Do You Know Any Aspiring Teen Writers?

EPIC, an organization of writers, publishers, and other professionals in the e-book industry, is sponsoring the 2007 EPIC New Voices Writing Competition for middle school and high school students.

Students in public, private, or home schools may enter short story (fiction), essay (nonfiction), and poetry categories at either the middle school or high school level.

The prizes include cash, e-book reading devices, and gift certificates for e-books.

But every entry will receive something that may be even more valuable to young writers: score sheets/critiques from the judges, who are published authors, editors, and educators.

I didn’t start writing until late in life, but I will always remember the value of the first critique I received on my work (when I was about halfway through Stroke of Luck). My friend, author Grace Anne Schaefer, gave me advice that made my mother say, “I don’t know what it was, but the second half of the book was a lot better than the first half.”

If you are a parent, teacher, or friend of young persons interested in writing, tell them about the New Voices contest. They can write a new piece (or pieces – each student can submit one entry in each category) or they can enter something they have written for a school assignment. Even if they don’t win a prize, they will find the feedback valuable.

But they need to hurry – the deadline is November 1, 2006.

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