Top Ten 2019-2020 Young Authors Writing Competition!

After a demanding spring, we are delighted to announce the ten finalists in each category—creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry—of the 2019-2020 Young Authors Writing Competition!

It was an immense challenge to choose the finalists from hundreds of extraordinary pieces we received from all over the world – over 1,900 stories, poems, and essays in total.

Congratulations to everyone who submitted their works and to the finalists listed below!

On behalf of the English and Creative Writing Department of Columbia College Chicago, we want to thank our writing community for your patience and resilience during this challenging time. We are grateful for the opportunity to read the work of so many talented young writers. We hope everyone who entered continues to write. We encourage everyone who will still be in high school next year to submit their pieces to the 2020-2021 Young Authors Writing Competition next fall.

In the past weeks we have watched thousands of people taking to the streets in the United States and other countries to protest systemic racism after the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a White police officer in Minneapolis. The Young Authors Writing Competition stands in solidarity with the Black Community in Chicago and throughout the country and world in the fight against racism, injustices, inequalities, and police brutality. We ask our writing community and all young writers to use their creativity and art to support those directly affected and hurt by legacies of systemic racism, and to commit to an anti-racist agenda. We encourage our writing community to seek knowledge about this topic, including the reading and celebration of the work of Black authors. Let’s hear their voices and work together to achieve a better society.

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! Stay strong and keep writing!
Young Authors Writing Competition Team


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

Creative Nonfiction

“Under the Same Sun” by Hannah Ahdab

“Unfair” by Antara Bhattacharya

“We do not apologize now” by Jordan Ferdman

“And Then it Burned Down” by Dylan Fritz

“Pop” by Jade Jang

“My Family as the Book of Luke Chapter 22” by Tyler Kellogg

“Test” by Minseo Kim

“Inheritance” by Divya Mehrish

“Dairy Queen is not a Landmine” by Maya Savin Miller

“Turmeric Stains” by Priyanka Shrestha



“One Child” by Hannah Han

“Requiem” by Jenny Hu

“Valley of Saints” by Yasmeen Amani Khan

“Thank you, Mother” by Bryn Marling

“The Sleepwalker’s Symptoms” by Uma Menon

“Everett’s By the Pier” by Sarah Salisbury

“Sanctity of the Heart” by Jada Seaton

“Vanilla” by Katherine Vandermel

“Chérie” by Grace Wang 

“New Year” by Alexis Yang 



“El Tercer Oido (The Third Ear)” by Sofia Angulo-Lopera

“Curriculum” by Sophia Baldassari

“Three Poems” by Annie Cao

“Alternate Names for My Father” by Kennedy Cobb

“Firing Clay” by Jenny Oh

“Potential” by Emmelia Phelps

“Man On The Train” by Sayuri Ryan

“2019” by Arielle Santos 

“Girls In The Foothills” by Priyanka Shrestha

“I’m Writing to You from Tehran” by Nazanin Soghrati