Young Authors Fiction Festival

2017 YAFF banner

The American Library in Paris is proud to be the organizer of the Young Authors Fiction Festival (YAFF). The YAFF is a city-wide writing intiative that aims to strengthen community among English-speakers in the Paris area through the art and craft of storytelling. The YAFF is free of charge and open to all students ages 5-18 in the greater Paris area who write in English. The Young Authors Fiction Festival originated as The Red Wheelbarrow Writing Contest, which began in 2001 with l'Ecole Massillon and a handful of Paris-based members of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), who acted as judges. 

The 2017 Young Authors Fiction Festival culminated with a celebration event on Friday 2 June at the Library. Over 300 people attended the celebration event, including the finalists, parents, and teachers. Each finalist was awarded a certificate. YAFF celebration booklets were printed with the full stories of all the 1st to 5th place winners and each booklet is available for 15 euros. 

This year we received just under 500 submissions, the biggest intake in the history of YAFF, from over 25 schools, writing programs, and homeschooling programs in and around Paris. The Library thanks the 60 judges who participated this year, as well as the 2017 YAFF Committee, comprised of Library staff and volunteers, who handled all the administration all along the way. 

The YAFF team will be taking a break over the next few months, but will be back in the fall to prepare for the 2018 YAFF. 

For questions, contact the YAFF Team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For a full list of all the 2017 YAFF winners, read the Library blog. For more photos from the celebration event, check them out on the Library Flickr.

Frequently Asked Questions


A. Spread the word about the YAFF amongst students and staff at your school and encourage them to participate. Paper your school and/or library or bookstore with the YAFF Flyer and make available the YAFF Guidelines. Please forward this events page to all other teachers you know for more details.

A: The Young Authors Fiction Festival is absolutely free of charge to enter.

A: The goal of YAFF is to encourage and support children and young adults to complete a creative written project. All participants of YAFF are invited to attend the Celebration Event normally scheduled in mid-June, where we honor all the writers and announce the finalists of the YAFF.

A: No, all qualifying entries must be submitted by midnight on 1 April. Unfortunately we cannot consider any stories submitted afterwards.

A: You will receive a personalized e-mail several days after submitting your story, letting you know if the story meets the YAFF guidelines. (If it doesn’t, then we’ll offer some suggestions to help you modify it). If you don’t receive an e-mail within one week, please re-submit the story.

A: All stories must be within the word count requirements. If you submit a story that contains more words, we will send it back for further editing so that it falls within the guidelines (maximum of 750 words for students in GS-CM2 -- maximum of 1,000 words for students in collège or lycée.)

A: No, only the body text count towards the word count.

A: Each submission to YAFF must be original: the participant must come up with the content and write the story on his own. Parents and teachers are encouraged to help only insofar as they create “teachable moments”, e.g., guiding young writers through revisions by asking questions instead of giving answers. For example, asking “can you express this idea in fewer words?” to help a child write more concisely. We require that all students pledge on their honor that their submission is their original work.

A: Part of the objective of YAFF is to help young people develop new skills and a deeper understanding of the English language. We like to avoid, if at all possible, that parents or teachers correct the "mistakes" for the students. But neither do we want teachers/parents to have so light a touch that a potentially good story submission doesn't make the grade due to issues that might easily have been improved upon, while teaching new skills at the same time.

A: Please see the American and French Grade Level Comparison chart above. If your child is in the British or American system, we encourage you to tell us the French equivalent so we can ensure his submission is entered into the appropriate category.

A: Absolutely! Please make sure to submit each student’s entry in a separate e-mail, with their name/grade in the subject line, the submission form pasted into the body of the e-mail, and the story attached as a PDF or .doc.

A: We suggest that parents have young children write out their story, then type it up for them including any spelling or grammar mistakes. That way the story that is submitted is indeed the original work of the child.

A: Not at all. All stories are judged independently of entry information except for the title of the story and the age / grade of the author.

A. The culminating YAFF Celebration at the American Library is on Friday 5 June 2015. At the YAFF Celebration we honor all participating authors and burgeoning storytellers as well as announce the finalists. Finalists will be notified prior to the event, but all young authors are encouraged to attend this celebration of books for youth and children.

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 June 2017 16:16