Mary Alice Monroe to judge third SC High School Writing Contest

Mary Alice Monroe to judge third SC High School Writing Contest

Deadline for students to submit entries is Nov. 2.

New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe will judge the third annual South Carolina High School Writing Contest. Monroe, an Isle of Palms resident and noted conservationist, has written nearly 20 novels, most set in coastal South Carolina and many reflecting the importance of the relationships between people and places. She follows novelist Pat Conroy and South Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth as judge of the contest, which is presented by the South Carolina Honors College at the University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina Press.

“We’re excited and honored to have Ms. Monroe as our grand judge,” said Steven Lynn, dean of the South Carolina Honors College and founder of the contest. “We know these acclaimed writers have busy schedules, and for one as celebrated as Mary Alice Monroe to take time to read the work of young writers tells me she’s interested in the future of our state.”

The topic from previous years remains the same this year: “How should we improve the state of South Carolina?” High school juniors and seniors can respond in 750 words or less in the genre of their choice—poetry, fiction, prose, essay, or drama. Monetary prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third-place winners, and USC Press will publish all the writings by the winners and finalists in Writing South Carolina: Selections from the Third High School Writing Contest under its Young Palmetto Books imprint. Monroe will write the foreword.

“My personal motto is ‘Make a Difference,’” Monroe said. “The topic speaks to me because it encourages all of us to consider ways in which we can give back to our community.”

The program includes a second round in which finalists will gather at USC in Columbia for an impromptu writing contest. They’ll also hear remarks from Monroe, tour the university’s library collections, and receive books signed by South Carolina authors. Monroe will judge the finalists’ submitted and impromptu work.

Winners and finalists will receive cash awards. First-place winners receive $1,000; second-place winners receive $500; third-place winners receive $250. The first-place winner in the senior class receives the Walter Edgar Award, funded by SCHC alumnus Thad Westbrook and named for the well-known USC professor and South Carolina historian. The second-place winner receives the Dorothy S. Williams Award, which is funded by an anonymous donor and named for the late public school educator in Anderson County.

“I’ve entered contests, both as a student and as a professional,” Monroe said. “It’s part of the journey of a writer. I’ve won, placed with honorable mention, and of course, did not place. It’s exciting—a rush—to win, of course, a validation and a time to celebrate. Not to win or place can be a burn, but once the pain passes, I go over the scores and critiques carefully. A good judge or critique points out what the writer did well, not only what the writer did wrong. There is a lesson in that too, and getting good feedback is essential to fostering good writing and good thinking.”

Deadline for students to submit entries is Nov. 2. Students can find out more about the contest and how to email their work here: http://schc.sc.edu/writing-contest.

Via: S.C. Honors College

 


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