• Young Authors Writing Contest

Young Authors Writing Contest

The Bay Area Book Festival is pleased to announce the launch of the 2018 Young Authors Writing Contest. The contest, which aims to encourage youth to engage with the craft of writing, is open to all high school students in the Bay Area. If you’re a student interested in participating, check out this year’s prompt below and continue reading for more details.

The Prompt

PERCEPTION: Everyone sees the world through different eyes — both literally and figuratively. How is it possible that two people can look at the same thing, but see different things? Write a piece that explores this question, making sure to address what’s affecting the way your characters perceive the world around them.

My Wife and My Mother-In-Law, by the cartoonist W. E. Hill, 1915

You may write a fictional short story, an autobiographical piece, or a persuasive essay. In addition, feel free to write in any genre (i.e. fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, etc.). While writing mechanics are important, we will not disqualify you based on imperfect grammar. So if you are not a confident writer, or if you are an English language learner, write a story that you are passionate about and don’t worry too much about the rest!

Here are some questions you might consider to help you get started:

  1. Think about a disagreement you’ve had with someone. They saw the situation one way, and you saw the situation a different way. Why? Make a list of possible reasons.
  2. What happens when there are differences in perceptions? How do people react to those differences? How do those differences affect lives?
  3. Is the way someone perceives something permanent? If not, how do perceptions change?
  4. How could an object alter the way you see something? Make a list of objects (real or fictional) that could alter how the world appears (e.g. contact lenses, hypnotic charms, medicine)
  5. Look at the image to the left. What do you see first — a young woman, or an old lady? What do others see first? Why?


Contest submissions are due by March 18th, 2018 and should be emailed to sabrina@baybookfest.org as a Word document or PDF. Submissions should be between 1000 and 3000 words, and should include your first and last name, grade level, and the name of your high school.


There will be a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize for the 9th/10th grade division and the 11th/12th grade division. Prizes will be awarded as follows:

  • 1st Prize: $100
  • 2nd Prize: $75
  • 3rd Prize: $50

In addition, winning students will have their work published on the Bay Area Book Festival website, their name listed in the San Francisco Chronicle Program Guide, and will be invited to read their work at an awards ceremony held at the festival, which will take place in downtown Berkeley on April 28th and 29th, 2018.

Winners will be selected by March 30th, 2018 and notified on March 31st, 2018.

Additional Information

The Young Authors Writing Contest is a great opportunity for students in the Bay Area to practice and showcase their writing abilities. The San Francisco Chronicle and Berkeleyside have covered past contests, recognizing students’ effort and talent. This year, the festival hopes to consider even more submissions. If you have any additional questions concerning the contest, please contact yawc@baybookfest.org. To learn more about the Bay Area Book Festival, visit our website at www.baybookfest.org.