YAFF Frequently Asked Questions

The American Library in Paris is proud to be the organizer of the Young Authors Fiction Festival (YAFF). YAFF is free of charge and open to all students ages 5-18 in the greater Paris area who write in English. YAFF is the only creative writing initiative that aims to strengthen community among English-speakers in the Paris area through the art and craft of storytelling. The Library believes that creative writing plays an important role in a child’s literacy development. Creative writing is fun and a great tool to help broaden a child’s imagination and foster a life-long love of reading and writing.

 

Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the festival are below.  If you cannot find the answer to your question there, please contact yaff@americanlibraryinparis.org

 

For further information about YAFF please see the About YAFF page.

YAFF 2022 Square

The Young Authors Fiction Festival (YAFF) is a creative writing initiative that aims to strengthen community among English-speakers in the Paris area through the art and craft of storytelling. It is a short story festival open to young authors ages 5-18, who can submit one short story written in English. 

 

The American Library in Paris believes that creative writing plays an important role in a child’s literacy development. Creative writing is fun and a great tool to help broaden a child’s imagination and foster a life-long love of reading and writing. The Library encourages young authors to participate in YAFF and runs writing workshops throughout the year to help children ages 5-18 with their writing skills. 

 

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), acting as judges. YAFF is now a highlight of Library programming and the only English creative writing initiative for children in Paris.

 

The Library encourages parents, teachers, educators, and schools to help develop a passion and practice for creative writing in children. The Library offers many resources for creative writing, including books, creative games, and writing workshops throughout the year. With YAFF, the Library hopes to raise and nurture the next generation of writers and authors!

The American Library in Paris is proud to be the organizer of YAFF. YAFF is run by the Library’s Children’s and Teens’ Services Department at the Library. Each year a committee is formed to coordinate YAFF. The YAFF Committee is made up of the two Children’s and Teen’s Services Librarians and a team of volunteers who dedicate their time to ensure that the festival runs smoothly and is fun for all who participate. 

 

The YAFF 2022 Committee is made up of:

Kirsty McCulloch Reid, Children’s and Teen’s Librarian, YAFF Coordinator

Celeste Rhoads, Children’s and Teens’ Services Manager 

Molly Belhiteche, Volunteer 

Brooke Burns, Volunteer

Martha Simmons, Volunteer

Katherine Youngblood, Volunteer

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

Stories are submitted to YAFF through the Library website via the American Library in Paris’ YAFF Page on the website. Submissions open on 1 February and close on 1 April.  

 

To submit a story you must fill out a submission form confirming details such as the author’s name, age and grade level, the story word count, and personal contact details for the responsible adult (parents/guardians). 

 

You will upload your story file (no PDFS can be accepted) and attach it to your submission form, before submitting  your entry to the YAFF submissions team. You will receive a confirmation email once your form and story file has been received. Your entry will be checked over by the YAFF submissions team and you’ll receive an email if we have any questions or if there are any problems with your submission. Please note: no PDF files can be accepted.

If you have any questions about how to submit your story please contact the YAFF team via email yaff@americanlibraryinparis.org

Each participant may submit ONE (1) original story, written in English.   

All stories must: 

  • Be within the word limits below:   

– 750 words maximum for Kindergarten-5th Grade/Grande Section-CM2  

– 1000 words maximum for 6th Grade-12th Grade/6ème-Terminale 

  • Be written between 1 April 2021 and 1 April 2022
  • Be typed using 12 point Times New Roman or Arial font and double-spaced  
  • Not include any handwritten work, illustrations, or colored text  
  • Not include the participant’s name anywhere in the document or file name  
  • Be saved in .DOC format (no PDFs accepted) with the story title as the file name 
  • Be submitted by the deadline 

Submissions that do not meet all of these guidelines will not be accepted.   

There are no requirements regarding genre or a theme for submissions. Authors can write whatever kind of story that they like, as long as it is FICTION! Fanfiction or using someone else’s characters, setting or plot is not acceptable. YAFF focuses on the originality of the story and the creativity of the author.

For YAFF 2022, submissions open on 1 February. Submissions can be made on the YAFF page on the Library website. Submissions close on 1 April 2022 at 22h00.

For YAFF 2022, the deadline is 1 April 2022 by 22h00. All stories and online submission forms must be received by the YAFF team by this deadline. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Each submission to YAFF must be original: the participant must come up with the content and write the story on their 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 or “we can look that word up in the dictionary” for spelling help.  Parents and teachers should not correct any writer’s errors before submitting. Adults may help type up handwritten stories but must include any errors the young author has made. Stories that have clearly had too much adult help will likely not receive top honors. 

 

Fan-fiction or using another author’s characters or setting is not deemed as original work. Any stories not deemed as original work will not be eligible for top honors or publication. 

