Is there a fee to enter the contest?
Entering the contest is free. If you haven’t already done so, take a minute to create a Narrative account for free access to all the stories, poems, and essays we publish.

Who can participate in the contest?
The contest will be open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors in our partner schools, beginning in January 2019. Students will submit their work through their teachers.

What grade levels can enter?
Sophomores, juniors, and seniors at participating schools may enter the contest.

Why isn’t my school involved?
We ask for your continued patience as we seek funding to support the growth of our Narrative in the Schools program. Very soon, we hope to expand our contest program to include many more high schools across the country and abroad. If you’re a high school English teacher interested in more information, please contact Brooke Davis with your contact information, school name, and class size. In the meantime, we encourage you to make use of the Narrative Archive in your classroom or to enjoy reading great writing anytime, anywhere. A special note to teachers: Please reach out to us and tell us about any successes or challenges you may have using our resources. We love to hear from you.

How will the winners be chosen, and when will they be announced?
All judging will be blind—meaning the names, grades, and school affiliations will be removed and entries will be sorted randomly—and done by Narrative’s editorial team. Narrative cofounder/editor and bestselling author Carol Edgarian will select the final winners and will work directly with those authors to edit their pieces for publication in Narrative. Winners will be announced in April 2019.

What awards will the winners receive?
The winning works will be published on www.NarrativeMagazine.com, alongside many of today’s great writers. The winning author will be presented with a $500 award. The second-place winner will receive $200, and the third-place winner will receive $100. Each of the four finalists will receive $50. The winners will also have an opportunity to have their work featured in the Narrative Outloud podcast.

For Students

How should I format my personal narrative or short fiction?
Personal narratives and short fiction must be no longer than 600 words and previously unpublished. This means that anything posted on your personal blog or website is not eligible. Manuscripts should be double-spaced and in 12-point type, with one-inch margins and numbered pages. Your name, school, English teacher, class period, and email address should be typed in the top left corner of the first page.

Is it okay if I get feedback on my work from my teacher for revision?
Yes! We believe that great writing comes through vigorous revision. Of course, the final product should represent your original work and voice.

How do I submit?
Your English teacher will collect your personal narrative or story as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx), and English teachers within your school will select a group of finalists. If your school selects you as a finalist, your teacher will submit your work to Narrative on your behalf no later than March 1, 2019.

Will finalists from each school receive anything?
In addition to praise from their teachers, school finalists will have their work entered into the greater Narrative contest—for a chance to win first, second, or third place and publication in Narrative.

For Teachers

Should I submit all of my students’ work, or only the best ones?
Once your students have submitted their work to you, each school will be allowed to nominate school finalists, whose work will be entered into the Narrative contest.

How many of my students’ works am I allowed to submit as finalists?
Each school will be allowed to submit the following number of works as finalists. We suggest coordinating with the other teachers in your English department to select your set.
Under 100 participating students—top 10 total finalists
Under 500 participating students—top 10/grade level
500–1,500 participating students—top 20/grade level
Over 1,500 participating students—top 30/grade level

Am I allowed to edit my students’ work?
Of course, within reason. We encourage teachers to review their students’ drafts and to create space for peer editing, just as long as the students’ work remains their own. You might direct your students toward Narrative’s targeted student resources, located on the Supplemental Materials page, which include instructional videos and a reading list of exemplary written works.

To read work by last year’s contest winners, click here.

I have a question!
Share your question with your English teacher, who will be in touch with Narrative throughout the contest. Students and teachers may also send queries to Brooke Davis.

Additional Information:

Welcome | For Teachers | For Students | Supplemental Materials