Student Writing Guidelines

Thank you for submitting to One Book Two Book! All 2021 Submissions are now being processed. You will receive a confirmation email by 12/31. If you do not receive your email by 12/31 please notify our office at

Student submission process for 2021 One Book Two Book

Students in grades 1-8 in Iowa City-Cedar Rapids Corridor area school districts, or home school students in those equivalent grades, are encouraged to submit one page of writing for the 2021 One Book Two Book festival from the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature.

  • This can be any type of writing: story, essay, poem, song lyric, graphic novel page, etc. The piece must be an original work, written this school year, and in polished form – ready for publication.
  • Submissions may be written in English, French, or Spanish.
  • It should be on one side of an 8.5×11 page. It can be single-spaced, but must be at least 12-pt. and in Times or equivalent font.  The page should have margins of 1” on each side.
  • The student’s name should be in the top right corner of the piece.
  • On the separate Student Submission Cover Form, the following information is required:
    • Student name
    • Grade
    • School
    • Age as of Feb. 28, 2021
    • Parent or guardian’s name and contact e-mail and phone number.

Student work, including the cover sheet, must be submitted to the City of Literature by Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. They can be mailed to City of Literature, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City, IA 52240; or e-mailed as a Microsoft Word attachment or PDF to The file name should include the student’s school, grade and name (e.g. Hoover-4-HannahSmith or Garner-6-JasonJones). If using Google Docs, please download the file as either a Microsoft Word or PDF document. If the submission is handwritten or drawn, either scan and email a PDF or mail the original. Submissions also can be shared with through Google Docs. Originals will be held for one month after the festival; it is the guardian’s responsibility to follow up if it should be returned.

The student work will be evaluated by a team from ACT in Iowa City. Recognized students will be honored at virtual events during the One Book Two Book festival, Feb. 26-28, 2021. Two grade level winners will be chosen, one in each of the following categories:

“The Write Stuff”:    For language, clarity, structure, and emotional impact.

“From the Heart”:    For creativity, passion, and expressiveness.

These students will be invited to read their winning submissions. In addition, a percentage of all students whose submissions are deemed to be of outstanding quality also will be honored with a “certificate of distinction.” They also will be invited to attend the virtual Feb. 28, 2021, event.

Questions? Contact John Kenyon with the City of Literature office at (319) 356-5245 or

Download Student Submission Cover Form