Pierce county teens have the opportunity to enter their original works of poetry and short stories in the popular Pierce County Library System’s Teen Poetry and Fiction Writing Contest through March 21.

The short pieces of fiction and poems will be published as written and the contest winners will also have the chance to read from their original pieces of work at an awards ceremony in their honor at Pacific Lutheran University in Lagerquist Hall on May 27.

There is no fee to register; but contestants do need to be a teenage resident or attend school in Pierce County.  Judges will review entries on the basis of originality, style, general presentation, grammar and spelling; and contestants may enter both the short story and poetry categories with one entry per category.

David Lloyd Whited is a Puyallup Tribal member and published book author and poet who will be judging the poetry category this year.  His poems have been published in literary journals throughout the United States, and Whited currently works as a grant writer and planner for the Puyallup Tribe of Indians.

Back again this year to judge the short works of fiction will be Dia Calhoun.  Dia is a young adult and children’s fantasy writer and is one of the founding members of the  www.readergirlz.com   website.

First prize winners will receive $100, second place  $75 and third place $50.  Winner’s names will appear on the Library’s web site. Prizes will be awarded in three age groups: 7th and 8th grade, 9th and 10th grade and 11th and 12th grade; and in two categories: poetry and short story.

Mary Getchell, Pierce County Library Communications Director said, “last year we had 800 entries submitted. Most of the time contestants select one or the other; but sometimes they will submit in both categories, which they are more than welcome to do.”

According to Getchell the premise of this popular and successful contest is to engage the creativity of the teen students and to also bring them into the library where there are so many resources for them.

Pierce County Library Foundation will award six sets of prizes in each age group.  The contest is sponsored by Pierce County Library System, Pierce County Library Foundation and The News Tribune.

Entry forms may be picked up at the Key Center Branch library or an online entry form can be accessed at: http://www.piercecountylibrary.org/oow_entry.aspx?id=792

To see a list of last year’s winners, read last year’s winning entries and read the winner’s booklets, go to the Pierce County Web site at http://www.piercecountylibrary.org/kids-teens/teens/teen-writing-contest/previous-winners.htm