• Young Authors Writing Contest

2017 Young Authors Writing Contest

The Bay Area Book Festival is pleased to announce the launch of the 2017 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

CHANGE: The world, and the people in it, are in a constant state of flux; nothing truly ever remains the same. Think about something that’s changed or that you believe will change, for anyone, anywhere. Write a piece that explores this change, making sure to address the effects of swapping one thing for another, or evolving into something new.

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.). Winners will be selected to spotlight compelling and/or stories of diverse experiences. 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, we encourage you to 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. What are all of the different types of change you can think of? Make a list.
  2. As you look over this list, notice which types of change are visible, like physical changes in the Earth or a person’s body, and which are not, like changes in ideas, personality, or allegiance.
  3. As you look over this list, think about how each type of change occurs. Does the change happen gradually or suddenly? Does it happen naturally, or does making the change require concerted effort?
  4. Which of these types of change is important to you in your life? Why?
  5. Look at your list again, are there groups of people to whom these types of change are significant? Why?
  6. Think about what happens when these changes occur. How and why do they occur? What do these changes feel like? How do people react to these changes? How do these changes affect a life?


Contest submissions are due by April 30th, 2017 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 each grade level (9th, 10th, 11th and 12th). 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 and their names listed in the San Francisco Chronicle Program Guide. They also will be invited to read their work at an awards ceremony held at the festival, which will take place in downtown Berkeley on June 3rd and 4th, 2017.

Winners will be selected by May 13th, 2017 and notified on May 16th, 2017.

Additional Information

The Young Authors Writing Contest is a great opportunity for students in the Bay Area to practice and showcase their writing abilities. Last year, both the San Francisco Chronicle and Berkeleyside covered the contest, 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 sabrina@baybookfest.org .