The Storytellers of Tomorrow

The 3rd Annual "Storytellers of Tomorrow"
High School Creative Writing Contest

The Ringling College of Art + Design Creative Writing Program was created to support, empower, and honor young writers. It’s an exciting time to be a writer thanks to the increasing number of narrative possibilities that new technologies and media offer. We believe that well-told stories can speak truths and communicate ideas in a way that nothing else can.

To that end, we’re inviting all high-school age students to submit unpublished, original English-language stories of up to 2,000 words in length for the 3rd Annual “Storytellers of Tomorrow” Contest. The criteria for earning prizes in this contest is simply overall quality, meaning that well-edited, engaging, and evocative stories have the best chance of wowing the judges.

2017 Winners


Literary Category

First Place: “Desiccant” by Emily Campbell, Sarasota High School (FL)

Judge’s comments: “I love the lines and the diction in this piece as well as the subtle exchanges between the characters. This story really drew me in.”

Second Place: "Notes from a Review Book” by Janet Song, Ward Melville High School (NY)

Judge’s comments: “This is a very strong piece of writing too where the writer is subtle and draws clear images with very strong words. I walk away from this story feeling the vividness of memory.”

Third Place: "Remains” by Amber Magnuson, South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities (SC)

Judge’s comments: “I’m impressed by the storytelling in this piece and also the specific images and details about the grandfather. This could be the compelling beginning to a much longer narrative where we get to learn more about the principal voice here.”


Honorable Mention:  “En Route” by Hannah Hur, Bergen County Academies (NJ)

Honorable Mention:  “Lost in Thought” by Kush Dhungana, Livingston High School (NJ)

Honorable Mention:  “Jess” by Claire Lee, Canyon Crest Academy (CA)

Honorable Mention:  “A Night on the Town” by Ezra Rhoads, Sarasota High School (FL)

Honorable Mention: “Green Eyes” by Sara Mandelbaum, Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy (NY)

Honorable Mention:  “Between You and Me” by KyKye Knorr, The Academy for Performing Arts (NJ)

Honorable Mention:  “Seven Coins” by Sarah Moloney, Pine View School (FL)

Honorable Mention:  “Midnight” by Markella Paradissis-Wagner, Lakewood Ranch High School (FL)


Genre Category

First Place: “A Pinch of Salt and More Feathers” by Ayana Sofia, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (LA)

Judge’s comments: “This story grabbed me right away. The narration powerfully moves the story forward. It’s absolutely wonderful.”

Second Place: “The Doomsday Bible” by Dan Hu, Bergen County Academies (NJ)

Judge’s comments: “I’m quickly drawn into this story and its extremely plausible darkness. Very well done.”

Third Place: “The Rogue Android” by Devan Soliman, Northgate High School (CA)

Judge’s comments: “Once again, well-wrought images and language win me over. Also, I’m struck by the persistence of place and setting. Effective writing such as this lures us in with texture, details, and energy. Good job.”

Honorable Mention: "One Helluva Show" by Emily Mayo, New World School of the Arts (FL)

Honorable Mention:  “Gustav Koenraad” by Zing Gee, East Greenwich High School (RI)

Honorable Mention:  “A Beauty Like No Other” by Lola Velez, Ward Melville High School (NY)

Honorable Mention:  “Supernovas” by Julia Li, Polytechnic School (CA)

Honorable Mention:  “The Experiment” by Kiersten Elliott, homeschool


Please watch for the 4th annual contest this fall which will expand to three categories (genre stories, literary stories, and nonfiction), and much bigger prizes!
The top winner in each category will receive iPads, and their high school writing teacher will receive a classroom iPad, too, among other prizes!


Submission Guidelines

Send your story as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf attachment through email. Along with your submission, please include your name, your high school, your current grade level, and a few sentences about your background in writing, your hobbies/interests, or anything else you’d like to share to give us a stronger sense of who you are.

Students are asked to send no more than one (1) submission per category. The two categories are Literary Stories (think Tim O’Brien, O. Henry, John Green, and Alice Walker) or Genre Stories (think Neil Gaiman, Edgar Allen Poe, J.K. Rowling, and Philip K. Dick). Students can submit work to both contests if they choose. While these submissions can be traditional short stories, we are also quite open to graphic narratives, scripts, picture book manuscripts, comics, and other literary forms/blends for either submission category.

Submission Address

Please include "Storytellers of Tomorrow" in the subject line.

Submission Period

September 15, 2017 - January 15, 2018 [Closed]


Initial Judges

The Ringling College of Art + Design Creative Writing Program faculty.

Final Judge

Virgil Suarez, auther of Latin Jazz and The Soviet Circus Comes to Havana & Other Stories

Entry Fee


Prizes in Each Category

1st prize: $200 & a Ringling College of Art + Design t-shirt

2nd prize: $100 & a Ringling College of Art + Design t-shirt

3rd prize: $50 & a Ringling College of Art + Design t-shirt


**The judges reserve the right to award as many Honorable Mentions as the submissions merit. This honor includes each author receiving a Ringling College of Art + Design t-shirt.

**The top winner in each category will have their story published in Shift, the Creative Writing Program’s new literary arts journal that launches in fall 2017. Beyond that one-time publication, authors retain all rights to their stories. 

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