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Katherine Paterson Prize

What is the Katherine Paterson Prize for YA and Children’s Writing?

An annual prize for Young Adult and Children’s Literature. A chance for your YA and Children’s Lit to be read by Hunger Mountain editors and guest judges!

What will the winner receive?

One overall first place winner receives $1,000 and online publication.
Three category winners receive $100 each and online publication. The categories are:

  • Young Adult (YA)
  • Middle Grade (MG)
  • Picture Book (PB)

Who can enter the contest?

Any writer – residing in any country or U.S. state – is eligible to enter; Hunger Mountain and VCFA staff and currently enrolled students are ineligible.

Who is this year’s judge?

The 2018 judge for the Katherine Paterson Prize is Kekla Magoon. Read her full bio here.

When is the deadline?

The deadline for 2018 is March 15, for both electronic and snail mail entries.

Where is last year’s winning entry?

Last year’s first place winner, “Do Not Go Gently” by Mindy McGinnis, along with the three category winners, Sandra Nickel’s “Bright Star: Vera Rubin’s Story” (picture book), Patricia J. Miranda’s “A Roundabout Way” (Middle Grade), and S.M. Mack’s “The Carrying Beam” (YA) can be read here.

Does Hunger Mountain accept electronic entries?

Yes! We use Submittable. Please enter your original, unpublished piece under 10,000 words. Your entry may be a short story or a novel excerpt, but if it’s a novel excerpt it should really stand alone. Feel free to include a brief synopsis if your entry is a novel excerpt. Your name and address should NOT appear on the story; we read contest entries blind. Click the link below to access our online submission system. Once in the submission manager, you’ll need to choose “Katherine Paterson Prize” (scroll all the way to the bottom to find it). Pay the $20.00 entry fee and upload your entry. Please include a cover letter in the comments section, letting us know what age group your piece is intended for.

Click here to enter the Katherine Paterson Prize.

Does Hunger Mountain still accept Snail Mail entries?

Yes! Please send one original, unpublished piece under 10,000 words. Your entry may be a short story or a novel excerpt, but if it’s a novel excerpt it should stand on its own. Feel free to include a brief synopsis along with your novel excerpt. Include a $20 entry fee. Make checks payable to “Vermont College of Fine Arts.” Entries should be postmarked by March 15. Your name or address should NOT appear anywhere on the story itself (we read entries blind.) Instead, enclose an index card with story title, intended age group, your name, address, phone number, and email address. Entries should be typed, and on one side of the paper only. Send entries to:

Hunger Mountain
Vermont College of Fine Arts
36 College Street
Montpelier, VT 05602

May I include illustrations with my Picture Book manuscript?

Yes. We do accept (but we don’t require) illustrations along with picture book manuscripts. These should be copies/pdfs only. PLEASE DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL ART! We’ll consider illustrated and text-only picture book entries.

If you submit by mail, send copies of art only. If you submit through Submittable, your illustrated entry should be a pdf.

Will my entry be considered for general publication as well as for the Katherine Paterson Prize?

Yes, it will. Several stories we publish have come from the Katherine Paterson Prize entries.

May I enter more than one story in this prize?

Yes. Enter as many as you like! But each entry needs its own entry fee.

Are simultaneous submissions okay?

Yes,  but please let us know right away if your work is accepted elsewhere. And, unfortunately, we can’t refund entry fees if the work is accepted somewhere else.

I’m a child or a teenager. May I enter this prize?

You may. But your work will be evaluated alongside adult work. If you’re a serious writer, it’s okay with us if you enter the prize, just know this prize isn’t intended for teenagers or for children.

May I enter work that has already been published?

No. We will accept original, unpublished work for this contest.

What if I have questions that aren’t answered here?

Email us at

CLICK HERE to enter the Katherine Paterson Prize.

Thanks for entering the contest, and good luck!