Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest

Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest

Become a published author!

All top-rated submissions will be published in the 2016 Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology, a book of creative work distributed to all Allegheny County public and school libraries. Award winners and honorable mentions in each category will be invited to attend the Teen Media Awards celebration on Wednesday, August 10, 2016!


  • Poetry
  • Short Prose
  • Scriptwriting (Screenplay or Stageplay)

1st Prize: $250

2nd Prize: $100

Prizes will be awarded in each category.

Deadline is Sunday April 24, 2016 at 11:59 pm

Contest Rules and Category Requirements:

  • Contest is open to all high school students (grade 9 - 12) in Allegheny County (homeschool students welcome).
  • No more than two (2) entries per individual will be accepted. These two (2) submissions can be in any combination of categories.
  • All submissions must be original work by a single author; no plagiarism and no collaborative or derivative work (i.e. fanfiction) will be considered.
  • Submissions must be previously unpublished but do not need to be created specifically for the contest. Creative work written for school assignments, workshops or other contests is acceptable.
  • Entries must be in .doc or .docx format and should not include your name or any other identifying details. Your personal information will only be entered in the required fields of the submission form.

Short Prose:

Writers may submit original works of fiction or creative nonfiction no greater than 4,000 words in length. Short stories, personal narratives, essays, memoirs and commentaries are all acceptable for this category. In evaluating short prose submissions, judges will consider originality of content and style, development of plot or themes, technical attention to grammar and mechanics, and the author's command of language.


Poems of any form, including -but not limited to- free verse, sonnets, villanelles, sestinas, slam-style poetry and narrative poetry are accepted. Poems will be selected based upon the exemplary clarity, economy, and freshness of language, use of sound and rhythm, complementary nature of the form and content of the poem, and ability to evoke an intellectual or emotional response. Poetry submissions may not exceed two (2) pages in length.


Writers may submit short scripts -- intended for stage or screen -- no greater than 15 pages in length. Scripts meant for the stage must conform to the Standard American Format. Please see guidelines from the City Theatre. Screenplays must conform to standard screenwriting format as detailed in our Screenwriter's Guide. Submissions will be judged on the writer's ability to craft a story that is clear to readers, the presentation and creativity of the story's setting, the characters and conflicts presented within that setting, and the imaginative use of both dialogue and visuals to tell either a cinematic or staged story.

For questions, writing workshop events, or help getting started, visit any Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh location or any Allegheny County Library. To ask a teen specialist for assistance, call 412.578.2599 or email ralphmunn@carnegielibrary.org.