All Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations will be closed on Monday, September 7th, 2015.

Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest

Become a published author!

Top submissions will be published in the 2015 Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology, a book of creative work distributed to all Allegheny County libraries. Published writers will also be invited to the Teen Media Awards on August 5 - a special event celebrating the creative work of local teens.

Writing Categories:


1st Prize: $250
2nd Prize: $100
Deadline to Enter: April 25, 2015

*First prizes will be awarded in each category, and second prizes will be awarded for Poetry, Short Prose and Screenwriting.

Contest Rules

Contest is open to all high school students (grades 9 - 12) in Allegheny County.

  • No more than two (2) creative writing entries per individual will be accepted (for example, one (1) submission in category x, and one (1) in category y OR two (2) in category x)

Category requirements:

    • Poetry submissions may not exceed two (2) pages and must be typed in 12 pt. font.
    • Short Prose submissions may not exceed 4,000 words and must be typed in 12 pt. font.
  • Screenwriting submissions may not exceed 15 pages and must conform to the formatting standards outlined in our Screenwriter's Guide.
  • 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  • Submissions must be previously unpublished but need not be created specifically for the contest. Creative work written for school assignments, workshops or other contests is acceptable.
  • Creative writing entries must be in .doc or .docx format and must not include your name or any other identifying details. Your personal information should only be entered in the required fields of the submission form.
  • Submissions that do not conform to contest guidelines will not be considered.
  • All entries must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Saturday, April 25, 2015.

Category Descriptions

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 forms of short prose. 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, 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 screenplays no greater than 15 pages in length. Screenplays must conform to standard screenwriting format as detailed in our Screenwriter's Guide. Submissions will be judged on a writer's ability to craft a story that is clear to readers, the presentation and creativity of a film's setting, the characters and conflicts presented within that setting, and the imaginative use of both dialogue and visuals to tell a cinematic story.

Cover Art

Design the cover for the 2015 Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology! First prize for this contest is $250. There is no second place award for the cover art contest.

Cover Art Contest Rules:

Images may be created using any artistic medium and do not have to conform to a creative writing theme

Formatting your artwork:

  • Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches (portrait orientation)
  • Resolution: 300 dpi or higher
  • File format: .eps or Illustrator files

* See your local library's Teen Specialist for assistance submitting or digitizing your print artwork.

For questions, writing workshops, or help getting started:

Visit any Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh location or any Allegheny County Library to ask a Librarian for assistance, call 412.578.2599 or email ralphmunn@carnegielibrary.org.