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Reading Adventures for Youth and Adults

Participate in Fairfax County Public Library's reading activities! Last Updated: Jul 10, 2024 9:54 AM

The World We Write

Short Story Contest for Adults banner

July 1-31, 2024

Fairfax County Public Library and the Fairfax Library Foundation invite school-age youth (grades 3-6), teens (grades 7-12) and adults (18+) to participate in our second annual "The World We Write" short story writing contest. Use one of the prompts to write a 250-word story.

Stories should be submitted online. Winners will be notified by August 21. 

Writing Prompts

lady reading a book

  1. She liked to fit people into the world like puzzle pieces, until...
  2. The villain is actually the hero.
  3. He twisted his fate between his fingers.
  4. "You wanna do something fun?"
  5. Things were going well, and then I took the long way home.


Three winners from each age group (grades 3rd - 6th, grades 7th-12th and adults) will receive a $25 gift card and a certificate signed by Jessica Hudson, our Library Director, and Lisa Bryant, Executive Director for the Fairfax Library Foundation. We will feature these short stories on our website. 

 Rules and Guidelines 

  1. Participants in 3rd-12th grade or adults who live, study or work in Fairfax County are eligible for the contest.
  2. One story per person is permitted.
  3. Stories must have a title.
  4. Stories cannot exceed 250 words and the font has to be Aptos, Times New Roman, Cambria or Calibri, font size 12, double-spaced.
  5. Stories must be uploaded as a PDF or Word document.
  6.  Stories will be judged on:
    • Creative Expression: Is your story original? Does it have an identifiable conflict? Does your story engage the reader? 
    • Storytelling: Is your story well organized? Does it have a strong sense of tone and theme?
    • Technical Aspects: Do your word choices enhance the story? Is your sentence structure varied and purposeful?  
  7. Stories should be submitted through our online submissions form.

Writers are not reimbursed for submittals.
Writers own the rights to their work.

Cosponsored by the Fairfax Library Foundation

Teen Chopped Challenge

June 12 - August 16, 2024

Create your own unique recipe for FCPL's Teen Chopped Challenge! Use our three mystery ingredients to make something fun and delicious. A limited quantity of ingredient kits will be available at select library branches. These are first come, first served. Register at our Teen Chopped event page to receive updates and reminders. This competition is for ages 12-18. 

This year's mystery ingredients are:

  • 3 ounces raisins
  • 13.5 ounces canned coconut milk
  • 16 ounces brown rice

Kits will be available at:

To enter the contest:

  1. Pick up a limited supply of mystery ingredient kit from one of 6 participating library branches beginning June 12. 

  2. Create an original recipe using all of the mystery ingredients.

  3. Take a photo of your completed dish.

  4. Complete the online submissions form (available on June 16) or return your completed recipe card to your local library branch by August 18.

  5. If you are bringing your completed recipe card to your local library branch, send the photo of your dish to No links to Google files, please. JPEG, PNG, or PDF attachments only.

Winners will receive:

  • First Place: a Teen Chopped logo apron and a $40 Whole Foods gift card
  • Second Place: $25 Whole Foods gift card
  • Third Place: $15 Whole Foods gift card 

Teen Chopped Presents: A Cooking Basics Workshop

With Professional Chef Beck Waldman of Becky's Pixie Kitchen

Through this class, we focus on empowering motivated teens to take charge of what they eat on a daily and weekly basis. We provide instruction that will support teens in the kitchen, helping to build cooking skills to promote their independence and confidence that goes beyond just using a microwave. They get to prepare one delicious meal with their own hands.

  • Martha Washington Library: Saturday, June 29, 12-2:30 p.m. Register.
  • Kings Park Library: Saturday, July 13, 12-2:30 p.m. Register.
  • Chantilly Regional Library: Saturday, July 20, 12-2:30 p.m. Register
  • Dolley Madison Library: Friday, August 2, 2-3:30 p.m. Register.

Submission Form

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