At Johnson County Library we love local authors. In support of our home-grown talent, we invite submissions of poetry, fiction, and essays.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

  • Writers must be residents of the Kansas City Metro Area
  • Poetry limit: 60 lines or fewer
  • Prose limit: 1000 words
  • Submissions must be in English and previously unpublished
  • Submission limit: one submission per category (one poem, one short story, one essay, one open)
  • Please do not include identifying information on your submission. We're serious about this! No name in the document or even the file name. NO IDENTIFYING INFORMATION!
  • One short story, one essay, one poem, and one entry from an open category will be selected for publication on our Staff Picks blog
  • Runners up may be posted on the Staff Picks blog
  • Authors of selected works must be available for a reading in the Kansas City Metro Area
  • Authors who read will receive a $200 honorarium, provided in part by The Johnson County Library Foundation and the Joan Berkley Writers Fund
  • Johnson County Library staff are ineligible
  • The committee selecting works is comprised of Johnson County Library Staff and community volunteers
  • We reserve the right not to present an award
  • Looking for feedback before you submit? Try the Writing Lab at Brainfuse. It's free with your Johnson County Library card and PIN!


Our Contest theme for September - December is Reflections on Race.

2020 has been a challenging year. In addition to a global pandemic, we are undergoing a national crisis regarding race. How has your life been shaped by race? What does protest mean to you? In what ways do you protest, either publicly or privately? Now, more than ever, is a time to reflect on our unequal past, uncertain present, and a more equitable future. We look forward to listening to, learning with and supporting our community in the months ahead.  


The murder of George Floyd and the outpouring of protest in support of the movement for Black Lives has been a defining aspect of 2020. Americans everywhere are reflecting on the societal inequities of the past and present. Some have gone further, taking direct action in support of a more equitable future.

In this moment in history, what does protest mean to you? In what ways do you protest, either publicly or privately? What does it mean to move beyond reflection and take concrete action in the name of what's right?

Word limit: 1000 lines

The murder of George Floyd and the outpouring of protest in support of the movement for Black Lives has been a defining aspect of 2020. Americans everywhere are reflecting on the societal inequities of the past and present. Some have gone further, taking direct action in support of a more equitable future.

In this moment in history, what does protest mean to you? In what ways do you protest, either publicly or privately? What does it mean to move beyond reflection and take concrete action in the name of what's right?

Word limit: 1000

The murder of George Floyd and the outpouring of protest in support of the movement for Black Lives has been a defining aspect of 2020. Americans everywhere are reflecting on the societal inequities of the past and present. Some have gone further, taking direct action in support of a more equitable future.

In this moment in history, what does protest mean to you? In what ways do you protest, either publicly or privately? What does it mean to move beyond reflection and take concrete action in the name of what's right?

Prose word limit: 1000
Poetry limit: 60 lines

Thank you for your interest in presenting your talent at Johnson County Library. While we love author events, we can not accommodate every request. We do, however, host events throughout the year that may suit your needs, including our monthly, mixed genre literary series, Now Presenting, our annual Writers Conference, and occasional special events.

Our programs are often co-sponsored by The Writers Place, The Raven Book Store, and The Johnson County Library Foundation.

Help us find the event best suited to your work by answering a few questions.

In this live editing session Polly McCann, of Flying Ketchup Press, will use select poems submitted anonymously by participants to demonstrate how to revise constructively, with the goal of seeing our own work with new eyes. Not all submissions will be edited.
 To be considered your piece must:
 - include a title
 - be one page
 - be single-sided
 - be double spaced
 - contain NO identifying information
 - your piece will not be returned, so please attend the session and take notes, or record.

POLLY ALICE MCCANN poet, artist, dreamer began writing poetry after a cold winter night in the desert with only a book for her pillow. She studied poetry under Julia Kasdorf and Christine Perrin at Messiah College where she received her BA in Studio Art. After her MFA in Writing from Hamline University in St. Paul, with an emphasis in poetry and short fiction, her poetry was published internationally in journals such as Naugatuck River, and arc24 in Tel Aviv and elsewhere. Polly’s art has been published in US newspapers and magazines most recently in Rattle magazine. An adjunct writing professor and creative consultant at pollymccann.com, she is also the founder and manager of FLYING KETCHUP PRESS. She credits much of her creative work due to her research on dreams and the subconscious writing process which won her the 2014 Ernest Hartmann award from Berkeley, CA. Find her books of narrative free verse, Kinlight, Tea with Alice, and Puss ‘N Boötes online. She says her favorite thing is to tell stories-- other people's, her own-- maybe yours.   

 
Live Poetry Revision is being offered from noon - 1 pm on Saturday, November 14th during the Johnson County Library Writers Conference.
 

In this live editing session literary agent, Lucy Cleland of Kneerim & Williams, will use select query letters submitted anonymously by participants to demonstrate how to revise constructively, with the goal of seeing our work through they eyes of an agent. Not all submissions will be edited.

To be considered your piece must:

  - include two comparable titles
  - include your intended genre
  - be one page
  - be single-sided
  - be double spaced
  - include a word count
  - your piece will not be returned, so please attend the session and take notes, or record.

 Lucy Cleland is a literary agent at Kneerim & Williams, representing idea-driven and narrative nonfiction of all stripes (history, social science, psychology, philosophy, reportage, etc.) as well as upmarket fiction, historical fiction, and select children’s/YA projects. A southern transplant to Boston from Atlanta, Lucy joined the agency in 2013 after graduating magna cum laude from Wellesley College with honors in English and studio art. While building her own list, she served for six years as the Dramatic Rights Manager, coordinating relationships with co-agents and negotiating deals with major studios and streamers, and as Jill Kneerim’s editorial associate, supporting and shaping the work of some of the agency’s prize-winning and bestselling authors.

Lucy works with a range of writers, from scholars to debut novelists, and has sold books to trade and academic publishing houses including Farrar, Straus & Giroux, W.W. Norton, Random House, Chronicle, Grand Central Publishing, HarperCollins, Sourcebooks, Melville House, and University of North Carolina Press. Her taste is eclectic—little “c” catholic. Whatever the category, she is looking for authors with sharp opinions who embrace bold concepts and write lucid, textured prose. She’s drawn to unconventional and untold stories, the lives of creatives and rebels, and questions about identity and inheritance. She is actively seeking diverse voices.
lucy@kwlit.com
 
Refining Your Pitch is being offered from noon - 1 pm on Friday, November 13th during the Johnson County Library Writers Conference.
 

Johnson County Library - Read Local