By Sue Moore
When Debra Christiansen pronounces “swords down, pens up, get clacking, go!” the writers in this area know exactly what it means. It’s her way of announcing the fourth annual Tournament of Writers, sponsored by the Schoolcraft Library’s Friends of the Library. Entries may be submitted from Monday, Feb. 26 through Friday, March 30.
“Last tournament we had three published authors, two in the Super Senior category, Marilyn Jones of Schoolcraft and Barbara Vortman of Portage, and one in the Senior category, Lon H. Grover of Kalamazoo,” Christiansen pointed out. “Published authors are allowed to enter this tournament. Our Grand Prize winner last season was Kathleen Forsythe of Vicksburg. We hope to have more entrants from Vicksburg this season.”
“When we started this tournament in 2014, and we were discussing divisions, I said I wanted a Senior division just because someone over 50 doesn’t have anything in common with an 18-year old. It seemed right to have a division that celebrated that. After the tournament in 2015, Marilyn Jones, who passed 90 a few years ago, said ‘I don’t have anything in common with a 50-year-old!’ That’s why in 2016 we created a Super Senior Division,” Christiansen explained.
“The Super Senior division is quite competitive as we do get entries for it. Many entrants write their age on their entries. I guess after 70, they have a right to be proud. It was a special moment at the Presentation of Awards ceremony to see 92-year old, Betty J. Braymer of Vicksburg come up and accept her award. It took a little longer than some of the younger authors, but to see the pride in her face made it worth the wait,” she said.
In the beginning, in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the web site http://www.booksbeforedessert.com, we had stated that all the entries become property of the Schoolcraft Community Library. This was for our protection and because other contests have similar rules. It was changed to First Publication Rights. We want and encourage our authors to publish. This tournament is just the first step. All authors (or their guardians) sign a release before they are published. It states that they give permission to have their written works and pictures published. They also have the opportunity to submit with a pen name if they so choose.
The winning entries are published in Small Town Anthology, which will see its fourth edition this year. The book is designed with author pages for signing. When the books arrive, there is a book signing at the Schoolcraft Community Library. Family and friends of the authors have their books signed, and the authors sign each other’s books. Rachel Hostetler brings pens in every color and chocolate kisses. (She’s a very popular author.) “All of the editions of Small Town Anthology will soon be available on Kindle. We’ve had many requests for Kindle versions, and we are in total agreement with that. We hope to make the announcement of the release of Small Town Anthology III for Kindle soon but getting the material ready for Kindle is a task in itself,” she said.
Swords down, pens up, get clacking, Go!