National writing contest seeks short stories on courage, launches September 25

For Immediate Release
Wed, 09/05/2018


Communications and Marketing Office

ALA Media Relations


Winners could receive up to $1,000 and the chance to be published in Short Story Dispensers

CHICAGO – Up to $1,000 and the opportunity to be published in Short Story Dispensers nationwide will be at stake for writers of all levels, through a new writing contest launching September 25.

The contest seeks to engage residents with reading and writing literature and generate new interest in public libraries. The Public Library Association (PLA), John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Short Édition are teaming up for the first time to encourage writers of all ages and backgrounds to submit an entry. The submission deadline is October 30, 11:59 CT.

The theme of this year’s contest is courage, a universal topic and an attribute essential for the act of writing itself. Courage enables characters to confront their fears; persist; and overcome obstacles, both literal and abstract. Some acts of courage can be grand-scale and heroic, others quietly inspirational. No matter how noticeable, acts of courage defy expectations and show we can do things we never imagined ourselves capable of before.

“Our national writing contest provides an authentic experience for writers and readers to reflect on their own courageous moments,” said PLA President Monique le Conge Ziesenhenne. “Librarians know the value in connecting writing and reading creatively; those who write read more, and those who read write better. Our hope is for this contest to further connect residents with literature, local libraries and each other.”

The Short Story Dispensers were first launched in France in 2015 by the startup company Short Edition, which designed and created the dispenser to bring literature to unexpected places like airports, train stations, shopping centers, and hospitals. More than 3 million stories written by 8,000 independent authors have been shared globally, from Paris to Hong Kong to Wichita.

The contest is part of the Fostering Creative Community Connections project, which promotes reading and literary joy, community engagement, library programs and services, and creative expression from diverse writers. The project is funded by Knight Foundation and managed by the PLA, a division of the American Library Association, in partnership with Short Edition.

No purchase is necessary to participate, and full contest details will be available September 25 at