10th Annual Banned Books Writing Contest

Maureen Corrigan, chief NPR book critic, chose this as one of five banned books everyone should read, and as Ernest Hemingway said, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.” This book has been challenged repeatedly due to its lack of “moral” characters and language.

This year’s writing contest has an adventurous theme and asks that you capture three interesting voices to explore youth, class, and/or race, subtly. Include memorable detail, and ensure that at least half of your entry is in dialogue among the characters. Include some type of unifying obstacle or conflict, even if it is minimal. Make the character’s voices specific and believable. Set the story outdoors. This should seem like one short chapter in a larger story, meaning everything does not require resolution. Work for a breezy tone, a touch of light suspense, and incorporate some humor.


  • Submissions should be 250 to 1000 words, typed.
  • 18 & up. One entry per person.
  • If emailing, include your name, address, email and telephone number in the message and then please do not include it on your attachment, which should be the entry.
  • If mailing, include a cover sheet with that information, but again, do not include identifying information on the submitted materials.
  • We try to keep entries anonymous when sending stories to the judges. Also, please include a note indicating if your story can be shared.
  • Entries will be accepted beginning Sept. 18 through Oct. 1, 2023. If mailing a hard copy, be sure it is postmarked by Sept. 25.
  • The winner and honorable mention from the 2022 Banned Books writing contest are ineligible to win.
  • The two prizewinners will be announced Friday, Oct. 6, 2023.
  • These names will be posted to Six Bridges Book Festival’s social media.


First Prize-$400. Honorable Mention: $100.

Send submissions to:

CALS Banned Books Writing Contest
c/o Six Bridges
100 Rock St.
Little Rock, AR 72201

or email to SixBridgesBookFest@cals.org

Banned Books Week Page