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Vermont High School Writing Contest

Announcing the 2023 Vermont High School Writing Contest!

Northern Vermont University and the League of Vermont Writers announce the 2023 Vermont High School Writing Contest. NVU and the League are co-sponsoring this exciting opportunity for young writers that kicks off September 1, 2023.

Who may take part: Vermont students in grades 9-12, including those who home school

Submission categories: Fiction, non-fiction, or poetry

Entries accepted: September 1 through November 15, 2023

Winners announced: On or about January 15, 2024

Awards: Winners in each category will receive a $500 cash prize. First runners-up in each category will receive a $100 cash prize. Both winners and first runners-up will also have the opportunity to publish their work in NVU’s Green Mountains Review and the League of Vermont Writers’ League Lines, and receive a one-year membership in the League of Vermont Writers.

Additionally, the winner and runner-up in each category will receive an NVU scholarship of $1,000 or $500, respectively, renewable for four years!

A special awards event will be held in early 2024 on NVU’s Johnson campus.

Northern Vermont University Johnson has long offered a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing and has added a new Bachelors of Arts degree in Professional Writing, Editing, and Publishing. The League, founded in 1929, is Vermont’s oldest association of writers and has included many prominent Vermont authors in its 92-year history. These institutions can provide much-needed encouragement, assistance, and recognition for aspiring young writers.

Contest Entry will Open September 1, 2023

Please see the Submission Guidelines below for details.

Announcement to High Schools

Inquiry Form

Printable Flier


Questions? Please contact:

Tyrone Shaw, Northern Vermont University
Henry Parker, League of Vermont Writers

Northern Vermont University and the League of Vermont Writers are co-sponsoring the 2021 Vermont High School Writing Contest. Any Vermont high school student with an interest in writing is encouraged to submit an entry.


Open to any Vermont student in grades 9 through 12, either enrolled in a Vermont school or home-schooled.

Submission Categories

There will be three categories: fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Each contestant is limited to one entry. For purposes of this contest, categories are described as follows:

  • Fiction: Non-factual prose text including, but not limited to short stories, novellas, short and scripts/screenplays, within genre fiction categories (e.g., mystery, romance, science fiction, horror, fantasy) or mainstream/literary fiction.
  • Non-fiction: Prose based on real facts or events. Non-fiction entries may include memoirs/personal essays, articles, or informational pieces.
  • Poetry: Literary work that uses distinctive evocative language and rhythm to convey ideas and emotion. Poetry entries may be in rhyming or non-rhyming form.

Submission Length

There is a 2,000-word limit, regardless of category. Titles and cover pages are not included in the word count.

Submission Dates and Deadline

Entries will be accepted from September 1, 2023 through 11:59 p.m., November 15, 2023. Entries received after November 15 will not be judged. There are no fees for entering the contest.

Submission Criteria

All entries must be by a single author. Submissions must be prepared in Times New Roman, 12-point font on plain white background, formatted for 8.5 X 11 paper, double-spaced, with one-inch page margins. Each page must be numbered. Do not include your name anywhere in the text (all entries will be assigned a number upon receipt). See the accompanying Entry Form (available September 1, 2023) for entry process and requirements.

Submissions that do not meet the entry requirements for format and length will be disqualified from entry. Students may choose to resubmit their corrected work during the entry acceptance window, provided the new draft meets the contest’s length and format requirements.

Originality of Work

The contest organizers and judges will assume that all entries are the original work and property of the entrant. Entrants will retain all rights to their submitted work.

Judging of Entries

Nine distinguished, published writers, all with Vermont roots and connections, will evaluate entries. Three judges will be assigned to each submission category. Entries will be evaluated on the basis of the quality and content of the writing. Judges will also take into consideration spelling and grammar. Entries that do not adhere to word limits or submission criteria, or that are deemed by the judges to be defamatory, or otherwise unsuitable for publication, will be disqualified.

Communications and Announcement of Winners

All entrants will be notified of receipt of their entry as soon as possible after it is received and logged in. Contest information will be periodically updated at the contest web site: Winners and first runners-up for each category will be notified by January 15, 2024, with an announcement on the web site shortly thereafter.

Recognition and Awards

Winners and first runners-up in each category will have the opportunity to have their entries published in Northern Vermont University’s Green Mountains Review and or the League of Vermont Writer’s League Lines online publication. Winners in each category will receive a $500 award and first runners-up will receive $100. They will also be granted a complimentary one-year membership in the League. Winners and first runners-up will be honored in a ceremony at Northern Vermont University in early 2024.

Tyrone Shaw:
Hank Parker: