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Katy Independent School District

Writing Contests

  • Writing Contests

Student Writing Contests and Publishing Opportunities

Please be aware many deadlines are early in the month! Most contests run annually, so once a deadline has passed, students can consider entering the following year.

Contests By Month:


DeadlineContest NameNotes
January 4Profiles in Courage Essay Contest

Grades 9-12

January 8The Writing Conference Poetry, Essay, and Short Story Contests

Grades 1-12

January 12Letters About Literature Contest Grades 4-6, 7, 8, 9- 12
January 31The Sons of the Republic of Texas Essay Contest Graduating Seniors


DeadlineContest NameNotes
February 1 EngineerGirl Essay Contest Grades 3-12
February 5​​We the Students Essay Contest Grades 8-12
February 15NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing

Grade  11

February 28

The Atlantic & College Board Writing Prize (outdated)16- to 19-year-old high school students
​​February  Ray Bradbury Creative Contest All ages
February 27​​Sewanee Young Writers Conference 10-12


DeadlineContest NameNotes
March 10The Apprentice Writer literary magazine sponsored by Susquehanna University Grades 9-12
March PSRW Essay Contest  through City of Houston Grade 12
March 24Listen to a Life Essay Contest

Age 8-18

March 31 Young Spurs Writing Contest Journalism focused high school students
March 29Anthem  Essay Contest sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute Grades 8-10
March 31Gulen Youth Institute Essay ContestGrades 9-12


DeadlineContest NameNotes
April 2Princeton University Ten Minute Play Contest Grade 11
April 12 Fort Bend Arts Festival K-2, 3-5 & 6-8
April 26The Fountainhead Essay Contest sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute Grades 11-12
April 28Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest sponsored by the Ayn Rand InstituteGrade 12
AprilNorman Mailer Student and Teacher Writing Awards Grades 9-12



DeadlineContest NameNotes
May 6
PBS KIDS Writers Contest
Grades K-3
May 20 Jane Austen Society of North America Essay Contest​​​ Grades 9-12
MayGeneration Texas (GenTX) Decision Day 2016 ChallengeGrades 9-12


DeadlineContest NameNotes
June 1The Norman E. Alexander Jewish Student Writing Contest

Jewish teens grades 9-12


DeadlineContest NameNotes
July 1Texas Book Festival 16th Annual Youth Fiction Writing Contest Grades 7-12 (3 divisions)
July 1NCTE Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines
July 31 Financial Futures Scholarship
Grade 12+ Majoring in business, accounting, finance, mathematics, management, and others related to the personal finance industry


DeadlineContest NameNotes
October 31Patriot's Pen - VFW Patriotic Essay Writing Contest Grades 6-8 (more info )
October 31 Voice of Democracy Speech Contest sponsored by Veterans for Foreign Wars Grades 9-12
Recorded speech (more info )


DeadlineContest NameNotes
November 1 Bennington College Young Writers Awards Grades 10-12
November 15Generation No Kid HungryPhoto Essay Contest by We are Teachers Grades 7-12
NovemberFirst Freedom Student Essay and Video Competition sponsored by First Freedom Center

Grades 9-12

November 27Leonard L. Milberg ’53 High School Poetry Prize Grade 11


DeadlineContest NameNotes
December 1
River of Words Poetry Contest

Age 5-19 
(not yet graduated)

December 15
Scholastic Art and Writing Contest

Grades 7-12

December 31’s Wealth Wise Scholarship
Grade 12+

Other Resources

Online Literary Magazines and Journals that Publish Student Writing

Other Resources

  • Contests to Avoid: a list of sites that offer contests in order to sell books (vanity press)
  • National Day on Writing sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) : Oct 20, 2014, join the nation in celebrating a national day of writing together
  • Merlyn's Pen magazine (1985-2001) is no longer in print, but you can read nearly its entire collection of stories, poems, and essays at in the New Library of Young Adult Writing. The New Library serves some 2,000 teachers, students, textbook editors, and assessment developers each week as they seek out top models of student writing

If you have suggestions for other contests, problems with broken links, or are/know of a KISD student who has won a writing contest, please contact:
Jonathan Frishman
Katy ISD Writing Contest Coordinator

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