Literacy In Place Rural Teen Writing Contest

Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 inaugural Rural Teen Writing Contest!

WINNER – Allison Strange of Lawndale, NC for “Fate for a Cat.” Stay tuned for the Reading Rural YAL series featuring her work, including an interview with the author herself!

Her prizes include a classroom visit from Jeff Zentner and class set of copies of Rural Voices by Nora Shalaway Carpenter.

RUNNER-UP – Kevin Evilsizer of Franklin Township, IN for “Heart Strings”. Stay tuned for the Reading Rural YAL episode featuring an interview with the author later this spring.

His prizes also include a signed copy of books by J.R. Jamison and Veeda Bybee who served as guest judges of the contest.

HONORABLE MENTION – Luke Urban of Franklin Township, IN for “Roof Top Farmer”.

Introducing the theme of the 2023 Contest:

Eat, Dance, and Be Rural: Celebrating Diverse Rural Cultures

Food, music, and dance are key to any culture, and rural cultures are no different. Certain recipes, traditions, festivals, music, and dance make up my particular Midwestern regional rural culture. But I know that my rural culture isn’t the only one and that there are innumerable different and diverse rural cultures out there.So, we want to hear about yours!

What foods, music, dance, festivals, traditions make up your rural culture? This year we’re looking for fiction, nonfiction, and poetic pieces that center one or a combination of these aspects of rural cultural practices and living.

For this contest, we invite fictional, nonfictional, and lyric 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.
  • 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, 2023 and are due by midnight PST on December 1, 2023.
  • 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 pieces HERE!


Monica Roe grew up in an Appalachian farming community and spent her childhood haunting the local library, where she was once almost locked in at closing time (she saw this as a huge win; the librarian disagreed). She has worked for over a decade as a pediatric physical therapy consultant for off-road Alaskan communities and is a researcher/advocate for the social model of disability and inclusive rural health. A first-generation graduate, Monica currently studies public health at the University of Alaska Anchorage, focusing on disability-inclusive disaster preparedness for rural communities threatened by climate change. When not in Alaska, Monica and her family can be found in rural South Carolina, where they raise honeybees and sometimes get stung.

First Prize

Winner of first prize will receive:

  • A virtual class visit from Cybil’s Award-nominated, Monica Roe
  • A class set of Roe’s book, Air
  • Publication on the Literacy In Place website
  • An entire series of Reading Rural YAL dedicated to their story, complete with author interview

Second Prize

Runner-Up will receive:

  • A signed book from one of our guest judges
  • Publication on Literacy In Place
  • A guest spot and interview on Reading Rural YAL

Meet the Guest Judges

Kalynn Bayron grew up in rural Alaska. She is the New York Times and Indie bestselling author of the YA fantasy novels Cinderella Is Dead and This Poison Heart. Her latest works include the YA fantasy This Wicked Fate and the middle grade paranormal adventure The Vanquishers. She is a CILIP Carnegie Medal Nominee, a three-time CYBILS Award nominee, a LOCUS Award finalist, and the recipient of the 2022 Randall Kenan Award for Black LGBTQ fiction. She is a classically trained vocalist and musical theater enthusiast. When she’s not writing you can find her watching scary movies and spending time with her family.

Pedro Hoffmeister grew up in the Sonoran Desert and is the author of six books including: The End of Boys, This is the Part Where You Laugh ( a School Library Journal Popular Pick, selected for the VOYA Perfect TENS 2016 year-end list), Too Shattered for Mending (named to Bank Street’s Best Fiction List of 2017), and most recently American Afterlife. His novels have earned starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, VOYA, and The Bulletin. 

He’s a former “troubled teen” who was expelled from 3 high schools, lived in a Greyhound bus station, was remanded to a recovery and parole program, and completed a wilderness experience for troubled youth. He is now a literature and creative writing teacher at South Eugene High School in Eugene high school where he lives.

Terena Elizabeth Bell is a fiction writer. Her debut short story collection, Tell Me What You See, published Holiday 2022. Short fiction, poetry, and journalism work have published in more than 100 publications internationally, including The Atlantic, MysteryTribune, Santa Monica Review, and Saturday Evening Post. Short fiction has won grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

She is a 2021 NYFA City Artists Corps winner, a 2018 Arlene Eisenberg Award winner, a 2018 Azbee Award of Excellence winner, and Centre College’s 2014 Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year. Lead editor of the Writing Through the Classics series of books on fiction craft, she has taught creative writing independently and through the New York Society Library, Woodlawn Children’s Home, and Bowling Green State University.

Originally from Sinking Fork, Kentucky, she lives in New York City.

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

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