Writing Contest Encourages Community Story Sharing

Writing Contest Encourages Community Story Sharing

Writing is a hobby which can help kids and adults in many areas of life including academics, careers, and even relationships. In general, being able to write clearly helps people work through their own thoughts and express their emotions. Writing fiction in particular can build a stronger sense of empathy. In 2013, researchers at The New School in New York City found that reading fiction helped people perform better on tests of their ability to understand what others were thinking or feeling. Writing fiction requires a similarly empathetic process of deciding what characters feel and how those feelings lead to actions.  This summer, the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield is encouraging children and young adults to foster their creative and expressive abilities through a short story writing contest this summer!

Regardless of your child’s ultimate career and life path, work and relationships require honest and clear communication. The now ubiquitous state of email communication means that a good deal of these dialogues will take place in writing. Perhaps more importantly, internal communication in the form of journaling can be a highly therapeutic hobby which helps people of all ages record their happy memories and sort through difficult ones. Writing contests such as this one emphasize the importance of storytelling as a community act. Local authors are an artistic treasure for communities because they reflect some of the values and perspectives of people from the area. Reading a novel set in your hometown, for example, is an enjoyable and enlightening way to see a familiar place through someone else’s eyes.

This year marks the 38th Annual Short Story Writing Contest for Children and the 19th Annual Short Story Contest for Young Adults. Participants in the contest have until July 18, 2016, to submit their short stories to the Berkshire Athenaeum Children’s Library. In addition to the possibility of prizes, participants are competing for the chance to have their story bound and added to the collection of the Berkshire Athenaeum.

An awards ceremony will be held for all participants and their guests on Friday, August 19th at 1pm. Derek Gentile, local author and Berkshire Eagle reporter, will be there to speak. For more information on the contest, call 413-499-9480. Bring entries to the library: 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA

[Photo credit: (cc) Dara or]

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