For the sixth consecutive year, Delta writer Laura Thomas is hosting a free-to-enter short story competition for aspiring young writers.
This year, after five years of limiting the contest to B.C. writers, she has opened the doors to the world. According to Thomas, who began the contest in 2008 to give aspiring young writers a safe, free venue to send their work, the world is answering.
Easter weekend marked the halfway point in the submission season, which runs from Jan. 1 to June 30. Over 400 writers from 24 countries have already submitted entries.
"I'm a little nervous to see what the numbers climb to as we approach the June 30th deadline," said Thomas. "I think we could hit 1,000 stories, which means the judges are going to be doing a lot of reading this summer."
After the contes closes, Thomas and her team of judges will spend the summer reading and scoring each story three times to determine the winners, which will be announced at the Junior Authors Conference in Richmond on Oct. 19.
Thomas is happy to be welcoming back to her judging team editor Joanne Ashdown and author Darlene Foster. She is also pleased to be adding three-time contest winner Noa Wang and veteran contestant Valerie Flokstra to her roster of judges, along with Ontario author Donna Dawson.
Thomas says she still needs at least three more judges.
"There are four age categories this year to cover our expanded age range of nine through 21. Each category needs two additional judges aside from myself. I am also thinking that with so many entries I may need to break up the most popular age groups, such as the 15 to 17 category, to make the judging load lighter for my assistants."
Individuals who would like to join the Junior Authors Contest judging team may apply by contacting Thomas prior to May 1. For more information about the contest, including complete rules, past winners and Thomas' contact information, visit www.laurathomascommunications.com.