Young writers from around the province were invited this summer to send in stories for Delta's fourth annual Junior Authors Short Story Contest. A record 80 entries were received from 16 municipalities ranging from Vancouver Island to the Cariboo.
"I have to admit that I didn't do my usual amount of promotion for the contest this summer because I was busy taping my new Delta TV show, Money Moment," said contest organizer Laura Thomas of Ladner.
"That's why I was totally blown away by the fact that we had almost double the number of submissions this year."
Last year, 46 stories were submitted from 13 communities, with Delta and Prince George leading the way. This year, 53 of the 80 entries are from Delta (25) and Surrey (28).
"The Surrey Library contacted me at the end of the school year wanting details about the contest to put up on their website which explains why that community was so well-represented," Thomas said.
Thomas believes Prince George writers were well represented in 2010 because the Prince George Citizen published her press release about the contest.
"Once aspiring young writers hear about the contest and find out they can write about anything they want - and that it's free to enter - the response is excellent," she said.
Aside from getting the word out in more B.C. communities, Thomas' goal for next year is to encourage more boys to enter.
"We did better this year," she said. "About 20 of the 80 stories were written by boys, mostly in the tween category. This is a huge improvement over previous years but I would like to see the gender ratio get closer to 50-50."
Contest judges, including Ladner author Darlene Foster, former Macmillan editor Joanne Ashdown and Thomas, are currently scoring the submissions on four criteria: description, story structure, title and style.
Results will be announced on Friday, Oct. 7.
Prizes donated by Ricki Willing, the Ladner Business Association, Tutor Doctor and NetClimber Web Design will be presented shortly after the announcement.
The winning stories for the teen and tween categories will be published in the Optimist and the top six stories for each category will be available for reading online on Thomas' website, www.agentstory.net.
For more information contact Thomas at contest@ agentstory.net or visit her website.