Writing is one of 10 artistic disciplines in YoungArts’ national competition. This discipline encompasses creative nonfiction, novel, play or script, poetry, short story and spoken word.

Competition Eligibility

To be eligible, you must be able to answer ”Yes“ to these statements:

  • I am either a citizen of the United States, a permanent resident/green card recipient, or I can demonstrate that I am legally able to receive taxable income in the United States.  
  • I am in grades 10–12 or 15–18 years of age on December 1 of the year I am applying. 
  • If I’m selected as an award winner with distinction, this would be my first time attending National YoungArts Week.

Application Requirements

The strongest submissions demonstrate a sense of inventiveness, show attention to the complexities and technical aspects of language, and have a clear, original, and distinct point of view.

Requirements are for reference only and will be updated in June 2024.

The 2025 YoungArts application opens in June 2024. 


Tips and Testimonials from Winners and Guest Artists

Application tips | Vanessa Garcia & Grace Talusan, National Selection Panelists

Application tips | Christopher Castellani (1990, 1992 Writing), National Selection Panelist

Application tips | Sarah Braunstein, Guest Artist

Application tips | John Murillo, Guest Artist

2023 Application Writing Info Session

What it's like to be a YoungArts Winner | Nicole Cooley (1984 Writing), National Selection Panelist

Select Readings from Winners

Ulysses Hill | Creative Nonfiction

Shaliz Bazldjoo | Novel

Mac Stern | Play/Script

Daniel Liu | Poetry

Amy Wang | Short Story

Zoe Dorado | Spoken Word

View select works from winners here.

See our FAQ for answers to common questions about the competition and application.

For the first time, I felt confident and so centered in my art—for the first time, I had the opportunity to talk to talented and powerful artists my age and learn from them.”

— Sarah Mohammed (2021 Writing)