Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #5: Catherine Knutsson

Catherine Knutsson published her first novel, Shadows Cast by Stars, in 2012. Shadows Cast by Stars was a finalist for both the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy and the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature.

Knutsson proudly celebrates her Métis heritage, which is reflected in her writing. She also loves working with horses, photography, and singing in her free time. When asked for her best advice to new writers, she told Simon & Schuster, “Ignore trends; write the story in your heart, the story that only you can tell!”

To learn more about Catherine Knutsson, you can check out her website or her blog.

Stay tuned for the rest of the “It’s All Write!” judges in forthcoming blog posts!

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #4: Siobhan Vivian

Siobhan Vivian was a boisterous child in Rutherford, NJ; she always wanted to have fun and enjoy life. One of her most favorite enjoyments was and still is writing. After graduating from the University of the Arts for Writing for Film and Television, she continued on to receive her Master’s degree in Creative Writing. Now she teaches at the University of Pittsburgh in addition to going on tour for her books.

Siobhan Vivian recently coauthored Burn for Burn with Jenny Han in 2013. All of her books have been published with international editions, including those for Greece, France, Germany, and the UK. YALSA listed three of her books in their annual Best Books for Young Adults: The List (2013), Not That Kind of Girl (2011), and Same Difference (2010).

If you would like to learn more about Siobhan Vivian, check out her website and blog.

Stay tuned for the rest of the “It’s All Write!” judges in forthcoming blog posts!

New Teen Nonfiction: This is NOT a Writing Manual, by Kerri Majors

Kerri Majors was once a teen writer, fantasizing about the day when her book would be published. She'd be featured on "Oprah," and smile politely to her friends with a hidden smirk of pride. But one day she realized that writing was not what she had expected: it really was difficult to face the naysayers and her more successful friends, and she really did need to find a job in addition to her first calling.

Majors has come a long way since then, and her new memoir serves as inspiration to passionate young adult writers with a dream. This is Not a Writing Manual exposes the harsh realities as well as the glorious triumphs that Majors faced as an emerging writer. She does not impose strict grammar rules or stiff writing advice. She simply writes honestly, providing "therapy for writers."

Kerri Majors is best known for her creation of YARN, an online writing magazine for teens. She loves reading YA novels, identifies herself as a California girl, and lives in Massachusetts with her family. To learn more about Kerri, visit her website.

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #3: Roland Smith

Roland Smith is a prolific author of teen and youth fiction as well as youth nonfiction. He started writing on a typewriter when he was just five years old in Portland, Oregon. In college he stumbled across the opportunity to work at a children’s zoo, which opened his eyes to the beauty of nature and wildlife. As an animal keeper he traveled the world and worked with animals for over 20 years! He now writes full time, and still expresses his interest in animals through his nonfiction books for children.

Smith just published the fourth book in his I, Q mystery series, I,Q: The Alamo in July 2013. He is well known for his novel Peak, which won the National Outdoor Book Award in 2007, several state awards, and was listed on ALA’s 2008 Best Books for Young Adults.

If you would like to find out more about Roland Smith, visit his website or his blog.

Stay tuned for the rest of the “It’s All Write!” judges in forthcoming blog posts!

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #2: Rebecca Donovan

Rebecca Donovan started writing when she was trapped inside during a blizzard, and is still loving it years later. She is best known for writing the bestselling “Breathing” series, including Reason to Breathe, which she originally self-published online. Donovan is not only #15 Most Popular Teen Author, but also #81 Most Popular Author overall on Amazon.com. She has a massive online fanbase and contributes regularly to her personal blog.

Before becoming an author, Donovan majored in psychology with a minor in sociology. She’s a devoted optimist and loves attending concerts whenever she can. To find out more about Rebecca Donovan, check out her website.

Stay tuned for the rest of the “It’s All Write!” judges in forthcoming blog posts!

Meet “It’s All Write!” Judge #1: Carrie Ryan

The “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest has officially begun, so it’s time to introduce our phenomenal panel of judges!

