The deadline for the 2024 contest has passed. Winners will be announced here in early May.
2024 Official Rules
Please read the rules and follow them closely. Double check your work before submitting. Please call us at 406-721-2665 or contact the Reference Department at with any questions regarding Missoula Writes.
Open to all full-year and part-year residents of Montana
One entry per category per age group. Categories are fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Age groups are 8-10, 11-14, 15-18, and 19+
Must be an original work not previously published; no pseudonyms; plagiarism results in disqualification
Author’s name must not appear anywhere on the entry or in the file name
Submit entries electronically to Submittable by 5 PM, Friday, February 16, 2024
New in 2024 – Review Deadline All entries submitted by 5 PM, Friday, February 2, 2024 will be reviewed for formatting compliance. Contestants will then have until the final deadline to resolve any issues and resubmit their work.
Entries will be judged by professional writers, editors, educators, librarians, and booksellers
Winners will be notified in early April
Awards Reception will take place Sunday, April 28 at 2 PM in the Cooper Event Space
Checks are back! Prize checks will be awarded in each category for each age group: 1st Place - $100, 2nd Place - $50, 3rd Place - $25. Winners must provide their Social Security Number in order to receive a prize check; otherwise, the prize will be issued as a Missoula Downtown Association gift card.
Winners’ names will be submitted to the local newspapers and published on the various Missoula Public Library social networking sites and our own webpage
Prescribed formatting MUST BE FOLLOWED in order to qualify!
Fiction and non-fiction entries must be 2,000 words or fewer; poetry entries may be no more than 3 pages
Entry must be self-contained (i.e. not a single chapter from a longer story, an excerpt, or a story that is ‘to be continued’)
Use an easy to read font; do not use ALL CAPS, cursive, or bold fonts
Entry must be typewritten and double-spaced (poems may be single-spaced); authors in 8-10 age group may handwrite their entries, but writing must still follow all other formatting requirements
The title must appear at the top of the first page. Do not include the author’s name anywhere on the entry
Each page must be numbered (the first page and/or single page entries are not required to be numbered).
Entry must be uploaded and submitted electronically. Handwritten entries from the 8-10 group must be scanned prior to uploading
For assistance with uploading an entry, or with scanning and uploading handwritten entries in the 8-10 age group, please contact the Reference Department at .
Attention: Teachers & Parents
If you are encouraging children to submit an entry, please stress to them the importance of following the entry format and submission guidelines. To avoid disqualification, review their entries prior to submission. Be sure they turn in their entry by the Review Deadline, 5 PM, Friday, February 2, 2024.