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"A Call to Pens" Seeks Creative Writers from Across the Country

November 14th, 2012

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722
OfficeOfCommunications@phc.edu

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This autumn marks the fifth year of Patrick Henry College’s annual A Call to Pens contest, a national short story competition open to students ages twelve through eighteen. To enter this competition, students must submit original works of fiction following the guidelines of their age division, which will be announced along with other important details on the contest’s webpage. The A Call to Pens blog also contains writing advice, words of wisdom, news concerning the contest, and other helpful information.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top four contestants in each division; all proceeds from the contest will be donated to Patrick Henry College’s Annual Fund. The entry deadline is January 7, 2013. Visit A Call to Pens web-page for more information about prizes, rules and guidelines, and other important details. Please contact Hannah Walker at shortstory@phc.edu if you have any questions.

The First Division Theme:

Reaping the Reward; or, Harvest-Time
Age group: 12-15
Word limit: 1,500

The Second Division Theme:

Finding Beauty in Brokenness; or, Life Through Death
Age group: 16-18
Word limit: 2,500

The 10 Rules

  1. All entries must be in prose fiction. Neither poetry nor essay submissions will be accepted. The exception to this is if your story uses a poem or an extract of an essay as an element of the story; even so, prose fiction must comprise an overwhelming majority of the story.
  2. All entries must be typed; no handwritten submissions. Type must be easily readable and not distracting, preferably 12-point Times New Roman.
  3. All entries must be double-spaced.
  4. Page numbers must be placed in the upper-right corner of the page. The entrant’s division number, telephone number, and story title must be in the upper-left corner—for example, “1, (000) 000-0000, The Case of the Mysterious Inkblots.” No other identifying information is allowed on the entry.
  5. Two stories per author are allowed. If submitting two stories, an additional fee is required. Stories must be separate and distinct; no “two-parters” or sequels. Only one entry form is required if both entries are mailed or emailed together.
  6. Original, unpublished material only. “Published” includes (but is not limited to) any public blog, internet forum, or writing group posts.
  7. Rewriting or editing by anyone other than the entrant is not allowed.
  8. Entries must be received by January 7, 2013 to be considered in the competition.
  9. Failure to follow any of the rules may result in the entry being disqualified.
  10. Stories will be judged by a panel chosen at the discretion of the sponsor. Originality of approach to the assigned theme, storytelling ability, and grammatical quality will all be taken into account in the decisions of the judges. The winning stories will interact with their theme in a manner consistent with a Christian worldview. All decisions by the judges are final.

Submission

You can either mail or email your submission.

Mailed Submission:
Mailed entries may be either paper or burned to a CD/DVD. Entries on CD/DVD must be in Rich Text Format (.rtf) and the disc must be labeled with author’s name and story title, and a different CD/DVD must be used for each entry. A completed entry form and fee must be included with the submission. (Do not staple the entry form or fee to a paper submission.) Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard if you would like to be notified when your entry is received.

Send mail entries to:

Hannah Walker—Box 93
c/o PHC
1 Patrick Henry Circle
Purcellville, VA 20132
ATTN: PHC Short Story Competition

Checks should be made out to PHC. Include “PHC Short Story Competition” as well as the entrant’s telephone number in the memo line. Entries will not be returned, so don’t send your only copy!

Emailed Submission:

Each emailed entry must be sent as an attachment in Rich Text Format (.rtf). A scanned, completed entry form must also be attached with the email. Include “PHC Short Story Competition” in the subject line of the email. Fees must still be mailed in with the entry form for the entry to be considered in the competition. A confirmation email will be sent to the entrant when both the entry and fee are received.

Please contact Hannah Walker at shortstory@phc.edu if you have any questions.

Mail the fees and paper copy of the entry form to:

Hannah Walker—Box 93
c/o PHC
1 Patrick Henry Circle
Purcellville, VA 20132
ATTN: PHC Short Story Competition

Checks should be made out to PHC. Include “PHC Short Story Competition” as well as the entrant’s telephone number in the memo line.