2018 ASFA Writing Contest Guidelines

Each year, with the support of the Alabama Humanities Foundation, we sponsor two different literary contests — the Young Writers’ Literary Awards (open to middle school students throughout the state) and the Aspiring Minds Poetry Contests (open to high school students in one of four regions, which rotate annually). These contests are designed to recognize and support young writers in Alabama and the teachers who inspire them to read, write, and think. The guidelines for these contests are as follows:

The ASFA Young Writers’ Literary Awards (YWLA)

Open to all Alabama students in grades 6 – 8.

Categories: Poetry, Short Fiction, Creative Nonfiction.

  • First Place: $100
  • Second Place: $50
  • Third Place: $25

 Submission Guidelines for the ASFA YWLA Contest:

  • Mail to Young Writers’ Literary Awards, c/o Creative Writing Department, Alabama School of Fine Arts, 1800 Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35203.
  • Entries must be postmarked by February 23, 2018.
  • Limit one entry per category, per student.
  • All submissions must include a separate typed cover sheet for each individual entry stating the student’s name, full home address, area code and phone number, email address, school, grade level, English teacher’s name, category entered (poetry, short fiction, or creative nonfiction) and the title of the piece.
  • The student’s name should not appear anywhere on the work itself.
  • All entries must be typed in a standard font (ex., Times New Roman) on standard 8 ½ x 11 white paper and stapled. No notebooks or binders accepted.
  • All prose (short fiction, creative nonfiction) must be double-spaced; poetry should be single-spaced.
  • Length specifications:
    • Poetry – No more than two pages, single-spaced.
    • Short Fiction – No more than 10 pages, double-spaced.
    • Creative Nonfiction – No more than 10 pages, double-spaced.
  • Students should keep copies of their submissions; no manuscripts can be returned.
  • All work must be original. Plagiarized entries will be immediately disqualified.
  • Entries that do not follow all guidelines will not be considered.

Aspiring Minds Poetry Contests

The Aspiring Minds Poetry contests are designed to spotlight talented high school poets in specific areas of the state. (Please note: last year, we targeted the eastern half of the state; this year, it’s the western half’s turn to wow us with their poetic abilities!)

Central Region

Open to 9 – 12th grade students residing in the following Alabama counties: Tuscaloosa, Jefferson, and Shelby.

  • First Place: $100
  • Second Place: $50
  • Third Place: $25

Northwest Region

Open to 9 – 12th grade students residing in the following Alabama counties: Lauderdale, Limestone, Colbert, Lawrence, Morgan, Cullman, Winston, Franklin, Marion, Lamar, Fayette, Walker.

  • First Place: $100
  • Second Place: $50
  • Third Place: $25

West-Central Region

Open to 9 – 12th grade students residing in the following Alabama counties: Pickens, Greene, Sumter, Hale, Chilton, Perry, Choctaw, Marengo, Wilcox, Dallas, Autauga, Lowndes, Butler.

  • First Place: $100
  • Second Place: $50
  • Third Place: $25

Southwest Region

Open to 9 – 12th grade students residing in the following Alabama counties: Mobile, Washington, Clarke, Monroe, Conecuh, Escambia, Baldwin.

  • First Place: $100
  • Second Place: $50
  • Third Place: $25

All first place winners in the Aspiring Minds contests will be included in ASFA’s award-winning literary magazine, Cadence, alongside the original work of current ASFA Creative Writing students.

Submission Guidelines for the Aspiring Minds Poetry Contests:

  • Mail to Aspiring Minds Poetry Contest, c/o Creative Writing Department, Alabama School of Fine Arts, 1800 Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35203.
  • Entries must be postmarked by February 23, 2018.
  • Students may submit up to three poems.
  • Each individual submission must include a separate typed cover sheet for each individual poem stating the student’s name, full home address, county of residence, area code and phone number, email address, school, grade level, English teacher’s name, and the title of the piece.
  • The student’s name should not appear anywhere on the work itself.
  • Entries must be typed in standard font (ex., Times New Roman) on 8 ½ x 11 white paper.
  • Poetry should be single-spaced; no individual poem may exceed two pages.
  • Students should keep copies of their submissions; no manuscripts can be returned.
  • All work must be original. Plagiarized entries will be immediately disqualified.
  • Entries that do not follow all guidelines will not be considered.

 This program is supported by the Alabama Humanities Foundation (AHF).

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