Novel Contests for Young Writers

T HE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I first read this book the summer after eighth grade because my mother told me it was one of her favorites, and because she said it was “a very grown up book.” I only understood about half of it at that time, but I was dazzled nonetheless: The parties! The people! The prose! When I read it again for US Literature my junior year, I really got much of the book - the infamous carelessness of the characters, the messy metaphor of the green light at the end of the dock, the backdrop of the Roaring Twenties, Prohibition, and all that chimerical glamour. I’ve read the book countless times since then and seen deeper and deeper meanings in it (for a short book, it’s remarkably layered), and it’s the only book I’ve read more than three times voluntarily, and will re-read again. It’s fun and smart; no mean feat. It’s also one of those books every writer reads; your friends will actually discuss it at parties. The Baz Luhrmann movie version was good, but no substitute.

The title says it all, right?

MOBY DICK by Herman Melville

Okay, I hated it (let’s just say I’m not the seafaring kind), but many of the smartest people I know don’t, and if you’re going to be a writer or any kind of artist, it’s one of those books people are going to expect you to have read. And even though I hated it, my inner writer was still able to appreciate the craft of the story, the richness of the psychology and the boldness of the style.

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Achiever | Noah Bunch wins writing contest  — The Courier-Journal
Achievement: Noah won first place in Kentucky's 2014 Letters About Literature writing contest for level 2, grades 7 and 8. He was the only local student to win an award this year.