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Deadline for Friends' writing contest approaching

Date: 1/5/2009

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW Creative writers who work, live or go to school in East Longmeadow are being invited by the Friends of the East Longmeadow Library to participate in the group's eighth writing contest.

Poetry submissions may be up to 100 lines in length, and short fiction can contain up to 2,500 words. The contest is open to third graders to senior citizens. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 10.

Laura Palmer, president of the Friends, said the last writing contest took place in 2006 and that the contest began before the turn of the millennium with the town's Home Grown Festival.

"We always see great participation from kids," Palmer said. "The teachers really talk it up in the schools." She continued that the number of adult participants varies from year to year.

Entry forms are available at the public library, in the school libraries and at the senior center.

The rules of the contest are as follows:

Only one entry per person.

Work must be entirely original and previously unpublished.

Entries must be typed. Do not use fancy fonts and do not include artwork.

Entries with multiple pages must be stapled in the upper left corner.

Each page must include the title of the work in the upper right corner. Students should include their grade level in the upper right corner of page one.

The author's name should not appear anywhere on the entry, only on the entry form, as judging will be anonymous.

Each author should submit three copies of his or her entry. The copies and the entry form should be paper clipped together, with the entry form on top.

The entry form must be completed, signed and registered by a staff member at the public library no later than 4 p.m. on Jan. 10.

Entries will be judged based on creativity and originality. Spelling, grammar and neatness are factors. The judging will be divided into four age groups: grades three through five, grades six through eight, high school and adult.

Palmer said the judges come from a variety of areas, including former English teachers and members of the Friends of the East Longmeadow Public Library. Winners will be notified in late February by mail.

A reception for the winners will take place soon after they are announced, according to Palmer. They will receive free copies of a spiral bound book containing the best submitted pieces; copies of the book will be sold for a nominal fee at the library to support the work of the Friends.