Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2011 Writing Competition

To help reenforce the need for my kids to have good grammar, punctuation,  and basic understanding of the English language I like to enroll them in competitions that give away prizes as an incentive to do good work. So far this seems to work. This year they have entered two so far.The Olive Garden Writing Competition and this one. Here's the scoop:

2011 Competition
Take up your pens and prepare to write! Students between the ages of 12 and 18 are invited to submit original works of fiction that thoughtfully reflect some aspect of God’s truth, in accordance with the rules and guidelines of two separate divisions. Further details are below.
If you have any questions, please contact Alicia Constant at Some questions may also be answered on the Call to Pens blog.

Submitting Your Entry

To submit your manuscript, you have two options. (NOTE: If you submit your entry online, you do not have to mail in an entry form as well.)
(1) Online Submission
Fill out the online form to submit your entry and payment online.
(2) Hard-Copy Submission
Please fill out the entry form (you can type in the PDF) and mail it to us with a check for the appropriate fee and a stapled hard copy of your manuscript. You can also email your manuscript to as a MS Word document. (Please be aware that if you choose to email it, it will be set aside until your entry form and fee are received in the mail.)

Submit all fees, entry forms, and printed manuscripts to the following address:

ATTN: PHC Short Story Competition
Patrick Henry College
10 Patrick Henry Circle
Purcellville, VA, 20132

Manuscripts will not be returned, so don’t submit your only copy.

Prizes, Fees, Deadlines & Dates
There are four prizes in each division, as follows:
  • 1st: $225
  • 2nd: $125
  • 3rd: $75
  • 4th: $50
There is a $10 fee per manuscript; two manuscripts per person are allowed. The deadline for submission is February 1, 2012. Check above for submission information.
Winners will be announced in April, 2012. The exact date has not been determined yet.

The First Division
Theme: An Unexpected Adventure
Age group: 12-15
Word limit: 1,500
The Second Division
Theme: Redemption
Age group: 16-18
Word limit: 2,500

  Rules on Format & Content:
  1. Submit an original, unpublished work of narrative prose fiction (an ordinary short story). No poetry, essays, novellas, etc.
  2. Double-space the text.
  3. Use a regular font and size (e.g., 12-point Times New Roman).
  4. No handwritten entries! Please type.
  5. Number each page in the upper right hand corner.
  6. Do not put your name or contact information on the manuscript itself. (Do title your work, however.)
  7. Do your own revising and editing: no one else is allowed to do this for you.
  8. Failure to comply with the rules may result in disqualification.

  1. Winning entries will thoughtfully reflect a Christian worldview, but not necessarily in an overt manner.
  2. Edit and revise several times before you submit! Clarity of style and grammatical excellence are both a “must.”
  3. If you have more general questions about the themes, good writing, or even the link between fiction and Christianity, please submit them to the blog! We will try to answer such questions there in more depth.  
Legal Stuff
Once you submit your manuscript, Patrick Henry College has the right to publish all or part of it. The college is not responsible for any manuscripts that have been lost, damaged, misdirected, etc. Entrants must be U.S. citizens and must agree to abide by the rules and accept the judges’ decisions. All profits from the contest will be given to PHC’s Annual Scholarship Fund.
View results from 2008.
View results from 2009.
View results from 2010.


Now through Sunday, Jan. 29, Olive Garden is asking writers in first through 12th-grade in the U.S. and Canada to submit an essay of 50 to 250 words answering the question:

“If you were given $5,000 to support education in your local community, how would you use it and why?”

The grand prize winner of Olive Garden’s 16th-Annual Pasta Tales essay writing contest will receive a three-day trip to New York City that includes dinner at the Olive Garden in Times Square and a $2,500 savings bond. In addition, Olive Garden will provide a $5,000 grant to support education in the winner’s local community, which will bring his/her essay to life. The winners in each grade category will be awarded a $500 savings bond and a family dinner at their local Olive Garden restaurant.

All entries must include the writer’s first and last name, complete address, phone number with area code, grade, date of birth including year and a statement that the work is his or her own. Entries must be submitted either online or postmarked by January 29, 2012 and sent to Pasta Tales, PMB 2000, 6278 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308-1916.

Submissions will be judged based on creativity, adherence to theme, organization, grammar, punctuation and spelling by the Quill and Scroll Society of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Iowa, with winners selected by Olive Garden.

For more information about Olive Garden’s Pasta Tales, contact Lauren Simo or Catie Jackson at (954) 776-1999 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST, or Heidi Schauer at (407) 245-5642.

Click here for a printer friendly mail-in entry form, and more details including official contest rules.
No purchase necessary.

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