Previous Themes


At home and abroad we see near universal struggling –– for justice, for freedom, and for safety and well-being during a pandemic. But we struggle with hope, because we know that out of struggle comes progress. We ask our participants to write on this broad theme, to direct it any way they please, and to continue thinking about how we’re all struggling, and what we’re struggling for, in the present moment.


While the pandemic rages on, communities all over the country continue to face systemic injustice. Now more than ever, we wanted our young writers to consider what Justice means to them, to tell stories exploring how Justice is recognized, served, sustained –– and where it falls short. Whether legislative, judicial, nonviolent or revolutionary –– Justice must be served, and writing about is the first step. See what they have to say.


We need courage now more than ever. In the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, courage must be our North Star. See what our participants have to say. 


Martin Luther once said: “everything that is done in this world is done by hope.” Hope fuels humankind; hope lets us dream; hope delivers us from the darkest and most difficult periods of our lives. Now, as lockdown eases but the menace and uncertainty of the coronavirus remains, hope is starting to take root. We encourage you to write stories about hope, and to think about how it relates to humanity –– both inside and outside of the current moment.