by Elizabeth Bleacher
The International Reading Association (IRA) Paul A. Witty Short Story Award is given to the author of an original story for children. The story should function as a literary standard for works being published in children’s periodicals. The award, a US$1,000 stipend, is meant to encourage authors to write engaging stories for children that will help promote interest in creative writing. Applications for the award are due by November 15.
Since the award seeks to encourage creative writing in periodicals, the story being nominated must have been published within a children’s magazine. Additionally, a story is only eligible for nomination in the year in which it was first published. In other words, any story published in a young reader periodical in 2012 can be nominated for this award cycle.
Stories submitted for consideration may be nonfiction or fiction, but all work must be original. Retellings of myths or legends will not be considered. Ideal stories create believable worlds, present information truthfully, and engage young readers. They should also offer a standard by which readers can measure the quality of other writing.
Subcommittee members, IRA members, authors, and publishers may all enter stories for consideration, but publishers are limited to three stories per publication. Copies of the publication containing the nominated story should be sent to each committee member for review. Shipment information will be distributed after an application form has been submitted.
Brenda Moore received the award in 2012 for her story “Beyond the Call of Duty” published by Cricket Magazine. Moore prefers to write nonfiction accounts of people and important events in history. Her favorite aspect of writing nonfiction is the extensive research that her topics require. She also likes the challenge of making history interesting for children.
More information about the application process can be found on the International Reading Association’s website.
Elizabeth Bleacher is the strategic communications intern at the International Reading Association.