Contest Timeline

Submissions Begin: May 15, 2017

Submission Deadline: December 1, 2017

Winners Announced: February 2018

We reserve the right to delay the announcement date to accommodate the volume of stories received, the need for extra selection rounds, etc. 



All stories will be read by two New Jersey professional prose writers. A select group of stories will be presented to a panel for final selection.


Selection Criteria

Unique Voice. A sense that the story is not interested in being derivative, someone who is honoring their particular take on the world.

Originality of Thought. Is the idea expressed in the story new or unusual? Is it saying something familiar in a new and different way?

Authenticity. Are the sentiments expressed strongly and deeply held by the writer?

Sophisticated understanding of what good prose can be and do.  Does the writer have a sophisticated sense of the unique way a story can evoke meaning?

Craft. Does the story exhibit an understanding of the craft associated with the form it is using?

Intention. Does the story seem to have a clear point in mind?

Successful Execution. If the point is clear, does it successfully get to where it intends to go?



Awards will be given in the following categories

  • Grades 9-10
  • Grades 11-12

Three students will be selected for each category (six total), one student each from North, Central, and Southern New Jersey.