Teen Poetry Contest

Are YOU an Award-Winning Poet in the Making?

The Morristown Festival of Books is hosting a Poetry Contest for New Jersey high school students, and we want to hear from you!

Contest sponsored in memory of John Gunzler

High school students throughout the state are invited to submit their best poem. Contest winners will be announced at the Morristown Festival of Books Keynote Presentation at the Mayo Performing Arts Center on Friday evening, October 11, 2019.

Submission deadline is midnight on July 1, 2019!


Did we mention the prizes?

1st place winner will receive $300

2nd place winner will receive $150

3rd place winner will receive $75

All finalist poems will be featured on the Festival website!


Submission Details

Poems must be submitted electronically as a Word or Pages document (PDF format is not acceptable) via email: teenwritingcontest@morristownbooks.org.

Do not include your name in the electronic filename of the document.
The submission must have a cover page which includes:

  • Author’s name
  • Home address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • High school name with full address and phone number
  • Grade in Fall 2019 (9th to 12th)
  • English or Writing teacher’s name


  • The author must be a high school student (public, private or homeschooled) in grades 9, 10, 11, or 12 in the 2019-2020 school year
  • The author must live in New Jersey
  • Only one submission per author


Entrants to the contest will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Originality
  • Creativity
  • Writing style
  • Overall writing quality

Contest Rules and Regulations

All entries must:

  • Be written in the English language.
  • Be wholly the original work of the entrant, written solely by the entrant.
  • Not be copied from any other source.
  • Not have been previously broadcast or otherwise distributed or disseminated in any media or format.
  • Not be in the public domain.
  • Not be in violation or in conflict with the trademark, copyright, rights of privacy, right of publicity or any other rights, of any kind or nature of any other person or entity.
  • Not include any language or other content that is inappropriate, offensive, pornographic or otherwise unfit for dissemination or broadcast, as determined by the Morristown Festival of Books in its sole discretion.
  • Be submitted by the stated deadline.

Submissions not satisfying these criteria in any respect will be disqualified.

If the Morristown Festival of Books, in its sole discretion, has reason to believe that any entry contains material that may infringe or violate any law or rights of a third party or that the use or broadcast of such entry in the manner described herein may infringe or violate any law or rights of a third party, the Festival may immediately disqualify such entry and take any other measures the Festival deems appropriate or necessary.

By submitting an entry, the entrant grants to the Morristown Festival of Books:

  • The right to edit the entry for grammar, spelling and punctuation;
  • A non-exclusive, assignable, perpetual license to produce, publish, distribute, transmit, exhibit, exploit and license the Poem and any portions thereof in any format (collectively “distribute” or “distribution,” as applicable) by any and all means, uses, and media, whether audio, print, audiovisual or otherwise, now or hereafter known, throughout the universe in all languages without financial compensation; and
  • The decision of the panel of judges is final.

Not Eligible to Participate

The following, and their family members, are prohibited from participation in this contest:

  • The Panel of 2019 Judges
  • The Board of the Morristown Festival of Books

2019 Judges Panel

  • To be announced …

Still have questions?

Send an email to: teenwritingcontest@morristownbooks.org.