MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Morristown Festival of Books has announced the theme of this year's Teen Writing Contest. The theme will be: Quarantine Chronicles & Pandemic Dreams.  High school students from New Jersey are invited to submit fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or an essay (up to 1,200 words) on the theme.

The annual Festival has the power to challenge, transport, and transform individuals of all ages as well as bring the community together in conversation, stated event organizers.

Up to seven entries will be selected as finalists. Authors will be notified by September 10, 2021, if their story is selected as a finalist. The finalists will have their stories posted on the Morristown Festival of Books website prior to the Festival. Contest winners will be announced as part of the Festival on October 8 & 9, 2021. First-place winner will receive $500, Second-place winner will receive $250, Third-place winner will receive $100 and Four honorable mentions will each receive $50.

Sign Up for Morristown Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

The submission deadline is midnight (EDT), July 1, 2021.

Entries with a word-count limit of 1,200 or less must be submitted electronically as a Word document to Do not include your name in the electronic filename of the document.

The submission must have a cover page that includes:

  • Author’s name
  • Home address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • School name with full address and phone number
  • Grade for 2021-22 school year (9, 10, 11, 12)
  • English or writing teacher’s name

The cover page does not count toward the 1,200-word limit.


  • Author must be a high school student (public, private, or homeschooled) in grades 9, 10, 11, or 12 in the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Author must live in New Jersey.
  • Only one submission per author.

Contest Rules and Regulations

All entries must:

  • Be no more than 1,200 words.
  • 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. 

2021 Judges Panel

  • Matt Daly, English Department, Morristown High School
  • Dr. Linnea Hasegawa, Adjunct Instructor of Writing, Drew University
  • Dr. Andrew Lutz, Chair, English Department, Gill St. Bernard’s School
  • Jeff Campbell, Author and Teacher, The Writers Circle

Contest Sponsor: The Gunzler Family Memorial

For more information, click HERE