By W.N. Thorndike
Acadia National Park is celebrating its centennial this year, and Ken Olson, former president and CEO of Friends of Acadia, has organized a literary contest in honor of the event. The goal is to write up to 100 words about Acadia in any style. Submissions can be a poem, an editorial, a song or a letter.
Olson hopes people will write in “any genre, any degree of seriousness or levity, or irony.”
The judges for the contest are Joshua Bodwell, the executive director of Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, Kathleen Fleury, editor-in-chief of “Down East” magazine, and Olson.
According to Olson, the entries will be judged “solely on literary merit” with names of the entrants shielded from view. Entries must be made between Sept. 1 and Sept. 30, partially “to encourage students to submit an article while in school,” Olson said.
Writers will retain the copyright for their work.
Bodwell said judging solely on the content will not allow them to have any sense of the biographies of the writers that might interfere with their perception of the writing. The focus will be on “just the words.”
Bodwell hopes to read something “personal” and “fresh.” He hopes that people will look at nature and take “it on in a fresh eye.”
Submissions will be broken up into two categories: adults, ages 18 and older, and youth, ages 17 and younger. There will be a winner and two runners-up in each category.
Prizes include $300 cash and publication in Down East magazine.
Thanks to a partnership with Friends of Acadia, the winner of the youth division can apply to the Friends of Acadia Yellow Bus Fund for full transportation for their class to visit Acadia National Park for a full day, including meetings with park rangers.
“Most of all, we want people to have some fun,” said Olson.
During the submission period, entries can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contest details and formatting requirements can be found at www.acadiacentennial2016.org.