Missoula Public Library | 301 East Main Missoula MT 59802 | (406) 721-2665 | M-W 10am-9pm | Th-Sa 10am-6pm | Su 1-5pm

Since 2009, Missoula Public Library has hosted an annual writing contest. We accept fiction, non-fiction and poetry submissions from contestants in four age groups: 8-10, 11-14, 15-18 and 19+. The contest typically begins on the first business day after the New Year with the submission deadline occurring approximately six weeks later.

Numerous volunteer judges from the community donate their time to review and score the entries anonymously. The judges are local professional writers, editors, educators, librarians and book sellers. The judges have approximately four weeks to rate the entries.

Winners are notified by telephone call in early April. The library hosts an awards ceremony in early May. Each year’s qualifying entries are bound into books; one copy is available for checkout and the other copy is housed in our permanent collection.

Please check back often for updates about our annual contest.


2017 Writing Contest Winners with Hometowns


8-10 Fiction

1st—Drew Gordon, Lolo
2nd—Emme Gillpatrick, St. Ignatius
3rd—Teya Lochridge

8-10 Non-fiction

1st—Lucy K. Reed, Missoula
2nd—Jake Helser, St. Ignatius
3rd—Faith You, Missoula

8-10 Poetry

1st—CJ Hayhurst, Missoula
2nd—Cooper Bradley Vickhammer, Florence
3rd—Kaydence Gilroy, Lolo

11-14 Fiction

1st—Tristan Richter, Missoula
2nd—Mikayla J. Deets, Huson
3rd—Natalie Helser, St. Ignatius

11-14 Non-fiction

1st—Daisy Kulina, Missoula
2nd—Ivan Gallego, Missoula
3rd—Autumn Conway, Missoula

11-14 Poetry

1st (tie) - Emmalyn Brinka, Missoula
1st (tie) - Eva Isbell, Missoula
1st (tie) - Georgia Walker-Keleher, Missoula

15-18 Fiction

1st—Maelynn Merrill, Frenchtown
2nd—Katie Smith, Huson
3rd—Nino Paoli, Missoula

15-18 Non-fiction

1st—Jake Kendrick Rezvani, Missoula
2nd—Paige Childers, Missoula

15-18 Poetry

1st—Shelby Kinch, Missoula
2nd—Emma Lyon Delsordo, Missoula
3rd—Eleanor Serviss, Missoula

19+ Fiction

1st—Lindsay Ludicello, Missoula
2nd—Melissa Kinsey, Missoula
3rd—Breeann Adam, Missoula

19+ Non-fiction

1st—Stephanie Nelson, Seeley Lake
2nd—Molly Rivkin, Missoula
3rd (tie) - Cheryl Nguyen-Wishneski, Missoula
3rd (tie) - Joshua Ross, Livingston

19+ Poetry

1st—Tracy Hall, Missoula
2nd—Tiffany St. Flynn, Missoula
3rd—Kamal Fox, Missoula


Frequently Asked Questions


Can I enter the contest with a pen name, pseudonym, or as an “anonymous” author?

No, you may not. We need to know your real name in order for the County to make a prize check for you if you win. Also, we require your real name to avoid duplicate entries.

May an entry have more than one author?

Yes, two or more people may be the author, but a prize check will be awarded to only one person. You have to split it yourselves.

If I have posted my story on a blog, may I still enter it in the contest?

No, you may not. Writing posted on a blog, web site, social networking site or literary journal is considered “previously published.”

Do you have a sample of how an entry should look?

Yes, we bind copies of all the qualifying entries. Bound volumes available for checkout are located at 808.02 MISSOUL. Non-circulating copies are located in the Montana Room at MTR R 808.2 MISSOUL.

What happens after I submit my entry?

After we determine the qualifying entries, the judges will do their part. They have one month to do so. Next we will tally the scores, determine the winners, and call them with the good news! Then we will honor ALL contestants and award the prizes at a reception in early May.

When will winners be notified?

Winners will be notified in early April. We will call to ask for your social security number so the County can make a prize check for you. We will keep your social security number confidential.

When will the winners be announced?

We will announce the winners at the awards reception. After that, their names will appear on the library’s various social networking sites and its webpage as well as in local newspapers.

How many people entered the contest this year?

This will be announced at the awards reception. After that, it will appear on the library’s various social networking sites and its webpage as well as in local newspapers.

How many entries were there in the (age group/category)?

We’re sorry; we do not share that information.

How are the entries scored?

They are scored based on points for certain elements, such as grammar, creativity, development of the theme, etc.

Who are the judges?

We’re sorry; we do not reveal who the judges are. Judging is anonymous – they do not know your name either. But trust us…the judges are well qualified.

What did the judges say about my story?

The judges do not offer criticism or a critique of your writing. The score is based on points.

Why are contestants disqualified?

Disqualification occurs due to a failure to follow contest rules, not because of the writing or the subject matter.

Will disqualified contestants be notified?

No, we do not notify disqualified contestants.