Statewide Writing Contest

Our annual contest allows students to show off their writing chops! 

The 2015-16 Writing Contest is underway

The deadline for submission is January 15th, 2016.

This year, we're asking students statewide to tackle the theme of "Time" in poetry or prose. This theme allows for a wide range of interpretation but here are a few prompts to get you started:

  • Tell the story of someone/something who has power over time.

  • Envision a world in which a character wakes up and discovers that the world has begun marking time differently.

  • Write a poem about one moment, one second, one minute, one hour, one day, one week, one year, one decade, one century, or one millennium.

  • Imagine a world in the past or in the future, when time was or will be dictated by other, non-human means. Describe it in a poem, or a scene, and write what is happening around you or your characters.

Remember, it's up to you how you weave this theme into your writing, but please follow our guidelines below.

To download a printable pdf of the contest rules, click here. Or print a full color flyer here.

We can't wait to read your work!


Writing Contest Rules

  • All submissions should be related to the annual theme.
  • Entrants must be from Maine in grades 6-12 during the 2015-16 school year, or, if home-schooled, between the ages of 11 and 18.

  • Poems must be 40 lines or fewer, in any form. Prose pieces should be 750 words or fewer.
  • Send your submission to Attach your story as a .doc or .rtf file, or paste it into the body of the email.

  • Include this information with your submission: Name, Age, School, Email Address, Phone Number, Parents Names, Mailing Address.
  • Submitting to our contest constitutes an agreement to be published in our annual anthology.
  • The deadline for submission is January 15th, 2016.



  • A panel of professional writers will select one grand prize winner.
  • The grand prize winner will be published in the May 2016 issue of Maine Magazine.
  • A $200 cash prize will be awarded to the grand-prize winner.
  • The grand-prize winner will be invited to read their piece at our 2016 Big Night Event.


Many thanks to the 130+ young writers who submitted to our 2015 statewide writing contest

Congratulations to Lizzy Lemieux, our 2014-15 grand prize winner!

The following poem by Lizzy Lemieux of Gorham was selected by a panel of judges as the winner of our 2014-15 writing contest. The guiding theme was "Water":


“The Presumpscot Baptism of a Jewish Girl - After Hanel Baveja

We stood on the Mars-red railway pass
Toes curling over the edge, fifteen feet above
The river bottom stewing in August—
Rusting leather-seated wheelchairs,
Slatted red-handled, silver-wired shopping carts,
Old-fashioned, newly made, ten-speed racing bikes,
And children’s tennis shoes with tongues like dogs.

The Presumpscot boiled like tomato soup,
Frothing with all these things we swam with,
Friendly with them as the fat, female ducks,
And their puddles of sopping bread.

We no longer bragged that we could swim,
But they knew—saw us wet and skinny,
Tan lines buckled around our hips.
We still screamed like children—
We still were children, I think, at twelve.
We hit the water with the sound
Of flesh on flesh, hand to skin.

We fought with the placid river—
Sometimes we won and we drew
The Presumpscot into our mouths,
Above Razor scooters and squelching mud.

In September it cooled and we sat
On the sloping banks with twenty-five cent gum
In our mouths, heads tilted toward the v’s
Of hollering Canada geese,
To which we hollered back
Call and repeat campfire songs. 

We liked being heard, liked everything
Until our big sisters came home,
Each of their ankles wrenched, skin puckered, one
Hanging off a boy like a playground tire swing.
Then we listened to the water
Hitting flesh on flesh, hand to skin,
Listened to who we would be
When we resurfaced.

Listen to the winners of the 2013-14 contest read their work:

Kaitlyn Knight, Rome - "I Am Not Wild"

Alicia Thurston, Topsham - "Astriferous"


Listen to the winners of the 2012-13 contest read their work:

Meghan Lane, Rockport - "Prelude in A Minor"

Mary McColley, Berwick - "Lapti"