top of page

2024 Literary Festival

The Marblehead Festival of Arts’ popular Literary Festival, originally known as “Writers World,” will take place

July 5-7 at the NEWLY RENOVATED Abbot Public Library at 235 Pleasant Street, Marblehead.


There will be a full schedule of speakers, interviews, and workshops of interest to both writers and readers.

All are invited to attend the literary contest awards and presentations.


Wednesday, July 3, 6:00 PM

Award Presentations at Abbot Hall

Thursday, July 4, 1:00 PM

Celebration of the literary contest winners (with readings) at

Marblehead’s Unitarian Universalist Church, 28 Mugford Street.


This year’s planning committee includes Kimberly Grad (chair),

Claire Keyes, Joanne McElhenney and Kate Anslinger.

To contact the committee with questions, please write to:


We are partnering with Copper Dog Books in Beverly to arrange book sales and signings with authors.

Entries—and entry fees— must be submitted online on or by May 20, 2024 (EST) no later than midnight.

        Writing Contest and Events


By entering the writing contest, you are supporting the festival’s mission to promote and foster the arts in Marblehead and surrounding communities. The contest will recognize the strongest submissions, as deemed by our judges, in the following categories:

  • adult fiction, nonfiction and poetry

  • student fiction, nonfiction and poetry (18 and under)


The contest is open to all residents of Essex County, MA who are writers of fiction, nonfiction (including memoir and personal essay) and poetry. Submitted work may not have been previously published unless on a personal blog, personal website, or in another self-produced publication. Simultaneous submissions are accepted. The Literary Festival welcomes and encourages entries from writers of all backgrounds, groups, and identities. 


We reserve the right to publish winning works on the Marblehead Festival of Arts website, in other Festival publications, and in local newspapers, but the copyright belongs to the author. The Literary Festival does not retain rights to the work after we publish it.


Submission Rules and Guidelines

The submission fee is $15 per entry (and will require a credit card number to facilitate payment). You may submit up to three works. You are also welcome to submit in multiple categories. There is no fee for students (18 years and under) entries.


By entering the Literary Festival Writing Contest, you agree that:

  1. Your submission is your own original work.

  2. No one else owns the rights to publish said work.

  3. If you are one of the winners, you grant Marblehead Festival of Arts the right to publish said work, unless you withdraw your work prior to our announcement of winners. After publication with the Marblehead Literary Festival, all rights revert to the author.


Formatting Requirements

  • Please do not include your name in the document that you submit​.

  • Entries for all categories (except poetry) must be double-spaced with one-inch margins. Font must be in Times New Roman or another standard 12-point font.

  • We ask poets to use a standard 12-point font, but do not require standard margins.


Guidelines for length of entries (for both student and adult categories)

  • Fiction: Short stories or novel stand-alone chapters/excerpts may be no longer than 3,000 words.

  • Nonfiction: Essays, brief memoirs, and other nonfiction submissions may be no longer than 3,000 words.

  • Poetry: Each poem may be a maximum of 32 lines.


How to Submit:

Submissions will be accepted from April 12 through May 20, 2024. 

Monday, May 20, 2024, is the last day to submit an entry for consideration in the contest.



The Marblehead Festival of Arts is honored to present the following prizes. Note that the student prize is sponsored by Abbot Public Library.


  • First place in each category: $100, ribbon and certificate

  • Second place in each category: ribbon and certificate

  • Honorable mentions: ribbon and certificate


Student (18 and under)

  • First place in each category: $25, ribbon and certificate

  • Second place in each category: ribbon and certificate

  • Honorable mentions: ribbon and certificate

bottom of page