Nancy Bo Flood reads one of her books to kids at the 2016 Tucson Festival of Books. This year, the festival is encouraging those kids to write their own stories.

James S. Wood / for the Arizona Daily Star 2016/

Not all of us can grow up to write like Mark Twain or Stephen King, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a story tucked somewhere in our deep recesses, just itching to come out.

And the 2018 Tucson Festival of Books wants to inspire young writers’ inner novelists with its Young Authors Contest for kids pre-K through 12th grades.

Here’s how to enter:

  • Forms first: Get an entry form at
  • Write an essay of no more than 1,000 words — they’ll be counting, so don’t go over — and you can include illustrations. Only one author per submission, so tell your BFFs to write their own.
  • Children can dictate their story to their parents or another adult.
  • Non-English text must come with an English translation.
  • If you’re a poet and you know it, your works will be judged as a separate category. (You can enter both a story and a poem in the contest.)
  • Type your entry, single-spaced, on white paper.

You have until Dec. 22 to submit it by mail to the Tucson Festival of Books — Young Authors Contest via Make Way for Books, 700 N. Stone Ave., Tucson, AZ 85705. The contest is open to kids throughout Southern Arizona.


I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.