National Writing Contest – Celebrating Black Writers: Voices Calling for Activism and Social Justice
The Center for Black Literature (CBL) at Medgar Evers College, in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, invites high school and college students of all ages to participate in a writing contest titled Celebrating Black Writers: Voices Calling for Activism and Social Justice. Submissions in the genres of fiction, prose, and essay are welcome.
The writing contest celebrates the Center for Black Literature’s 20th Anniversary Jubilee: Honoring Our Legacy and Celebrating the Black Literary Arts and the National Council of Teachers of English’s annual National Day on Writing®.
Our nation is facing many challenges: voter suppression, racism, social injustice and inequality, and a public health pandemic. Black writers in this country have a long history of overcoming obstacles and engaging in the struggle for the freedom to live as citizens whose civil and human rights are respected and honored. Through their liberation narratives, poetry, fiction, and essays, Black writers have documented their experiences and called for change. The texts of Black poets, novelists, playwrights, screenwriters, historians, activists, and civil rights leaders have always sustained us through challenging times.
All students currently enrolled in secondary/high school or college, including community college, are encouraged to participate by writing and submitting their own essays, prose, or fiction. Writings should represent various themes raised by Black writers—poets, novelists, literary activists, public intellectuals, civil rights leaders, and historians—who have advocated for social justice.
All submissions will be reviewed by an invited panel of expert judges.
- Open: Monday, February 28, 2022
- Close: Monday, May 23, 2022
- Submissions of students’ original writings must be between 750 and 4,000 words long.
- Submissions must be entered into the webform text box, retaining spacing from the original document.
- In a separate field, include a one- or two-sentence bio about the student author.
- Submit to one category (fiction, prose, or essay), as only one submission per person is allowed.
- Submissions can include an excerpt from a student’s larger work but cannot exceed the total stated word limit for this contest.
- Previously published works are not acceptable.
- All entries must be submitted online by no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on May 23,2022.
- High school students (includes juniors and seniors): first place $3,000; second place $1,500
- College students (includes community, comprehensive, and senior colleges): first place $4,000; second place $2,000
Application Deadline Monday, May 23, 2022
Please contact NCTEAwards@ncte.org with any questions.