Open Books Publishing Academy: Virtual Edition Registration Open!

Each year, Open Books works with aspiring young writers to write, edit, and publish their very own novels in our Publishing Academy program.

This year Publishing Academy is going virtual, and we are enrolling students now!

Learn More

Open Books Writing Competition 2020

Sponsored by Dolores McArdle Reading Trust

Goal: To encourage and reward creative writing while at home during social distancing/quarantine, reinforce the idea that everyone has a story to tell, and to cultivate a mindset of valuing community

Open to: All students, with a focus on those in the Chicagoland area, 3rd-12th grade

Age groups





One winner from each age group wins $1000.

Three runners-up in each age group win $200 each.

Money to be used to further education.

Additionally, up to 10 authors from each age group will be selected to have their story published in a short story anthology.


Submissions can be any format – creative fiction, personal narrative, nonfiction, poetry, etc. on the topic of family or community
Some ideas to get you started:
  • Write about a character who experiences the important of community.
  • What does community/family mean to you?
  • Who is a hero in your community/family? Why?

Maximum length 2,500 words (about 10 pages), no minimum length


  • Submissions are closed
  • Judging will take place June
  • Winners will be announced at the end of June
  • Prizes will be announced in August

Publication: All winners, runners-up, and additionally selected authors will be published in an anthology. Each winner will get a free copy of the anthology, which will also be sold in our Open Books West Loop bookstore.

Submission Details:

To enter, upload your writing and complete the form below:

By submitting your writing, you acknowledge that your work may be published by Open Books.

All questions can be directed to [email protected]

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