Au Sable River Words Writing Contest
The Au Sable River Words Writing Contest is the product of a love of great words and the belief that those words can convey powerful ideas and enable people to seek a better understanding of today’s challenges. Since 1987, the Anglers of the Au Sable has, through its nationally recognized quarterly publication, The RIVERWATCH, educated thousands on the value of preserving the fragile and beautiful Au Sable River Watershed for people today and generations to come. We hope that initiatives like this Writing Contest will help make young citizens of the greater Au Sable watershed more aware of the beautiful environs just beyond their backyards.
Au Sable River Words – The contest is open to tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders from Grayling, Roscommon, Oscoda and Mio-Au Sable High Schools. The topic must be based on the theme “Au Sable River Words.” Three writing categories are judged: Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry. The Contest’s theme is intentionally broad, designed to encourage entrants to be creative. When writing, we advise contestants to consider as their audience people who not only love the beauty of the Au Sable River and its neighboring areas, but what these treasures symbolize. For fiction and poetry entries, any story or prose that pertains to the Au Sable is suitable. For non-fiction, real life experiences, natural encounters, and scientific projects are all worthy subjects. We emphasize to the contestants that writing is to entertain, inform and persuade people to appreciate and utilize the natural resource. Further, we tell them: have fun writing but make the end product interesting to your readers!
In addition to local recognition and awards, the overall winners in each category are published in an annual special issue of The RIVERWATCH.
At left: a facsimile of a former brochure (cover only) that was sent to each of the four high schools participating in the contest.
Important Dates & Eligibility
Each year, the Contest begins February 1 and ends March 31. To participate in the Contest writers must be students who are in the tenth, eleventh or twelfth grade during the Contest. Only students from Grayling, Mio-Au Sable, Roscommon, and Oscoda High Schools are eligible.
Entries must be either a work of fiction, a work of non-fiction, or a work of poetry. The topic must be based on the theme “Au Sable River Words.” The entry must be the student’s own work and may be up to 2,000 words for fiction and nonfiction, and up to 500 words for poetry. Entries previously published are eligible. The entry must be typed in a font no smaller than 12 points (i.e. 12 pt. Times-Roman or 12 pt. Arial). The Anglers of the Au Sable cannot return entries. IMPORTANT: The student’s name, address, and school must appear at the top of each page. The parental permission card (see right) must be filled out and stapled to the back of the essay.
How Your Entry Will Be Judged
A maximum of 10 entries per category from each school (up to a total of thirty) will be accepted for judging. A designated teacher from your school will determine which entries will be chosen for final judging. All entries sent to the Anglers of the Au Sable must be submitted by the school, not by individual contestants, and must be postmarked no later than March 31.
NOTE TO SCHOOL REPRESENTATIVE: Send your school’s submissions to: Au Sable River Words Writing Contest, c/o Tess Nelkie, 406 South 12th Avenue, Tawas City, MI 48763. (All school entries from one school must be sent in one parcel.)
First, second, and third place winners will be chosen from each submission category (fiction, non-fiction, and poetry) at each participating high school, for a total of nine winners. The three winners in each category will receive an Honor Certificate. First place winners in each category will have their name engraved on a plaque to be displayed at each school.
First and second place winners from each category advance to inter-school judging. One overall winner and one runner-up from each category will be chosen. Each overall winner will be awarded a $200 U.S. Savings Bond. The three runners-up will each be awarded a $150 U.S. Savings Bond. These awards will be presented at each school’s awards ceremony.
Panel of Judges
A panel of seven impartial judges who are members of the Anglers of the Au Sable will review and score entries. They are:
* Tess Nelkie (Tawas City) – Contest Chair, Anglers director
* Roderick Daane (Ann Arbor) – Anglers director
* John Novak (Grayling) – Anglers director
* Bruce Johnson (Rochester) – founding Anglers director
* Bob Linsenman (Rose City) – noted author, literary agent, former editor of The Riverwatch, Anglers director
* Edward McGlinn (Farmington Hills) – founding editor emeritus of The Riverwatch, emeritus Anglers director
* Moira Maus (Glennie) – mystery series author (pen name M.G. Kincaid), library director in northern Michigan
NOTE: Submissions by relatives of judges will disqualify those judges from reviewing/scoring those entries.
To read last year’s winning entries, see The RIVERWATCH (Number 52)