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The We Need Diverse Books YA Short Story Contest

The We Need Diverse Books YA Short Story Contest

We Need Diverse Books (“WNDB”) is a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature. WNDB is committed to the ideal that embracing diversity will lead to acceptance, empathy, and ultimately equality. We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities. Our mission is putting more books featuring diverse characters into the hands of all children.

WNDB is proud to announce that Phoebe Yeh, VP/Publisher of Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House, has acquired publication rights to a Young Adult WNDB Anthology titled LIFT OFF.  Lamar Giles, Senior Vice President of Communications for  WNDB, will edit the anthology, which will have a Summer 2018  release date.

The anthology will be in memory of Walter Dean Myers and it will be inspired by his quote:

“We need to bring our young people into the fullness of America’s promise and to do that we must rediscover who they are and who we are and be prepared to make the journey with them whatever it takes. My conceit is that literature can be a small path along that journey.”

The anthology will have one story reserved for a previously unpublished diverse author. WNDB will fill that slot via a short story contest. The winner will be included in the anthology and will receive a payment of $1,000.00 US.


Any previously unpublished short story


We Need Diverse Books (“WNDB”)


  • The contest winner will receive an award of $1,000.00
  • Their entry will be published as part of the WNDB Anthology to be released by Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House Children’s Books in Summer 2018.


July 18th, 2016


  • Entries will be accepted after 9:00AM EDT on July 5th until 5:00PM EDT on July 18th, 2016. Any submission made prior to or after the entry period will not be considered.
  • Entry is free.
  • All submission emails must include THREE (3) Separate File Attachments to be considered:
    • A short story of 4,000 words or less, attached as a .doc, .docx, or .txt file.
    • A 75 words or less bio that includes an explanation of how the applicant is diverse (as described above and here), attached as a .doc, .docx, or .txt file.
    • A photo/headshot, attached as a .jpg or .png file.
  • Submissions will not be returned.
  • Winner will be announced on October 1, 2016.
  • Open to diverse writers 18 years of age or older from all diverse backgrounds (as defined above and here). Applicants must include this information in their bio.
  • Open to diverse writers who have not published a short story or novel length work previously in any format, print or digital, this includes: self-published, independents, small and medium publishing houses, in all genres whether for the children’s or adult market.
  • International writers welcome.
  • All submissions must be in English and never before published in any medium, print or digital, or in a foreign language.
  • Submissions must be no longer than 4000 words.
  • All submissions must be electronic and sent to the following email address as a .doc, .docx, or .txt file attachment:
  • All submissions must also be appropriate for a young adult audience, ages 13 to 18.


You can email questions to


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Writer. Difference Maker. Entrepreneur. Author, Your Right To Write & Vertical Writing. Winner, 11 Writing Prizes.

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