NEA Big Read Big Write

2021 NEA Big Write Poetry Contest Winners


1st place – Parakeet Paradise

 by Meenakshi Murthy

2nd place – To Be One and Only  

by Varun Singh

3rd place – Lend a Hand 

by Stuti Bhaltachanja


1st place - The Swan 

by Laasya Uppalapati

2nd place – Hope 

by Shreyas Samal

3rd place – Acorn 

by Elias Torres


1st place – Photosynthesis 

by Phillip Morales

2nd place – Pen Pal 

by Elizabeth Thresher

3rd place – “Untitled

by Faba Varghese

Congratulations to our winners. Thank you to all who participated.

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Write us a poem with the theme “Ordinary to Extraordinary,” how the simple things can make a big difference.

Download Official Entry Form:

Contest Entry Form in English

Contest Entry Form in Spanish

Contest Rules and Guidelines:

• The Big Write Poetry Contest is open to all.
• The contest begins Saturday, Jan. 23. All entries must be submitted by Friday, Feb. 12 to the Irving Public Library.
• Entries will be judged by theme, originality, and how well it blends with the subject matter of this year’s NEA Big Read selection A Small Story About the Sky by Alberto Ríos.
• All poetry submitted must be original, legible and suitable for publication. No licensed/copyrighted/trademarked work will be accepted.
• Poems must be submitted in the space supplied on the opposite side of these guideline form. Additional pages may be attached.
• Your poem becomes property of the Irving Public Library. It will not be returned to the author.
• Each participant must sign the entry form granting the library permission to use name and poetry. The poems may be reproduced and published at the will of the library. If under the age of 18, participants must have entry forms signed by a parent/ guardian.

Winning poems will be selected in the following categories:
Children (up to age 10)
Teens (age 11 to age 16)
Young Adults (age 17 to age 20)
Adults (21 and up)

Winners will be announced on Saturday, Feb. 27 at the virtual author visit with special guest Alberto Ríos on Facebook and YouTube. Gift cards will be awarded to first ($100), second ($75), and third place ($50) winners in each category. All decisions are final.

All entry forms must be signed and submitted to an open Irving Public Library location to be accepted into the contest.

For questions or requests for accommodations, please contact Senior Library Services Manager, Corine Barberena: