Young Writers Contest

The Contest is On!

Our 44th Annual Young Writers Contest is underway! Please review the rules and judging criteria and submit your work below. We welcome submissions in multiple categories. Winners will be notified via email in late spring, and prizes will be distributed at an award reception on June 6, 2024.

The deadline for submissions has passed. Good luck to all who entered!


The Contest is open to all Middle School and High School Students, grades 5-12, who live in New Castle and/or attend school in the Chappaqua Central School District. Middle school students in grades 5-8 and high school students in grades 9-12 will be judged separately.

Awards & Recognition

We have doubled our cash prize in each category this year! Winners will be notified via email in early May. A reception will be held in June to celebrate all authors and give out the awards to this year's winners, as well as this year's Linda Zhang Award For Writing Achievement.

Middle School: First Prize $200, Second Prize $100, Third Prize $50, Honorable Mention: $25

High School: First Prize $200, Second Prize $100, Third Prize $50, Honorable Mention: $25

Winning works will be published here on our website, and those authors & poets will have the opportunity to be featured in a future issue of Stroll Chappaqua Magazine.

Rules and Judging Criteria

The competition will be judged by a panel of professional writers and publishers. Criteria include: creativity, style, originality, and correct spelling and grammar.

Each entry must not exceed 2,500 words.

You may submit a maximum of one piece in each of the 3 categories (Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry). For multiple submissions, submit a new application for each entry.

These entries may be any of your work, including school assignments, as long as:

Note: It is *very important* that your submission does NOT include your name. Your uploaded work should include only your work's title and category (ex. Poetry, Middle School) in the header of your document.

Questions? Email

Stroll Chappaqua Features Young Writers Contest Winners!

Winners of this year's Young Writers Contest will once again have the opportunity to be featured in an upcoming issue of Stroll Chappaqua! The magazine is all about bringing our community together by hearing the voices and stories of our neighbors. We couldn't be more proud to celebrate and share the works of talented young writers in our community, and we are grateful to partner again with Stroll Chappaqua to bring their work to mailboxes in New Castle.

You can find a digital version of the July 2023 magazine cover featuring several YWC awardees along with their winning work here. Additional stories, poems, and essays from 2023 winners were featured in subsequent issues of Stroll throughout the year. We look forward to seeing features from our 2024 contest participants in the coming year! 

Congratulations to our 2023 Authors

In 2023, we received 200 submissions from middle and high school writers throughout the Chappaqua Central School District. We celebrated all of our contest participants and announced the winning nonfiction, fiction, and poetry works at an award ceremony on June 1st, 2023 in the Chappaqua Library Courtyard. Please see below for the complete list of winners and to read their prize-winning work.

Alexa Troob accepting the 2023 Linda J. Zhang Award

The 2023 Linda J. Zhang Award for Writing Achievement

This year's recipient of the Linda J. Zhang Award is Alexa Troob. Alexa is an 11th grader at Horace Greeley who has won Young Writers Contest awards in all three categories during her high school years. Her consistent and excellent work in all three categories each year made her a standout candidate for this year's award. In addition, like Linda, Alexa has demonstrated a passion for environmental stewardship through her award-winning writing. Congratulations, Alexa!

Winners of the 2023 Young Writers Contest

High School Nonfiction

First Place: Roshan Dhand, 10th Grade, My Dad is a Barber

Second Place: Sean Patrick-Sasaki, 10th Grade, It's Coral

Third Place: Nora Gross, 11th Grade, Childless

Honorable Mention (tie): Zoe Chung, 10th Grade, Meok 

Honorable Mention (tie): Warren Fu, 9th Grade, Sack of Rice

High School Fiction

First Place: Rory Frasch, 10th Grade, Life and Death and Everything In Between

Second Place (tie): Charles Peterson, 10th Grade, Capturing Cold

Second Place (tie): Alexa Troob, 11th Grade, The Full Picture

Honorable Mention: Rena Hollister, 11th Grade, Two Halves Make a Whole

High School Poetry

First Place (tie): Tessa Wheeler, 12th Grade, The Othello Poems

First Place (tie): Hudson Warm, 12th Grade, Sea, Sky, Land

Third Place: Jude Al-Mufti, 9th Grade, Credit to the Cradle

Honorable Mention: Lucy Johnson, 10th Grade, They Won't Be Watching 

Honorable Mention: Azalia, 9th Grade, The Forgotten Love

Middle School Nonfiction

First Place: Arjun Jangi, 7th Grade, Why I'll Think Twice Before I Pick Up a Bag of Chips

Second Place: Cecilia Valdes, 7th Grade, How Everyone Impacts The Ocean

Third Place (tie): Serene Jourdy, 8th Grade, Movement

Third Place (tie): Chanakya Nayudu, 8th Grade, Space Debris: A Looming Crisis in the Final Frontier 

Middle School Fiction

First Place: Violet Clinton, 7th Grade, Answer

Second Place (tie): Natalie Jong, 5th Grade, Daughter of the Moon

Second Place (tie): Mila Rymarczyk, 8th Grade, Dewhurst Hollow

Second Place (tie): Luke Scholl, 7th Grade, Paintball

Middle School Poetry

First Place: Arjun Jangi, 7th Grade, Good Enough

Second Place: Cecilia Valdes, 7th Grade, We Never Saw It Coming

Third Place (tie): Brandon Roô, 6th Grade, Roses Are Red, But Are Violets Blue?

Third Place (tie): Aditi Vijil, 8th Grade, Parks and Ice Skating

Third Place (tie): Gigi Wheeler, 8th Grade, Innocence

The Friends of the Chappaqua Library Linda J. Zhang Award for Writing Achievement

The Linda J. Zhang Award for Writing Achievement is co-sponsored by the Linda J. Zhang Foundation, in remembrance of Linda.

This award is given to a Chappaqua student that has consistently shown dedication to and achievement in writing, showcased in submissions to the Young Writers Contest throughout their middle and high school years. 

The recipient of the inaugural award, Erica Dunne, was a senior at Greeley in 2021. Like the award's namesake, Erica had won multiple awards in the Young Writers Contest, in multiple categories: poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

The 2022 Award was presented to Devisi Goel, a junior at Horace Greeley High School, who has also demonstrated great talent and passion for writing in and outside of this contest.

Past Winners of the Young Writers Contest

The Young Writers Contest attracts talented writers who live in the Chappaqua Central School District each year. Click below to see lists of past winning authors. 

2022 Young Writers Contest Winners and Honorable Mentions

2021 Young Writers Contest Winners and Honorable Mentions