 

We require that all students pledge on their honor that their submission is their own original work.

When you complete the online submission form to enter the contest, both the French and American Grades are listed and you choose the correct grade for the participant. The age of the participant is also asked for on the form just to ensure entry to the correct grade. If your child does not follow a French or American system, we encourage you to find the French/American grade equivalent so we can ensure their submission is entered into the appropriate category. If you need help with this, please don’t hesitate to contact yaff@americanlibraryinparis.org

Absolutely! Please make sure to submit each student’s story as a separate entry. For each student please complete the online submission form with the student’s and their parents’ contact information. Teachers cannot give permission for their students’ photos to be taken or their stories to be published; only parents have the authority to do this. Please keep this in mind when completing the submission form and answer NO to these questions. If a teacher completes the form for a student we will contact the parent to ask for their permission so it is important we have their contact details. If we cannot get in touch with a parent to get permission we cannot publish a child’s story if they come 1st–5th place in the festival.

Why we ask for consent:

Author’s name and publishing story

1st–5th place winners in each grade become published authors with YAFF! The winning stories are published in a YAFF Celebration Booklet which is added to the Library collection and is available for purchase at the Celebration Event. The Library also publishes some of the winning stories on the Library website. If you do not give permission for your child’s story to be published, then if they come in 1st–5th place their story will not be included in the Celebration Booklet or published online.

Photo permission

At the Celebration Event photos are taken of the winners to be used on the Library website announcing the Festival winners. If the Celebration Event is held virtually we record the event. If you do not give permission for your child’s (children’s) photo to be taken we will do our best to ensure their photo is not taken at the event and not published with the winners announcement.

 

In no way will withholding consent affect your child’s submission. All stories are judged independently of entry information except for the title of the story and the age/grade of the author. Young authors whose parents withhold consent can still take part in YAFF.  Only if the young author comes in 1st–5th place is consent reviewed by the committee to ensure we can publish their story and photo. 

To view past photos of the YAFF Celebration Events and previous YAFF winners please see the Library’s Flickr YAFF photo albums. 

YAFF Judges are a group of volunteers who read and provide feedback. YAFF Judges volunteer their time and enthusiasm for children’s literature and writing. Each year there are over 100 volunteer judges who read the stories that are submitted to YAFF. 

 

Each judge is provided with a judging rubric and guidelines to emphasize what they should be looking for in a story and what they should be taking into consideration when judging and providing feedback.

 

No one judge is responsible for choosing the winning stories. Rather, each story is read by a minimum of three judges at each stage of judging. YAFF judging takes place in two rounds over roughly six weeks. At each stage of judging stories are checked for originality and any suspected plagiarism. 

 

In Round One

Each judge will read a maximum of 30 stories from one age group. This means that for some grades, each judge may be reading all of the stories submitted, while in other age groups with more submissions, a judge will only be reading a selection of the stories. For all age groups/grades, each submission is read by at least 3 judges.

 

From the stories they’ve read, each judge provides a list of their top five, along with feedback on each story, to support their rankings. This feedback is combined with the feedback from other judges, who read the same stories, to determine the highest ranking stories. The five stories which were ranked highest overall, in their group/grade, are sent through to the next round of judging.  

 

In Round Two: 

All stories that are ranked in the top five in Round One will be read by at least three more judges in Round Two. Round Two judges will also rank stories from 1-5 and provide feedback to support their choices. Once feedback from Round Two is returned, the judges’ feedback is combined to reach a definitive ranking of the top five stories from each age group. Those are the top five stories for that grade. 

 

Final checks:

Before the YAFF committee announces the winning stories and prints them in the YAFF Celebration Booklets the whole committee does one final check for any discrepancies in age, date written, or plagiarism (on purpose or accidental) in all of the winning stories.

All YAFF participants are notified of their results by the end of May via email. Result emails will be sent to both finalists and non-finalists. Participants are contacted via the emails entered in the submission form so please make sure your details are correct. 

If you participated in YAFF and haven’t received your results by the end of May you can contact yaff@americanlibraryinparis.org.

The top five stories (1st–5th place) are published in a YAFF Celebration Booklet by the Library. The prize for placing 1st–5th in your grade in YAFF is to become a published author. 

 

1st–5th place winners also receive a certificate and personalised bookmark with their story title, place and grade, and a comment from a judge who read their story. Local artist Louise Damiano designs the YAFF certificates and bookmarks, along with the Celebration Booklet covers.

The YAFF Celebration Event is when the final winners, 1st–5th place in each grade, are announced by the YAFF Committee and the YAFF judges. In previous years the Celebration Event has been held either in person at the Library or virtual via Zoom.  

