Top Ten 2020-2021 Young Authors Writing Competition!

We are delighted to announce the ten finalists in each category—creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry—of the 2020-2021 Young Authors Writing Competition!

Our judges had a huge challenge to choose the finalists from hundreds of extraordinary pieces we received from all over the world – over 2,400 poems, stories, and essays in total.

Congratulations to all the young writers who submitted their works and to the finalists listed below! We hope you are proud of yourselves and your hard work!

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 students. 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 2021-2022 Young Authors Writing 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! 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

“Debussy’s Dwarf Planet” by Gabriella Cariddo

“Monachopsis” by Regina Cassese

“Thirteen” by Sabrina Huang

“Logarithms” by Mariam Khan

“Excavation” by Elane Kim

“The Pain on Sundays” by Christopher Saadé

“NeveRland” by Robert Socas

“Strokes in Brown” by Sanya Tinaikar

“Sticky Notes on the Lennon Wall” by Faith Tsang

“Liking Pink Is Not Misogynistic” by Nishi Uppuluri



“Gold” by Helen Bian

“Love of my Life” by Romola Cavet

“Radius” by Yong-Yu Huang

“At Home Birth” by Frida Jauregui

“Green Gables” by Erin Kim

“The Eternal Rose” by Rhea Maniar

“Return Home” by Emma Resetarits

“The Boy with the Red Bicycle” by Ashley Theilacker

“The Outsiders” by Alex Zhang

“The Crane Mountain” by Yabing Zhang



“Home: A Glossary” by Sara Carmichael

“How to Learn a Language” by Kaylee Chen

“To Describe You in 7 Ways” by Abigail Cho

“Me and Matthew Talk About God” by Sadie Hale

“Zhong Qiu Jie” by Emma Hong

“Ghazal for K” by Jessica Kim

“The Immigrant Women Loiter in Flushing” by Sophia Liu

“Reincarnation” by Anjali Pajjuri

“Sear” by Amy Wang

“Life Raft/Casket” by Angela Wei