submissions are allowed for our contest, but we ask that you notify us immediately if the piece is accepted elsewhere. We do not accept pieces that have received national publication or won other contests, so if the piece is accepted elsewhere, you may need to withdraw it from our contest.


Previously Published Work:

Q: What is the policy on the eligibility of submitting work that has previously been published in a) commercial literary journals b) anthologies c) school magazines?

A: We do not accept work that has previously been published. Please submit something else!


Multiple submissions:

Q: I want to submit works in different categories. Can I submit my pieces at different dates?  Or do I need to submit all entries at the same time?

A: Unfortunately, our system doesn’t accept entries at different dates. You must upload all the pieces you want to send us at the same time.


Length of Work:

Q: The rule states that submissions should not be longer than ten pages.  I am planning to submit two poems, two stories and two essays. Does that mean that each entry cannot be longer than ten pages or does it mean that the combined entries cannot be longer than ten pages?

A: Each individual entry has a limit of ten pages.


Q: I have a story that is around 4,000 words, or just a little more than six pages, but this is only if my story is single-spaced. Would this story be acceptable according to the submission guidelines?

A: The submissions have to be double-spaced, 12-point type. If after formatting the work exceeds ten pages, you will need to make some editing to make sure your submission respects the guidelines.


Word limit:

Q: Is there a word limit?

A: The number of words is not fixed. But each work cannot exceed ten pages.


About formatting:

Q: What is the proper formatting?

A: Creative Nonfiction Writing: essays in all forms, styles, and subjects. Guidelines: 10-page max., double-spaced, 12-point type.

Fiction Writing: original fiction in all forms, styles, and subjects. Guidelines: 10-page max., double-spaced, 12-point type.

Poetry: original poetry in all forms, styles, and subjects. Guidelines: 3-5 poems, 10-page max., double-spaced, 12-point type.


Made a Mistake:

Q: I entered the wrong draft of my piece, but I already have two separate entries in that category. How can I delete one and add the correct version?

A: The submission system is not able to accommodate resubmissions of pieces, so please be sure to have made all changes to your submission before submitting, and take care to submit the correct draft.  You may contact us at youngauthors@colum.edu with further questions on this.


Titles and Names:

Q: Should I include my name and/or the title of my work in the document/entry I attach?

A: It is fine to include your name and title on the work, though if you don’t, we will still be able to identify it.


Number of submissions:

Q: Am I limited to two entries total or two in each category?

A: You may enter only two submissions in each category of Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, and Poetry, for a maximum of six total entries.


Geographical Limitations:

Q: Is the contest open to students from outside the U.S.?

A: Yes, we welcome international submissions. Please use your best judgment when filling out the submission form where it asks for state and zip code.


School/Age Requirement:

Q: I am homeschooled, can I enter the contest?

A: Please do! The contest is designed for 9th through 12th graders, so approximate ages are 14 – 18 (we will be lenient if you are a bit younger or older).


Submission problems:

Q: I could not upload my submission.

A: Please make sure your piece is in one of the following formats only: .doc, .docx, or .pdf format. Others, such as .rtf, .txt, and .pages will not load. We also cannot access files sent from shared cloud services such as Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive. If you continue to have a problem, please email us.


Winning in Multiple Categories:

Q: Can I win in more than one category?

A: You can be a finalist (top 10) in more than one category, but you will only be allowed to win a prize (first, second, or third place) in one.


Creative Nonfiction Category:

Q: Does a critical essay on a specific subject of importance to society qualify for the Creative Nonfiction category?  Are there additional criteria for a nonfiction submission to qualify as creative?

A: Creative Nonfiction refers to literary nonfiction, which includes personal essays, memoir, cultural criticism, and other subgenres. A critical or academic paper does not typically fall under the category of creative nonfiction, unless that essay also has literary qualities in addition to criticism.


Poetry Category:

Q: How many poems can I submit in each file?

A: In the Poetry category, you can submit up to two .doc, .docx, or .pdf files. Each one of them can have 3-5 poems, with a 10-page maximum (double-spaced, 12-point type). And each one of the two entries must be uploaded as separate files (submission #1 and submission #2), but in the same form.


Q: Will the poems be judged individually or as a group?

A: Each poem will be judged individually, regardless if they are in the same file.


Other Questions?

Email us: youngauthors@colum.edu


Happy Writing!