This spring, I had the honor of judging the finalists in an international short-story contest run by Teen Voices, an organization with the mission of “changing the world for girls through media.”
Teen Voices magazine — a glossy print magazine written entirely by girls for girls — has been around for 20 years, so the contest was called “20 under 20.” Girls were asked to answer, in 1,200 words or less, the question, “What does the word ‘twenty’ mean to you?”
There were 75 entries from girls as young as 13, representing 24 states and 6 countries outside the U.S: Taiwan, Canada, England, South Africa, Egypt, and South Korea. Teen girls wrote about escaping domestic abuse, auditioning for the Korean version of “American Idol,” losing loved ones, finding loved ones, religion, politics, and school.
The two winners are Pavi Chance (13) and Kay MacPhail (14). Pavi and Kay used the first person, in very different ways, to express intense emotions and draw the reader into the writer’s world. Their stories were vivid, powerful, and quite sophisticated. I look forward to hearing from more these two young women — and to many of the others who entered the contest.
The two wining stories will be published in the fall/winter issue of Teen Voices print magazine — but you can read excerpts right now online http://www.teenvoices.com/2011/05/30/congratulations-to-our-20-under-20-winners// The runner-up and 17 semifinalists will be published online.