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Indiana State Library

Indiana State Library

Library > Indiana Center for the Book > River of Words River of Words

Indiana River of Words ContestEach year, River of Words draws out the best poetry and art talent in the nation. Sharpen your colored pencils, take pen in hand, and squirt some more paint on your palette! 

The contest focuses on watersheds as a central theme. This opportunity is designed to help youth express themselves through the arts, while exploring their environment and developing a sense of place and appreciation for discovery. River of Words is an excellent opportunity for art and literature classrooms to strengthen their skills and make connections between the watershed theme and their artistic talents.

River of Words is sponsored by the Indiana Center for the Book and the National Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

How to Enter

Students can register for this year's contest between now and December 1, 2015.

The contest is open to students ages 5-19 years old as of the annual December 1st entry deadline. Students may enter on their own, or as part of a group (classroom, scout troop, library, 4-H, etc.). The contest is broken into eight categories (four each in both art and poetry) based upon the following grade levels:

  • Category I — Kindergarten-Grade 2
  • Category II — Grades 3-6
  • Category III — Grades 7-9
  • Category IV — Grades 10-12 (entrants must still be enrolled in high school)

River of Words Selection/Awards Information

All submissions are first reviewed by panel of national judges then a state panel comprised of teachers, librarians, artists, poets, and other creative & fine arts professionals. Finalists will be chosen on both the national and state level. The annual deadline for entries will be December 1st. Winners will be announced in April of each year, honored at the annual Indiana Student Literary Awards at the State Library in Indianapolis, and may receive additional prizes from local vendors & recognition through annual calendars or anthologies.

More Information

What is a watershed?

For more information about the contest visit You may also contact the Indiana Center for the Book at or 317-232-3718.

PDO SW 6-8-2015