The Fitzgerald Museum’s fifth annual Literary Contest and Zelda Award
The Fitzgerald Museum’s fifth annual Literary Contest for high school and college students opens its submissions period on September 1, 2022. This year’s theme for the general contest, which accepts submissions from anywhere in the world, is “Unclassified Masterpieces.” This theme celebrates the centennial of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1922 story collection Tales of the Jazz Age. Also, this is the third year for the Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald Young Writers Award, which is open to Alabama high school students. Submissions for this award are not governed by a theme, but should be comprised of a portfolio of writings.
The Fitzgerald Museum’s fifth annual Literary Contest:
F. Scott and Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald were daring and revolutionary in their lives and in their art and writing. More than one hundred years after they met in Montgomery, Alabama, the Fitzgeralds’ literary and artistic works from the 1920s and 1930s are still regarded as groundbreaking, and The Fitzgerald Museum is seeking to identify and honor the daring and revolutionary young writers and artists of this generation.
Categories: Grades 9–10, Grades 11–12, Undergraduate
General Guidelines for 2022 – 2023:
The Fitzgerald Museum’s fifth annual Literary Contest is accepting submissions of short fiction, poetry, ten-minute plays, film scripts, and multi-genre works that exhibit the theme “Unclassified Masterpieces,” which is the title of the middle section in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1922 story collection Tales of the Jazz Age. This theme implies works that defy genre and/or reach beyond expectations. Works with traditional forms and styles will be accepted for judging, yet writers are encouraged to send works that utilize innovative forms and techniques. Literary works may include artwork, illustrations, font variations, and other graphic elements, with the caveat that these elements should enhance the work, not simply decorate the page.
The submissions period is open from September 1 until December 31, 2022. Works will be judged within three separate age categories, not by genre, so please be clear about the age category. Submissions should not exceed ten pages (with font sizes no smaller than 11 point). Each student may only enter once. Awards will be announced by March 15, 2023. Each age/grade category will have a single winner and possibly an honorable mention.
Works should be submitted through the web form on the Fitzgerald Museum’s website. Due to issues of compatibility, works should be submitted as PDF to ensure that they appear as the author intends. Files should be named with the author’s first initial [dot] last name [underscore] title. For example, J.Smith_InnovativeStory.pdf. Questions about the contest or the entry process may be sent to contest coordinator Foster Dickson at email@example.com, with “Literary Contest Question” in the subject line.
This year’s judges are Barbara Wiedemann for the undergraduate category and Janelle Green for the high school categories. Barbara Wiedemann, professor emerita of English and former Director of Creative Writing at Auburn University Montgomery, is the author of four chapbooks from Finishing Line Press, most recently Desert Meditations (2018). Her poems have been published in journals such as Southern Women’s Review, California Quarterly, Feminist Studies, Kerf, and Riverwind. She has also received a nomination for a Pushcart Prize. Janelle (Jae) Green is an English Instructor at Auburn University. She is an artist and poet who focuses on/specializes in ekphrastic art and poetry.
The Literary Contest’s annual themes honor and reflect upon the Fitzgeralds’ literary legacy. The inaugural contest had as its theme “What’s Old is New,” which encouraged students to look to tradition for inspiration. For the second year, the theme “Love + Marriage” celebrated the centennial of the couple’s courtship and marriage. In year three, “The Education of a Personage” centered on themes of growth and maturing aligned with the centennial of Scott’s debut novel This Side of Paradise. Last year’s theme, for year four, harkened back to 1921’s The Beautiful and the Damned with the theme “The Radiant Hour.” While these themes do parallel the Fitzgerald’s literary and personal history, they are intended to guide students to consider and examine the present and the future as Scott and Zelda did in their day.
The third annual Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald Young Writers Award
(for high school students in Alabama only)
Montgomery, Alabama native Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was daring and revolutionary in her life, art, and writing, and The Fitzgerald Museum’s Young Writers Award that bears her name seeks to identify and honor Alabama’s high school students who share her talent and spirit. Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was inducted into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame in spring 2020. This award, which was first given the following year, celebrates her life and legacy by recognizing the talents and abilities of young Alabama writers.
The Fitzgerald Museum’s third annual Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald Young Writers Award is accepting submissions of portfolios from young writers who are currently attending high school (grades 9 – 12) in Alabama. Portfolios should contain literary works (stories, poems, plays or film scripts, multi-genre works) totaling 5 to 15 pages with font sizes no smaller than 11 point. Writers are encouraged to include works that are innovative in style, content, form, and/or technique. Literary works may include artwork, illustrations, font variations, and other graphic elements, but these elements should enhance the work, not simply decorate the page.
The submissions period is open from September 1 until December 31, 2022. Each student may only enter once.
Portfolios will be judged holistically, and only one award will be given each year. The recipient will be announced by March 15, 2023.
Portfolios should be submitted through the web form on the Fitzgerald Museum’s website. Due to issues of compatibility, works should be collected into one PDF named with the author’s first initial [dot] last name [underscore] ZeldaPortfolio (for example, J.Smith_ZeldaPortfolio.pdf). Questions about the award or the entry process may be sent to contest coordinator Foster Dickson at firstname.lastname@example.org, with “Zelda Fitzgerald Award Question” in the subject line.
This year’s judge for the award is Jonathon Peterson, also known as JPdaPoet. Peterson is a two-time Alabama Music Awards Spoken Word Artist of the year (2017 and 2019), and the founder of the Just Hear Me movement, which provides a platform for local artists in Birmingham and Montgomery. He also has been featured in Dope 30 Under 30, a book highlighting leaders in the community.
The two previous winners of the Zelda Award are Colby Meeks from Lee High School in Huntsville and Kathleen Doyle from LAMP High School in Montgomery.