NCTC Creative Writing Contest

A Toronto Literary Contest

An annual event that showcases the talents of area writers and poets is now accepting entries.

North Central Texas College is once again hosting the NCTC Creative Writing Contest.

The NCTC writing contests offer aspiring amateur writers of all ages in Texas and Oklahoma the chance to have their work critiqued by professionals, to have it published and possibly earn them special recognition and cash prizes.

Sponsored by the NCTC English, Speech and Foreign Language Department, the popular contest usually draws up to 600 or more entries from throughout the region.

“We just keep getting more and more entries from a wider area, ” contest director and NCTC English instructor Gabrielle Fletcher said. “It used to be mostly Cooke County and Denton County, but now we are starting to move out a little further and more schools are starting to participate.”

Fletcher said the competition comprises four main divisions for amateur writers ranging from middle school age through adults. Each division features subcategories for poetry, short stories and essays. Cash prizes are awarded for first, second and third place in each division.

Deadline for entries is noon on Feb. 26.

The 2014 Awards Ceremony will be held at 11 a.m., on April 11 at the First State Bank Center for the Performing Arts on the NCTC Gainesville campus.

Copies of the 2013 edition of The April Perennial, featuring winning entries from last year, will also be distributed at the awards ceremony.

Renowned author Nancy E. Turner will be this year’s guest speaker at the awards ceremony.

Turner, a graduate of the University of Arizona with a triple major in Creative Writing, Art and Music, has had several novels published. She started college at the same time as her two children in 1992 with the goal of becoming a high school English teacher. By the time she graduated from college, she had already seen two of her novels published, so she changed her focus from teaching to writing.

Her newest novel, “My Name is Resolute, ” is scheduled to be released this month. It tells the story of Resolute Talbot, a girl living in New England in the years preceding the Revolutionary War, who goes from pampered daughter of a planter to an indentured servant. When she escapes, she finds herself alone in Massachusetts. Over the years she makes her life, and when the fist of British tyranny begins to choke her family, she becomes part of a very real web of spies, many of them women, who smuggled messages, food and clothing through British lines.

Turner has been married for 43 years and has two children, four grandchildren and two dogs. Her books have been translated into five languages. She was named Arizona Author of the Year, and her novel “These Is My Words” won the title of One Book Arizona in 2008.

“All my novels deal in some way with larger issues, running the gamut from slavery and racism to ecology, education and especially honor, ” Turner said. “Yet the stories are not told with an agenda, simply with the idea of watching the characters make choices that might face any of us.”

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