Global contest strikes a chord with young poets

Local author and publisher Laura Michelle Thomas has once again struck a chord with young writers around the world with her newest initiative, an international Junior Authors Poetry Contest.

Modelled on her popular Junior Authors Short Story Contest, which is now in its seventh year, Thomas opened her first free poetry contest for youth last August. She wasn't sure whether it would be as successful as her short story contest, which last year attracted more than 1,800 entries from 67 countries.

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Thomas was shocked when entries grew to over 1,000. By the deadline, she had received 1,160 entries from aspiring poets in 56 countries.

"I was surprised that poetry was so popular with our nine to 21 age group," Thomas said. "It seems so old-fashioned, something you study in English class, not nearly as exciting as writing novels, which seems to be the rage with young writers these days.

"I offered it on a trial basis because a few of our short story writers were asking for it. I'm glad I did. I'm sure the winners are too."

Thomas announced the top six in each of four age categories at her Junior Authors Writers Conference in the United Kingdom on May 18. First place finishers in each category are receiving a signed copy of her five-star "hybrid" novel and writing guide, Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing Published, and their poems have been published on Thomas's well-trafficked website, where they will be read and admired by young writers and readers around the world.

The Junior Authors Poetry Contest has been added permanently to Thomas's annual line up of unique opportunities for young writers, which includes her Junior Authors Short Story Contest.

Young writers between the ages of nine and 21 are welcome to submit a short story of no more than 1,000 words on any subject they like by midnight on June 30.

As with the poetry contest, the short story contest is free to enter - thanks to Thomas and her volunteer judges - and stories are submitted via the online entry form.

To read the winning poems, see short story contest rules, get conference registration information and discover more opportunities for aspiring junior authors, visit

Young writers can meet Thomas at her next author signing event, which takes place at Albany Books in Tsawwassen on Saturday, June 14 from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

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