Seek the unknown – teen writing competition

Photographs.They exist in almost every household: hidden in attics, growing mildewy in basements, or tucked away on closet shelves. Sometimes they turn up at rummage sales or antique stores, completely divorced from anything that could possibly identify them. If we’re lucky, they wind up at the library with names, places, and dates marked clearly, but more often than not they arrive here orphaned and anonymous. It’s been said that every picture tells a story (thanks Rod Stewart), or that a picture is worth a thousand words; we’re hoping that’s the case, because we’d like our local teen authors and artists to tell stories with our amazing collection of archival photographs.

In honor of Teen Read Week, which runs from October 13-19, the Everett Public Library is hosting its second annual fall Teen Writing Competition for Everett students in grades 6-12. Last year’s competition brought in almost 50 entries and resulted in a read aloud night at the Bookend Coffee Co. where some of our winners read their work. Cider and a good time was had by all. You can check out videos of those stories on our YouTube channel (the volume is a bit low on the vids, so be sure to turn them up).

This year we’re hoping that our authors and artists will be inspired by images from our collections to create ‘found photo’ stories. What that means is that characters, places, and events in your stories should be inspired by images found in our collections. In order to let imaginations run wild, we’ve pulled a selection of our photos from our archives, stripped all information from them, and arranged them in this Flickr collection*. Thousands more images can be found on our Digital Collections site; these can be used with or without the identifying information attached to them. From there, we’re looking for either a written story illustrated with as many of our photos as you want, altered in any way you want, or a graphic novel/comic created using them. Competition winners may be featured on the EPL’s site, blog, and at an event at the library in 2014.

For an excellent example of a found photo story, we highly recommend reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs (we recommend reading it even if you don’t intend to enter the competition – it rocks).

For more information about our competition, including all the guidelines, rules, entry form, and other official stuff, visit our Teen Read Week page. Entries must be received by October 31st at 5pm to be considered, and can be dropped off at either branch or emailed to llabovitch at everettwa.gov. Be sure to keep a copy of your story for your own enjoyment (preferably your original if you’re creating any artwork with it!). Happy storytelling – we’re excited to see what you come up with!

*At the end of the competition we’ll add any information we have about the Flickr photos to their descriptions so you can learn a bit more about them.

Be sure to visit A Reading Life for more reviews and news of all things happening at the Everett Public Library.

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