The Pierce County Library System is trying to inspire teen writers and artists and invites them to show their talents in the Our Own Expressions Teen Writing and Art Contest, which is running now through Wednesday, Feb. 28, according to a library news release.

“The contest gives teens a chance to hone their talents and showcase truly amazing writing, artwork and photography,” Library System’s Executive Director Georgia Lomax stated in a news release. “Previous contest winners have gone onto be published authors.”

Teenagers in seventh through 12th grades, who live in or attend school in Pierce County, may enter the contest individually or as a team. They may enter in one or all four categories: 

  • Poetry
  • Short story
  • Photography
  • Drawing. 

Participation in the contest is free.

Students can find entry forms at any Pierce County Library or online, the news release stated. Teens may use computers at Pierce County Libraries or their school library to download the entry forms and submit their entries. Entries may also be submitted by mail to Pierce County Library System, 3005 112th St. E., Tacoma, WA 98446-2215.

Judges will review writing entries on the basis of originality, style, general presentation, grammar, spelling and evidence of skill appropriate for the writer’s age. They will review art entries on the basis of composition, evidence of skill commensurate with the age of the artist, creativity and effective use of media. Published authors, professional artists and photographers select the final winning pieces.

The Library System will announce all of the winning entries in books and distribute them throughout Pierce County Libraries and to the winning students’ schools. Pierce County Library Foundation will award cash prizes of $50 to $100 in three age groups: seventh and eighth grade, ninth and 10th grade, and 11th and 12th grade; and in four categories: poetry, short story, photography and drawing.

Contest winners will feature their work in an awards ceremony at Pacific Lutheran University at 12180 Park Ave. S. in Tacoma on Wednesday, May 29. Last year, teenagers submitted more than 1,100 entries in the Our Own Expressions contest.