2024 YANovCon Teen Short Story Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our YANovCon 2024 Teen Short Story Contest! This year’s theme “To Be You: Identity in the Age of Censorship,” inspired incredible contributions from our talented teen authors. Thank you to all our amazing teen authors who shared stories of their perspectives on the intersection of identity and censorship.

2024 Winners

First Place – Alyssa C., South San Francisco, for A Forever Changing Path: A Short Novel in Verse

Second Place – Mia K., Menlo Park, for Crying in a Synthetic Silence

Third Place – Hurett S., South San Francisco, for The Five Stages of Coming Out

We look forward to reading everyone’s stories for YANovCon 2025! Keep an eye out for updates on next year's event.

Check out this year's winning submission below!

A Forever Changing Path: A Short Novel in Verse by Alyssa C.

"There’s a gap, a hole in my heart, an empty space in my mind

What can I do to fill it?

Where’s my closure?

I threw out all those memories

I gave away all the clothes you said looked good on me

I tried to erase the person you turned me into

I did all that work

I wrote all those poems

Did it help?

A little bit

But not enough

In this year, at this age

We’re supposed to know who we are

What path we’re going to take, what future we want

And honestly, I did know

Until I drove into a barrier

A blockade in my path

I changed my hair

My clothing style

My voice

I changed me

Then that boundary was moved

And my path was clear

But remnants of that wall

Dug holes in my mind and my heart

I tried to fill those gaps

Stitch back together those cuts

But all that work

Just left bigger scars

And it's been two years

Since you left

And I’m still healing

Still fixing the broken cracks you left

Now my style is my own

My voice is mine

But I’ve lost my path

And I’m still looking for the right road

So when people ask nowadays

What are you going to do with your life?

Where is your future going to take you?

Who are you?

I can’t answer their questions

Not truthfully at least

And I know that so many others my age

Feel the same way"