Young Spurs at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference meet with biographer James McGrath Morris.
Last year, we at YJI met George Getschow, a tremendous journalist and writing coach, at the national conference of the Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. We learned from him about a phenomenal opportunity for young writers and journalists: the Young Spurs competition at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. We attended the conference and were blown away by its welcoming community of writers (known as "the tribe") and the awesome chance to learn from some of the best in the business. We give this contest and conference YJI's highest recommendation.
Young Spur and YJI reporter Katie Lothrop with biographer
James McGrath Morris at the 2012 Mayborn conference.
I am writing to invite students with an interest in non-fiction writing to enter the third annual Mayborn National History Writing Contest. This exciting contest aims to nurture the next generation of storytellers and journalists, and is part of the University of North Texas’ Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. The Education Department at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum Education Department, Big Thought and Biographers International partner with UNT’s Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism to host the competition.
YJI co-founders Steve Collins, left, and Jackie Majerus, right, with journalist George Getschow, who started the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction conference at the University of North Texas.
“The competition,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning author Debby Applegate, “offers aspiring biographers a remarkable opportunity to hone their craft, spend time with established writers, and gain recognition for their work. It could make a world of difference in a young writer’s life.”
Ten winners, along with the teacher or mentor of their choice, will be awarded scholarships to the 2013 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, which will be held July 19 – 21 at the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center in Grapevine, Texas. Winners will be recognized during the conference’s Literary Lights dinner on July 20, and the winning narrative histories will be published in The Dallas Morning News. The winners will also attend a daylong writing workshop with Ron Powers, author of “Flags of Our Fathers,” a much heralded narrative history of World War II.
To enter the competition high school and community college students, between the ages of 14-25 years old, are asked to write a narrative account of an historical event and the key character or characters involved in that event, living or past, , who left a deep and lasting legacy in his or her community. The narrative history should be less than 5,250 words. Complete rules and more information are available here.
Regular conference attendee and journalist Lee Hancock conceived the initial idea of the competition to involve young people in the conference, and looks forward to the national writing contest’s continued success.
“Last year it was tremendously exciting to see a group of kids so engaged and so changed by their experience at the Mayborn Conference, and we’re hopeful that will continue this year with more submissions and more interest,” Hancock said. “We’ve known for a long time how successful the Mayborn is at inspiring and encouraging all ages of writers, and we’re looking forward to seeing what this year’s group will do.”
This is a remarkable opportunity for aspiring young writers in that it rewards the winners with a chance to sharpen their skills working with some of the nation’s best writers. In connecting the new young writers with the seasoned older pros, this competition plays an instrumental role in creating the next generation of storytellers.
To read the stories by and about some of our past winners in The Dallas Morning News, go to: http://www.dallasnews.com/entertainment/books/20120511-mayborn-read-all-10-winning-essays.ecen bulletin boards.
If you read these stories, I have no doubt you’ll want to become one of our nationally acclaimed Young Spurs winners. Deadline is June 29. So don’t procrastinate. I want to celebrate your achievement at our national conclave in July.
Writer in residence
The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference