Joy of the Pen Application

Annual Writing Competition Registration

Submissions are open on September 1, 2022! Deadline is October 1, 2022.

Entering is free! Writers are limited to submitting one piece in each category (a total of four pieces – a collection of poetry counts as one piece). The categories are:
• Fiction (short story or novel extract, no more than 5000 words)
• Poetry (up to 5 poems with a limit of 15 pages)
• Creative Nonfiction (including memoir and personal essays, word limit same as fiction)
• NEW! Short Plays (7-11 pages long)

We have two teen categories! If you are 11-18 years old, you can submit up to two pieces (one in each category–a collection of poetry counts as one piece):
• Teen Poetry (up to 5 poems with a limit of 15 pages)
• Teen Fiction (short story or novel extract, no more than 5000 words)

We also have two kids categories! If you are in grades 3-5, you can submit up to two pieces (one in each category–a collection of poetry counts as one piece):
• Kids Poetry (up to 5 poems with a limit of 15 pages)
• Kids Fiction (short story or novel extract, no more than 5000 words)

Winners (and one honorable mention) from each category (apart from the Teen and Kids competitions, which only have a winner in each category) will receive a small honorarium and have their work published in the Joy of the Pen Literary Journal.

We recommend doing a spell check and reading your work aloud before submitting.

Rules of Entry:

✫ Residents of Maine only
Unpublished work only (work that has been self-published or has appeared online, on a personal blog, for example, is NOT eligible)
✫ Writers are limited to one piece in each category (4 pieces total for adults and 2 pieces total for teens and kids—a collection of poetry counts as 1 piece)
✫ Work that does not adhere to word/page limit will not be read/considered
✫ Work that is sent before the opening date or after the deadline will not be read/considered
✫ Joy of the Pen is judged anonymously. Please do not put your name on the work itself, only on the application. Likewise, the judges will remain anonymous until the awards are announced.
✫ Topsham Public Library retains first publication rights to the work of the winners and runners-up (all other rights automatically return to the author after publication)


How to apply:
Email emma@topshamlibrary.org with the following information:

– Your name
– Address
– Phone number
– Email (we prefer to contact you by email when possible)
– What categories you are submitting in and the title of each work. Please indicate which title goes in which category. If you are submitting poetry, use the title of the first poem
– Attach your work to the email either as a doc, docx or rtf. Make a separate document for each category (a group of poems counts as one piece). Please do not put your name anywhere in the document and use the title as the document name