Write On! Adult Short Story Contest

Write On Short Story Contest

Pen and Pencil

Thanks for participating

We are excited to share the results of Loudoun County Public Library's annual Write On short story contest! The top finishers will receive their prizes in the mail.

Download the 2021 Write On anthology.

This program is made possible by the generous support of the Loudoun Library Foundation.


2021 contest winners

Words, by Leanne Manzo

The Residents, by Shelby G. Caputo

Kite, by Jessie Nastasi

72 Hours, by Cara Cavicchia
The Date, by Erin Price
The Housewarming Gift, by E.G. Reid
Lucy, by Anna Emeliyanova
Numbers, by Larry Shea
One of Seven, by Shruti Sekar
Rise of a Legend, by Meighan Hogate
Sundaes on Sunday, by Stephen Foss
When Gus Met Trixie, by Hayley Kassraie
Whispering Flags, by Cathy Maziarz

Submission requirements

  • Submissions are accepted July 1, 2021, through Aug. 31, 2021.
  • Writers entering this contest must be at least 19 years old.
  • Only one story per writer may be submitted.
  • Only send the final draft. Sorry, with the number of submissions we receive we can only read your story once.
  • Your work must be in English, original, and previously unpublished (including on the Internet) and not scheduled for publication anywhere before Aug. 31. 
  • A story that is unpublished but has won a monetary award in any other contest is ineligible.
  • Please keep your story content appropriate for all readers.
  • Attach your Microsoft Word readable document (please do not send a PDF) to an email and send it by Aug. 31 (11:59 p.m.) to: writeon@library.loudoun.gov with the title of your short story as the subject line.
  • Your story should be no longer than 2,500 words.
  • First page: Title page with story title only
  • Font: Arial
  • Font size: 12
  • Document name: The document name should be the story’s title. Please do not include your name in the document name.
  • Every page should have a header with the story’s title and page number.
  • Last page: Title of story and your contact information (name, home address, phone number and email address). To help us, please include where you heard about the Write On! Contest.
  • Please note that entries not in compliance with the above will be disqualified.

Pen Line


What should I write about? Is there a theme?

We do not have a theme. This is your chance to get creative! Stories can be inspired by real life, fantasies, nature, adventures or even horror. However, entries need to be “family friendly.”

Why do you have a word limit?

We receive a lot of submissions. We want to make sure everyone gets a fair chance. We don’t want external factors such as font size to influence our judgment. We also want to make sure there is enough time for us to read all submissions. This is why we impose a word limit.

Do I have to be a Loudoun County resident or hold a Loudoun County Library card to take part in the contest?

You do not need to be a Loudoun County Public Library card-holder to enter. You must live in either Loudoun or in the cities Falls Church, Alexandria, Winchester or the District of Columbia; Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Prince William, Clarke or Frederick counties in Virginia; Jefferson County, West Virginia; or Montgomery, Washington, Prince George's, Frederick or Charles counties in Maryland to enter.

Can I submit works that have been previously published?

Your work must be previously unpublished and not scheduled for publication anywhere before Aug. 31, 2021. We can accept new works and works that have never been published. This is due to copyright restrictions.

Participants of this program grant Loudoun County Public Library the right to publish their names and work in part or full and use their names and work in print and electronic publications. Participants also waive any copyright protection with respect to the right of Loudoun County Public Library to reproduce their work.