Hiram College

Emerging Writers Nonfiction Contest

The Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature at Hiram College invites current 10th and 11th grade students to submit a nonfiction essay to the Emerging Writers Nonfiction Contest. All entries must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, January 12, 2018.

Theme: Citizens

Entries should address the contest theme of “Citizens.” What does citizenship mean to you? Where do you apply or hope to apply your greatest allegiance or sense of allegiance as a citizen? Of what entities are you a citizen? A neighborhood? A town or city? A nation? Can you be a citizen of the world? Or of nature, as environmental thinkers have suggested, or even of the Earth? What are the problems and conflicts inherent in your participation in this entity? What criteria do we use or should we use to determine who is a citizen? What are the rights of a citizen? What are the obligations of a citizen? What obligations do we have to non-citizens?


We urge you to think about the theme in a focused and creative way and from any disciplinary angle. We seek nonfiction that is reflective, investigative, immersive or meditative. We encourage the use of the personal voice and the word “I.” Essays should combine a foundation in facts with nuanced use of language and detail. Such nonfiction allows writers to explore their own experiences or subjects such as science, history, politics and art in a less formal voice and perspective. For instance, essays might consider what it means to be a citizen from a personal, historical, philosophical, or even biological perspective.


Prizes of $200, $100, and $50 will be awarded to the top three entries. Honorable mentions will be awarded at the contest’s discretion and include no cash prize. Winners will be invited to read at an Evening of Hiram Writers on the Hiram College campus on April 3, 2018. Hiram College will award a $1,000 Emerging Writers Scholarship to all students selected as contest finalists who enroll as full-time students at Hiram College. This scholarship is renewable for up to four years. Only one Emerging Writer Scholarship will be awarded per new student.


Students from public, private, parochial or home-school settings both in the United States and abroad are eligible. Students must be in their sophomore or junior year (or the equivalent) of high school. Children of Hiram College faculty and staff are ineligible to enter.

Previous prize winners and those with essays published in professional magazines or journals with a circulation of more than 1,000 are not eligible. Students are eligible to submit works that have appeared in their school publications.

Entry Format:

Students may submit only one essay. Essays must be submitted with their entry form in PDF format. They should be typed, double-spaced, and fewer than 1500 words. Your submission file should include the essay title but not personal information such as names and addresses. Essays will be judged without knowledge of the author’s identity.

In addition to applicant’s information, entry forms must include the name, email, and phone number of a teacher or counselor who can verify the authenticity of the submission in order to be considered for prize earnings. All entries must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, January 12, 2018.

Submit Your Entry

Additional Information:

Winners will be invited but not required to read their work at Hiram College’s Evening of Hiram Writers on April 3, 2018. Winners must provide their own transportation to the Evening of Hiram Writers event.

Failure to adhere to these guidelines will result in disqualification.


If you have questions about the contest or the submission process, contact Kirsten Parkinson, John S. Kenyon Professor of English and director of the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature, at lindsaycrane@hiram.edu.