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Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest

Submissions are closed for the 2023 Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology.


Contest Information

All top-rated submissions will be published in the 2023 Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology, a book of creative work distributed to all Allegheny County public libraries.

Writing Categories:

  • Poetry
  • Short Prose


  • 1st Prize: $250
  • 2nd Prize: $100

Prizes will be awarded in both categories. All applicants will be notified whether or not they have won an award by the middle of July.

Contest Rules:

  • Contest is open to all high school students (grade 9 – 12) in Allegheny County.
  • No more than two (2) entries per individual will be accepted. These two (2) submissions can be in any combination of categories.
  • 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.
    • All submissions must be original work by a single author; no plagiarism and no work containing copyrighted characters (including fan fiction) will be considered.
  • Submissions must be previously unpublished but do not need to be created specifically for the contest. Creative work written for school assignments, workshops or other contests is acceptable.
  • 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 9:00 am on Monday, April 17, 2023.

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 for this category. 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, and 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.

For questions or help getting started:

Visit any Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh location or any Allegheny County Library to ask a teen specialist for assistance, call 412.622.3114 or email

IMAGE: Detail from “Headfull of Weeds” by Alex Riccobon, the 2022 Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology cover art award winner.
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