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 2020 YAFF had over 630 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 100 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

The Young Authors Fiction Festival 2021 is now closed!

We thank all of the young authors who entered this year’s contest.

Any questions about submissions please contact

The stories will now be sent to the judges! Results will be sent to all participants by the end of May.

The Library would like to thank the YAFF Committee and the 100 volunteer judges who make YAFF possible.


YAFF 2021 Committee

The YAFF 2021 Committee is 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 coordinates the festival.

The YAFF Committee process all the stories submitted to the festival and coordinate the judges and oversee the judging procedure.


2021 YAFF Celebration

Finalists will be notified by the end of May 2021.

The top five stories from each grade will be announced at the Celebration Event to be held on Friday 11 June 2021. We encourage all participating authors to attend. The winning stories will be published in the YAFF Celebration Booklet, which will be available to purchase. More details about the YAFF Celebration will be available from the Library in May 2021.

Any questions about YAFF please contact

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.