Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Penguin Young Readers & We Need Diverse Books™ are Teaming Up to Find a New, Diverse Voice in Fiction


 In 1974, the Council on Interracial Books sponsored a writing contest seeking out diverse voices. Mildred D. Taylor was the winner of the African-American segment for the manuscript that became Song of the Trees (Dial, 1975), her first book. It introduced the Logan family and was followed by Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1976), which won the Newbery Medal.


Forty years later, in partnership with We Need Diverse Books™, Penguin Young Readers celebrates this momentous publication by launching a debut children's fiction contest to find talented, ethnically diverse authors writing for readers ages 8-14.

Who Is Eligible To Enter?
  • Open to people of color (or those who self-identify as other than white) 
  • Must be a resident of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories and possessions
  • Must be 18 years of age or older at time of entry 
  • Must not have any works of fiction published in any medium prior to entering the contest.  
What Are We Looking For?
  • The manuscript must be a complete original fictional story aimed at readers within the ages of 8 and 14 (middle grade or YA!)
  • The submission must be in English and between 25,000-75,000 words 
  • The submission must not have been previously published in any medium
How Do You Enter?