Discovering New Voices, Young Writers

Today’s post is short and sweet.  I’m busy judging a contest for the work of young writers.

I had never heard of the event that has taken place annually since 2006.  But author C. Hope Clark, founder of Funds for Writers, posted on Facebook about the New Voices, Young Writers contest, sponsored by The Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition (EPIC), and about their search for judges.

Students around the world are eligible to enter.  It doesn’t matter if they attend private, public, or home schools, as long as they are between the ages of eleven and eighteen (and have a parent or guardian sign the permission slip).

Young writers submit their entries between November 1 and December 20.  In junior (ages 11-14) and senior (15-18) divisions, young writers have the choice to create poetry, essays, or fiction.  And hooray!  There is no entry fee.

EPIC selects a variety of nice prizes each year.  The best is publication of winning entries in the annual New Voices Anthology, plus paper and eBook copies of the anthology for each winner and his or her school.  (You can find past issues of the anthology at the above link.)

The stated mission for New Voices, Young Writers is to encourage reading and writing in middle- and high-school students.  As a bonus, students have a place to show what they can do, and receive feedback from authors, editors, publishers, librarians, and teachers.  Opportunities like this may have been there in my own school days, but I can’t remember a single instance.

You all know by now that it’s my passion to encourage new writers and readers, so how could I not volunteer?

So today, I’m writing comments on my thirteen assigned essays, all written by youths in the senior group (ages 15-18).  I’m intrigued and delighted by their thought processes, the level of logic applied to their arguments, and by their openness to sharing these stories with the world.

While we’re still talking about young writers, how do you or your community support the dreams of tomorrow’s authors?  How do you or your community increase literacy in local youths?  I’d love to hear about some of your local projects and programs, so share with us in the comments.

Well, I’m getting back to reading, judging, and having a fine time with New Voices, Young Writers first-round entries.  See you next week.

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