Tournament of Writers announces 2020 winners

By Syd Bastos

The Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center announced winners of the 6th Annual Tournament of Writers in a live Facebook event in July. Twenty-nine works were entered in four categories, down from prior years.

“Covid-19 impacted submissions this year with the number of entries from students down sharply,” Acting Executive Director Krista Grotelueschen explained.

First place winners received a cash prize of $25 and second place winners received $10. In the Fiction Category, Junior Division; Maya Grossman took first place. In the Young Adult Division, Alana Falbo took first and Hanna Laughery took second place. In the Adult Division, Lon Glover and Katie Grossman tied for first place. In the Senior Division, Marilyn Jones took first and Bette Brown took second place. In the Non-fiction Category, Senior Division, Annette Smitley took first and Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe and Krista Ragotzy tied for second place. In the Poetry Category, Young Adult Division, Rebecca Penning took first and Grace Flanagan took second place. In the Senior Division, Krista Ragotzy took first and Mark Stuckey took second place. Thomas Mills took first place in Graphic Novel. This category does not have age divisions.

Maya Grossman and her mom, Katie Grossman, entered the Fiction contest together in two different age divisions. Maya was a winner in last year’s competition but needed a little motivation this year. Katie thought if she entered, it might help. She had never entered a writing competition before. Maya said she didn’t picture her mom as a writer but enjoyed reading her entry. “I thought I knew about COVID-19, but my mom had a lot more detail in her story.”

Katie wanted to memorialize what we are living through this year in her entry, “2020 – Can I get a Restart?” “As I was writing this fictional piece, I wanted to be mindful of how this time is affecting all of us,” Katie said. Maya wanted to write about the new puppy, Rocco, her family got in April. As Maya explained “I wanted to share Rocco’s goofiness with others.” She wrote the story from Rocco’s perspective.

All of the stories will be published in “Small Town Anthology VI.” In normal times, the competition would end with a public celebration in September with authors on hand to sign books and read from selected works. The book will still be published, but it isn’t clear how the book signing event will take place. The plans will be announced, including delays if necessary, as the situation evolves. As Katie Grossman wrote in her piece: “In the end we are all humans sharing the same planet; experiencing the highs and lows that life brings and working towards common goals.”

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