Thank you to all who participated in the Open Books Writing Contest. Due to the large number of submissions, we will be announcing our winners in mid-July. Winning participants will be notified first, and then all winners will be posted here.

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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