Emerald Coast Writers (ECW) has published the voices of regional writers in poetry collections, chapbooks, books and anthologies for more than 35 years. Located in Pensacola, Florida, with offices in the Pensacola Cultural Center, WFLF is a 501 (c) 3 Not for Profit, all-volunteer organization. ECW biennially publishes Emerald Coast Review, a regional anthology, and sponsors poetry, student poetry and creative nonfiction contests throughout the year. In addition, they offer workshops with guest authors and poets, critique groups, webinars and open mics. The membership includes Floridians as well as writers living as far away as North Carolina and Kentucky. Formerly known as West Florida Literary Federation, in 2022 ECW changed it's organizational name.

Deadline: Monday, March 20, 2023

Submission Guidelines:

- The contest is open to students in grades K-12 who reside in the Santa Rosa and Escambia Counties.
- Students may submit their own original unpublished work in only one of the following genres:
- Poetry
- Fiction
- Visual Art


- The theme for this year is: "When Darkness Falls." Entries must utilize this theme in some way in their piece(s).

- First, second, and third place winners and honorable mentions in each category/grade level group will be notified in April and invited to a ceremony and reading of their work at Books a Million. They will receive cash prizes of up to $50. All winners will also receive a copy of an anthology with their published writing at a later date. Extra books will be available for purchase at that time.

- Submissions are read “blind.” Do not place your name on the manuscript. Other personal information, including, teacher's name, and school's name, MUST be removed from the submitted work.
-Submission file names should include grade, genre, and title. For example: 8th grade, Fiction, Darkness.
-One entry per entry, per student for fiction. Up to three entries for poetry and visual art.


Submissions must be uploaded by 11:59 PM, March 20, 2023.

All submissions must be in electronic format and uploaded to the appropriate category at Emerald Coast Writers' Submittable page for the Youth Writing and Art Contest


Poetry guidelines:

Up to 3 poems, not exceeding 3 pages, each submitted as different entry.

Format each poem as you would like it to appear in final publication.

Type, double-spaced using 12 pt. Times New Roman font.

Do not number pages or include poet’s name. 

Begin each poem on a separate page with the title.

Electronic submissions must be sent as .doc, docx. or .rtf format. PDF files are not accepted.


Fiction guidelines:

No more than one short story, up to 1,200 words

On the first page, place the title.

Type, double-spaced using 12 pt. Times New Roman font.

Do not number pages or include author’s name.

Electronic submissions must be sent as .doc, docx. or .rtf format. PDF files are not accepted.

Visual Art guidelines:

Up to 3 submissions

Accepted Mediums: digital photography and digital photographs of original works as oil, acrylic, watercolor, collage, mixed media, etchings, silk screen, lithographs, etc.

Color and black and white images are accepted, however most images will be formatted in

grayscale. If your submission is in color, you may be asked to convert it to black and white to

ensure quality of reproduction.

Present graphic elements exactly as they should appear on printed page.

Each image must have a high resolution of at least 300 dpi.

Electronic submissions must be sent as .jpeg, .png or .tif format. PDF files are not accepted.

Include a title of each image in the filename, not on the image

Judging criteria is as follows:  

The work is original, a product of the writer's own experience and observations 

The work uses vivid, sensory language and imagery 

The work uses correct grammar and spelling 

The work adheres to this year's theme 

The work has an overall effectiveness and impact

Emerald Coast Writers, Inc.