Deadline: July 24, 2022

About the competition

Now in its fourth year, the Black Voices in Children’s Literature Writing Contest is going national! The contest is now open to Black authors who at the time of entry are at least 18 years of age and residing anywhere in the United States.

As always, the contest’s mission is to elevate authentic, culturally relevant children’s stories written by and about Black people. Every entry is considered for publication and three cash prizes will be awarded.

Submission guideline

Eligible entries will include original childrens books for ages 0–4 (50–125 words) or for ages 4–8 (300–800 words) featuring authentic, realistic Black characters and culture and focusing on one or more of the following topics: character development, self-esteem, identity, diversity, getting along with others, engaging with family and community, or other topics related to positive childhood development. Religious and fantasy themes will not be considered.

All entries must be your original work, unpublished, and not accepted for publication anywhere at the time they are entered in the contest. Please include the following items in your entry:
  • Book text along with illustration ideas (no need to send art; written ideas are preferred)
  • A letter briefly describing your book, specifying the intended audience (including age range), and telling why you decided to write it
  • Your brief biography and current email address

No manuscripts will be returned. Entries that do not conform to contest rules will be disqualified.

To Submit an Entry Online

  1. Title the manuscript and include your name on the first page.
  2. Upload your entry on Submittable

To Submit an Entry via Email

  1. Title the manuscript and include your name on the first page.
  2. Send your entry as an attachment in Word or as a PDF.
  3. Email to [email protected]

To Submit an Entry via Mail

  1. Title the manuscript and include your name on the first page.
  2. Print out your submission double-spaced on letter-sized paper and mail to:
Strive/Free Spirit Writing Contest
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100
Minneapolis, MN 55427-3674

Awards & Cash Prizes

First Place: $1,000 cash prize, a T-shirt from Strive, a tote bag from Free Spirit, and a meeting with Mary Taris, founder of Strive, and an editor from Free Spirit to discuss the winner’s project. The winning submission will be seriously considered for publication by Free Spirit, cobranded with Strive; however, publication is not guaranteed.
Second Place: $500 cash prize, a T-shirt from Strive, and a tote bag from Free Spirit
Third Place: $250 cash prize, a T-shirt from Strive, and a tote bag from Free Spirit
VoW Research
Author: VoW Research

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