21st Century American Writing Contest


ABOUT THE CONTEST: Chi Media Company and its sister company The Milpitas Beat have teamed up to hold the first annual 21st Century American Writing Contest. Our aim is to highlight the powerful voices of American writers and provide a platform for their views, insights, and talents. 

WHO CAN ENTER: Anyone in the U.S. above age 18 who has written a novel, nonfiction book, or short story, except for residents of these states: Colorado, Maryland, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Vermont.

WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR (BROADLY): We’re seeking culturally relevant, emotionally potent, strikingly original, tangibly heartfelt, and resonantly artistic works of prose, opening our perceptions in terms of what is possible through the mediums of writing and storytelling. Every genre is applicable. Every style is applicable. Every form of writer is eligible. What’s most important is that you’re communicating with confidence, grace, and authenticity, with a mind and heart toward compelling and ultimately moving us. We will be awarding those works and authors who, per our judgment, most encompass and display the above-cited qualities. 

WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR (EXACTLY): Novels, short or long, from 25,000 to 100,000 words long. Nonfiction books from 25,000 to 100,000 words long. Short stories up to 7,000 words long.

WHO IS JUDGING: All works will be judged by Chi Media Company and Milpitas Beat co-owners Rhoda Shapiro and Eric Shapiro. Rhoda is the author of FIERCE WOMAN (2019), an essential work of nonfiction for inspiring and empowering women. Eric is the author of RED DENNIS (2020), a biting work of dark political fiction taking aim at the madness of our times. Both are accomplished writers with long careers who now work as San Francisco Bay Area journalists, running a Silicon Valley newspaper. 

WHAT IT COSTS: $40 for Novels and Nonfiction books. $20 for Short Stories. 

WHAT YOU CAN WIN: 1st Place Winners in the Novel and Nonfiction Book categories (which are 2 distinct categories) will each win $300, a certificate, a Book Publishing contract with Chi Media Company (which publishes The Milpitas Beat, along with a library of book titles), a sterling write-up on The Milpitas Beat’s site, an author interview on The Milpitas Beat’s site, and a year-long advertisement of the published book on The Milpitas Beat’s site, which is read by 40,000 to 60,000 readers monthly (note: no part of this award will cost the winner any money). The winners in the Short Story category will all have their entered work published in print and ebook form in a special anthology, will each receive a print copy of the anthology, and will be part of a glowing write-up about the anthology on The Milpitas Beat’s site (note: no part of the award will cost the winners any money). It should be noted that the publisher will seek exclusive English-language rights to the winners’ work for a period of 2 years after publication, after which the winners will regain the rights to their work, if so desired.


ENTRY OPENING: December 15, 2020.


ENTRY DEADLINE: April 20, 2021. 


SELECTION OF WINNERS BY: June 1, 2021, per the judges’ best judgment. 


WINNERS CONTACTED BY: June 5, 2021, with awards administered within no greater than 30 days thereafter. 


INQUIRIES: All questions from entrants or prospective entrants can be directed to this email address: contest@milpitasbeat.com 


NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC: Any member of the public whatsoever is entitled to a list of the contest winners and can make a request with Chi Media Company for such a list.


HOW YOU CAN ENTER: Fill out the form and attach your work here