By Jake Munson
“Swords down, Pens up, Get clacking, Go!” It’s time for the Tournament of Writers, a local writing contest for writers of all ages, sponsored by the Schoolcraft Friends of the Library. Now in its fifth year, the Tournament of Writers will partner with the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center for the first time.
“We wanted to expand the tournament to include more area writers and judges,” Tournament Coordinator Deb Christiansen explained. She turned to the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center. “We have admired the Tournament and are excited to help grow this fun local competition,” said Syd Bastos, board president and acting executive director of the Cultural Arts Center. The Tournament is also supported by the Friends of the Schoolcraft Library, the Schoolcraft Community Library and the Vicksburg District Library.
“This tournament is all about flexing the writing muscle and getting published. I’m encouraging those who may be on the fence about this to be bold and enter,” Christiansen said. The tournament is unique in that entries are judged by individuals who use their own criteria for judging. No meetings! There is a small entry fee, but entrants are encouraged to think of this as an investment in themselves and the community. Published authors are allowed to enter this tournament, but submissions must be unpublished. Entries may be submitted through Friday, March 29.
Last year there was a tie for Grand Prize winner: Sonya Sutherland of Vicksburg in Adult Fiction for her stunning piece titled, Living In The Moment and Amelia Brown of Schoolcraft for her beautiful graphic novel titled, Can You Hear Me?
“All the scoring was tight last year,” Christiansen pointed out. “Marilyn Jones of Schoolcraft and Barbara Vortman of Portage were neck and neck until the final point went to Vortman, and she garnered First Prize in Super Senior Fiction.” Marilyn Jones actually inspired the creation of the Super Senior Division, which is for those 70 and over. “I don’t have anything in common with a 50-year-old!” Jones exclaimed. Last year Christiansen created a “Director’s Award” that went to Jenna Pickern of Schoolcraft for her self-publishing endeavors.
There’s a new category this year—script/play, which will not have an age division, since new categories tend to not have many entries. Last year’s graphic novel took Grand Prize and was created by teen Amelia Brown. “Amelia was the only entry in the Graphic Novel category, but it was so good!”
Categories judged in age divisions are Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry. There are five divisions, Junior (up to 6th grade), Teen (7th through 12th grade), Adult (Out of High School to 49), Senior (50 to 69), and Super Senior (70 and above). “The Junior Non-Fiction category hasn’t had any entries yet,” she said, “so if there are any future journalists or humanitarians out there, we’d like to hear from you.”
Entries will be judged during the month of April. Winners will be notified in early May, and there will be an awards ceremony. Authors will be published in Small Town Anthology V and each will receive a copy of the book. A book signing will be held in September. “Last year’s books were delayed because of the hurricane, and we had to postpone the book signing for a week,” Christiansen said.
Further details about the Tournament and how to enter can be found at booksfordessert.com or at the Schoolcraft Community and Vicksburg District Library.