“Tell Me a Story” High School Contest

Welcome to the high school contest–your invitation to be discovered and published along with the world's greatest writers!

As we emerge from this most challenging year of the pandemic, we believe more than ever in the power of stories and poems to teach, awaken, and inspire us all. This year, for our Sixth Annual “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest we invited all high school students (ages 15 to 18) to write a poem using the prompt escape. And what amazing escapes we discovered!

Contributing teachers and students in this year’s Narrative contest covered the globe: indeed, we received submissions from 19 countries, including South Africa, India, China, Serbia, Poland, Taiwan, and others. Within the US, we heard from young poets in 39 states and 174 cities—an amazing outpouring of poetry! In all, our Narrative in the Schools programs reach more than 100,000 students and teachers in schools worldwide. Wow, right?

Narrative editors, including poetry editor Michael Wiegers, New York Times–bestselling author and Narrative cofounder/editor Carol Edgarian, and special this year, our guest judge, Salvadoran poet and Narrative Prize winner Javier Zamora, selected the first-, second-, and third-place winners, as well as seven finalists.

In March writers of the winning entries worked closely with Zamora, fine-tuning their poems and engaging in all aspects of a professional publishing process. In April, the “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest winners and finalists were announced with fanfare and were awarded with cash prizes, totaling $1,150, and with publication in Narrative, alongside the greatest writers of our time. Their work was celebrated at their schools and, as in previous years, recorded and will be featured on our popular podcast Narrative Outloud this coming fall.

Are you a high school student and want to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Be sure to subscribe to Narrative to keep up to date with all the exciting writers we publish, and check back here in the fall, when the details for our Seventh Annual “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest will be released!

Winning pieces in the Narrative “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest:

The Sixth Annual High School Contest: Escape

The Fifth Annual High School Contest: The Choice

The Fourth Annual High School Contest: The Mistake

The Third Annual High School Contest: When Everything Changed

The Second Annual High School Contest: Dear America

The First Annual High School Contest: Where I’m Going

Are you a student or teacher looking for other resources? Check out our curated reading lists and video tutorials about the craft of writing, featuring bestselling author and Narrative cofounder/editor Carol Edgarian.

Narrative’s “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest is supported in part by:

Additional Information:

Welcome | For Teachers | For Students |
Video Tutorials with Carol Edgarian | A Great Reading List