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Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest Winners Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest Winners from left to right: Lana Meyer: Short Fiction - First Place; Elena Jackendoff: Poetry - First Place; Joanna Weiss: Poetry - Second Place.

For Joanna Weiss, a senior at Bishop Canevin High School, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest was the perfect outlet to showcase the range of her writing skills. After an English teacher encouraged her to submit her work, Weiss immediately entered a favorite short story. But it was a last minute hint of inspiration that caught the judge's attention. Written within hours of the contest deadline, Weiss' poem, "To-do list for a steampunk victorian girl," beat out more than 230 teens, placing second behind Elena Jackendoff (Pittsburgh CAPA), earning her a $100 cash prize and a coveted spot in a published anthology of teen poetry, short fiction and creative nonfiction.

Upon learning of her victory Weiss started "jumping up and down" in excitement before spreading the good news over the phone and on Facebook. Six winners in total were selected for their outstanding work and were formally recognized at an awards ceremony and reception in August.

Open to all high school students (grade 9 through 12) in Allegheny County, the Library's Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest allows teens to showcase their writing talents, improve their creative skills and have their work preserved through publishing. This year, workshops led by experienced writers Siobhan Vivian, Gene Collier and Toi Derricotte were held at various library locations to help the teens polish their entries and expand their skills.

"It's the most well-received program amongst the teens that we do," says LeeAnn Anna, Teen Services Coordinator. "I have been so pleasantly surprised as to the quality of the writing of some of these students reading their work, no one would guess that these writers are still in their teens!"

>> Read the Winning Entries! Finalists in the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest for poetry, short fiction and creative nonfiction are now online. Visit to read the work of Pittsburgh's up and coming authors.

During his 36-year tenure as Director of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Ralph Munn was responsible for significant changes to the Library, including the creation of a young adult reading room, which has evolved into the Library's Teen Department. Prior to his death in 1975, Munn provided the Library with an endowment to continue serving the young adults of Allegheny County by providing opportunities for creative writing.
To-do list for a steampunk victorian girl

Creating a Legacy
Through Endowment

You can follow in the footsteps of visionary Ralph Munn by supporting the Library's endowment. Building Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's endowment is one of the six strategies recommended by the Public Private Task Force on Sustainable Library Funding. For more information on how you can create a legacy, contact Pat Quinn Winter, Director of Development, at 412.622.8873 or