EPIC’s annual New Voices contest is open for submissions until January 16, 2009. Middle and high school students in any school (public, private, or home) in the world are eliglble to enter as long as their entry is in English.
Categories for Middle School and High School include Story (fictional short story). Poetry, and Essay (nonfiction). The New Voices guidelines describe each category.
The prizes includes a grand prize of $100, e-book readers for first place winners in each category, and $50 and $25 gift certificates for e-books for second and third place winners.
Every entrant is a winner, though, because each receives valuable feedback from the judges, who are teachers, librarians, published authors, and editors. The feedback includes positive encouragement and suggestions for improvement.
While every writer, no matter our age or experience, benefits from constructive feedback, young writers in particular need encouragement and advice. Students get input from their teachers and perhaps their families but seldom have the chance to receive individual and objective commentary from industry professionals.
Students can enter pieces written for school assignments or personal expression as well as those written specifically for the contest. If you know a young student who likes to write and who could benefit from professional evaluation of their writing, encourage them to enter the New Voices 2009 competition.
If you are an educator, consider assigning your students to write stories, poems, or essays they can enter in the contest. If you’re someone who would like to see writing encouraged in the schools, pass the information along to the schools in your area.
The New Voices competition is special to me. Along with a few other EPIC members, I was one of the founders of the contest, and I have participated every year in some capacity, this year as a judge.
I have seen the enthusiasm of young writers who receive a word of encouragement from a writer or an editor. I have seen the excitement of the winners when the receive their awards. I know that I’ll see some of these students when they are adults and successful, published authors.