Welcome to the Fifth Annual Narrative “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest! This page is for students and teachers, and will serve as the epicenter of all contest information and activity. Please be sure to visit often for answers to any questions you may have.

This year, as we launch the Fifth Annual Narrative “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest, we’re thrilled to welcome more classrooms across the U.S. and abroad, and to read, celebrate, and publish the next generation of amazing storytellers. We are eager to hear from you.

A short video about the High School Contest:

2019–2020 “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest Rules and Guidelines:

Prompt: “The Choice.” Every day we make hundreds of choices—some small, some life changing. That’s where you come in. We’re living in a time in which choices, both public and private, have a feeling of irrevocability, and for this year’s Fifth Annual Narrative “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest, we want to celebrate and mark the choices that shape our days, our years, and our lives. These choices may be subtle but distinct, humorous but evocative, daring and defining. In 600 words or less, write a personal essay or short story that depicts two or more characters faced with a compelling choice. Be sure the choice has consequences, and show us the buildup (How did we get here?), the characters’ conflicted feelings and desires, and the resolution (if there is one). We’re looking for authentic stories—humorous or dramatic—that only you can write. Show us your world and a choice that defines it.

What else should I be sure to include in my story? We’re looking for personal narratives and works of short fiction that show how life can turn on a singular event. The moment itself may be small or large. We encourage you to focus on an action, a piece of dialogue, a character, or a question that truly resonates with you. We ask that you tell a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end. What led to the choice? What were the consequences. Why now? What next? In true Narrative fashion, tell us a story . . .

Who can enter? Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible to submit to the contest via their teachers. The contest is free to enter for all eligible students. Our list of partnership schools is finalized for this year’s contest, but if you are interested in participating, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always eager to expand our reach.

When’s the deadline? The contest submission deadline is February 28, 2020, at noon PST. We will announce the winners and finalists in May.

What should a submission look like? Manuscripts should be double-spaced and in 12-point type, with one-inch margins and numbered pages, and must be unpublished (that includes blogs and social media). Student name, school, English teacher, class period, and email address should be typed in the top left corner of the first page.

How do I make a Narrative account? All participating students should sign up for a Narrative account using their school email address. Create a free account here. This account will give students access to everything published in Narrative, including last year’s High School Contest winners.

How do I submit? Students must share submissions with their high school English teachers, who will submit personal narratives and stories on their students’ behalf.

Awards: The winners of the Narrative “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest will receive a total of $1,000 in prizes, be edited and mentored by Narrative cofounder/editor and bestselling author Carol Edgarian, and see their work published alongside many of today’s great authors. The winners and their works will also be featured on Narrative Outloud, the Narrative podcast.

Need help getting inspired? Check out our for instructional videos and reading lists.

Additional Information: