I spent today in Chicago judging at the annual Young Chicago writers competition, that includes poetry, fiction and instructional stories by kids from first grade through 8th. I am amazed at the quality of some of the writing there. My very first read – a book of poetry of all things (I am not usually a poetry fan) blew me away. I would have paid money for that book, the author was that good, and I hope to see her at Printers Row in June as one of the winners.
The competition is divided into three groups, 1-2 grade, 3-5, and 6-8. Every manuscript was a finalist at the local level, what we read were the best of the best. I joined other authors, educators, and administrators in reading and judging the stories. My hat is off to the students of Chicago, and the great writing they exhibited. I have judged adult contests where the writing did not pull me in as deeply as some of these entries did. Congratulations to all the students who entered and showed they could write interesting and compelling works. Not to mention cover and interior artwork.
It was nice to see something good coming from today’s youth, and I’ve already marked my calendar to participate again next year.