Students in grades 9-12 in the Northeast Metro Area are invited to enter original writing in WriteNow!, the annual high school writing contest hosted by White Bear Center for the Arts. All entries must be submitted electronically.

Entry Deadline: Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 11:59 PM (NO EXCEPTIONS)
Students will be notified of results in mid-April

Award Ceremony & Student Readings

Thursday, May 7, 2020, 7:00-9:00 PM
White Bear Center for the Arts
4971 Long Avenue
White Bear Lake, MN 55110

Click here to download a PDF of the WriteNow! 2019-2020 submission guidelines.

WriteNow! 2019-2020 is supported in part by the Greater White Bear Lake Community Foundation.



2019-2020 Submission Guidelines


  • Entries will be judged in two categories: grades 9-10 and grades 11-12.
  • Submissions must be original work from the students. Plagiarism will result in disqualification.
  • All research-based resources must be cited.
  • Profanity is not permitted and will result in disqualification.
  • All entries must be submitted electronically.
  • Submit all entries on one form. For each entry, provide the title, category, and an attachment in Microsoft Word or PDF format.
  • Do not include your name or any other identifying information in your entries.
  • Students will be notified of results in mid-April.

Contest Categories


  • Expresses emotion, conflict, or other experiences through sensory images and descriptions
  • Often uses powerful words and short phrases, rather than complete sentences
  • Rhyming words and non-rhyming words are acceptable
  • Consider various types of poetry, such as sestina, ode, etc.
  • Up to 3 poems may be submitted per person
  • No word requirement

Short Story

  • Create an original story with the following elements:
    • Original writing: Setting, plot development (including conflict that drives the action, characterization) must be original
    • Exposition: Introduces setting that uses vivid descriptive words appealing to the senses
    • Characters: May include people, inanimate objects, animals, or nature itself; may be told in first person, third person, or third person omniscient
    • Resolution: Finish the conflict in plot by solving the problem or hinting at its conclusion
  • One short story may be submitted per student
  • 1500-word minimum, 2500-word maximum, note word count at end of story

Persuasive Essay

  • 5-paragraph format
    • Introduce topic, including a thesis statement and sentence that reinforces the thesis
    • Support your thesis with research-based information
    • Introduce an opposite point of view; include new evidence to support opposite point of view
    • Refute the opposite point of view, include new evidence to support your argument
    • Conclusion – summarize your thesis’s strengths, include a strong statement of support for your point of view
  • One persuasive essay may be submitted per student
  • 500-word minimum, 1500-word maximum, note word count at end of essay

Creative Non-Fiction

  • This category includes, but is not limited to, letters, biographies, autobiographies, interviews, and both the familiar and personal essay.
  • One creative-nonfiction work may be submitted per student
  • 500-word minimum, 1500-word maximum, note word count at end of entry


2019 Award Winners

Poetry (Judges – Mary Kolles, MaryAnn Moenck, Anne Picard)

Grades 9/10

Grades 11/12

Short Story (Judges – Michael Blumer, Maiya Grath, Brian Lutterman)

Grades 9/10

Grades 11/12

Persuasive Essay (Judges – Julie Lundgren, Mark Nicklawske, Anne Swanson)

Grades 9/10

Grades 11/12

Creative Non-Fiction (Judges – Mary Jane LaVigne, Sara Marie Moore, Steve Simmons)

Grades 9/10

Grades 11/12

  • Award of Excellence:  Madeline Lamwers – “Alone”
  • Award of Merit:  Sabrina Brown – “My Anxiety: A Timeline”
  • Honorable Mention:  Ava Schimnowski – “First Job”

Thank you to coordinating teachers:

  • Christine Alexander, Mounds View
  • Tiffany Dittrich, White Bear Lake North Campus
  • Jackie Halverson, Mahtomedi
  • Rachel Steil, Stillwater
  • Kelley Ungerecht, Forest Lake
  • Joshua Lane & Jennifer Kirkham, White Bear Lake South Campus
  • John Forestell, White Bear Lake Area Learning Center

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