YSA23 will start on April 24.

The wide world of books needs new voices – let us hear yours!

This year, for the third time, the Young Storyteller Award honors a new generation of authors. Do you love to write? Are you eager to prove your talent? Then enter our free competition and show the world what you’ve got!

Start writing

Your chance to write stories.

Launched in 2021, the Young Storyteller Award is already one of the biggest competitions for young talented writers. Do you want to show off your creative side? Then this is your sign! Together with Thalia, we are looking for young authors between the ages of 14 and 35 who will write, design and publish their own books on story.one by 31st August 2023. We believe that everyone has a story worth reading – what’s yours?

Young Storyteller Award 2023

Meet the Jury

Ingo Kretschmar
Ingo Kretzschmar
CEO Thalia
Mara Delius
Mara Delius
Ed. Literary World & Bachmann jury member
Elke Steiner
Elke Steiner
Co-Founder story.one
Andrea Heumann
Managing Director of Thalia
Andreas Rainer
Andreas Rainer
Bestselling author @wieneralltagspoeten
Panti Baghbani
Panti M. Baghbani
YSA Winner 2022
Rüdiger Barth
Rüdiger Barth

Here’s what you could win.

Prize money of €7,000
Prize money of €2,000
Prize money of €1,000
Trophy for the first place illustration
All participants will receive a free author’s copy of their book. The 100 best submissions will be available in a Thalia bookstore selected by the author. The titles finishing second and third are also available in all larger Thalia bookstores. The winning book will be available for purchase in each of the 380 Thalia bookstores in Germany and Austria. The top 20 will also land on the desk of Marcel Hartges, Germany’s most successful literary agent.
Multiple hands illustration

How to Participate

  • Create an account and join story.one
  • Write 12 to 17 stories, 3 book pages each, with a maximum of 3500 characters for your book. The texts can represent individual chapters, or they can be standalone short stories. These guidelines are intended to give all participants the same opportunities.
  • Be original! There is no limit to your creativity within this framework – all genres are permitted.
  • Write a book description that draws the reader in, and add a descriptive biography.
  • Upload your book on story.one by 31st August and enter the code ysa23 when uploading – and you’re already in the running.
  • This code not only includes participation but also your free author’s copy with all design options and shipping costs.
Stacks of books and a garland illustration

Additional Details

  • All titles have an ISBN number and can therefore be sold in bookstores. There is also a 10% author’s fee for books sold.
  • There are special prizes for Best Rookie (14-18), Best Film Script (Screenplay Template) and Most Beautiful Book Design.
  • By the beginning of October, the expert jury will narrow its scope down to the best 100 of all books, ultimately creating a shortlist of the top 20 authors
  • Save the Date: The live finale will take place on 13th October at Thalia MH99 in Vienna. Here the top ten finalists will be competing to read – see you there, either on stage or at the after-show party!

What last year’s authors have got to say

They did it, so can you!


2nd Winner 2022 –
Vom Tellerwäscher zum Geschirrspüler

My friends say they don’t read my texts just to be polite. Since finishing second at the YSA, I believe them. My book is about successes in everyday life, and it would never have been written without the YSA. The competition provides an excellent space for putting your literary skills to the test.

Florian Fleischhacker


Top 10 2022 –
Eine Frau auf dem West Coast Trail

Courage is rewarded. Always. That’s what my book is about. And that’s what the Young Storyteller Award is all about. It takes courage to let your own story come to life. Once it is born, the world is different. I experienced that thanks to the YSA. Writing can change lives.

Julia Janisch


Top 10 2022 –
Wo ich herkomme

My book and I were in Vienna. It was so great to see “Where I Come From” in Thalia, alongside all the other amazing story.one books.

Thao Tran
Books and a feather illustration

Are you ready to start? Join the movement

Write your book

Got any questions? We’re here to help

How much text can I write per story/chapter and in the whole book?

story.one books have a standard format and consist of 12-17 “chapters”. You can fill the book format as you wish, with individual stories or also coherent texts. Each chapter always has four book pages: on the first page you can add a picture/quote/graphic/QR code (but you can also leave this page blank) and then you have three book pages for your text. There is also a minimum (100) and maximum (3,500) number of characters. If you write a text with a few paragraphs, the maximum number of characters fits well on three story.one book pages. It is best to write your texts directly on story.one, then you will always be shown whether you are within the limits.

