Please also see the General Guidelines relevant to all categories.

Your submission in the Prose category may be an essay, a work of creative non-fiction, or fiction.

Essay Topics

Choose one of the following topics:

  1. Compare and contrast the experiences of “The People Next Door” and other Holocaust-related stories with your own experiences.

  2. Describe the qualities of “The People Next Door” and other survivors of genocide that helped them to survive and to maintain a sense of humanity.

  3. Explain why it is important for “The People Next Door,” other Holocaust survivors such as Gerda Klein, Primo Levi, and Elie Weisel, or other victims of genocides such as those in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Darfur to tell their stories.

  4. Persuade your reader that it is important for us to pass on the lessons learned from “The People Next Door,” from the history of the Holocaust, and from the stories of other victims of the Holocaust.

  5. (Added Jan. 24, 2022) The 1930s and 1940s was a time of great social upheaval and distress in Europe, which ultimately resulted in World War II and the Holocaust. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we find ourselves again in a time of great social distress. Can you see any specific parallels between these two time periods? Do your own experiences of living through the pandemic provide you with ways of understanding what it might have been like to live during the Holocaust?

Fiction / Creative Nonfiction Topic

Write a work of flash fiction or creative nonfiction that responds to or is inspired by one or more experience(s) of the Holocaust as described by the survivors in The People Next Door or other Holocaust-related sources.


300-750 words


Prose submissions should be formatted as follows:

  • Margins: 1.0” on all sides.

  • Font: Arial is preferred. (May also submit Roboto, Helvetica, or Verdana)

  • Title: 16 point bold, center justified

  • Body: 12 point normal; left justified

  • Line spacing: double-spaced

  • Author’s Block: Author, Grade, and School should appear a few lines below last paragraph in 12-point italic.

  • Line spacing may be adjusted between 1.7 and 2.2, margins may be adjusted between 1.0” and 1.25,” and page breaks may be incorporated if doing so will improve the overall layout for exhibition.

  • See template for formatting examples.

Two File Types

Work must be saved and submitted as both PDF and Word.

File Naming

Please use the following conventions when naming your files. “Lastname” and “firstname” refers to the author’s first and last names. When including the title or the first words of the essay, please use only the first three words.

For works with titles:

  • Lastname_firstname_title.doc

  • Lastname_firstname_title.pdf

For untitled works:

  • Lastname_firstname_Untitled_firstwords.doc

  • Lastname_firstname_Untitled_firstwords.pdf


  • Silverstein_Shel_Where_the_Sidewalk.doc

  • Silverstein_Shel_Where_the_Sidewalk.pdf

  • Ladin_Joy_Untitled_Yes_its_true.doc

  • Ladin_Joy_Untitled_Yes_its_true.pdf