Dulles, VA, May 5, 1998 - Think of it as the global Olympics of Writing. One of AOL's largest writing sites, "The Amazing Instant Novelist," has teamed up with the international best-selling series "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books to launch an unprecedented international writing contest on AOL (keyword: Chicken Soup Contest) open to writers from Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. "Most people who read the Chicken Soup books have a story of their own as heartfelt as those found in the books. Now through the magic of AOL, members all over the world can submit these for possible inclusion in the newest book," said Rob Jennings, Vice President of Channel Programming for America Online. "AOL truly is a vehicle to let our members worldwide share with each other, and to help bring the world closer together." "May the best country win," says Instant Novelist creator Dan Hurley from his headquarters outside New York City. "Only online could the writing world come together like this." As part of this international writing contest, members are being asked to create an inspiring true story that reveals something about the soul of Canada, England, France, Germany, the United States--or of any other country in the world. The winning results may be included in a forthcoming book, "Chicken Soup for the Global Soul," to be published by Health Communications Inc. The book will include 101 stories from 101 countries, all of them inspiring and heartwarming, revealing the unique identity of each country-and the essential humanity that unites us all under the skin. The winning entry in each country will be judged against the best entries from AOL Canada, AOL France, AOL Germany, AOL United Kingdom, and America Online in the US. The Instant Novelist staff will translate French and German stories so that the English-speaking judges can review them. The first-place winner in each country will receive a signed copy of one of the current "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books. The grand prize winner of the international competition will receive $100 U.S. And any story that is included in the published book will receive at least $300 U.S. According to Jack Canfield, co-author of the "Chicken Soup" books: "We're looking for stories that touch you at the soul level, that open your heart, make you cry, or give an insight that leads you to take an action--to take a risk, achieve a dream." The "Chicken Soup for the Global Soul" contest (AOL keyword: Chicken Soup Contest) runs through May 20th. A team who judge daily and weekly contests held on the AOL Chicken Soup site will do the preliminary judging. Final winners will be chosen in collaboration with the authors of "Chicken Soup for the Soul." The contest marks the launch of a new "Chicken Soup for the Soul" site (which will remain at AOL keyword: Chicken Soup Contest). The site will offer fans of the bestselling books a way to enter monthly contests, contact the authors, read inspiring stories, and get regular updates on new "Chicken Soup" books. America Online's "Amazing Instant Novelist" site (keyword: Novel) has been offering weekly writing contests since it launched in 1996. In October, the site began working with bestselling writers to offer interactive writing contests--collaborations that permit anyone to become a co-author with famous authors. This site is launching a dramatic redesign of its look, while adding a spin-off site for romance writers, as well as a members-only site for writers who want feedback and advice. Later this month, it will launch a spin-off site for teens, "I Was A Teenage Writer."