2018 We Need Diverse Books Essay Contest

Calling all teens from diverse backgrounds! Is there a protagonist you haven’t met yet? Is there a crucial voice missing from the books that are being published? Have you spent hours daydreaming of the perfect character you would love to read about? If you answered YES to any of these questions, then TTBF and We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) want to hear from YOU! We invite teens (age 11-18) from diverse backgrounds to respond to the following prompt in 300 words or less:


“The hero I want to see…”

Tell us about your dream protagonist and you could be selected to attend an EXCLUSIVE event at TTBF 2018 on October 6th at St. Edward’s University. Thirty winners will have a chance to meet WNDB authors and other diverse voices from the book industry and join a discussion on how to make your voices heard. But wait! That’s not at all! You’ll also have an opportunity to share your thoughts about participating in the exclusive WNDB event and your experience at the festival with our Teen Press Corps.  

For the world to have diverse books, we first need diverse voices. Make yours heard. Get to work on those essays, friends! We can’t wait to read about the hero of your dreams. Submit your essays by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, September 1st!


Please read all the guidelines below before submitting your entry.


Eligibility Requirements

  • The WNDB Essay Contest is open to Texas residents aged 11-18 years.
    (To be eligible, you must be 11 to 18 years old at the time of the deadline.)
  • You must be a Texas resident to be eligible for this contest.
  • This is an essay contest. Entries must be non-fiction essays.
  • Entry is limited to one per person.
  • Only single author entries qualify (no co-authors).
  • Writing must be author’s original work and creation.

Submission Requirements

  • To qualify, each entry must be submitted along with a fully completed entry form (linked below).
  • The writer’s name should not appear anywhere within the document or in the document title.
  • Each entry is limited to 300 words.
  • Required Formatting:
    • Double-space
    • Size 12 Times New Roman font.
    • One inch margins
  • Acceptable file formats: .pdf, .doc, .docx, .rtf
  • Save your electronic file using the following naming conventions:
    • TitleofEssay_YourInitials
      • Example: DiverseVoices_SJM

All submissions must be received by 11:59pm on September 1, 2018.

Still have a question about the contest? Email us at ttbfinfo@texasteenbookfestival.org.

Winners will be notified by email by the third week in September and will be invited to participate in the 2018 Texas Teen Book Festival on October 6, 2018 at St. Edward’s University.

Submissions have closed for 2018


An invitation to an exclusive event at the Texas Teen Book Festival on October 6th.

An invitation to interview authors and have your work published on the TTBF website.

Contest Judges

WNDB representatives along with the TTBF Programming committee consisting of booksellers, librarians, and book enthusiasts.