Spencertown Academy Arts Center announces its third annual Young Writers’ Contest. The contest is open to writers in grades 9 through 12 attending school (or home schooled in or a resident of) Berkshire or Columbia County. Contest judges include published authors, book editors and other publishing professionals. The top three winners in each category will receive cash prizes ($200, $150 and $100 respectively). The first-place winners will be invited to read their stories at the Academy’s annual Festival of Books over Labor Day weekend. (Alternately, a Festival volunteer will read for them.)

“This year, in addition to the short story category, we’re adding a new category for best nonfiction essay or memoir,” said Kelly Kynion, coordinator of the contest. “This is to allow students who are busy preparing college applications to refer to personal essays as material for their entry. We will also give appreciation awards to the English teachers of the first-prize winners.”

The deadline for submissions is Monday, May 1, 2017. Stories can be on any subject matter with a maximum length of 4,000 words. Nonfiction essays or memoirs can be about anything from the student’s personal life experience and must also be a maximum length of 4,000 words. All submissions must be formatted in 12-point type, double spaced and have 1″ margins on standard 8 ½” by 11″ page size. Entries must not have previously been accepted for publication nor have won a prize.

Email submissions, including the entrant’s name, age, school (say if home-schooled) and note if entry is a short story or nonfiction/essay or memoir, along with the piece, to: story@spencertownacademy.org.

Housed in a beautifully restored 1840s Greek-Revival schoolhouse at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York, Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center serving Columbia County, the Berkshires and the Capital region. For more information about the Festival of Books, see http://spencertownacademy.org/events.

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