Archive for February, 2012

5th Grade Story Contest for San Francisco Bay Area Students

February 29, 2012

5th Grade Story Contest

Every spring the Berkeley Branch holds a story contest for Bay Area Fifth Graders.

The Berkeley Branch of the 102-year-old California Writers Club is proud to sponsor the

26th Annual 5th Grade Story Contest

A Contest for 5th Grade Students in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties

Award Certificates and Prizes up to $500

Deadline: March 15, 2012

Teachers in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties are invited to submit one story per student by any number of students. The entry fee is $1 per submission. Entry fees and donations help the club to offer this contest.

Award Certificates and Prizes:

  • $100 for the best short story written by a fifth-grade student in Alameda or Contra Costa County;
  • $75 for Second Place;
  • $50 for Third Place; and, depending on number of entries,
  • up to 12 Fourth Place prizes of $20.

We will honor the teacher of the grand-prize winner with a cash award of $50. Teachers are entitled to submit an unlimited number of entries.

Contest Rules:

  1. Only teachers may submit entries; entries from students or parents are not accepted.
  2. Stories must be original and the student’s own work.
  3. Only one entry per student may be submitted; teachers may submit any number of entries.
  4. Entries may not exceed 1,000 words in length.
  5. Mail on or before March 15, 2011 to:  Story Contest, 560 San Luis Road, Berkeley CA 94707
  6. Entries cannot be returned.
  7. Names of entrants (first name and last initial) may be posted on the comments  of this page on receipt.
  8. All participants are invited to the awards ceremony in June, date TBA.

Names of the winners will be announced by May 15th in local newspapers and on our website.

CWC may publish stories for educational purposes only.

Awards Ceremony will be held on Sunday, June 2, 2012.

We suggest teachers consult,, or other guides to elements of the short story, to help students produce their best work.

Preparation of Entries:

  • Stories must be typed and printed on one side only of standard white 8-1/2 x 11-inch paper.
  • Please, no fancy paper, covers, or artwork.
  • First page must include title of the story and the word count.
  • Do not write the author’s name or other identification anywhere on the story.
  • On a separate sheet print clearly:  1) Title of story 2) Student’s name 3) Teacher’s name
    4) Teacher’s email 5) School name and address.  (This sheet will be removed during judging.)

The contest will be judged by California Writers Club members through a process known as “blind reading.” This means the judges will not know the name or school of the author of the story.

For more information see

Creative Writing Scholarships for High School Juniors and Seniors!

February 27, 2012

Notre Dame de Namur University is offering a $20,000 creative writing scholarship to a California high school junior or senior who wins the San Mateo County Fair Literary Contest.

To qualify, the student must have a 3.0 GPA or above, submit a poem, short story, or essay (limited to one entry per applicant) that has not been previously entered in a San Mateo County Fair competition, and enroll and be accepted to Notre Dame de Namur within one year of graduating from high school.

The opportunity to become a published author by Sand Hill Review Press is also being offered by the San Mateo County Fair Literary Anthology 2012.

Enter a short story, poetry, essay, and sponsored contest submissions. All entries must be submitted in .doc or .docx file.

Every entrant will have at least one piece published, which will be available for purchase at the Fair between June 9 to June 17 and also on

For entry forms or more details about both literary opportunities, visit, call 650-574-3247 or email  The submission deadline for both is April 16.


Writing About Your Life . . . Will it Harm Others?

February 13, 2012

Are you interested in writing episodes of your life?  Working on a memoir?  Personal narratives? 

You must be willing to be honest.  What do you owe the other people in your life who will make appearances in your scenes? 

At the moment, I’m writing about how my life intersects with others.  As I read my aunt’s diary for research, one line changes everything. 

Do I include this in my story?  If I do, it alters perceptions. 

I pause.  It is true the people in my narrative have passed on.  But I do not want to cause hurt to anyone on this side or the other.

Yes, it is important to the storyline. 


We must choose our words carefully in our daily life and in our writing. 

Crash!  A dove has just flown into my office window.   The universe has sent me a message. 

Writing prompt:

Choose a moment from your life that has emotional meaning for you.  It can be funny or sad, small or large.  Write the scene using sensory description, dialogue, setting and your feelings.  Set it aside for a few days and then come back to it.  Can you recall any other details you may have left out that are important to the story?  Do you have a journal  you can check which may refresh your memory?  Anyone that was there who might provide insights to the moment in time?

Mount Diablo Peace Center’s 2012 Art and Writing Contest

February 2, 2012

The 15th annual Contra Costa Middle and High School Art and Writing Challenge has been announced through Mount Diablo’s Peace Center.  The Topic:

The Occupy Movement is raising concerns about social inequality in our country.  From your perspective, are there improvements you would make and inequalities you would end within your school, community, and/or nation that would help you, your family, or others?  Describe. 

Interested students whose teachers are not participating may call the office at 925-935-7850 to receive an application.  Cash awards will be offered!

Students may address this issue through art, essay, or creative writing.  Selections will be announced in April, and awardees, their teachers, and families will be feted in May with a celebratory dinner, during which students will present their work. 

Many thanks to the George Miller Youth Fund and Ludell Deutscher for their generous donation to this project.  Anyone else who wishes to donate should please contact the office.