We received 1,665 entries to this year’s contest. Choosing the finalists from such a wide pool of talent was no easy feat! Thank you to everyone who participated. We are so grateful to you for sharing your stories and helping us build our library for the millions of readers who need more Relevant Reads. (Be sure to check back in August for the 2017 Relevant Reads™ Contest!)

Winners and Categories

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Celebrate Diversity Award
Grand Prize

The Syrian Drummer and the Cactus Crimson Paint

Brian Kirchner

We want every reader to be able to find his or her reflection in our library, which means developing a collection of stories that is culturally relevant and inclusive of all backgrounds and experiences. We are looking for character-based stories that include the LGBTQIA community, people of color, and people with disabilities, as well as stories that showcase gender diversity and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities. We would also like to receive stories written in Spanish!

Prize: $3,000

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Horror/Suspense Award


Ryan Medina

You bring the goose bumps, we’ll bring the prize! We’re looking for stories that will send chills down our readers’ spines and make them sleep with their hands and feet tucked tightly under the blankets. If you have a creepy or unnerving tale to share, we’d love to read it!

Prize: $500

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Historical Fiction Award

Escaping the Storm

Katrina Wong

“If history were told in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” – Rudyard Kipling. This prize will be awarded to the story that best combines creativity and research. Writers in this category will anchor their characters and experiences in another time. While history gives us a window to the past, historical fiction gives us a door. It allows us to immerse ourselves in what came before.

Prize: $500

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Fantasy Award


Abigail Mitchell

This category is intended for stories that set their own rules and step beyond the limits of reality. We are calling for new worlds for our readers to explore and new adventures for them to take part in. If a dragon or two should present itself along the way, we won’t complain!

Prize: $500

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For Teens by Teens Award

The Secret Goldfish

Ariel Morrison

This prize will go to the best student-created story. We’re looking for writers 18 years or younger to contribute their unique voices to our growing library. Stories may be written in any style and genre. We want young writers to search the corners of their minds for the stories that they would want to read, so that they may bring these tales to the page for their peers.

Prize: $500

Browse the expanded library to find great books and be sure to check out our growing paperback collection!

Congrats to the winners of last year’s contest!

Thank you to everyone who participated.
We received wonderful stories for each of the categories, and choosing the winners was no easy task.

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Celebrate Diversity Award
Grand Prize

Romeo and Me

Jennie Ford

Prize: $1,000

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7 Strengths Award

Keeping Time

Sienna Rose

Prize: $200

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Humor Award


Craig Merrow

Prize: $200

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Nonfiction Award

Steve Jobs

Ruth Chasek

Prize: $200

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For Teens by Teens Award

The World Inside A School

Joy Yin

Prize: $200