Cincinnati's Books by the Banks Is Still Hosting its Annual Writing Competition, Despite Festival Cancelation

The theme of this year's writing contest is “home." Fiction, poetry and nonfiction submissions from teens and adults are welcome. Winners get a cash prize.

click to enlarge Cincinnati's Books by the Banks Is Still Hosting its Annual Writing Competition, Despite Festival Cancelation
Photo: Books by the Banks

It’s time to break out the laptop, brew some coffee and find a smooth Jazz playlist to make yourself a makeshift coffee shop because it’s time to start working on your submission for the Books by the Banks writing contest.

Books by the Banks celebrates and promotes the joy of literacy and the importance of lifelong learning through reading and writing. It also promotes and builds up local authors in the Greater Cincinnati area.

The annual festival — which features local authors, panel discussions, book signs and illustrators all for a free admission — was canceled this year due to COVID. But even with the setback, the organization still wanted a chance to support and shed light on local writers.

“Even though we had to move the festival to 2021 due to COVID-19, the board voted unanimously to continue its support of the region’s writers,” said David Rippe, president of Books by the Banks. “The love of writing, reading, and books is a yearlong mission for us.” 

The theme of this year's writing competition is “home,” and all writers are invited to interpret it in any way they would like. Fiction, poetry and nonfiction submissions are welcome. 

The contest is open to both adults and teens. Participants are asked to submit a single original manuscript that has not been published or posted anywhere at They require that the piece is under 10 pages and authors remove all identifying information from the manuscript. All entries must be submitted by Jan. 4, 2021. 

After the judging is completed by a panel of distinguished local writers, the awards ceremony will be presented online over Zoom on Feb. 13, 2021.

The top three entries in each category — teen and adult — will win cash prizes. The top prize is $400 for adults and $150 for teens. 

If you have any questions, you email [email protected]. For a full list of submission guidelines, visit

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