“Exercise Your Write” in Our Teen Writing Competition

February 12, 2019 | By Baltimore County Public Library

Photo of a teen writing

The world is in a period of enormous social change and teens have the opportunity to express their views—and share their experiences—more than ever. And more than ever, their voices are being heard.

Baltimore County teens currently in the sixth through 12th grades are challenged to submit an original piece for the library’s “Exercise Your Write 2019” short story contest. The competition was designed for teens to utilize their creativity and voice while writing about social justice, inequity, civil rights and the experiences of marginalized communities. 

Choose a Quote

Entrants will select one quote from the list below and create a short story based on their interpretation of the quote and its meaning to them:

  • “What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” 
  • “Why try to do right if people will always look at me and assume wrong?” 
  • “There are all these moments you don’t think you will survive. And then you survive.” 
  • “If no one saw them, no one could help them. And maybe the world needed to see what was really happening here.” 

Entry Requirements

  • One entry per participant; all entries must be written by one author.
  • All entries must be accompanied by a completed and signed Consent and Permission Form (PDF) for participants under 18.
  • Entries are not to exceed 1,000 words and must be typed or written legibly in English.
  • A title page must be included with author’s name, grade, title of work and chosen quote (see above). The author’s name should not appear anywhere other than the title page.
  • Title and page number should be included in the upper right-hand corner of every page, except the title page. 
  • The written entry can be a complete story or the first chapter or segment of a longer story.

Submit Your Entry

Participants can submit entries either in person at any branch or via email. Those submitting in person must hand their entry to a library employee at the information desk by 9 p.m. on Thursday, February 28. Emailed entries must be emailed to yfe@bcpl.net by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, February 28.

Winning Entries

Entries will be judged by a panel of Baltimore County Public Library staff; first, second and third place winners will be chosen. Winners will be contacted by phone on or before Friday, March 15, and invited to participate in an awards ceremony on Saturday, March 30, at the Rosedale Branch.


All entrants will receive a certificate of completion. Each winner, as well as one additional entrant who will be chosen as "Staff Pick," will receive a Visa gift card:

  • First place: $100
  • Second place: $75
  • Third place: $50
  • Staff Pick: $25 

More Information 

Email yfe@bcpl.net for more information.

Category: Programming and Events