02/09/07 — Wayne County Reads sponsors essay contest

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Wayne County Reads sponsors essay contest

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 9, 2007 1:52 PM

In conjunction with Wayne County Reads this year, residents will also be encouraged to do some writing.

An essay contest is being held for both youths and adults.

This year's book selection, "Walking Across Egypt" by Clyde Edgerton, is a light and nostalgic glimpse into the life of southern widow Mattie Rigsbee, whose struggle with loneliness takes a turn when she encounters Wesley, a rebellious teenager orphan.

The underlying theme of the book sparked the topic for the contest -- "I Believe" -- based on the original 1950s series hosted by Edward R. Murrow, "This I Believe."

Writers will be asked to focus on a belief, such as hope, and, using personal examples, create a positive essay of no more than 350 words.

Entries must be turned in to the Wayne County Public Library by Friday, Feb. 23. Winners will read their works on WGBR radio and at the final Wayne County Reads event, to be held March 5 at the Arts Council.

The essay contest will be divided into two categories, organizers said -- youths through age 18 and adults 18 years and older.

The Goldsboro Writers Group will judge the contest. Margaret Boothe Baddour, chairman, said the main criteria is not to be preachy.

"Avoid editorializing. Tell us what you believe, not what you don't believe, giving lots of examples," she said. "Avoid speaking in the editorial 'we.' Make your essay about you. Speak in the first person."

For adults entering the contest, their experiences in "real life" should lend themselves to relating to how Mattie's life expresses her beliefs.

Youths can explain Mattie's main belief, Mrs. Baddour said. "Become Mattie and, using her own first person voice, give examples from her life that show her beliefs."

Another option for the younger writers could be to focus on Wesley. With Mattie as his example, what will his belief become as he grows and changes?

Wayne Alley, announcer on WGBR radio, suggests writing for the readers' imagination.

"Your words are painting a picture. Write in words or phrases that are comfortable to read aloud," he said. "Practice reading your essay aloud and edit until you're comfortable with what you're saying and how you're saying it."

All entries must include a cover sheet with name, address, phone number and title of essay. To maintain anonymity, do not write a name on the essay.

For more information about the contest, contact Mrs. Baddour at 735-5151 or mbb@waynecc.edu. For information about other Wayne County Reads events, call the library at 735-1824.