One of the best ways to instill a love of writing in students is to take it out of the academic context and towards something more personal and meaningful. While we encourage students to enter for fun, we also love to see them win — take a look at a few recent winners from Principia below, as well as some upcoming contests.


Brian Kim

McLean High School

2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Contest

National Gold Medal Award
DC Metro Gold Key Award

for his Critical Essay, Rating, Profits, and Fear: How a 41-Year Old Film Predicted the Role of the Media in the 21st Century

Ejun Kim

Madeira School

2018 DC Metro Scholastic Art & Writing Contest

Gold Key Award

for her Personal Essay/Memoir, Cracked Animals

Jonathan Lloyd

Rye School (NY)

Bill of Rights Institute
"We the Students" Essay Contest 2017-2018

$1,250 Prize

for his critical essay, We the Students


Senior Division, Honorable Mention

The Sejong Cultural Society
2018 Writing Contest


Check out these upcoming Writing Contests and reach out to us if you'd like to enter!


Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Competition

   Zoetrope is an online magazine dedicated to the art of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. They hold competitions every year for screenplays, films, and short stories. Their twenty-second annual Short Fiction Competition will award three prizewinners and seven honorable mentions in all genres of literary fiction of 5,000 words or fewer.

Eligibility:  No age requirement mentioned, so most likely open to all ages.
Deadline:  October 1, 2018


National YoungArts Foundation Competition

   The National YoungArts Foundation holds a competition annually in many artistic and literary disciplines, including Writing. Winners can receive up to $10,000 in cash awards, take master classes with artists, become eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, and more.

Eligibility:  15 - 18 years old or in grades 10 - 12 on December 1, 2018
Deadline:  October 12, 2018


Arkansas International Emerging Writer's Prize

   The University of Arkansas Program in Creative Writing & Translation biannual publicantion, The Arkansas International, is devoted to supporting writers and translators. Their writing competition, The Arkansas International Emerging Writer's Prize will award $1,000 plus a publication to the best single prose work not exceeding 7,500 words. All writers in the United States who haven't published a full-length book, and who have no book forthcoming before May 1, 2019, are eligible to submit.

Eligibility:  All ages
Deadline:  October 20, 2018


Stone Soup Submissions

   Stone Soup is a literary magazine and website written and illustrated by kids ages 13 and younger. They welcome submissions from all around the world. Although this is not a contest, this is an opportunity for your work to be published! Entrants whose work is accepted will receive a free copy of Stone Soup Annual for the year their work appears.

Eligibility:  Ages 13 and younger
Deadline:  No deadline, happens all year long.


Bill of Rights Institute - We the Students Essay Contest 2019

   The Bill of Rights Institute is a non-profit organization that creates many educational resources and programs, including their annual We the Students Essay Contest. Applicants are required to submit an essay that answers all of the contest's questions and sub-questions. Judges will review the entries, and select finalists and winners of generous scholarship prizes. Check their website on September 17th for the topic.

Eligibility:  Grades 8 - 12, Ages 14-19
Contest launches on Constitution Day, which is September 17, 2018.
Deadline:  Not yet posted


Scholastic Art & Writing Awards 2019

   The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers is a non-profit organization that holds this annual contest to recognize students with remarkable artistic and literary talent. Students in all states may submit their work in several different categories for a chance to win scholarships.

Eligibility:  Grades 7 - 12
Contest is open on September 12, 2018.
Deadline:  Not yet posted.


Reedsy Writing Prompts Inspired Short Story Contest

   Reedsy is a website that delivers writing prompts to subscribers’ inboxes every Friday. Each week they hold a Short Story Contest in which anyone can submit a shorty story inspired by one of their writing prompts for a chance to win $50 and be featured on their blog.

Eligibility:  All ages
Deadline:  No deadline, happens year-round


Teen Ink Contests


   Teen Ink holds writing contests in several different categories each year for teens to enter.

Eligibility:  13 to 19 years old
Deadline:  No deadline, entries are accepted throughout the year and automatically considered for upcoming interviews opportunities.


Bennington Young Writers Awards

   Bennington College invites high schoolers from 10th to 12th grade to enter their annual Young Writers Awards contest. Bennington College faculty and students will judge submissions in the categories of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. First-place winners in each category win $500 and second-place winners win $250.

Eligibility:  10th, 11th, and 12th graders
Deadline:  The competition runs each year from September 1st to November 1st. Winning entries are posted by April 15.


Claremont Review Annual Writing and Art Contest 2019

   The Claremont Review is an international magazine that publishes young writers and artists. 13- to 19-year-olds from across the world can submit their poetry, short stories, and visual art for a chance to win a cash prize and publication of their work in the magazine.

Eligibility:  13 to 19 years old
Deadline:  The next contest runs from January 15th to March 15th, 2019.


JFK Profile in Courage Essay Contest

   The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to America's 35th president, and welcomes students and scholars to conduct research using their collection of historical materials. The Musuem also holds many programs, including the annual JFK Profile in Courage Essay Contest. Based on JFK's Profiles in Courage, the contest challenges students to write about an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official who served during or after 1917, the year JFK was born.

Eligibility:  9th through 12th graders
Deadline:  Not yet posted for 2019, but usually in early January every year. (2018 is closed).


George S. & Stella M. Knight Essay Contest

   This contest, sponsored by the National Society of Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), is open to all high schoolers who are interested in the American Revolution. Participants must submit an essay related to the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, or U.S. Constitution. The first place winner receives $5,000; a medal and recognition certificate; up to $500 toward travel expenses and a one-night hotel stay for the winner and a chaperone at the annual SAR Congress. The second place winner receives $2,500, and the third-place winner receives $1,000.

Eligibility:  9th through 12th graders
Deadline:  Not yet posted for 2019, but usually in December every year. (2018 is closed).


The U.S. Institute of Peace - National Essay Contest

   The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) partner every year to hold their National Essay Contest. High schoolers must submit an essay related to peace and conflict. The first place winner will receive $2,500; an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the winner and his/her parents to meet U.S. Department of State and USIP leadership; and an all-expense paid voyage with Semester at Sea. The runner-up will receive $1,250 and full tuition to a summer session at National Student Leadership Conference's International Diplomacy Program.

Eligibility:  9th through 12th graders
Deadline:  Not yet posted for 2019, but usually in March. (2018 is closed).

books banner 2.png