Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian, and Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein announced that entry forms are now available for the Eighth Annual Illinois Emerging Writers Competition Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award. Forms and other information may be found here.
The competition has two divisions – poetry and prose. They are called the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award and the James Jones Short Story Award.
“Illinois has a long and rich literary heritage, and these new poets are adding to the storied tradition established by legendary Illinois authors such as Gwendolyn Brooks. Many of our previous winners have had their works published,” said White. “Great poems have the ability to enrich and enhance our lives, and I’m looking forward to discovering talented new poets in this year’s competition.”
The poetry award is named for Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000), a lifelong resident of Chicago who in 1950 became the first Black winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her second published volume of verse, Annie Allen. In 1968, she was named Illinois Poet Laureate.
She succeeded the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg (1878-1967). The next year, she established the Illinois Poet Laureate Awards to encourage elementary and high school students to write.
The poetry division of the competition is co-sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and Kevin Stein, who succeeded Brooks as Illinois Poet Laureate. Stein selects the winners of the first, second, and third prizes.
The two divisions of the competition has – poetry and prose. They are called the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award and the James Jones Short Story Award. The competition is open to any Illinois resident 18 years of age and older. Winners receive cash prizes and have their works submitted for review and possible publication in several Illinois literary magazines.
The James Jones Short Story Award was named after World War II veteran James Jones (1921-1977), a native of Robinson, Illinois, wrote two novels about the war that were turned into famous films: From Here to Eternity and The Thin Red Line. From Here to Eternity, published in 1951, was adapted in 1953 by screenwriter Daniel Taradash and director Fred Zinnemann. The movie starred Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra, Ernest Borgnine, Deborah Kerr, and Donna Reed. The Thin Red Line, published in 1962, has been adapted for the silver screen twice, in 1964 by screenwriter Bernard Gordon and director Andrew Marton, and in 1998 by writer-director Terrence Malick.
Cash prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place, $500-first place, $300-second place and $100-third place, and winning poems will be submitted for possible publication in Ninth Letter, RHINO, and Quiddity magazines and Poetic License Press publications. Winners will read their poems and receive their prizes from Secretary White and Kevin Stein at a ceremony later this year at the Illinois State Library in Springfield.
The competition is open to Illinois residents age eighteen and over. For more information, e-mail Illinois Center for the Book Coordinator Bonnie Matheis (bmatheis [at] ilsos.net) or call her at (217) 558-2065.Submissions must be postmarked by June 30, 2012.