Along with Stone Soup, we are pleased to announce the winners of our Personal Narrative Contest! Our congrats to all of you who entered. Sharing your story is an act of bravery worth a round of applause! Below is the announcement from our friends at Stone Soup.

Writing nonfiction seems easy—you don’t have to make anything up!—but it is not. Personal narratives require honesty, deep thought and reflection, the ability to see patterns and narratives in past events, as well as the capacity to accept that sometimes there are no patterns or narratives—just the events themselves. Like all writing, they also require an eye for detail, an ear for language, and an aptitude for play.


In her winning narrative, Kateri Escober Doran vividly recounts a sharp memory from a day in kindergarten, seamlessly blending evocative storytelling with thoughtful reflection. In second place, with “Swirling Arabesques,” Zoe Kyriakakis meditates on a single phrase while on the bus home from school—showing us how even the smallest moments can become meaningful and beautiful in the writer’s hands. Finally, in third place, with her narrative “Gratitude,” Alicia Xin gives a moving account of the summer she spent in a historically pour county in rural China.


We are excited to share these pieces with you in a future issue of Stone Soup. We say this every time but every time it is truer and truer: it was so difficult to select winners and finalists for this contest. A sincere thank you to everyone who put trusted us with their work.


Final Results:

First Place
Locked out of Kindergarten by Kateri Escober Doran, 12

Second Place
Swirling Arabesques by Zoe Kyriakakis, 10

Third Place
Gratitude by Alicia Xin, 13


Honorable Mention
“Cody’s Last Day” by Elena Baltz, 10
“A Story” by Asher Jenvey, 10
“Life in the Jungle” by Arielle Kouyoumdjian, 13
“Writer” by Vandana Ravi, 13
“Believing” by Lily Shi, 11
“Kingdom in the River” by Lydia Taylor, 13
“Gentle Hands” by Michelle Wang, 12



If you’re ready for your next contest, don’t forget our Inklings Book Contest is now open for submissions! We’re accepting stories and poems from youth writers in 3rd-9th grade. Winners will be published in our annual Inklings Book anthology. Click below to either sign up for our free prep course or to submit your manuscript.

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