By Emma Meldrum, special to the Seeker
Writers in Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry, put on your creative thinking caps! The Cornwall Public Library is hosting its annual writing competition for the 8th year in a row. All amateur writers over the age of 13 are welcome to submit works of fiction and poetry.
“The main goal is to continue to improve literacy in Cornwall and give people a chance to express themselves through writing and have a chance to do so locally,” says Pierre Dufour, the contest’s organizer.
Indeed, the contest draws in participants of all ages and walks of life. At the current time, only English submissions are accepted, but Dufour says that there may be an opportunity for a French competition in the future.
Submissions are judged by secret volunteers who follow set criteria. The top three winners in each category will be awarded with gift cards of $150, $75, and $50. But material prizes are not the only rewards at stake. Melissa Yuan-Innes won second place for her poem The Skin of a Leopard in last year’s contest. She says her success in previous years has created a domino effect of positive publicity. Her submissions and success in the contest caught the eye of the Library’s CEO, who encouraged her to do a book launch.
“Todd Hambleton wrote an article about the event in the Standard Freeholder, which caught the eye of CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning producer, and their interview helped [my book] Terminally Ill hit the Kobo Top 50 bestseller last March… So you never know where an opportunity might lead!”
First-time writers are also welcome to participate. “We accept all submissions, it’s meant for people to express themselves no matter their skill level. Don’t be afraid! If you don’t make it this time, try again next year,” says Dufour.
Yuan-Innes agrees: “I try to enter every year. Even if you don’t win, it’s good practice. Seize the day!”
All participants are invited to join the Big Reveal. The Friends of the Cornwall Public Library are sponsoring the contest’s prizes, including a gift for all those who enter the competition.
The contest closes May 1st, so don’t delay, creative writers! For moreinformation,visit library.cornwall.on.ca.