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Just Voces - Book Series

Documenting youth creative voices in search for meaning and a more just world through the written word

A young authors' book series (9th-12th grade) dedicated to bridging the equity gap in the book industry for teen creative voices. The series documents youth searching for meaning and solutions in the face of climate change through the written word. 


Cultural production mechanisms for authentic and substantial young voices are ailing. Social media is the main platform these days for young creatives and we know the shelf life of that repository.  If there is an underrepresented literary voice that overrides all underserved voices, it is the young creator voice. This community stands right on the tipping point of the rapidly evolving climate existential crisis. Those who have been gifted with the capability to give testimony "live" from the trenches of these NEW TIMES must be documented and a canon built. 

First book in the Just Voces series:


Amnesiac Portraits: A Brief Memoir

By Loretta Vilar Mendez

(forthcoming November 2021)


Loretta Vilar Mendez (b. 2004) is a Latina cultural worker passionate about the power of the written word to turn suffering into meaning and hope. She was born in Denver and grew up between Colorado and Puerto Rico. She has been a student of piano for most of her life and complemented the practice of sound arts with those of verbal and visual arts. Loretta is a senior in high school hoping to attend Brown University in Fall 2022.

Just Voces Awards


Each year, students in the 9th-12th grades are invited to enter in one of the following categories with the following submission:

  • Poetry: A group of three poems

  • Fiction: A short story (2,000 words or fewer) or one-act play (run no more than 30 minutes of playing time)

  • Nonfiction: A personal or academic essay (3,000 words or fewer)

We welcome submissions from both US and international students. A first, second, and third place winner is selected in each category. 

First place in each category will be published by Mandel Vilar Press (MVP) starting in 2022. MVP is the award winning publishing arm of Americas for Conservation + the Arts dedicated to advancing diversity and conservation in publishing. 

Have questions about the contest? Email


Awards & Rules

First-place winners in each category are awarded a prize of $1,000; second-place winners receive $500; third-place winners receive $250.

  • There is no entry fee

  • All entries must be original work reviewed, approved and sponsored by a high school teacher. We will use your sponsoring teacher as a contact for the competition should we have any questions. For homeschooled students, please contact a mentor to sponsor your writing.


The competition runs annually from February 14 to April 14.

Entry Submission
Type of Submission
Please indicate here if your piece needs a content warning or refers to sensitive topics.

Thanks for submitting!

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