Bailey Randolph, GPPL head of Children’s and Teen Services, shows some of the past stories from the Collins Writing Contest at the Grande Prairie Public Library in Grande Prairie, Alta. on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. The contest is open to all ages and gives local authors a chance to be published in the year anthology and win a cash prize. (Photo by Jesse Boily)Jesse Boily

The Grande Prairie Public Library is calling all authors in the region for its annual Collins Writing Contest, which has authors from grade 1 to adults writing stories under a single theme. 

This year, the writers will tackle the theme of memories. 

“We’re actually going into the 36th year of the contest, but we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of it being the Collins Writing Contest,” said Bailey Randolph, GPPL head of children’s and teen services.

She said the contest started as the Grande Prairie Public Library writing contest, but in 2004 after the passing of Muriel Collins, her husband Clem donated funds to create a legacy of literacy. Randolph says the Collins were huge supporters of the arts in Grande Prairie. 

“That is why we also chose this to be the theme of memories this year for the 20th anniversary,” she said.

“We had to keep in mind that the theme had to be something that would be accessible to all ages, so we had toyed with the idea of doing love as a theme to honour their (the Collins) love for each other, but then keeping in mind that this is also for very young kids. 

“We thought memories would be just a fantastic blanket theme for all ages.”

This theme can be open to many interpretations, explained Randolph.

“Memories can be really tricky; memories can be misremembered or made up or planted, they can be sweet, they can be a little bit scary, so this kind of encompasses all themes.”

Winning stories will be printed in an anthology and winners will receive a copy along with cash prizes for the top three winners in each age group.  

Randolph says the contest is a great way to showcase the many talented authors in the Grande Prairie area. 

“I just love that we get to give very young authors an opportunity to try out writing and see if maybe it’s something that they like, and it’s so exciting for them when they win and will consistently see the same people entering over and over again and moving up in categories, which is really awesome.”

She noted some local authors are regular entries into the contest, including Dustin Archibald and Sue Farrell Holler.

The authors will be grouped from grades 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12 and adults.

Last year, the library received about 222 entries into the contest.

“We’re hoping to get along the lines of 200 (entries), similar to what we got last year, but I do recognize that memories can be a little bit of a tricky theme,” said Randolph. 

“Hopefully, we’ll get a lot of really amazing stories.”

The deadline for stories is Feb. 29, and more details about the contest and entry rules can be found at gppl.ca/Events-Contests/Collins-Writing-Contest. 

Not an author? The GPPL is also looking for volunteer judges for this year’s contest and can contact Randolph for more information at brandolph@gppl.ca.

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Nov 30, 2023 at 09:45

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

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