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 10 p.m. on Friday, January 18, 2019.

Theme: Technology

Entries should address the contest theme of “Technology.” As long ago as the invention of the written word, technology has created controversy. In Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates argues that the new technology of writing would lead to forgetfulness because people could write down their ideas instead of remembering them. New technologies have continued to raise ethical challenges. As we extend our abilities to transform ourselves and our world through technological innovations, we must explore questions of whether and how we should choose to limit our powers. We must also look to the past to learn from previous technological wins and losses.

In addressing the contest theme, consider specific plusses and minuses of technology in your own life. Reflect on not only the obvious technologies of cell phones, computers, cars, and the like but also less obvious technologies that we use every day but that may not be immediately apparent. Here are some questions that you might think about: What does technology allow you to do? How has technology shaped who you are? Where does technology go too far? Who has access to technology and who does not? How are technologies culturally specific? Who determines what technology is good and bad and how? In what ways might or should technology be regulated? What technology would you like to see emerge from today’s world and why? You cannot and should not try to answer all of these questions; choose an aspect of technology that is of particular interest to you and that you can engage in with particularity and specificity rather than generalities.


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 are looking for specificity rather than generalization; incorporate concrete examples from your own life and observations or from reputable sources. We encourage the use of the personal voice and the word “I.” Essays should combine a foundation in facts with nuanced use of vivid language and specific detail. Such nonfiction allows writers to explore their own experiences or subjects such as literature, science, politics and art in a less formal, but polished, voice. For instance, essays might consider the role of technology from a personal, philosophical, or even historical 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 2, 2019. 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 10 p.m. on Friday, January 18, 2019.

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 2, 2019. 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.