Civil Beat is looking for smart, thoughtful writers with a passion for telling stories about Hawaii – and the issues that matter most to those of us living here.

We’re seeking original columns, essays or commentary — nonfiction — written in distinctive and diverse voices that focus on local public affairs, social concerns or other topics that affect the daily lives of people in your community, so you need to live in Hawaii to enter.

The top three entries will win cash prizes: $500 for first place, $300 for second place and $200 for third place. The winning entries will be published in Civil Beat – and could lead to a paid, regular spot as a columnist.

What we’re looking for:

• A strong, compelling voice. Don’t be shy about telling it like it is and expressing yourself on your own terms.

• Clear and insightful writing.

• An eye for spotting fresh, untold stories.

• A solid understanding of whatever you’re writing about based on facts and original reporting.

What we’re not looking for:

• Fictionalized narratives or stories

• Writing about sports, music, entertainment or fashion.

• Anything that reads or sounds like it could have been written 20 years ago.

• Punditry or pure opinion columns.

• Personal attacks or cheap shots.

• Material that has already been published elsewhere, including on personal blogs.

Deadline: Entries must be submitted by Oct. 30, 2018

Guidelines: Email your entries to, with the subject line Emerging Writers Contest. Please keep your submission under 1,200 words. Local residents only, please.

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