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ILFU launches worldwide story contest

28 July 2020

Winner will receive a prize of 10,000 euros


This year, the ILFU International Literature Festival Utrecht will be launching the ILFU International Story Contest. On the theme of ‘Rising’, anyone aged 16 and over can submit a story in all possible forms, from prose and poetry to animation, Instagram stories, TikTok videos, music or theatre. The jury, consisting of Joke van Leeuwen, Sagid Carter, Manoushka Zeegelaar Breeveld, Sahand Sahebdivani and Dolores Leeuwin, will announce the winner at ILFU 2020. The main prize is 10,000 euros and a place at the ILFU in 2021.

The contest is being promoted worldwide via the UNESCO Cities of Literature network that includes Utrecht, home of the ILFU. As a result, international entries will also be able to compete for the main prize. The ILFU will take place from 25 September to 3 October.


3-minute stories on the theme of ‘Rising’

The theme of the ILFU International Story Contest is ‘Rising’. The competition is open to stories in every conceivable form: prose, poetry, non-fiction, film, photography, animation and music, rap or theatre. The festival also looks forward to receiving TikTok videos, vlogs and crossovers between different disciplines. The only requirement is that they must not exceed 3 minutes. Anyone aged 16 and over can participate, for a fee of 4 euros. Stories can be submitted in Dutch or English until 30 August 2020. You can find all the information about the contest on


Jury to announce winner at ILFU

The jury includes writer/poet Joke van Leeuwen, radio DJ Sagid Carter, actor/singer Manoushka Zeegelaar Breeveld, storyteller Sahand Sahebdivani and presenter/actor Dolores Leeuwin. The jury will announce its top 30 at the start of the ILFU and will select the winner from all the entries. The winner of the ILFU International Story Contest will receive 10,000 euros in cash and a place at the ILFU in 2021. The festive award ceremony will take place during the festival. The 30 best stories will be published online and runners-up could win various additional prizes.


ILFU Story Contest goes international

The contest will be given an international touch, as the Story Contest is being promoted worldwide via the UNESCO City of Literature network of 39 cities. As a result, participants from other countries can also submit their stories and compete for the main prize. In order to ensure a smooth judging procedure, they must translate their submission into English. Utrecht, the home of the ILFU, has been a UNESCO City of Literature since 2017.


We need stories

This year’s ILFU is all about the power of stories, keeping a finger on the pulse of our time under the motto ‘We need stories’. The festival tells stories from all possible angles and in a wide variety of forms in order to understand and figure out the here and now, the past and the future. This turbulent year calls for new stories that touch, comfort, distract and relax.


About the ILFU

This year, the ILFU International Literature Festival Utrecht will take place from 25 September to 3 October, both at the TivoliVredenburg festival location and online. The full festival programme and all participating authors will be announced during the summer. Ticket sales for the initial programmes will be launched on 10 August. The first edition of the ILFU took place in 2018 and attracted more than 21,000 visitors.

The ILFU is made possible with the support of the municipality of Utrecht, the province of Utrecht, the Dutch Foundation for Literature, Fonds 21, VSB Fund, Prince Bernhard Culture Fund, ABN AMRO Culture Fund, Zabawas Foundation, Dioraphte, Lira Fund, K.F. Hein Fund and the Fund for Cultural Participation and in collaboration with TivoliVredenburg.


To the Contest page

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