Inklings Book Contest Application

Congratulations on your decision to submit to the Inklings Book Contest!

To learn more about the contest, see this page.

Please review all information with your parent or guardian before submitting your manuscript to the contest. 


Submission Guidelines:

  • Submissions may be made by young authors grades 3-9 (or equivalent grade levels in regions outside of the U. S.).
  • Submissions may be a single poem or a complete short story of any genre.
  • Limit 1 submission per person.
  • Co-authored pieces are discouraged. Winning author mentorships are designed to be one youth writer with one pro mentor working together, making it unlikely that a co-authored manuscript would be chosen as a winning piece.
  • Submissions may be no longer than 3,750 words (about 15 pages double-spaced).
  • Submissions must be .pdf, .doc/.docx, or .rtf files and must follow the manuscript format.
  • Parents, teachers, or other adult caretakers may assist the youth writer with spelling, grammar, and other editing, but all content and ideas must be the youth writer’s own.
  • Submissions are due March 15, 2021.
  • If submission guidelines are not followed, your submission may not be eligible for adjudication in the contest.


Selection Process:

Entries will be reviewed by a committee of Young Inklings staff, mentors, and collaborating artists. The committee will look for writing submissions that have a strong point of view and for writers who demonstrate readiness for the revision process. Up to ten winners will be chosen from grades 3-6 and up to ten winners will be chosen from grades 7-9.

We are committed to publishing stories and poems that impact the world in positive, transformational ways — works we would be excited to share with the full age range of young writers we serve. We do not publish work that promotes violence, cruelty, prejudice, reckless behavior, or any work containing sexual content.

Other criteria we look for include but are not limited to: originality, interesting, active word choice, and demonstration of readiness for the Inklings editorial mentorship as seen through story/poem and submission form. In stories we look for unique characters, settings, and plots. In poetry, we look for strong imagery, unique metaphors and/or similes, a strong emotional connection.

All applicants will be notified of whether or not they were chosen for publishing by April 5, 2021. Notification will take place via email using the email address(es) provided in the application.

Winners will take part in a two-session editorial revision mentorship with a Society of Young Inklings mentor and will be published in our annual Inklings Book anthology. In this mentorship program, the youth writer and his or her mentor will prepare the winning submission for professional publishing. All mentorship sessions take place online via video chat. Details about the mentorship will be provided to winners after contest results are announced. Winners will receive two copies of the finished book – one for themselves and one for their classroom or school library.

Finalists will receive a revision letter and have the opportunity to be published on our website.

All applicants will receive personalized feedback from our mentor team.

The Inklings Book Contest is now closed for submissions.

Contest results will be announced via email and on our blog on March 29, 2021.

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