 

All YAFF participants are encouraged to attend the Celebration Event as we celebrate all the young authors who submitted their stories to YAFF and congratulate them on their hard work, dedication and creativity. 

 

At the event the winners are presented with their certificates and personalised bookmarks, a selection from one of the winning stories in each grade level is read aloud for the audience, comments are read from the judges and the YAFF Booklets are available to purchase. Photos of the winners receiving their certificates can be taken, or the event may be filmed. 

 

More information about this year’s Celebration Event can be found on the YAFF page. If you have any questions about the event you can contact yaff@americanlibraryinparis.org.

The YAFF Celebration Booklets contain all the winning stories from that year’s YAFF. The Library publishes the top five stories in each grade in two booklets; one for Kindergarten/Grande Section to 5th Grade/CM2,  and one for 6th Grade/6eme to 12th Grade/Terminale. 

 

The YAFF Committee is responsible for formatting and editing the Celebration Booklets. The Booklet Covers are designed by local artist Louise Damiano who also works on the YAFF certificates and bookmarks. 

 

After the final results are announced at the YAFF Celebration Event the two YAFF Celebration Booklets are available for sale. The Booklets can be purchased in person at the Library or online and can be either mailed out (postage will be paid when you pay for your booklet) or picked up at the Library. For more information on Booklet Sales see the Booklet Payment page or contact 

yaff@americanlibraryinparis.org

 

A copy of each booklet is also added to the Library collection and can be checked out by Library members.

Spread the word about YAFF among students and staff at your school and encourage them to participate. Put up the YAFF flyer and guidelines at your school/institution, library or bookstore. Please forward YAFF emails or the link to the YAFF page on the Library website to all other teachers you know for more details.

 

YAFF is also looking for volunteer judges and we’d love to have teachers judge. Teachers cannot judge the grade(s) they teach but we always need judges across all grade levels! Contact yaff@americanlibraryinparis.org for more information about becoming a judge.

Spread the word about YAFF among students and staff at your school and encourage them to participate. Put up the YAFF flyer and guidelines at your school. Please forward YAFF emails or the link to the YAFF page on the Library website to all teachers. 

 

You can also promote YAFF in your school newsletter or in any other communication to parents, students and your community. 

 

If you’d like to arrange a visit to the Library to discuss YAFF or have a member of the YAFF Committee come to visit your school to discuss YAFF please contact us at yaff@americanlibraryinparis.org.

 

YAFF is also looking for volunteer judges and we’d love to have teachers or school staff judge for YAFF. Teachers cannot judge the grade(s) they teach but we always need judges across all grade levels! Contact yaff@americanlibraryinparis.org for more information about becoming a judge.

YAFF is free of charge to enter. To keep YAFF free, the Library relies on the support of many volunteers and donations.

The Library is currently looking for local businesses or individuals who wish to support YAFF by monetary donation, becoming the sponsor for YAFF 2022, or by purchasing an advertisement in the YAFF Celebration Booklet.

Past sponsors of YAFF through donation and purchase of an advertisement in the Celebration Booklets include:

The British Council (2019-2021)

The Roaming Schoolhouse (2019)

The Library is grateful to them for ensuring the growth and success of YAFF.

For further information about supporting YAFF 2022 please contact yaff@americanlibaryinparis.org.

YAFF is free of charge to enter. To keep YAFF free the Library relies on the support of many volunteers and donations.

 

Intern for YAFF with The American Library in Paris 

We always need help to run YAFF and we are currently looking for an intern to join the YAFF 2022 team. For information about the internship on offer please contact yaff@americanlibraryinparis.org

 

Volunteering on the YAFF committee or as a judge

We are looking for judges for YAFF 2022!

In 2021 we had 123 volunteer judges to read the 888 submitted stories. We are extremely grateful to them for dedicating their free time to YAFF. The YAFF submission team is also made up of volunteers with a Library staff member coordinating the festival.

If you are interested in supporting YAFF and would like to volunteer your time as a judge or member of the YAFF team please contact yaff@americanlibraryinparis.org with your details, any experience you have with children and/or writing and why you would like to judge or help with the festival.

You can also support YAFF in other ways if you are unable to judge, so if you would like to contribute your time and talents please get in touch. We always need more judges and other help to support YAFF.

 

Donating to the Library or Sponsoring YAFF

We are currently looking for local businesses or individuals who wish to support YAFF by monetary donation, becoming the sponsor for YAFF 2022, or by purchasing an advertisement in the YAFF Celebration Booklet.

Past sponsors of YAFF through donation and purchase of an advertisement in the Celebration Booklets include:

The British Council (2019-2021)

The Roaming Schoolhouse (2019)

The Library is grateful to them for ensuring the growth and success of YAFF.

For further information about supporting YAFF 2022 please contact yaff@americanlibaryinparis.org.