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The UNESCO and Idries Shah Foundation “World Tales” Short Story Competition

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Ink Stains

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Competition deadline extended: 15th October 2020

Climate change, human rights violations, conflicts, racism and discrimination are among many threats to our present and future. In the face of adversity and the manifold consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, creative young minds need to be encouraged to find innovative solutions.

With the aim to foster imagination, resourcefulness and ingenuity, UNESCO and the Idries Shah Foundation (ISF) launch the World Tales Short Story Competition in close collaboration with the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities of UNESCO (ICCAR). Young teenagers from all over the globe are invited to write about challenges of today and tomorrow in the format of a short story, and share their perspectives.

The theme of this 2020 First Edition is “Once upon a time in my future”.
Who is eligible?

Participants must be between 12 and 18 years old (inclusive). The Competition is open to all regardless of their nationality or city of residence.
How to participate?

Entries must be:

Short stories of 250 to 500 words;
Typed in English or French using Arial 12-point Regular font;
Original unpublished works of fiction;
Stories on the potential for future societies to be fair, inclusive, peaceful, resilient, sustainable and/or tolerant.

Submission rules

To confirm participation, all young writers must follow the instructions outlined below:

– Send their short story as a Word or a PDF document to worldtales@unesco.org;
– In the subject of the email, clearly write: “World Tales” Competition;
– In the body of the email and below each story, clearly write:
The title of the short-story;
The word count;
The name and birth date of the young writer;
The name and contact information of the teacher supervisor (if any) and of the legal guardian (both email address and phone number);
The city and country;
– Include their signed written authorization as an attachment.

Each participant may submit only one entry to the Competition.

The content of the submitted entries must meet the below criteria:

– Entries must be short stories of 250 (minimum) to 500 words (maximum) that fit onto one A4 piece of paper recto-verso;
– Entries must be works of fiction;
– Stories must reflect on the values of tolerance, anti-discrimination, equality and human rights;
– Entries must reflect on the ideal of a safe, resilient, inclusive, peaceful and sustainable future. This does not mean that entries must be positive or uplifting;
– Entries must be typed in English or French, using Arial 12-point Regular font;
– Entries must be individually imagined and written, although the young writers may work with the support, and under the supervision, of their teachers, education professionals and/or public library employees. In this case, the name and contact information of the supervisor(s) must appear in the submission email;
– Drawings and illustrations are optional;
– Entries must be the original unpublished work of their authors. Each young writer in the Competition certifies that they are the sole copyright-holder of the submitted short story. Entries that are partially or fully copied from another source will be disqualified. Entries that have won and/or placed in other writing contests are ineligible as well.
– Entries must not contain elements that are defamatory, offensive, pornographic, racist, insulting, unlawful or contrary to good morals.

The Organizer reserve the right to disqualify any entry that does not meet the above criteria.

See here for further details and the full Terms and Conditions.

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