At Brave Writer, as part of the writing process, we encourage kids to share their work. Sharing writing, whether as a kid or an adult, is one of the most powerful steps in the writing process. Knowing that your work could be read by others stirs up motivation like nothing else.
Before we get started, a few tips and cautions. Many of these contests receive hundreds of thousands of entries from students across the nation. If your child doesn’t win the competition, that doesn’t mean that his or her writing is bad. It just means other people have talent, too. Be sure to encourage your kids to persevere and keep writing. All the best writers have had their work rejected many times!
Also, when looking for poetry and writing contests, make sure to never submit financial or personal information beyond your name and a short biography. Avoid any contest that asks you for an entry fee--such contests are often scams. Look for contests from reputable companies that you already know. Following these tips will make the process of entering contests as painless as possible.
With that in mind, here are some of the best safe-to-enter poetry contests and magazines gathered from the corners of the World Wide Web. If your kids enjoy writing poetry, this is their chance to polish their work and submit it to contests. They might even win a prize!
PoeticPower.com Creative writing contests for poetry and essays, open to grades K-12. Deadlines vary.
Rattle Poetry Anthology Publishes poetry written by students 15 and younger. Submission deadline for the next issue is October 15, 2019.
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Prestigious contest for students in 7th-12th grade. Some of the most famous US poets and writers, including Sylvia Plath and Truman Capote, have entered. Submissions for the 2019 awards open in September.
Write the World A writing community for teen writers that hosts monthly writing contests for members. Ages 13-18.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Poetry Contest Publishes stories and poems related to Rawlings' works (including The Yearling). Deadline: March 1st every year.
Young Writers Creative Writing Contest Organized by the Young Writers of Canada, this group runs three creative writing contests each year. The deadlines are in mid-March, mid-July, and mid-November.
Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Competition Organized by the Haiku Society of America, this contest allows students to submit haikus and senryus for cash prizes. The deadline for 2019 is March 21st.
Sarah Mook Poetry Contest In memory of a young poet who passed away, this contest is open to children and young writers from kindergarten upwards. They encourage applications from homeschoolers. The deadline is March 31st.
Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Contest This contest encourages students aged 11-18 to create art, stories, or poetry about the impact of climate change on ocean life. The 2019 deadline is June 17th.
Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards In this contest, young writers are encouraged to explore their vision of peace. This contest is judged in two categories, ages 12 and under and ages 13-18. The 2019 deadline is July 1st.
Magazines & Journals
Stone Soup Creative writing magazine for kids 13 and under. Submit online.
Highlights Magazine Publishes poems, stories, letters, drawings, and much more. You’ll need to mail your entries to the address on this page.
Ember journal Encourages poetry and short story submissions and pays well for entries that are accepted for publication. Ages 10-18.
Cicada magazine Publishes “dark weird truths” by teens 14 and up. Pays well and encourages Viking jokes.
For a long and reliable list of other publication opportunities for students, check out the NewPages Young Authors Guide and check out the journals and contests, updated regularly.
If you’re still looking for more contests or publishing opportunities, check out the lists on these pages: