About the Contest

The Center for Interfaith Relations is soliciting previously unpublished essays discussing the power of love to strengthen communities and transform lives. Explore themes such as compassion, mutual aid, tenderness, justice, reconciliation, and healing. Works that consider these topics in the context of faith or investigate sacred themes are encouraged but not required.

Writers are encouraged to seek inspiration from the 2023 Festival of Faiths session “Faith In: Is Love a Privilege”.

If you have questions or comments, please email contests@interfaithrelations.org.

Contest Rules

  • Submissions should be one Microsoft Word document between 250 and 1,500 words.

  • Deadline to submit is 5 p.m. EST on Friday, March 1.

  • Essay must be anonymous. The author’s name must not appear anywhere on attached document.
  • Submissions should be double spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font, with no headers or footers.

  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please notify us immediately via Submittable’s “Withdraw” option if your work is accepted elsewhere.

  • One (1) Grand Prize winner will be published on our website and will receive a cash prize of $100.

  • Essays selected for honorable mentions will be awarded a $25 honorarium.

  • If accepted for publication, CIR retains the first North American serial rights of the work to publish, produce, reproduce, distribute, and market. All other remaining rights revert to the author upon publication. If the work is published again, we ask for a credit line to indicate that the work first appeared with CIR’s Young Authors Sacred Essay.

  • All decisions are made by Center for Interfaith Relations and delegated judges, and are final.

  • Contest is open to all residents of the United States ages 13-18.