The 2016-17 Statewide Writing Contest

Encounter: an unexpected meeting between people or things that creates a positive or negative change

This year’s writing contest theme is ENCOUNTERS. In the past, we have explored the ideas of neighborhoods, place, food, belief, water, time, and more. With this year’s theme, we have our senses honed and trained on unexpected meetings with someone or something; the experience of coming face-to-face with something or someone unexpectedly. This year’s theme will act as a great canvass to explore the many ways we encounter our world, each other, ourselves, The Other, the unknown, the ordinary, and even mystery.

Prompt Ideas:

  • Envision a character who has a surprising encounter with a memory. In a poem or story, show how this encounter affects your character’s future.
  • Write a poem about an encounter with a new culture, language, or environment.
  • Tell the story of a surprising encounter you have had or have witnessed. 
  • Imagine meeting someone or something you have never met and how your life might change afterward.
  • Set two characters in a strange enviroment. Describe how they respond to it and to eachother.


About the contest:

Our annual contest allows students to show off their writing chops! The contest runs from December-February each year. Entries are due by Friday, January 27th at midnight.


Writing Contest Rules

  • All submissions should be related to the annual theme.
  • Entrants must be from Maine in grades 6-12 during the school year, or, if home-schooled, between the ages of 11 and 18.

  • Poems must be 40 lines or fewer, in any form. Prose pieces should be 750 words or fewer.
  • Send your submission to Attach your story as a .doc or .rtf file, or paste it into the body of the email.

  • Include this information with your submission: Name, Age, School, Email Address, Phone Number, Parents Names, Mailing Address.
  • Submitting to our contest constitutes an agreement to be published in our annual anthology.



  • A panel of professional writers will select one grand prize winner.
  • The grand prize winner will be published in the May issue of Maine Magazine.
  • A $200 cash prize will be awarded to the grand-prize winner.
  • The grand-prize winner will be invited to read their piece at our Big Night Event.


Siri Pierce wins the 2015-16 writing contest!

We are thrilled to announce that Portland student Siri Pierce is the winner of our 2015-16 statewide writing contest. Siri is thirteen years old and attends King Middle School–this year was her third year entering our contest. A panel of judges chose her poem out of over 220 entries from all corners of Maine. Siri will be published in the May 2016 issue of Maine Magazine and will be awarded a $200 cash prize at our 2016 Big Night Event.

Thank you to the many talented writers who submitted stories and poems this year. We loved reading them and look forward to hearing from you again next winter!

Here is Siri's winning poem:


She sticks her fingers through one of the ringlets
draped on her daughter’s shoulder.
She looks down at the little legs
hanging off the chair.
High heels dangle from the child's feet,
barely holding on.

the girl says,
“what if time actually flew?
Would it look like a clock
wearing the pink fairy wings I wore when I was little?”

bright blue frosting twirling around a cake
yelling, bouncing off walls
ping pong, game of sound
lying next to happy birthday paper
mother beaming
lighting up
folds in her skin

The girl looks at her mother's face, the wrinkles
now noticeable in the lamplit night.
“Littler,” she adds, responding to
the slight raise of an eyebrow.

“Time flies when you go to bed,”
her mother says.
She is lifted out of the chair.
The shoes clatter to the floor.

The weight of her covers submerge her in sleep.

clocks wearing wings
in her cardboard treasure chest
jack-o-lantern teeth grinding circles
in the old clock in the dining room

Her eyes flicker open.
The tick of the clock
with her heart.

The next day she asks her mom,
“If time flew,
what would it look like?”

She answers, “You.”


Listen to Lizzy Lemieux, our 2014-15 grand prize winner!

Lizzy Lemieux, Gorham - "The Presumpscot Baptism of a Jewish Girl: After Hanel Baveja"


Listen to the winners of the 2013-14 contest read their work:

Kaitlyn Knight, Rome - "I Am Not Wild"

Alicia Thurston, Topsham - "Astriferous"


Listen to the winners of the 2012-13 contest read their work:

Meghan Lane, Rockport - "Prelude in A Minor"

Mary McColley, Berwick - "Lapti"