Can I also participate with poetry? Which genres are allowed?

You can fill the story.one book format as you wish, of course also with poetry/poems, all genres and languages are possible – unlock your creativity.

The jury languages of the YSA23 are German and English

Can I submit more than one book?

You are welcome to submit several books with the code “YSA23”, but you will only receive the free author’s copy worth up to EUR 100 once.

Can I format text on story.one?

Absolutely. Our story editor allows you to format and lay out text exactly how you want it: you can use bold or italics on words or sentences, and centre or put in bullet points. If you want to start a new line without inserting a paragraph, use soft return (hold ‘Shift” and press “Enter”). Especially useful if you’re writing poetry.

How do I participate in the YSA? How do I get my free author’s copy?

Simply enter the code “YSA23” at checkout. You will automatically be entered and will receive your free author’s copy within 14 days.

Can I order more than one author’s copy?

Sure, just order books for friends and family, your community and for a first reading/book presentation at checkout.

What is the age limit to enter the YSA?

All authors within 14 and 35 years can participate, the deadline is April 24th 2023.

Can I also submit books that I’ve written with a friend?

Absolutely! As they say, teamwork makes the dreamwork. Find yourself a writing buddy and get started. If you’ve co-written each chapter, put both names on the cover. If you want to show who wrote a particular chapter in the book, in the “Copyright” field, fill in who was the author of that story.

Is my book available in bookshops?

Your book will receive an ISBN and can be ordered anywhere in the world and will be listed in all online shops. We also pay a fee for sold copies, you can find the details here.

Does it cost anything to enter the Young Storyteller Awards?

No. It doesn’t cost anything to take part. Nothing for the design of the book and nothing for your author’s copy which we will send to you free of charge. All author rights remain with you and we’ll pay you a fee if your book sells well.

What categories are there in the Young Storyteller Award?

For 2023 there are three special awards.

Best Rookie: We’ve introduced this to recognise the many young talents. This gives us the chance to highlight the best submission from writers under 18 years-old.

Most beautiful book design: Great cover designs and illustrations get a special category this year. We always receive amazing covers – and this one’s for them.

Best Film Idea or Screenplay: We created this one for those potential blockbusters, for those books which make us think… “This one should be made into a film.”

What’s the overall judging criteria?

We get great submissions for the Young Storyteller Award. Most are well written, with a great plot, an intriguing title and sharp design. But the ones which really stand out, and really impress the jury, are the unique ideas – something we haven’t read before, a contemporary, innovative idea written in a unique style which doesn’t fit into an obvious genre.

How do I upload my book?

Write your stories or chapters on story.one and publish them – either privately or publicly. Then, simply click the button to create your book. If it’s a Young Storyteller entry, add the code ‘ysa23’ at checkout. There are also loads of helpful tips and advice on our TikTok channel.

Can I participate in the YSA with books I have already published?

Texts that have already been published can also be submitted in story.one format. The rights remain with you, we only have the distribution rights for as long as you permit it.

Does it have to be my first publication on story.one?

Not at all. We’ve had entries from writers who’ve taken part before and submit new story.one book every year.

Can I publish a story.one book written before the Award starts?

To take part in the 2023 awards, your story.one book must be newly published between April 27 and August 31 2023.

Where can I see if my book has been shortlisted?

Both the long and the shortlist will be published on this page and on our social channels.

How are finalists chosen?

Once our preliminary jury has chosen its top 20, these stories are passed on to the final jury, who are: Ingo Kretzschmar, Mara Delius, Elke Steiner, Andreas Rainer, Panti M. Baghbani and Rüdiger Barth. And they then get reading. Each juror can award 10, 9, 8… down to 1 point for their favourites. All the jurors’ points are added together. If there is a tie, the jury chairperson has a casting vote. We only announce the ranking of the first three places. The finalists will be announced on October 4 via our channels, and we contact them personally.


Do finalists have to attend the awards ceremony?

At the live final, the top 10 finalists read from their submissions. If you do make the top 20 but don’t want to read, please let us know so we can move someone else up into that shortlist. If you want to participate but cannot come to Vienna, we can discuss the possibility of connecting you via livestream.

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