The 2020 American Public Servant Writing Competition

Winners published in Stanford Social Innovation Review and Apolitical | Deadline for submissions: Friday, February 7



What’s your story of change in government? Big or small, at any level, changing policy or yourself, we want to hear your story.

Government is changing in the 21st century and public servants have had to adapt. For years, we’ve been inspired by stories of creativity, resilience and innovation. And now we want to hear yours.

We’re launching our 2020 American Public Servant Writing Competition to shine a light on untold stories of change in government and give local, state and federal public servants in America a platform to gain recognition for their work to tens of thousands of readers all over the world.

The winner’s 700-900 word article will be published in Stanford Social Innovation Review. There will also be runners-up for local, state and federal government, which will feature in Apolitical alongside other prominent members such as: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia and the first female president in Africa; Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia, and Steven Pinker, Harvard Professor of Cognitive Psychology.

Some possible article ideas

  • A new idea your team is working on, or a new way of working in government
  • Your personal experience working in government in America
  • Guidance or advice you want to share with public servants

The prizes

Overall Winners

  • One winning entry will be published in Stanford Social Innovation Review
  • Runners-up for local, state, and federal government will be featured on Apolitical’s website and promoted directly to influential readers in 170+ countries, including mayors, ministers and former heads of state
  • You’ll become one of our first cohort of “Apolitical American Thought Leaders”
  • You’ll receive an official winner certificate

Categories of Change

An additional eight winners will be selected and published on Apolitical. They will be judged and selected by each of the following organisations.

A C40 Cities Winner (Climate Change & Sustainability)

A Center for State and Local Government Excellence Winner (State and Local Government)

A Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation Winner (Public Sector Innovation, Workforce Development, Mobility, Leadership)

A Johns Hopkins University Centers for Civic Impact Winner (Capability-Building, Evidence-Based Policymaking)

A National Association of City and County Health Officials Winner (Health)

A National Governors Association Winner (State Innovation and Leadership)

A NYU GovLab Winner (Data, Technology, and Crowd-Sourcing)

A What Works Cities Winner (Local Government)

Why enter?

Prestige – have your profile and writing featured alongside the world’s top experts
Career progression – impress current – or future – managers with your sharp skills and insights
Publicity – put your research, projects or ideas in front of a highly influential global audience
Access to resources – unique opportunities for training, professional editing and networking
Community – the chance to join the first cohort of “Apolitical American Thought Leaders”

Who can enter?

Public servants, policymakers, or people in academia or the third sector in America who work on policy or closely with government.

You don’t need prior writing experience to join — the only requirement is that you must have a profile on Apolitical. Entrants may remain anonymous if they wish.

How to Enter

  • Step 1: Register your interest using the buttons
  • Step 2: You’ll receive instructions from Apolitical about how and when to submit your 700-word article
  • Step 3: You’ll have until the end of January to submit your entry

Register your interest now

If you are not yet a member, you will be taken to a signup page that will automatically register you for the competition.



(Picture credit: Unsplash)