Joy of the Pen Application

Annual Writing Competition Registration

Submissions are now closed. They will open up again next September.

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)
• Maine-Related Nonfiction (word limit the same as fiction)
We also have a Teen category. If you are 11-18 years old you can enter and submit either one piece of fiction, poetry or creative nonfiction to that category (same word limits apply).

Winners (and one honorable mention) from each category will receive a small honorarium, have their work published on the Joy of the Pen Literary Journal and printed in a booklet that will be made available at the Joy of the Pen reception.

Rules of Entry:
✫ Year-round 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Unpublished work only (work that has been self-published or has appeared online, on a personal blog for example, is NOT eligible)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 – a collection of poetry counts as 1 piece)
✫ Work that does not adhere to word/page limit 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)

For further information, call the library or email

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  • Shannon Bowring

    Thank you for your time and consideration of my story – please let me know if for any reason you cannot open my file, and I will be happy to send it along in a different format.

    Again, thank you!

    Shannon L. Bowring

  • regina schaare-denio


    Did you receive my poem?


    • Emma

      I did Regina, thank you!

  • Mary Freeman


    It occurred to me my creative non-fiction entry might just as well have been entered in the Maine-related non-fiction category –is it too late to have the story entered under both categories?


    • Emma

      Hi Mary,
      You can only enter one piece into category at a time. If you would like to switch categories let me know asap ( and I will switch it for you!

  • joy hamilton

    Can you please email me back to let me know you received my entry.
    Thank you,
    Joy Hamilton

  • question

    Does “Sorry. This form is no longer available.” mean everything was submitted okay?

  • answer

    Ah, it means the timezone is set GMT, and the deadline ended 4 hours early, at 8PM EST, while I was filling out the form. Fun!

    • Emma

      Hi, we’re really sorry about that! I had the timezone set to the old country! If you missed the deadline because of this – please email your application to and you will still be considered!

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