Young Authors Fiction Festival

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.

 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. YAFF is now a highlight of Library programming and the only English creative writing initiative for children in Paris. In 2021 YAFF had 888 entries submitted from 50 schools and writing programs, and we hope that YAFF will continue to grow. The YAFF team consists of Library staff and volunteers and includes the involvement of over 120 judges from the Library’s community and beyond.

We encourage parents, teachers, educators, and schools to help nurture and 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 offered many times throughout the year. Together, and with YAFF, the Library hopes to raise and nurture the next generation of writers and authors!

YAFF 2021 Banner Title

2021 Young Authors Fiction Festival

YAFF 2021 received 888 entries, written by children from fifty schools and writing classes in and around Paris. We congratulate all who participated. The Library thanks the 123 judges who volunteered their time and enthusiasm, reading the stories and selecting the winners, as well as the YAFF 2021 committee, who took care of all of the details along the way. 

The YAFF 2021 Committee was made up of volunteers Molly Belhiteche, Brooke Burns, Martha Simmons and Katherine Youngblood, as well as Library staff members, Children’s and Teens’ Services Manager Celeste Rhoads, and Children’s and Teen’s Librarian Kirsty McCulloch Reid, who coordinated the festival. The YAFF Committee processed all the stories submitted to the festival, coordinated the judges and the judging process, and took care of the adminstrative tasks associated with YAFF.

The festival culminated with two virtual celebration events on Friday 11 June, hosted by the YAFF Committee and several of the YAFF Judges. The celebrations included the announcement of the winners (a full list can be found here), comments from the judges, and a reading of one of the finalists’ stories for each grade. Over 200 people attended on Zoom, including the young author finalists, parents, family members, friends and teachers. 

Two YAFF celebration booklets have been published by the Library, with the full stories of the 1st – 5th place winners from Kindergarten to 5th grades in the first booklet, and 6th – 12th grades in the second. The Celebration Booklets are available for 15€ each and can be ordered here or in person at the Library. Each finalist for YAFF 2021 has been awarded a certificate and a personalised bookmark with a comment from a judge who read their story, their grade, name and story title as well as they place they achieved.

The Library thanks Louise Damiano, who beautifully designed the bookmarks as well as the certificates and booklet covers. 

The Library would also like to thank The British Council who sponsored YAFF 2021.

Information about YAFF 2022 will be available on the Library website in January. Until then…happy writing!

Previous Years: 2020 Young Authors Fiction Festival

YAFF 2020 received 630 entries, written by children from fifty schools and writing classes in and around Paris. We congratulate all who participated. The Library thanks the 106 judges who volunteered their time and enthusiasm, reading the stories and selecting the winners, as well as the YAFF 2020 committee, who took care of all of the details along the way. The YAFF 2020 committee included volunteers Lucy McCloskey, Martha Simmons, and Katherine Youngblood, as well as Library staff members Kirsty McCulloch Reid, Celeste Rhoads, and Morgan Wurzburger. Special thanks to Library director Audrey Chapuis for her support and guidance, to the Library staff who supported YAFF, and the parents and teachers who encouraged their children’s creative writing efforts. 

The festival culminated with two virtual celebration events on Friday 12 June, hosted by the Library’s YAFF Team. The celebrations included the announcement of the winners (a full list can be found here), comments from the judges, and readings of one of the finalists’ stories per grade. Over 200 people attended on Zoom, including the young author finalists, parents, teachers, and Library volunteers who judged for the festival. 

Two YAFF celebration booklets were printed, with the full stories of the 1st – 5th place winners from kindergarten to 5th grades in the first booklet, and 6th– 12th grades in the second. Each finalist was awarded a certificate and a personalised bookmark with a comment from a judge who read their story. The Library thanks Louise Damiano, who beautifully designed the bookmarks as well as the certificates and booklet covers. 

The Library would also like to thank The British Council and The Roaming Schoolhouse, who both sponsored YAFF 2020.

The YAFF 2020 Booklets (as well as the 2013-2019 Booklets) are available for checkout from the Library.