GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Writers across the state are invited to submit a short story to the Kent District Library’s annual contest.

The Write Michigan Short Story Contest is accepting entries through Nov. 30. The contest is open to all genres and is split into three age group categories: youth, teen and adult. Entries are free for youth and teens and $10 for adults.

KDL has been hosting the statewide contest since 2012.

“We just wanted it to be big and fun,” Katie Zuidema, the marketing communications specialist for KDL, said. “Pretty much everything we do is just for patrons. And we thought for something like this, we could think a little bigger and dream a little bigger.”

The library has partnered with Canton Public Library and Capital Area District Library for the contest this year. It has also partnered with Schuler Books, which will publish an anthology of the winners with its chapbook press.

“It’s just such a great opportunity. Not only can people win up to $500, they also get the opportunity … to get published,” Zuidema said.

Each year, the contest draws in a variety of genres and themes. KDL received 1,250 entries last year and hopes for that amount or more this year.

“It’s a great way for them to explore their creativity. We also know that writing can heal people, sometimes putting their thoughts on paper can bring them healing. We know we’ve all gone through a lot with the pandemic and things,” Zuidema said. “So people have a lot to say. It’s just a great way — whether they want to do a funny story and find humor or if they want to go more of the serious route — it just gives them a chance to share what’s in their hearts and what’s in their minds and hopefully bless other people in the process.”

Once the submission deadline passes, each story will be read by at least two volunteer reviewers, who will score them based on a rubric. The scores will determine the top 10 in each age group.

The semi-finalists will be posted online, giving the public a chance to vote for the reader’s choice award. Judges —people like literary agents, published authors and writing professors — will pick the judge’s choice winner and the judge’s choice runner-up in each age group.

The winners will all be published in the anthology, and the reader’s choice and judge’s choice runner-up winners will receive $250. The judge’s choice winners will be awarded $500.

“We also pick a couple of published finalists in each category, and though they don’t win the prize money, they also get their story published in the anthology, which in my mind is the best prize of all,” Zuidema explained.

KDL will host an award ceremony for winners and their families on March 23. Local author Gary Schmidt will be the keynote speaker.

“It’s one of my very favorite things that we do because you just get to see the excitement of these kids seeing their name in print,” Zuidema said.

KDL will be hosting writing events throughout the fall for aspiring and professional writers. On Saturday, there will be three writing workshops at the Krause Memorial (Rockford) Branch as part of the Write Michigan Day of Learning.

Writers are invited to join the free workshops to learn about putting together a proposal, creating characters and freelance writing.

“Writing experts are going to come in and provide some really valuable information,” Zuidema said.

For more information about the contest and events, and to submit a story, go to