The Oak Park Writers Group launches Second Annual High School Creative Prose and Poetry Competition

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By Community Editor

The Oak Park Writers Group (OPWG) has launched its Second Annual High School Creative Prose and Poetry Competition for students enrolled at Trinity, Fenwick, or Oak Park River Forest high schools. Entries must be the original work of the students and not previously published in professional media. Judges are writers from the community. Judging will be done on two levels, freshmen and sophomores, and juniors and seniors. No entry fee is required.

All publishing rights to submitted work remain the property of the author. However,the Oak Park Writers Group reserves the right to distribute the submitted works to contest judges, and to publish the winning entries in Keystrokes, OPWG’s annual anthology. Winners are also urged to read their work at the Nov.10th OPWG program, “Writers Read” at Oak Park’s Main Library. Awards will be distributed at that time. Several members of OPWG will also read their works at the program.

For the students, prose includes any writing, fiction or non-fiction, and must be well written, using proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. Works of prose can be up to 2,000 words in length; for poetry, the length can be up to 80 lines. The parameters for grammar, spelling, and punctuation do not necessarily apply to poetry. Originality and creativity are equally as important for both prose and poetry. 

Subject matter is entirely up to the author. For example, one of the winners wrote about winning an important swim competition. Another wrote a poem about a graffiti artist, and a third described her childhood habit of naming stars. Other winning entries included a poem about choosing between college and working against poverty in a foreign country; a poem about loneliness and bad decisions that led to death; a poem about Judaism and Catholicism in the same family, and a poem about twins. 

For additional guidelines, email a request to  Deadline to submit entries is March 31. Winners will be announced April 30 and awards will be presented Nov. 10. The Oak Park Writers’ Group meets in the second floor Book Discussion Room of the Oak Park Main Library, 834 Lake St. the first Thursday of every month from 6:30 to 9 p.m.  Writers will share their work and discuss it with the group. Writers and non-writers are welcome. 

The Group also sponsors a Second Sunday Open Mic, a free performing venue, the second Sunday of every month from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Eastgate Café, 102 Harrison St. Poets, story tellers, acoustic musicians comedians, playwrights, singers and dancers are all welcome to perform.In addition, seminars on such writing-related topics such as proofreading and editing are presented.

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