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Prizes for Children's Story Writers
Thu 11 Mar 2010
Writers/illustrators Ralph Lazar and Lisa Swerling have set up a new website for children's stories - presented by children.

Smories is a free website for kids to watch little films of new stories being read by other kids. 

It is also a place for unpublished children's story writers to get their work published free online, whilst retaining all rights. The stories will be text only (not illustrated), which will remove a common obstacle to publication for many aspiring writers. 

In order to attract great stories, there is a £1,000 (US$1,500) prize for the best one submitted each month. From the submissions, 50 stories will be shortlisted each month, get narrated by kids and filmed, and the film attracting the most traffic on the site will win the prize.

"Our daughter (8) had the idea to video herself with our ipod, reading Enid Blyton short stories, and then playing them back to her younger sister (6). This kept them entertained for hours.

"Our kids have always loved reading to each other and are transfixed by other children. They are also obsessed with the internet and will make their way to youtube any time they get their hands on a computer.

"We thought a website that had a continuous flow of new stories, read aloud by kids, would make a healthier destination than so much of the stuff out there. Imagine you're stuck in traffic and need to keep a miniature person entertained in the back. Download a playlist of smories stories on your i-phone and voila...

"Once we had the idea for a site that publishes stories for kids read by kids, we also thought it would be a great forum for showcasing unpublished stories. This allows writers to test their work in a straightforward and transparent way, hopefully giving them exposure which they might otherwise not have received."

- Lisa Swerling & Ralph Lazar, March 2010