Amy Writing Awards

The deadline for entering articles published in 2013 has passed. Look for information here in February on how to enter the contest for articles published in 2014.

2013 Competition

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The Amy Foundation Writing Awards program offers an annual first prize of $10,000. Second prize is $5,000, third prize is $4,000, fourth prize is $3,000, and fifth prize is $2,000. Up to 10 more awards of outstanding merit are for $1,000 each.

The Awards are designed to recognize creative, skillful journalism that applies biblical principles to stories about issues and lives. The goal is for non-Christian readers to see the relevance of biblical truth and for Christian readers to become disciples.

Background

The Amy Foundation, founded in 1976 by Jim and Phyllis Russell and named after their daughter, is best known for its Amy Writing Awards, which are incentives to present biblical truth in secular publications. Writing professionals like Cal Thomas and dozens of gifted amateurs have won awards over the years. In 2013 the Amy Foundation continues to offer prize money and World News Group takes over administration of the Awards.

Eligibility

A submitted article needs to have been published in a secular journalistic outlet such as a city or college newspaper, a local or national magazine, or a news website. Articles from personal blogs, newsletters, or religious publications are ineligible, as are books, manuscripts, and works of poetry or fiction. World News Group is the final determiner of eligibility.

Columns and opinion pieces are eligible, but news or feature articles that include original reporting receive preference. Submissions must be published during 2013 and must contain at least one verse of Scripture quoted from an accepted and popular edition of the Bible such as the English Standard Version, the New International Version, or the King James Version. The Bible must be acknowledged as the source. Verse(s) can come from a person quoted in the article, or from the author.

Examples of acceptable ways of acknowledgment include "the Bible says," "biblical documents indicate," "a biblical perspective," "a first-century follower of Jesus wrote," "Jesus' close friends reported," "Paul, an early Christian, wrote in a letter," "a first-century witness to the events stated," "an ancient Israelite said. …"

Submission

A PDF of your article, as published, must be submitted using our online submission form. The PDF must have your byline blacked out (redacted). A URL address (if your article can be found online) alone will not be accepted. If you’re not familiar with how to create a PDF, clerks at Office Depot, Staples, or other businesses are able to do that for you inexpensively. If an entry is a hard copy article spanning several pages of a full-sized newspaper or oversized magazine, please make one PDF page of each full oversized page. Judges will use PDF readers' enlargement tools to view the text.

Please submit your very best work. If you find it difficult to choose among your journalistic children, you may submit up to 10 articles annually. We’ve said the deadline for submitting entries from the first six months of 2013 was July 15, 2013, but since this is the first year we’ve had a first-half deadline, some regular Amy entrants who were not aware of the change have asked if they can still submit stories from the first six months: The answer this year is yes. Deadline for submitting all articles from 2013 is now Jan. 15, 2014. The total number of submissions for the year cannot exceed 10.

Judging

Our evaluators this year will use a 70-point rubric (increased from 50 points in previous years). Past-year judges looked at writing excellence (including “skillful use of language” and “capture the imagination from the first paragraphs”), audience appeal (including “avoid preaching” and “use relevant language”), and discipling (including “illuminate/clarify” and “present a biblical worldview in the context of modern thought”).

We’re continuing that tradition but adding 20 points for reporting with specific detail: Our judges will ask questions including, “Does the story show strong evidence of on-the-ground reporting … so the author is not relying on organizational spokesmen, publicity releases, or information recycled from others?” And “Does the story have sensory detail so readers feel they can see, hear, smell, or touch scenes, subjects, and objects?” They will also ask, “Does the story have strong human interest? Does it connect the human interest to larger issues through appropriate use of studies, statistics, and other evidence?”

The Amy Writing Awards continue to have blind judging at every step of the process. A World News Group editorial assistant will record all entries and make sure names and publications are blacked out. World News Group reporters will assess submissions and choose the finalists to be forwarded to a five-person panel of judges.

Size of the publication doesn’t matter: We are looking for quality articles whether published in large metropolitan newspapers or small college newspapers.

Announcement of awards

Winners will be announced in May 2014. The Amy Foundation will present the first prize award at the annual Michigan Prayer Breakfast, generally held in May in Lansing, Mich. An Amy Writing Awards dinner the evening before the presentation will honor the first-prize winner, who will come to Lansing with expenses paid by the Amy Foundation.

Further distribution of articles

Winning articles will be published online at www.amyfound.org and wng.org, and in an e-book to be sent to Amy Foundation and WORLD mailing lists.

For further information

The Amy Foundation website has additional background on the competition. Please send questions to amyawards@wng.org.

Photo credit: @iStockphoto.com/Allkindza

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