San Diego Writers Festival

Type Of Organization
(760) 889-3901
Mission Statement / Editorial Focus
The San Diego Writers Festival gathers talented writers, writing groups, organizations, and support groups in order to celebrate and showcase their work in San Diego. We hope to foster collaboration and highlight a diverse community of writers. This diversity is represented in our advisory committee, volunteer staff, and our participants. Further, we want to put San Diego on the literary map and create a destination hub for creative writing talent everywhere. The San Diego Writers Festival celebrates the spirit of storytelling and how it inspires people from all backgrounds, of all races, ages, and abilities.

Social Media Platforms Used
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter
Is Your Group Affiliated With A University, Portal Or Other Agency?
If Yes, Please Name
San Diego Memoir Association
Primary Editor/Contact Person
Marni Freedman
Contact Title
Director of Programming
Submissions Policy
By submitting an entry to the KidsWrite! San Diego Children’s Writing Contest, a part of the San Diego Writers Festival (SDWF), entrants accept and agree to be bound by the official rules for participation as well as the entry requirements for their specific literature category and division. Any violation of these rules may, at KidsWrite!’s discretion, result in disqualification. All decisions of the reviewers regarding this program are final and binding in all respects. 1. ELIGIBILITY All writers ages 6 to 18 are welcome to submit. 2. LITERATURE CATEGORIES: The four literature categories are Poetry, Reflective Essay, Short Story, and Visual Story (illustrated story). ● Poetry may be in any format, rhyming or free verse; ● Reflective Essay is generally non-fiction, a chance for the writer to offer their insights into the theme or a topic related to the theme; ● Short Story is generally (but does not have to be) a work of fiction; ● Visual Story (new category, formerly Graphic Novella) is an illustrated poem, essay or short story. If you are illustrating your piece, it belongs here! Submission requirements for this category are unique -- see Section 5: How To Enter. Writers may submit works in one or more categories—for example, one Poem and one Short Story—but may submit only one work per category. Please see Section 4: Entry Rules / Requirements / How-To’s, below, for more entry information. 3. AGE AND ABILITY DIVISIONS: Writers may enter in the appropriate division for their age and ability: ● Primary (ages 6-9); ● Intermediate (ages 10-13); ● High School (ages 14-18); or the ● Special Writers Division (all ages). The Special Writers Division welcomes writers of all ages and abilities and allows for any needed accommodations (e.g., adaptive technology or transcribing) for writers to participate. Assistants should refrain from interference in the creative process to the extent possible; only participating as necessary to allow the Special Writer’s talent to shine through. Please note that Special Writers Division entries are judged separately, in their own separate category; if you do not wish for your work to be judged in the Special Writers Division, please do not check the “Special Writers” box on our form when you submit. 4. ENTRY RULES / REQUIREMENTS / HOW-TOS: Only new pieces of literature inspired by the current year’s theme, “What The World Needs Now” may be submitted, to the following specifications: ● Entries may not exceed 1,500 words; ● Use of copyrighted material is prohibited. Plagiarized entries will be disqualified. ● Each entry must be the original work of one writer only. An adult may not alter the creative integrity of a young writer’s work. Help from an adult or collaboration with other students is not allowed except in the Special Writers Division; ● Entries may be written in any language, however an English translation must be provided; ● KidsWrite! makes no restrictions on content or subject matter in writer submissions; however, entries judged to contain “adult” language or themes may not be able to be shared in forums which are oriented toward children; ● All entries (except Visual Stories) must be submitted via our online submission portal at Visual Stories must be emailed (as a PDF attachment) to [email protected] 5. HOW TO ENTER: ● There is no cost to submit. ● All entries (except in the Visual Story category) must be submitted via our online submission portal at or ● When ready, click the “SUBMIT” button and follow the directions on the Google Doc, copy-and-pasting your submission where required. All entries must include: ○ Name, age, phone number, email ■ Please do not use a student email address, one that only works at school. Those accounts frequently cannot receive incoming email. ○ A brief Author’s Bio ■ This is your opportunity to gives the reader insight into who you are, and perhaps what inspired your work. The bio should not exceed 60 words; ○ Title of the entry ○ Your entry, copied and pasted directly into the Google doc. ■ Please do not include your name in your entry. ■ To submit your Visual Story: see below. ○ Parent permission ■ Allows entries to be reprinted or shared by SDWF. ● Entries received via any means other than the official KidsWrite! submissions portal will be disqualified. Please submit via the portal. KidsWrite! and SDWF cannot be held responsible for submissions not delivered via the portal. ● To submit your Visual Story: send an email to [email protected] In the email please include name, age, phone number, email, Author’s Bio, and a brief statement from parent affirming that submissions may be shared or reprinted by SDWF. Attach your Visual Story to the email as a PDF file. ● Important: When your form and entry have been completed and submitted, you will receive an automatically-generated email confirming that your submission has been received. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please contact [email protected] for assistance. ● For any other questions regarding the submission process, check the FAQ page on our website to see if the answer is there. If it’s not, contact [email protected] 6. JUDGING AND NOTIFICATION. Submissions will be judged anonymously by an expert panel of authors, writers, and poets. ● Entries will be judged primarily on how well the student uses their artistic vision to portray the theme, including their originality and creativity. ● Under no condition may parents or students contact a reviewer to dispute the status or score of any entry. The panel of judges in its sole discretion will select Winners and Finalists for recognition and possible publication. 7. AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS. Winners and Finalists will be posted on the website. The best-reviewed submission in each category and age/ability division will be judged a “Winner.” Winning submissions will be recognized in a ceremony at the SDWF, will be published on the SDWF / KidsWrite! website, and possibly in other media outlets as well. There will also be at least one “Finalist” prize in each category and age division. ● Cash prizes, of an amount TBD, will be awarded to winning entrants. ● All entrants are invited to attend an Award Ceremony and be recognized at the SDWF. 8. OWNERSHIP AND LICENSE. Ownership of any entry shall remain the property of the entrant, but entry into this program constitutes entrant’s irrevocable permission and consent that KidsWrite!, the SDWF, and Partners may display, copy, reproduce, enhance, print, sublicense, publish, distribute, and create derivative works. SDWF is not responsible for lost entries. Submission of entry into the SDWF program constitutes acceptance of all rules and conditions. 9. PARTICIPATING ENTITIES. KidsWrite! is a part of the San Diego Writers Festival (SDWF), in association with the San Diego Memoir Writers Association. KidsWrite! is additionally partnered with the Coronado Public Library and the San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books, as well as non-profits The Jane Project and Peace Thru Art. Judging of entries is performed by some of San Diego’s finest professional authors, writers, playwrights and poets. Learn more about them on our website,
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