for classrooms


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

The Inklings Book Contest is for youth writers in grades 3-12 who are ready to be treated like a pro and increase their writing skills. Winners in grades 3-8 will work one-on-one with a professional mentor to prepare and revise their manuscript for publication in the anthology. Winners in grades 9-12 will work together on a final revision through a peer editorial process, guided by a mentor. Finalists will receive a revision letter and will have the opportunity to be published on our website. Each applicant will receive personal feedback on their submission!

For all the details, please check out our primary contest landing page at www.younginklings.org/inklingsbookcontest.

You can also check out our free classroom version of the Inklings Book Contest Prep Course you can use with your students! Pick and choose lessons or run through them all. You’ll get a taste of Young Inklings and a little help for your students along the way.

Here are the contest guidelines:

    • Submissions may be made by young authors grades 3-12 (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.
    • Submissions must be by one author only. Co-authored pieces will not be considered for winning slots.
    • Fan-fiction pieces cannot be considered for winning slots. Content must be original.
    • Submissions may be no longer than 3,750 words (about 15 pages double-spaced).
    • Submissions must be uploaded in .pdf format and must be in manuscript format (click here for instructions). Please title your document file Student Name – X Grade – IBC 2024. So, for example, “Percy Jackson – 6th Grade – IBC 2024.”
    • 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, 2024.
    • If submission guidelines are not followed, your submission may not be eligible for adjudication in the contest. 
    • For the 2024 contest year, our funding allows us to accept up to 350 submissions. After 350 submissions, we will provide a waiting list and open up new slots as our funding permits.

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 3-5, up to ten winners will be chosen from grades 6-8, and up to ten winners will be chosen from grades 9-12.

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 explicit 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, 2024. Notification will occur via email using the parent/guardian email address provided in the application. Results will also be posted on the blog on our website.

Winners in grades 3-8 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. Winners in grades 9-12 will work together on a final revision through a peer editorial process, guided by a mentor. In these mentorship programs, the youth writers and their mentors will prepare the winning submissions for professional publishing. All mentorship sessions take place online via video chat. Details about the mentorships 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.

If you have any issues with the submission form, please email us at info (at) younginklings.org.

You may submit your students’ work as a class set (see below) or you may direct them to submit individually at this link.


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

  1. Email sarahp (at) younginklings.org to let us know you plan on submitting a class set. We’ll need the following information: Your name and school, grade level of your students, approximate number of submissions. 

  2. Please have all participating students fill out the online application with their parent/guardian. We cannot accept submissions without this application which includes parent permission for potential publication.

    Application Link: https://bit.ly/writingcontest2024
    There is a downloadable QR code at the bottom of this page should you wish to use that.

  3. Share a Google Drive folder or Dropbox link of submissions and a document with listed student names and grades with sarahp (at) younginklings.org by March 15, 2024. We will review submissions and let you know if we’re missing any permission slips. Manuscripts should be in PDF document format. Please double check sharing settings so that documents can be viewed by anyone.
  4. On April 5, 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 (at) younginklings.org.


QR Code for Class Set Permission Slip/Application: