Library Launches Mythic Fiction Contest for Tweens and Teens

Beginning April 1 and running through 15, the library will accept submissions for a unique writing contest for tweens and teens. Entrants can submit a short story or an excerpt of a longer work for consideration. A celebrity panel of judges will review all submissions. A reception will be held at the library on Thursday, May 4 at 5:30 p.m. to announce a winner and an honorable mention in both the tween and teen categories.

Contest Details

The contest’s theme, in conjunction with the library’s NEA Big Read Grant featuring the novel Circe by Madeline Miller, is “Mythic Fiction.” Writers’ submissions should relate to the theme directly (using elements or narratives from world mythology) or indirectly (employing a mythic storyline, i.e., heroic, in scope).

Our judges will consider three main criteria: 

~ Creativity/Originality

~ Technique

~ Theme

Our top two writers in the tween and teen category will read their winning entries at the May 4 reception and receive prizes. We invite friends and family members of all entrants to join us. Immediately following the writing contest reception, attendees can participate in a live virtual discussion with NY Times bestselling author Madeline Miller.

The contest rules are:

~ Tween writers must be in grades 4 to 6; teen writers must be in grades 7 to 12.

~ Only one entry per tween or teen will be accepted.

~ We will accept only single-author stories (no joint projects).

~ Submission must be your original work.

~ Tween entries can be up to 1,000 words but must be a minimum of 500 words.

~ Teen entries can be up to 3,000 words long (but must be a minimum of 1,000 words).

~ Entries must be submitted via a COMPLETE Google entry form between April 1 to 15 only. 

~ Entries must relate in some way to the theme of “Mythic Fiction.” Authors can explain the connection to the theme on the entry form.

Mythic Writing Workshop for Students

The library will host a Mythic Writing Workshop on Tuesday, March 21, from 4 to 5 p.m. for students planning to enter the writing contest. This workshop will provide inspiration and instruction for writing engaging mythology-inspired stories. Register at

Teen and tween writers interested in regularly meeting with peers in a supportive, encouraging environment may be interested in the library’s Writer’s Club, which meets twice a month year-round. Tweens meet the first and third Tuesdays of the month from 4 to 5 p.m., and teens follow from 6:30-7:30 p.m. 

Contact Beth May at with questions about the contest or the writing groups.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

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