We are so excited you’re interested in the Inklings Book Contest!

The contest is for y writers in grades 3-9 who are ready to be treated like a pro and increase their writing skills. Winners receive a two-session editorial mentorship with a professional mentor/writer, throughout which they will revise and polish their poem or story. The revised stories and poems are then published in the Inklings Book, which is distributed through various retail channels. Winners also receive their own copy of the Inklings Book as well as one for their school. All applicants receive feedback about their story or poem! For more information, visit www.younginklings.org/inklingsbookcontest.


Here are the contest guidelines:

  • Submissions may be made by young authors grades 3-9.
  • Submissions may be a single poem or a complete short story of any genre.
  • Limit 1 submission per person.
  • 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.
  • Teachers, parents, 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 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 We do not publish work that promotes violence, cruelty, prejudice, reckless behavior, or any work containing sexual content.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
  • In stories: unique characters, settings, and plots
  • In poetry: strong imagery, unique metaphors and/or similes, a strong emotional connection
  • Demonstration, through story/poem and submission form, of readiness for the Inklings editorial mentorship.
  • 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.


To submit a class set of stories and poems, please follow these next steps:

Digital Submissions

  1. Email sarahp@younginklings.org to let us know you plan on submitting.
  2. Please have all participating students fill out this online permission slip with their parent/guardian. We cannot accept submissions without this permission slip. You can share the link with parents as bit.ly/bookcontestapp.
  3. Share a Google Drive folder of submissions and a document with listed student names and grades with sarahp@younginklings.org by March 15, 2021. We will review submissions and let you know if we’re missing any permission slips.
  4. By April 15, Winners and Finalists will be notified via email and will also be announced on our blog.

Should you need to request an alternate way to submit, we’re happy to work with you! Please contact sarahp@younginklings.org.