Madison Public Library will once again host the We Read Youth Voices Writing Contest in collaboration with Forward Madison FC and the Wisconsin Book Festival. We are accepting submissions April 3 - June 30, 2023.
Submitting Your Story
The theme for the 2023 Youth Voices Writing Contest is “Moving Forward - Together” and was determined by this year’s youth ambassador, Madeleine Bohn. Bohn is the City of Madison Youth Poet Laureate and was also a runner up in last year’s contest for her story, Sunlight. We are looking for stories of empathy; stories about seeking to understand each other's differences, looking at different perspectives, and moving forward together rather than apart.
“When we measure something's worth in numbers and figures, we miss out on a whole world of beautiful human connection; we highlight the lines that divide us rather than the common paths we share.” Madeleine says, “So much of empathy and of coming together relies on looking at things from another person's perspective, which is why I'm excited to see the unique ways each young writer interprets this year's focus.”
Stories, Poems, and Songs may be as short as you like -- who doesn’t love a simple haiku? -- but must not exceed the word limit for your age group.
Authors should limit themselves to their single best piece for submission.
Submissions can be in English, Spanish, or Hmong. If you would like to submit in a different language, please contact Rebecca Millerjohn at firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure a translator for our judges can be acquired.
- Ages 7 and under | 250 words or less
- Ages 8-12 | 750 words or less
- Ages 13-18 | 1,000 words or less
Check out our 2021 Winners & Honorable mentions
Learn about our previous contest and read the winners in our online 2021 Youth Voices Anthology.
Submissions for the contest are judged by a community panel of judges. 3 talented writers will be recognized for their achievements by:
- Being recognized on the field at the August 12, 2023 Forward Madison game
- Receiving a a Forward Madison scarf and custom jersey
- Receiving a signed game ball from Forward Madison FC players
- Having their stories published in the We Read Youth Voices Anthology, which will be available in every Madison Public Library location and school library location across the city
- Featuring them at the Wisconsin Book Festival Fall Celebration.
- Having their work be shared via social media, the Forward Madison and Madison Public Library newsletters, and other community channels.
Winner of the grand prize also receives a $500 prize and a scholarship to attend a Young Writer's Camp of their choice through the Greater Madison Writing Project in the late summer or fall of 2023. The 2 runners up receive $250 prizes adn the age category winners receive $100 each. These prizes serve as investments in youth - the winner and their families are left to determine the best way to spend or save the funds.