Short Story Contest

Homeless girls, vanishing brothers and forced trips to the moon will be the themes for the Gaithersburg Book Festival’s third-annual short story writing contest for Washington, D.C., metropolitan area high school students, which officially launched on Aug. 21.

To participate, individuals must be enrolled in grades 9-12 at a public or private school, or in a homeschool program for the 2012-13 school year, and reside in Maryland, Virginia or the District of Columbia. Stories must be no longer than 1,000 words and start with one of the following three lines, which were provided by New York Times bestselling writer Caroline Leavitt, author of “Pictures of You,” “Girls in Trouble” and “Is it Tomorrow,” which will be released in May 2013:

The first time he saw her, she was homeless, sitting in Union Station eating crackers from a paper bag….
I was 16 the year my brother vanished….
Every summer, whether he or she wanted to or not, one person was chosen to go to the moon….

Stories must be submitted as a word document to by midnight ET on Friday, February 15, 2013.

Up to 15 stories will be selected as finalists and posted on the Gaithersburg Book Festival website prior to the festival on May 18, 2013. The first-, second- and third-place winners will be announced at the festival and will be awarded $100, $50 and $25 gift certificates, respectively, courtesy of the Johns Hopkins Montgomery County Campus.

Gaining popularity in just its second year, the 2012 Short Story contest attracted 141 entries written by students from 13 counties in Maryland and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.

Complete rules and regulations for the contest can be found online at

About the Gaithersburg Book Festival

The Gaithersburg Book Festival is an annual all-day celebration of books, writers and literary excellence. Now in its fourth year, the Festival has become one of the premier literary events in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The Festival will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2013, on the grounds of Gaithersburg City Hall, in Olde Towne Gaithersburg, Md., with free shuttle buses running from Lakeforest Mall. Activities include author appearances, discussions and book signings; writing workshops; a Children’s Village; a Coffee House featuring poets and singers/songwriters; onsite book sales, both new and used; literary exhibitors and food, drink, ice cream and more. Admission is free. For more information please visit

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