2019 We Need Diverse Books Essay Contest

WNDB Nonfiction Essay Contest 2019 - Deadline September 1, 2019

Calling all teens from diverse backgrounds: is there a book that speaks to your community that you haven’t read yet? Is there a crucial story missing from the books that are being published? If you answered YES, 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:

“Community means…”

What makes a community? Who is in your chosen family? Who are the people you love and trust, whose support is unwavering? What does it mean to love someone and be a friend to them?

Tell us what community means to you, and you could be selected to attend an EXCLUSIVE event at TTBF 2019 on October 12th at Georgetown 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 join our Teen Press Corps going forward.

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 them. Submit your essays by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, 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, 2019.

Submit your essay.

Still have a question about the contest? Having trouble submitting? 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 2019 Texas Teen Book Festival on October 12, 2019 at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.


An invitation to an exclusive event at the Texas Teen Book Festival on October 12th.

An invitation to join BookPeople’s Teen Press Corps and have your work published online. Anyone who accepts the invitation to join the Teen Press Corps will also be invited to live-blog the Texas Teen Book Festival in 2020.

Contest Judges

WNDB judges this year include TTBF programming committee members along with YA authors Justin A. Reynolds and Mason Deaver.


Submissions for this year’s WNDB contest are now closed. Winners will receive notification shortly, so stay tuned!