Hunger Mountain - Vermont College Journal of the arts

Hunger Mountain Prize for Young Writers

No Prize for Young Writers this year (2012)!


The prize for young writers is cancelled this year. Please check back in 2013! If you’ve already sent us an entry and entry fee, we will refund you.

What is the Hunger Mountain Prize for Young Writers?

An annual contest for high school students. A chance for your fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction to be read by Hunger Mountain editors and guest judges!

What will the winners receive?

Three first place winners receives $250 and publication! Three runners-up receive $100 each. There will be a first place winner and runner up in each category: fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.

Who can enter the contest?

Any high school student with a piece of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. Last year middle school students were eager to enter as well, and we said that was okay as long as they realized they would be competing against older students. In other words, there is no seperate category for middle schoolers.

Where can I read last year’s winners?

Right here.The 2010  fiction winner was “Ninjaboy” by Rachel Thomas. The 2010 poetry winner was “Some Last Things to Arrange” by Mishka Hoosen.The 2012 creative nonfiction winner was “Fefe Naa Efe” by Delali Ayivor.

Who judges?

The 2011 judge was Cynthia Leitich Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Tantalize, Eternal, and Blessed. You can read about her here:


When is the deadline?

The postmark deadline is usually April 30th.

Is there an entry fee?

Yes. The entry fee is $10.

How do I pay the entry fee?

You can send a check or money order along with your entry. If you send a check, please make it out to “Vermont College of Fine Arts.”

You can also pay using paypal. If your parents use their credit card to pay your entry fee on paypal, we might have a hard time matching up their names with your name. That’s why it’s important that you let us know in your entry that you’ve paid on paypal and who did the paying. Also please make a note in paypal, telling us the name of the entrant so we can match the payment up with the correct entry.

To pay on paypal, follow this link:


What kind of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction is acceptable?

We accept all forms of poetry, and poets may enter up to three poems in one entry packet (only one entry fee for three poems!)

Fiction (short stories) can be experimental of traditional.

Creative nonfiction can be a personal essay or a mini-memoir.

What are the guidelines?

  • $10 entry fee. Send a check or pay using paypal.
  • Entries must be postmarked by April 30th
  • Writing must be original, written in English, and previously unpublished
  • Submissions should be under 8000 words.
  • Poets may submit up to three poems per entry.
  • Your name and address should not appear anywhere on the manuscript itself.
  • Instead, enclose a standard index card with essay, story, or poem title(s) and your name, address, phone number, and email address
  • Enclose an SASE for notification of winners or plan on checking for winners on a regular basis.
  • Entries must be typed, double-spaced (except poems, which don’t need to be double spaced), and on one side of the paper only. Use Times New Roman font, and please don’t staple!
  • Once submitted, entries cannot be altered
  • Multiple entries allowed—but each entry must include a separate entry fee
  • No entries will be returned
  • Email if questions arise. Or ask question in the comment area below.

Send all entries to:

Prize for Young Writers
Hunger Mountain
Vermont College of Fine Arts
36 College Street
Montpelier, VT 05602

{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

Miciah April 18, 2011 at 8:50 am

Marietta–if you’re submitting poetry, you can submit up to three poems in one entry. Otherwise, you can still submit more than one piece, but you’ll need to pay a separate entry fee for each submission. Does that make sense?
–Miciah Bay Gault, managing editor


Miciah April 18, 2011 at 8:56 am

Hi P.J.
Yep, it’s okay to submit a short story. That’s what we mean by fiction. You should check out last year’s winner in fiction. It’s a short story called “Ninjaboy.” You can find it at
—Miciah Bay Gault, managing editor


Jared Anderson April 19, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Is it okay to submit part of a novel?


Miciah April 20, 2011 at 9:59 am

Hi Jared,
Yes, it is okay to submit part of a novel. But you should choose a section, or maybe even revise a section, so that the section can really stand on its own. In other words, we shouldn’t be confused about characters and plot details. And the best novel excerpt should have some shape to it–like a short story–even if that shape is subtle.
Thanks! –Miciah Bay Gault, managing editor


Irina April 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm

I’m excited about entering this! Out of curiosity, about how many participants did you have last year?


Miciah April 22, 2011 at 8:44 am

Hi Irina,
So glad you’re excited about the contest! Last year we had 150 entries. I’m not sure what to expect this year. Could be more, could be less. I’m hoping for roughly the same number.
–Miciah Bay Gault, managing editor


Jacob May 14, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Would you by any chance have a date for when the winners will be announced? And will this year’s winners be posted on the website, so we can read them? Thank you!


Olivia May 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I dropped off my submission at the post office this morning. However, since today is a Sunday, the package won’t be postmarked until tomorrow, the 16th — will this preclude my work from being eligible for consideration?
Thank you very much!


Miciah May 16, 2011 at 8:52 am

Hi Olivia,

That’s fine. I realized this weekend that the 15th falls on a Sunday. We should have made the postmark deadline the 16th.
–Miciah, managing editor


Miciah May 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

Hi Jacob, I can’t give you an exact date for when winners will be announced. But I can tell you we’re going to dive right into our judging process as soon as all the entries roll in. I’m hoping to announce the winners by the end of June. And yes, we definitely plan to publish the winning entries on the website this summer!
–Miciah, managing editor


AJ June 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

When will the winners be announced? Im so excited!!


Miciah June 13, 2011 at 8:56 am

AJ, the finalists are going to our judge TODAY! As soon as we hear from the fabulous Cynthia Leitich Smith, we’ll announce the winners. I’ll put an announcement on the homepage, and in contest news. I expect it will be a couple weeks altogether. –Miciah Bay Gault, managing editor


Jenna June 18, 2011 at 12:09 pm

How many finalists are there?!


Miciah June 20, 2011 at 9:19 am

Jenna, there are about 20 finalists. When we announce the winners, we’ll also list the finalists! –Miciah Bay Gault, managing editor


Lacy June 24, 2011 at 9:49 am

So when are the winners gonna be announced?


Miciah June 24, 2011 at 9:51 am

Hi Lacy, the finalists are with the judge right now! As soon as she makes her decision, I’ll announce the winners. I suspect it will be sometime next week. —Miciah Bay Gault, managing editor


Steve June 30, 2011 at 7:52 am

How will the winners be notified, and when do you think this will be?


Miciah June 30, 2011 at 8:03 am

Hi Steve,
The winners will be notified via email if you included an email address in your entry. Otherwise, by phone or mail! If you included an SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) then we’ll send you a letter announcing the winners. We’ll also post an announcement on I expect to hear from the judge any day now! As soon as I hear, I’ll make the announcement. –Miciah Bay Gault, managing editor


Carmen Oliver January 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I have a student who entered the KP contest last year and would like to do so again in 2012. Have you finalized 2012′s judge? Will the deadline for 2012 be April 30th or May 15th?

Many thanks, Carmen


Nellie January 31, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Is it okay to enter a true story about your families history? I intend to write this, so it will be completely truthful from all primary sources.


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