Kids! (And you, too, Aunt Jo!) Get Your Story Published with KDL’s Write Michigan Contest

KDL Write Michigan feature image

A Child’s Imagination Takes Flight Through Story Writing

When kids put pen to paper and let their imaginations soar, you get a glimpse into their hearts and minds. Sometimes silly, sometimes deeply thoughtful or perhaps just somewhere in between, writing is the perfect creative outlet for kids.

Kid writers can explore this passion through Kent District Library’s 8th Annual Short Story Writing Contest. When I heard about this fun opportunity, which is also presented by Schuler Books, I had to tell my kids about it.

Weekly trips to the library were part of my childhood. This fueled my love for reading and then, I found the next best thing — writing my own stories. There was something incredibly exciting about dreaming up a story: developing characters, setting the scene, and figuring out the rising action, climax and resolution.

KDL writing contest kids signing books

Write Michigan Gives Kids an Outlet for Their Creative Writing

Kids (and even their parents) who like to write can share their stories, no matter the genre, and have a memorable experience.

Lauren Thompson, (age 11) from Chelsea, was a 2018 Published Finalist in the Youth category for her story “Cleanliness is Magical.” She loved her experience with Write Michigan. 

“The Write Michigan Short Story Contest was really fun, and it helped to push my writing forward. I would definitely enter again!” she says. 

KDL Write Michigan posters

If this is the first time you’ve considered entering a writing contest, Write Michigan is an amazing opportunity for many reasons:

  • The whole family can enter! There are four categories: Adult, Teen (ages 12-17), Youth (11 & younger) and Spanish. Kids as young as 1st & 2nd grade have participated — if you can write, you can submit a story.

  • The entry fee is FREE for anyone under 17. Adults pay only $10.

  • Cash prizes are given to winning entries. $500 in the Readers’ Choice and Judges’ Choice categories. $250 for Judges’ Choice Runner-ups.

  • Winning stories are published in an anthology. There is a special Awards Ceremony and Book Signing for winners, too.

  • 10 stories for each category are publicly voted on. The story with the most votes wins the Readers’ Choice award in each category.

  • Judges, some of which are local celebrities and previous contest winners, choose the Judges’ Choice and runner-up awards.

Teachers, Give Your Students an Authentic Writing Experience

Write Michigan is a fantastic activity to do with your students! Kids will have an authentic experience writing for a specific audience and purpose.

There isn’t a specific theme or prompt for this contest. “We receive a huge variety of stories,” says Katie Zuidema, Communications Specialist at Kent District Library.

“Happy, sad, silly, scary and suspenseful… we love to see what writers come up with!”

Stories are judged on criteria that includes characterization, plot, theme, setting and atmosphere, mechanics, writing quality, and passion.

Kids of any age can enter a story. In the past, KDL received submissions from students as young as 1st grade. 4th and 5th grade writers have been previous winners.

“We really want teachers to spread the word about this opportunity to their students,” says Katie.

KDL Write Michigan group photo

Entries Accepted Through November 30

There is still time to be part of this year’s Write Michigan Short Story Contest. Short stories can be submitted at Write Michigan through Saturday, November 30 at 12:00 PM. (Note this change from past years when participants had until the end of the day to submit their entries.)

Kent District Library has 19 branches throughout Kent County. You can find them on their website, Facebook and Instagram.

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