"We Have the WRITE to Our Futures" Writing Contest and Celebration

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Contest submissions accepted UNTIL JULY 20.
August 12 celebration event free and open to the public, with food, drinks and more!

In partnership with 904WARD and JaxbyJax Literary Arts Festival, The Jessie invites writers, poets and spoken word artists to create new work that shares their own ideas, vision and expression of Jacksonville through reflection on its last 200 years, imagining its next 100 years or a combination of the two. All winners will be announced at the public celebration event on August 12 and invited to read their work live.

Submission Content

Be sure to infuse a lens of diversity and inclusion and use one of the following prompts:

  1. Past: Write about a historical person, place, or thing in Jacksonville and how they or it impacted you, people of the past, or the city itself.
  2. Present: In what ways has our city embraced the diversity of people living here? In what ways can the City address the remaining challenges to embracing diversity?
  3. Future: Choose a line or lines from the Johnson Brothers' song Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing and explore how those words inspire your vision of Jacksonville’s future.

Judging and Prizes

An independent panel of judges will review submitted work. Cash prizes will be awarded for:

  1. Story or Essay: $1,000 first place, $750 runner-up, $500 student winner, 5 honorable mentions at $200 each
  2. Page Poetry: $1,000 first place, $750 runner-up, $500 student winner, 5 honorable mentions at $200 each
  3. Spoken Word: $1,000 first place, $750 runner-up, $500 student winner, 5 honorable mentions at $200 each


This contest is open to any writer that lives in, has a connection to, or an affiliation with the city of Jacksonville. "Student writers" include all entrants 18 and under.

Submission Details

  1. Submissions are open June 13, 2022 to July 13, 2022.
  2. Written submissions are limited to 1,000 words for story or essay category and two pages for page poetry. Please submit your work in a .PDF, .DOCX or .DOC file format.
  3. Spoken word recordings, in either audio or video, are limited to 5 minutes and must be in a .mp4, .mp3, .mov, .wav, or .aac file format.
  4. More than one submission can be made per entrant.
  5. Winners will be announced live at The Jessie on Friday Aug 12, 2022. All winners will be invited to read their work aloud at the event.
Submit your original workView contest Terms & Conditions