Black Girls Stay Lit™ Lit Girl Summer Writing Competition Participation Terms

If you enter your work into the Black Girls Stay Lit™ Lit Girl Summer Writing Competition, you must agree to these terms and will be prompted to do so before your work can be shared with us. If you are 17 or younger, your parent/guardian must also agree to these terms. These terms will be a binding agreement once you and your parent or guardian agree to them, so please read them carefully. If we use the word “Competition” here, it means the Black Girls Stay Lit™ Lit Girl Summer Writing Competition, and the word “BGSL” means us, Black Girls Stay Lit™: A Literacy Movement for Black Girl Excellence, the organization that presents the Competition.

Judging Criteria and Freedom of Expression

Jurors who review Competition entries are asked to weigh four core values: originality, skill, relevance to the Competition writing prompt and the emergence of a personal vision or voice in determining whether an entry receives an Award.

Young writers are free to explore any and all topics when addressing the Competition writing prompt.


To participate in the Competition, you must be a Black- and female-identifying student enrolled in grades 9–12 at a public, private or home school within the United States, as of the date of entry, and residing in the United States, U.S. territories or military bases.


Students who enter works into the Competition will retain all intellectual property rights they have in their works, including copyright. This means, for example, you can enter the same work you entered into the Competition to other scholarship programs or contests, keep the work in your portfolio, and license it to others for non-exclusive publication.

Competition entries cannot be returned under any circumstances. Please make sure you keep a record of all works entered and send copies only.

To run the Competition, BGSL needs to be able to do certain things with the students’ works, such as copying, editing, and displaying them to process and judge entries, award prizes, and publicize winning entries. To do these things, we need permission from you and your parent/guardian. So, by entering your work into the Competition, you and your parent/guardian give permission to use your work without further permission or approval from you as part of BGSL’s mission to promote creative self-expression among young women. Formally, this means you grant BGSL a license to use, copy, change, publish, publicly perform, distribute, exhibit, or add to your work. This license is perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, transferable, and non-exclusive (with the right to sublicense). BGSL can use your work in any media, including online and in publications.

You also give us permission to use your name, photograph or other image of you, biographical information, and live and taped interviews, appearances, or performances given or made by you in connection with the Competition, including promotion of the Competition and BGSL. We will give you credit when we use your work in a public way, unless there is a practical reason why we cannot, such as formatting, or if the work is being used in a medium where no individual credits are given. Also, if we mistakenly do not give you credit in any given situation, if you let us know, we will try to correct that for similar uses in the future.

We will not pay you for your entry or our use of your work, except for any cash award and/or BGSL scholarship you may be granted through the Competition.

We will not license your work to others to publish the work under their name for their own commercial gain.

Copyright & Plagiarism

All work entered into the Competition must be original, meaning you create the work based on your own ideas. By entering work into the Competition, you agree that you created it and did not copy any part of it from any other person, business, school, or organization. You also agree not to enter work created with generative AI tools or that contains any content generated by AI tools. Any work that infringes anyone’s intellectual property rights will be disqualified. You, not BGSL, are responsible for getting any necessary consents or releases from people or for any places or property depicted in your work.


BGSL may deny or revoke a student’s participation in the Competition and take back or cancel any awards made by BGSL if we determine, in our sole discretion, that an entry does not meet the requirements of these Participation Terms or other applicable Contest policies (for example, Contest Rules, Writing Categories, Deadlines, and all other policies listed on the Main Contest page) or that a participant has violated these Participation Terms or other Contest policies in any other way. Any participant whose award is taken back or cancelled may not identify herself as the recipient of any Black Girls Stay Lit™ Lit Girl Summer Writing Competition Award.

BGSL Scholarships

All award-winners receive a Black Girls Stay Lit™ scholarship for one 10 week BGSL Program Session.  BGSL offers three 10 week-long sessions annually.  All Competition winners must register/enroll/and actively participate in a BGSL program session within one year from the date the award is granted. That is, Award-winners must register/enroll/and actively participate in either BGSL’s Fall 2024, Spring 2025, or Summer 2025 program session, or their scholarships will be forfeited. Forfeited scholarship awards will go toward funding BGSL scholarships for financially needy participants.