Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends look to encourage young writers in annual contests


Writing and contests have been woven into the fabric of the Chautauquan literary arts scene for decades.

“Writing contests are a time-honored American literary tradition and have been a fixture of the Chautauqua experience since the first poetry contest was sponsored by the (Chautauqua) Women’s Club in 1931,” said Bethanne Snodgrass, Chautauqua Literary Arts Frends contests coordinator.

The annual contests, now sponsored by the Friends, are open to all Chautauquans who hold a gate pass for any duration this season or attended the Writers’ Festival. With specific prizes for various age groups, the prizes recognize fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose.

The deadline for submission is Aug. 1, and a reading of the winning works will be held at 12:15 p.m. Aug. 16 on the front porch of the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall.

Snodgrass said that throughout her tenure as contest coordinator, the majority of submissions have been poetry and prose from adults. In more recent years, the Friends have seen an upswing of young writers, a trend the group “would like to encourage.”

To accommodate this, there are two new cash prizes for Young Adult Poetry and Young Adult Flash Fiction writers.

Norma Rees, president of the Friends, said the contests close the curtain on the Friends’ season of programming. It is the group’s “final big project,” she said.

The Friends see every aspect of its programming as “providing more literary arts opportunities for all Chautauquans, especially those aspiring to be writers,” Snodgrass said. “In fact, ‘supporting writers and writing’ is (our) motto.”

For those on the fence about submitting their work, Snodgrass had words of encouragement.

“Why not? Chautauqua is a great place to try something new,” she said. “Submission to the contest is actually quite simple, and the experience of submitting work to a low-key contest like this is terrific preparation for future contest and publication opportunities.”

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Tags : Chautauqua Literary ArtsChautauqua Literary Arts FriendsLiterary Arts Center at Alumni HallWriters’ Festival

The author Emma Francois

Emma Francois is the literary arts reporter and a returning Daily staffer. She attends Georgetown University, studying English, art history and studio art. When she isn’t laughing at her own jokes, she is the highest-pitched voice on the fashion and politics podcast, “Stripped.” Ask her about feminism in the Avengers, backyard birding and her love for bike baskets.