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  • Submissions must be in English and previously unpublished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 January - April is Bodies.

Is your look a choice, or did you inherit it? Tattoos, hickeys, and scars tell stories. Bodies are fragile; bodies are powerful. Human bodies, governing bodies, bodies of water, and bodies of work represent and contain us all. From quotidian to quixotic, dig out the poems from between your teeth. Speak on skin color, speak on sex. Revel in the heft of the body’s shape, adorn it, treat it, or let it decompose. Inhabit the cycles of our somatic experience: we bleed, we heal, we kill, we kiss, we die. Anyone with a body can relate, but everyone sees bodies differently. Give us the perceptions inside your skin, by way of your hands and heart.

Disclaimer

All submissions must be original work. By submitting, writers warrant and represent that the work is their own. Writers will retain copyright of their submissions. By providing original work, writers agree to allow and permit Johnson County Library the right to print, publish, showcase, reproduce and distribute the submissions. By submitting, writers agree to any and all editorial alterations and abridgments including, but not limited to, re-formatting, grammatical correction, and cropping. Johnson County Library reserves the right to incorporate and/or disseminate the submission in any form, including, but not limited to, in other publications, marketing, promotions, and other material both internal and external. (12/22/2020)

Is your look a choice, or did you inherit it? Tattoos, hickeys, and scars tell stories. Bodiesare fragile; bodies are powerful. Human bodies, governing bodies, bodies of water, and bodies of work represent and contain us all. From quotidian to quixotic, dig out the poems from between your teeth. Speak on skin color, speak on sex. Revel in the heft of the body’s shape, adorn it, treat it, or let it decompose. Inhabit the cycles of our somatic experience: we bleed, we heal, we kill, we kiss, we die. Anyone with a body can relate, but everyone sees bodies differently. Give us the perceptions inside your skin, by way of your hands and heart.

Limit: 60 lines

Is your look a choice, or did you inherit it? Tattoos, hickeys, and scars tell stories. Bodiesare fragile; bodies are powerful. Human bodies, governing bodies, bodies of water, and bodies of work represent and contain us all. From quotidian to quixotic, dig out the poems from between your teeth. Speak on skin color, speak on sex. Revel in the heft of the body’s shape, adorn it, treat it, or let it decompose. Inhabit the cycles of our somatic experience: we bleed, we heal, we kill, we kiss, we die. Anyone with a body can relate, but everyone sees bodies differently. Give us the perceptions inside your skin, by way of your hands and heart.

Limit: 1000 words

Is your look a choice, or did you inherit it? Tattoos, hickeys, and scars tell stories. Bodiesare fragile; bodies are powerful. Human bodies, governing bodies, bodies of water, and bodies of work represent and contain us all. From quotidian to quixotic, dig out the poems from between your teeth. Speak on skin color, speak on sex. Revel in the heft of the body’s shape, adorn it, treat it, or let it decompose. Inhabit the cycles of our somatic experience: we bleed, we heal, we kill, we kiss, we die. Anyone with a body can relate, but everyone sees bodies differently. Give us the perceptions inside your skin, by way of your hands and heart.

Limit: 1000 words

Is your look a choice, or did you inherit it? Tattoos, hickeys, and scars tell stories. Bodiesare fragile; bodies are powerful. Human bodies, governing bodies, bodies of water, and bodies of work represent and contain us all. From quotidian to quixotic, dig out the poems from between your teeth. Speak on skin color, speak on sex. Revel in the heft of the body’s shape, adorn it, treat it, or let it decompose. Inhabit the cycles of our somatic experience: we bleed, we heal, we kill, we kiss, we die. Anyone with a body can relate, but everyone sees bodies differently. Give us the perceptions inside your skin, by way of your hands and heart.

Limit: 1000 words for essay/short story; 60 lines for poetry

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.

Johnson County Library - Read Local