Writers in the Mountains Announces the 2019 Matilda Friedman Essay Contest for Delaware County Students

Writers in the Mountains (WIM) is proud to again sponsor the annual Matilda Friedman essay writing contest for middle school and high school students, now in its seventh year. The contest was established in memory of Matilda Freidman, a longtime friend of Writers in the Mountains, and is generously supported by her family and enthusiastically administered by the WIM board of directors.

Matilda Friedman, born and raised in New Jersey, graduated from The University of Michigan and received a Master’s degree from Kean University. She devoted her professional career to teaching public school but it wasn’t until she and her husband Nathan moved to the Catskills that her writing career flourished. She was an active member of Writers in the Mountains, continued to tutor young students and began to hone her writing skills. Matilda wrote mainly about her childhood, as a daughter of Jewish immigrants, and blended Jewish folktales with her own stories. She found solace and beauty in the mountains that surrounded her home and loved to write about her natural surroundings. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and friend. Her writings – both poetry and fiction – are tender and humorous. She has been published in several anthologies.

Matilda Friedman Essay Contest is open to all students at the middle and high school levels throughout Delaware County. WIM hopes that the teachers and administrators at your school will encourage your students to participate in this fun and empowering process, and will provide leadership in developing their essays and meeting the deadline.

Contest winners receive cash awards for their winning essays. Writers in the Mountains will host a reception for contest winners and their families, where prizes will be awarded and the young writers will be given an opportunity to read their pieces to assembled guests.


The topic for the essay contest this year: What Would You Do If There Was No Internet?

The approach to the topic should be determined by each student as they choose.

Please consult the official contest rules below for participation guidelines and information on the prizes and awards presentation.


Writers in the Mountains 2019 Matilda Friedman Essay Contest Official Contest Rules

Middle school students are asked to write an essay between 500 – 750 words.
High school students are asked to write an essay between 1,000 – 1,500 words.

Essays may be typed or hand-written.
All essays should be double-spaced, whether typed or hand-written.

The essays will be judged by WIM board members, who will be looking for originality, creativity, and strength of analytical thinking in the content more than the mechanics of spelling and punctuation, although some attention will of course be paid to the latter. We anticipate the winning essays will be creative, honest, and compelling.

All submissions must be postmarked or electronically date-stamped by March 15, 2019. Please mail paper manuscripts to Writers in the Mountains, PO Box 474, Roxbury, NY 12474; or submit essays electronically to writersinthemountains@gmail.com with the subject line “Matilda Friedman Essay Contest”.

*The student’s name, grade, and school name must appear in the upper left corner of EACH page of the manuscripts, whether paper or digital.*

A reception for contest winners and their families will be held Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 3 pm at the Erpf Center in Arkville, NY. Light refreshments will be served, prizes will be awarded, and winners will be invited to read their essays.

Cash prizes will be awarded as follows:

High School
1st place $100
2nd place $75
3rd place $50
Honorable Mentions $10

Middle School
1st place $75
2nd place $50
3rd place $25
Honorable Mentions $10

Writers in the Mountains is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with a mission to provide a nurturing environment for the practice, appreciation and sharing of creative writing. For more information, visit writersinthemountains.org.