For many years, the Amelia Island Book Festival Association has organized a Short Story Writing Contest for all middle and high school students in Nassau County. There is a different theme every year. The contest allows the students to compete for prizes ranging from $50 to $175. In addition, the top 50 stories are published in an anthology. The published winners receive a free copy.
Perhaps even more exciting, the absolute best authors of these stories have the chance to participate in a workshop with a famed author! Last year David Baldacci met with a dozen students to discuss “the tricks of the trade” and answer the students’ questions. I had the privilege of assisting in that workshop and felt that these students had indeed the chance of a lifetime. Mr. Baldacci was educational, charismatic and so approachable that the students were immediately at ease with him.
Each year stories received are read by several judges and evaluated for their originality, creativity, relevance to the theme, and various other factors. Students can write in any genre they choose but must adhere to a specific length and clearly explained format. Each story is treasured and considered carefully. I have been very humbled over the years by the quality and variety of the stories. Some brought me to tears, some made me laugh, all touched my heart…
I am excited to announce that we will have a Short Story Contest in 2021! We will announce our new theme in December and invite all students to participate. Every year is a new adventure and I cannot wait to read these wonderful new stories!
Joelle Crahay is an AIBF Board Member and the Short Story Contest Chair