Carrie Ryan, bestselling author of the “Forest of Hands and Teeth” series, loves to write fiction for young adults. In addition to her popular book series, she has written two short stories set in the zombie-ridden world of “Forest of Hands and Teeth” and has contributed to several anthologies. Keep an eye out for the “Forest of Hands and Teeth” movie, which is currently in the pre-production stage.

Carrie is a true Renaissance woman: she has lived in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Massachusetts. She has played multiple sports including soccer, field hockey, cheerleading, lacrosse, hiking, and cycling. Growing up, Carrie also showed her leadership skills through student government and a local renovation project. After moving on to become a litigator, she now writes full time.

To learn more about Carrie Ryan and her thoughts on writing and life, visit her website and her blog.

Stay tuned for the rest of the “It’s All Write!” judges in forthcoming blog posts!

2014 Kick Off: "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest

Become A Short Story Ninja!
Calling all teen writers in grades 6-12, AADL is now officially accepting submissions for the 2014 "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest!

Here are the steps you need to take in order to achieve Ultimate Short Story Ninja Status:
1. Read the guidelines
2. Write a story! (Need some help? Check out these writing resources and inspiration)
3. Check the guidelines
4. E-mail your story to allwrite@aadl.org
5. Receive an e-mail confirming your submission
6. Achieve Ultimate Short Story Ninja Status!

What makes it so "ultimate?" By entering the contest, you could be the winner of fabulous cash prizes of up to $250! Plus all winners and finalists will be published in the official contest booklet, and all writers can meet Kelly Barson, author of 45 Pounds (More or Less) at the awards ceremony on May 10!

Please e-mail allwrite@aadl.org or call the Youth Desk at 734-327-8301 with any questions! Submissions will be accepted Jan. 27 through Mar. 14. Happy writing!

Writing Inspiration for Teens

Working on or even just thinking about writing a short story for the “It’s All Write!” Teen Short Story Contest but need some inspiration? AADL has a lot of books with authors’ thoughts on writing:

King of the mild frontier: an ill-advised autobiography comes directly from Chris Crutcher, author of Deadline and Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories (providing fuel for the movie Angus). He shares details of his difficult childhood as well as the cathartic effects of writing.

Hole in my life by Jack Gantos combines harsh truths with aspiring hope. He discusses his 15 months in federal prison and how he turned his life around through writing and attending college. Gantos is well-known for Dead End in Norvelt, Rotten Ralph, and the Joey Pigza series.

Still need more inspiration? Check out this list of inspirational books with writing prompts and other teens’ stories. In honor of yesterday’s “John Green Day” at Mental Floss, you can read some of his quotes on writing.

"It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest 2014

Do you like to write? Do you have an idea that needs to get out of your head, or something already written that could use some editing? Then prepare for the 22nd annual "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest, which will begin accepting submissions on January 27!

Students in grades 6-12 may submit a short story according to the 2014 guidelines from Monday, January 27 through Friday, March 14. Click here to learn more about the contest and view previous contest winners. Judges will choose the top three stories from each category (grades 6-8, 9-10, and 11-12) to receive cash prizes totaling $1500. Stay tuned to find out who will be on this year's panel of judges!

The speaker for this year's final awards ceremony on May 10 will be Michigan author K.A. Barson! She recently published the popular book, "45 Pounds (More or Less)."

We look forward to reading your story! For inspiration and ideas, check out the writing resources guide for teens.

Letters about Literature National Contest

Have you ever read a book that changed you or your outlook on life? Do you ever wish that you could tell the author of that book how much they influenced you? The Library of Michigan has just announced that it is taking submissions for the statewide and national Letters about Literature contest for grades 4 through 12. Readers should write a letter to a favorite author explaining how a book changed them.

The Library of Michigan will be accepting submissions until December 10 for grades 9-12, and January 10 for grades 4-8.

To submit your letter, you will need to attach a Literature Entry Coupon, found here on the Library of Michigan website.

Want some inspiration? Check out the award-winning letters from last year’s contest and AADL's books for kids on writing.

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