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Charlie Hebdo launches youth essay contest

media Flowers for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attacks one year afterwards Reuters/Yohan Valat/Pool

Charlie Hebdo is to launch an annual essay contest for 12-22-year-olds. Saying they wanted "madness, originality, irreverence", contributors to the French satirical weekly, attacked by jihadists in January 2015, announced they were tohold the competition on Monday.

"We want madness, originality, irreverence," Russian-born novelist and Charlie writer Iegor Gran, told France Info radio. "We can't let the dreary have the monopoly of French literature."

Click for RFI reports of the Charlie Hebdo killings

The paper received many drawings from young people "many of them spontaneous, with a very free spirit" after last year's attack, which left 12 dead, editor Laurent Sourisseau, whose nom de plume is Riss, told Le Parisien daily.

The Charlie Hebdo Literary Prize will be a way "to continue the dialogue between this generation and Charlie, a paper that many people discovered at the time of the attacks", he said.

It will be open to all French-speakers between the ages of 12 and 22, in any country.

All forms of humour will be welcome, editors say, adding that they want above all to be surprised.

The subject of the first contest will be "What if the baccalaureate was replaced by...", inviting an irreverent take on the exam that students take when they finish secondary school in not more than two pages.

Essays can be submitted to the site  between 24 February and 20 April.

A panel of Charlie Hebdo journalists and cartoonists will select 10 finalists and three of them will be chosen by a vote by the public in May to win 1,000 euros each.

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