Inaugural Literacy In Place Writing Contest


Telling Our Stories: Rural Pasts, Presents, and Futures

Rural people and life are often mocked, stereotyped, or even invisible in dominant narratives. But as the critically acclaimed anthology Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions About Small-Town America makes clear, life in rural America is diverse, complex, and nuanced.  Rural teens have incredible stories to tell, and we want to hear them!

For this contest, we invite fictional and nonfictional accounts of rural living that represent the many and diverse ways of being and living rural.

Submission Guidelines

  • Authors must be in grades 9-12 in the United States.
  • Submissions can be fiction or nonfiction of any genre but are not to exceed 2000 words.
  • Each entry must be associated with a teacher or librarian. Note: if this call is used as a classroom assignment, educators must select the top five entries for submission.
  • Submissions should use 12 pt Times New Roman or Arial font, be double-spaced, with one-inch margins.
  • Please submit only in .docx or .pdf formats via this form.
  • Submissions will be accepted beginning July 1, 2022 and are due by midnight PST on December 1, 2022.
  • Submissions that do not follow these criteria will be automatically disqualified.
  • Only one submission per writer.
  • Rights: Winners retain all rights to their work. We ask for non-exclusive rights, meaning you are free to take your story elsewhere even after we publish it. Previously published stories are welcome too, so long as the author holds the rights to grant usage to Literacy in Place.

Submit your stories HERE!


FIRST PRIZE will receive publication on Literacy in Place, their submission spotlighted on the Reading Rural YAL podcast & YouTube series, and a virtual visit from award-winning rural author Jeff Zentner (The Serpent King, In the Wild Light) to their English class or writing group. Their teacher/educator will also receive a classroom set of Rural Voices.

SECOND PRIZE will receive publication on Literacy in Place and a signed copy of a rural YA book.

Meet the Guest Judges

J.R. JAMISON is the author of Hillbilly Queer, host of the NPR podcast and radio show: The Facing Project, and a founder of the national Facing Project network, a nonprofit that creates a more understanding and empathetic world through stories that inspire action. His work has been featured in The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Pangyrus, Writer’s Digest, and in various print literary journals. He lives in Muncie, Indiana, with his husband Cory and their dog, J.J. To learn more about J.R. and his writing, follow him online at and on Twitter & Instagram @jr_jamison.

VEEDA BYBEE is a former journalist and holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is part of the Rural Voices anthology (Candlewick) and Calling the Moon anthology (Candlewick, 2022). She is the author of Courage on Ice (Jake Maddox Series, Capstone), Lily and the Great Quake (Girls Survive series, Capstone) and  Li on Angel Island (Smithsonian historical fiction series, Capstone). Veeda lives with her family in the West where she reads, writes and bakes. To learn more about Veeda and her writing, follow her on Twitter & Instagram @veedabybee.

Let us know if you have any questions by using the form below.

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