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Mayborn National History Writing Contest

George Bush Library Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism Brittany Perry



The essays of the 2012 Mayborn National Biography Writing Contest winners are now posted at  The winners of the 2013 Mayborn National History Writing Contest will be listed soon.

In past years, this contest tackled the art of biographies. This year, we are introducing a new theme—historical narratives. The Mayborn is looking for original, factual accounts of a person who left a deep and lasting legacy in his or her community, or an event that people remember.

This contest is open to all high school and community college students worldwide, ages 14-25 years old. Each student will need a teacher, parent or writer to mentor them through this process.

Ten students and their mentors will receive free admission to the 2013 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference (July 19-21) in Grapevine, Texas, including hotel accommodations, meals and transportation. See details here. Come hang out with Pulitzer Prize winners and learn more from the master of the historical narrative, Ron Powers.

Students’ historical pieces will also be published in The Dallas Morning News! See the ten essays from 2011 on

This is the third year that the University of North Texas’ Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference has teamed up with the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum and Big Thought to offer this prestigious opportunity to young writers from around the world.

Writers, to get started, follow these steps:

  1. Register here to view Ron Powers’ seminar on writing historical narratives. The video is free and highly recommended. Ron Powers will lead the Mayborn workshops this year.
  2. Read Lee Hancock's essay about why she created the Young Spurs initiative.
  3. Read contest details in this application and complete form to enter contest. Pay special attention to contest rules and deadlines. The deadline for submission is Saturday, June 29.
  4. Read the criteria for submission and judging of this historical writing contest.

Winning writers will be notified about a month prior to the conference to give them and their mentors time to prepare for our esteemed event. Our Conference Manager, Jo Ann Ballantine, will work with you in making arrangements.

Parents and mentors, have questions? Check out our FAQ just for you.

For any questions, please contact Tasha Tsiaperas:


Tasha Tsiaperas
Writing Contest Coordinator

Good luck, young writers!