Élan Middle School Writing Contest – 2020 Winners!

Élan celebrates the work of students between 6th and 8th grades in our annual Middle School Writing Contest. The winner of the contest is awarded a certificate and publication of their work on the Élan magazine blog.

Students can submit in any form, including poetry (of any length and style), fiction (of up to 5,000 words), and nonfiction (essays up to 3,000 words). Below is a listing of this year’s winning pieces!


“Grief” by Janna Tannous


“Questions of the Youth” by Erion P. Sanders


“The Roaring Himalayas” by Rehan Sheikh

“Untitled” by John Walker

The winner of the 2020 contest is Janna Tannous, a rising 9th grader who submitted her poem, “Grief”. Our editors were impressed with the strong intention behind Janna’s work and her use of metaphor throughout. Poetry editor Conor Naccarato said, “This [poem] takes great risks with abstraction, and the images are really evocative. A very promising voice.”

We are excited to share Janna’s work with you today and look forward to the work she creates in the future!

Grief by Janna Tannous

I am the blood gushing out of my grandfather’s nose,
that seeps into the cracks of the old wooden floor.

I am the rough waves that hit the edge of the lighthouse,
only to be met by cascading darkness.

I am the many once-lit candles,
that flicker with solitude,
only to be blown out suddenly,
with no explanation.

I am the wide open fields,
that seem to go on for miles,
but only last a few.

I am the hymns sung at the service,
where the white snowflakes seem to contrast the color of my attire.

I am the many stones of the named,
yet only one seems to be clear,
and it’s someone whom I know.

To read the work of the all of the contest winners, click here!