Creative Writing Opportunities for PGH Teens!

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April is National Poetry Month!

While I could go on and on about some of my favorite poets (Maya Angelou, Shel Silverstein, Shakespeare, you get the idea…), I’d rather gush about two amazing creative writing opportunities that are happening NOW at the Library, just for TEENS!

Non-teen folks: Don’t stop reading! There’s lots of juicy information below that you might just want to share with a family member, co-worker or that awesome babysitter down the street who always has their nose in a book.

The first literary opportunity is the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest, which was started back in 2007 to pay tribute to the Director of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Ralph W. Munn.

The Library As Incubator Project had these wonderful words to say about the man behind the contest: “Ralph Munn, a celebrated director of the Library who served from 1928 to 1964, not only created the first young adult reading room at the Library in 1929, but also left an endowment ‘to continue serving the young adults of Allegheny County by providing opportunities for creative writing through the Library.'”

So, yeah, Ralph Munn is pretty much the best, and so we thoroughly enjoy offering this contest — not just for the potential of cash $$$ prizes, but also for the opportunity to be a PUBLISHED author in the 2017 Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology! Submissions end on April 30th, and are open to all high school students (grades 9 – 12) in Allegheny County.

Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest

Submit your work

The second creative writing debut goes to Large Print Teen Literary Journal. Started in 2016, Large Print is a Pittsburgh-based literary journal created for teens, by teens. Large Print promotes outstanding teen writing through a semi-annual publication, which features the work of middle and high school students who live or attend school in Allegheny County.

This one’s a personal favorite of mine, as it was founded in huge part by one of our amazing Main – Teen Volunteers, Leah DeFlitch. Her Editor’s Note in the very first edition of Large Print is sheer perfection, and so I share it with you here:

“I started this journal because I want to graffiti this singular message along the sides of a building, in bright red ink: Teen voices are valid. More than valid, they are loud and right, reckless and soft, careful and considerate, imaginative and strong. They scream at protests, tell others that they love them, and sometimes, write poetry. Everyone has a story, especially teenagers and their wide, heavy, changing voices, and teenagers need a space for their stories. This is that space.

“I started [Large Print] because I want to graffiti this singular message along the sides of a building, in bright red ink: Teen voices are valid.”

-Leah DeFlitch, Managing Editor of Large Print

“More than anything, we want to live in others’ experiences. We want to live in moments we will never have and in narratives that hang off our own tongues, but don’t make it into open air. The pieces that you read in the following pages are angry and dreary and soft and loving. They tear the page, then repair it. They let you live in worlds you are familiar with and worlds you will never be. These pieces more than graffiti the message along the side of the building for me, they echo it back, louder: Teen voices are valid. They are important. And they are here to stay.”

I know… amazing. Want to read more? You’re in luck! In addition to having this print publication at many of our libraries, it’s also available on our website (and coming soon will be an audio version recorded in-house by our very own teen readers!).

Teens in middle and high school are encouraged to submit fiction and nonfiction entries to Large Print on an ongoing basis.

Large Print Teen Literary Journal

Submit your work

Jess S. is a Teen Librarian at CLP – Main who enjoys fiber-arts or book-related crafts, experimenting with healthy-ish cooking and baking, spoiling two fat felines and listening to OverDrive audiobooks during walking adventures around the city. Her current book obsessions are mystery/thrillers, funny memoirs and really anything with a visually appealing cover.

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