OHIO'S interscholastic WRITING LEAGUE for adolescents & young adults

In one small hamlet, tucked amid the rollicking New England countryside just west of the Chesapeake Bay, townsfolk who read their morning paper on July 5, 1776, may not have noticed The Declaration of Independence. So brazenly it was plastered all over front pages of newspapers everywhere for all the world to see. But not in this village.

The Maryland Gazette published The Declaration of Independence on Page 2 that day because, the newspaper explained, journalistic patriots dedicated to the people of Annapolis, Maryland, must attend to the news needs of their own home town first. News of the outside world need come second.

Twenty score and two years later, United Fellowship of The Pen and PenOhio stand in salute, in prayer, and in union with all of the journalists at this very same newspaper, just as we do with all journalists who are under attack in today's world. For it is at The Capital Gazette--the organization sired by The Maryland Gazette--where a tragic shooting on July 28, 2018, claimed the lives of five journalists and injured two more. Such an attack on our right to know the truth is an a attack on the foundation on the values of our country.

These people were killed and injured pursuing the same mission that was in place the very day when our country was born. They were and are men and women seeking to better their community through the written word, which is a mission that our organization endeavors also to do. We can think of no higher nor more important calling than this.

We owe our Democracy and our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms to a free press. The men and women of our local newspapers--journalists and writers--are the front-line defenders of these freedoms. We owe them honor for their work. We owe them respect. We owe them prayer, Godspeed. We owe them thanks, as our lives are blessed by and through them.

Every school has a football team and a volleyball team.
Why not a writing team? Now t
hanks to PenOhio, every school can!

PenOhio is a writing league comprised of public, private and parochial, schools across Ohio
who want to see great literary talent Praised,  Inspired, and Rewarded. 

In major Regional and State Tournaments each spring, teams comprised of student writers compete in creative narrative writing for top honors and scholarships after engaging in rigorous training. 

The best among them get a hand paying for college through PenOhio’s ample scholarship program; and many PenOhio winners get their work published in PenOhio’s eBook of Winners, a curriculum supplement that many Ohio teachers depend on for everyday classroom use. 

We’re Standards-friendly. We’re sports-friendly. We’re writer-friendly, with plenty of seats for you!


School registrations are now open for the 2018-2019 season. To register, download, print, complete, and mail in the Official Registration Form to the address on the form. Be sure to include your school's PO number. 

All Regional Tournaments will take place January through March, 2019. State Tournaments will take place in April, 2019. Regional Tournament assignments will be released in mid-fall.

PenOhio Communications Chair Garth Holman of Beachwood City Schools teams up with The Cleveland Indians to talk about Ohio's premier interscholastic writing program! Only PenOhio matches up exactly with Ohio Department of Education licensure in grades 7 through 12, and offers supplemental support for teachers in alignment with Ohio's New Writing Standards.

New York Times Best-Selling Author Lights Up Historic First PenOhio State Tournament

D. Watkins, author of The Cook Up and The Beast Side, inspired Ohio's best young authors on May 19, 2018, at The College of Wooster with his real-world story of trading gang streets for fame thanks to books and a pen.

Watkins is one of several award-winning authors who spoke to Ohio's best upcoming talent this year at PenOhio tournaments. All part of our promise delivered to Inspire, Praise, and Reward.

It's not the last that PenOhio will see of D. In 2018-2019, Watkins will join PenOhio and Loyola University Maryland to build a new curriculum adjunct whereby "Resilience Principles" will be appended to all PenOhio (and United Fellowship of the Pen) workshops of the future.

Resilience Principles are tools that medical professionals depend upon to help young people bounce back from trauma. Studies have long proven that educators can use them, too, to help all learners deal with stress, depression, and other difficulties of growing up.



PenOhio teams get ready for Winter writing tournaments by holding after-school practices the preceding Fall. Most school teams build their team practice sessions around PenOhio Workshops, which we provide free to member schools online. 

All PenOhio workshops, which air on YouTube, align with Ohio's New Writing Standards. Each workshop is in mini-lesson format, and is led by an award-winning PenOhio Writing Coach. 

Each lesson features a different theme, such as Building a Story Outline, Effective Use of Concrete Imagery, How to Write Using Dialogue, and much more... Learn more


PenOhio Interscholastic Writing Tournaments challenge students to compete both as individual writers, and in teams of six. We offer tournament competitions by grade level division (Grade 7, Grade 8, Junior Varsity [9/10], and Varsity [11/12]). 

At each tournament, writers compose three original narrative works, each in 40 minutes, to prompts not known to them in advance. Each writer is judged in a round against up to 5 other writers from other schools, and judged by a PenOhio coach not known to the writer. The writer receives Rank and Quality Scores for each submission, plus a rich, constructive, encouraging comment regarding his/her work. 

Based on score totals for all submissions, individual and team scores reveal top finishers. Depending on scoring, writers may qualify for State Competition, publication, and/or scholarship opportunities... Learn more


From PenOhio tournaments, the best writing in Ohio is identified. This writing is catalogued annually in PenOhio's eBook of Winners.

The eBook is designed with several audiences in mind. First, it is intended to serve students. Inside the current year's edition are 30 of the finest stories that were penned from over 1,000 submissions made during the past tournament season. It is a tribute to the students who wrote these stories; and intended as an inspiration to peers that great writing is well within grasp!

Second, the eBook is meant as a classroom tool for teachers, and has coupled with each story a page to help teachers use the story for instruction. This furthers PenOhio's goal of using program assets to change the way we teach writing in Ohio for the better... Learn more

  • PenOhio
    A United Fellowship of The Pen Program

    PO Box 13291 
    Akron, OH 44334


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