Category: writing

Helen Sheehan Book Prize

sheehanbadgeWe award the book prize every other year to the strongest full-length YA novel received. We designed that snazzy seal ourselves. A panel of three judges reads and reviews the top manuscripts, and selects the winner. The contest winner receives $1,000 and publication with Elephant Rock Books. Then our internal team edits and designs a lovely piece of literary art. Thanks to thousands of readers, we’ve had great success. We do not read YA manuscripts outside of our contest.





Elephant Rock launched our YA imprint in 2014. We acquire YA manuscripts through our Helen Sheehan YA Book Prize. So who was Helen Sheehan and how come I can’t find her online? Helen Sheehan was a modest woman. She attended Normal school in Tiverton, Rhode Island in the 1920s, and taught elementary school for many years, eventually becoming a principal. She was also our publisher’s revered great aunt Hiya. The prize honors her love of education and young people.

Past winners:
2014 The Carnival at Bray
 by Jessie Ann Foley, Printz Honor Book, Morris Award Finalists, BFYA Top 10

2016: The Art of Holding on and Letting Go by Kristin Bartley Lenz, Junior Library Guild Selection, Michigan Great Lakes Great Books Award Nominee

Judge Hall of Fame:
Emil Ostrovski, Louise Brueggmann, Becky Quiroga Curtis, Kelly Jensen, Anne Rouyer and Meghan Dietsche Goel.


The 2018 Sheehan YA Prize Submission Period is Closed

Thank you to all the writers who entered our 2018 contest. We received over 100 submissions. Stay tuned. We’ve got lots of reading to do this summer.

2018 Judges:


What’s Your Best One-Sentence Story?

ROARWere you a fan of story time in grade school, that pause in the day’s work to sit down with criss-crossed legs, your eyes closed as the teacher took the class on an imaginary adventure?

We try to re-create that magic each month, only instead of your first grade teacher, we bring in professional, published writers. And the stories tend to reach for a higher literary plane than did Jack and his beanstalk.

One way you can get involved is by entering our one-sentence story contest, where anyone can submit an original one-sentence story using a word that was handpicked during our previous reading. Those at the following reading will choose the winner. 

1. Write a one-sentence story using this month’s story word (found below) in the sentence.

2. Limit it to 40 words (very generous).

3. Post your one-sentence story in the box below.

4. Three finalists will be voted on by attendees of ERB’s Roar Reading Series on the first Monday of every month at the Uconn B&N Bookstore at 7PM. (You don’t need to attend to participate, but we’d love to see ya.)

5. Prize: a book from the ERB archive and an official contest winner’s certificate. Both will be mailed to the winner.

This month’s word(s): Chiffon 

                      Deadline: September 3, 2017 

                      Ready? Set? Write!


“Home of the Prize”


Thank you to all the writers who entered our 2018 contest!

We received over 100 submissions. Stay tuned. We’ve got lots of reading to do this summer.

2018 Judges: