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Civic Impact

Screenwriting contest adds to high-school short fiction, poetry competition from Carnegie Library

Leah Durand is excited about what she'll be able to read in this year's Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest for grades 9 through 12 at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
"Last year there were these amazing short stories that were well developed," says Durand, the contest chair who works at the Library's downtown branch. "The scenes were well developed and the characters were well developed, and you were really wondering what would happen next."
And, she adds, "What might this person come up with next year?"
May 1 is the deadline for entries in this anonymously judged competition, which is in its fifth year and was named for the library system’s director from 1928 through 1964. The categories this year are short prose, poetry and screenwriting; first prize in each category is $250 and second is $100. Entrants will be invited to a red carpet event on Aug 1, at which the winners in each category will be announced. Their work and selected works of other contestants will be published in the 2013 Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology, which will be given to the published teens and placed in all area libraries.
Some of the rules are new this year, says Durand. Entrants can submit only one work per category this year – two were allowed last year – and the teens themselves must submit their work. Previously, teachers could enter for their students.
Screenwriting is a new category this year, replacing nonfiction and graphic novels, which had been contest categories in previous years. The libraries are still offering a few writing workshops in April to help teens prepare for the contest.
Durand says she is happy if this contest introduces them to the process of writing: "It's just nice to read all the entries and see kids excited about writing. The hope is that they will work on their writing skills and that they're being supported."
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Leah Durand, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
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