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2020 Tournament of Writers wraps with prizes

Judge’s Choice Grand Prize Winner Grace Flanagan.

By Jake Munson

On the evening of Jan. 13, a virtual celebration was held to honor the hard work and achievements of the 2020 Tournament of Writers participants. Many of the prizewinners had the opportunity to read their pieces, sharing them with all of those who attended virtually. State Senator Sean McCann also joined in on the fun, offering kind, encouraging remarks on writing. And he had the privilege of announcing the Judges’ Choice Grand Prize winner: Grace Flanagan. Grace submitted a poem in the Young Adult division titled “A Forest So Serene” which can be found online with other prize-winning entries in addition to the video recording of the virtual celebration, at

A total of $350 in prize money was awarded to the winning participants. In all, there were 21 participants who submitted 26 pieces. The VCAC looks forward to seeing this number grow as the program continues to evolve and improve. Each submission is collected and printed in a book, “Small Town Anthology vol. VI,” which is now available for purchase on the VCAC website. Note: The VCAC also has a limited quantity of books available for purchase for those who prefer not to order the book online.

Looking ahead to the next Tournament of Writers, the window for accepting entries will open April 2 and will close June 4. During this period, a few improvements to the program will include a series of writing clinics and an improved submission process for participants. The writing clinics are slated to be held during this time as they are designed to give constructive feedback on things such as grammar and format, character/story development, and other writing and planning techniques to better equip participants as they craft their next entry before sending in the final product. More details regarding the writing clinics will be announced in forthcoming months here in South County News and on the VCAC’s Facebook and Instagram.

Thinking about joining in on the fun? Here are some things this year’s participants had to say about the Tournament of Writers:

“The support of creativity and writing is more important than ever, especially in this age of technology and emphasis on brevity and sound bites.” – Katie Grossman

“The Tournament of Writers provides an excellent platform for area residents to investigate the process of writing prose and poetry in a supportive climate.” – Kristina Powers Aubry

“During a time when nothing seemed “normal”, VCAC provided myself and others with a valued sense of community and accomplishment.” – Krista Ragotzy

“In times when humanity’s dark side seems to pull us apart, this writing event brings us together.” – Annette Smitley

Winners for the Seventh Annual Tournament of Writers will be announced on July 2, giving the Tournament Judges ample time to read and provide feedback on all the submissions. Following the winners announcement, the next Small Town Anthology will be ready in time for the 2021 Book-Signing Celebration, which the VCAC hopes to hold in-person Sept. 16.

Information for the Seventh Annual Tournament of Writers can be found on the VCAC website at or by calling (269) 200-2223. 

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