The winners of the CWA's First Things First! writing contest, in order of finish, are: Bethany Hiitola, Mary T. Wagner and Gracie Hill. Their challenge was to take one of ten famous opening sentences from literary works and build from there. There were no restrictions on how they built it. They could use poetry, fiction or nonfiction. But they were limited in how big they could build it. Five hundred words to be exact.
It was not an easy challenge, but these three writers all conquered it. Read their entries in the 2nd installment of CWA's Write City e-zine and you will see why the judging was so tight. They say so much in so few words.
Okay, for all you procrastinators out there (and how many writers aren't guilty of at least a little procrastination?) we're extending the deadline for our First Things First! writing contest until after the holiday weekend.
The original deadline was July 1 (tomorrow) but we're extending it to July 6 (Monday). That gives you the long holiday weekend to get to writing.
For $5, you get a chance to win $100. That's the first place prize. Second is $50 and third is $25. There are other writerly goodies for the top three as well. Plus, it's a chance to have your writing read and evaluated by an esteemed panel of judges. So in between the parades and fireworks, save a little time this weekend for your writing.
For all the details on how to enter, visit our previous blog entry about the contest.
By Walt McElligott
In my search for stories about the Chicago that I've lived in or around for all my 65-plus years, I discovered Karen Abbott's New York Times bestseller, Sin in the Second City, Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul,which explores the role of brothels in the cultural and political life of turn-of-the-century Chicago.
Abbott's critically-acclaimed book tells the story of Chicago’s Everleigh Club, at 2131-2133 S. Dearborn St., which from February 1900 until October 1911, was known as the “finest brothel in the land." But it's more than the story of a high-end brothel. It's more the story of the brothel's owners, the Everleigh sisters, their fellow prostitutes, and the unsavory characters and politicians that made Chicago a “wide open town” to the delight of the bootleggers, hookers and gangsters that occupied the once famous "Levee District".
After three years of tireless research, Abbott molded Sin into a riveting story of two sisters, one brothel, and a culture war that rocked the nation. Sin is rife with quaint period details, photographs of the club’s gaudy extravagance, drawings that alert innocent young women to the perils of white slavery and memorable johns like the Everleigh customer who called himself Uncle Ned. At Christmas Uncle Ned would plant his feet in buckets of ice, drink sarsaparilla and order the house’s “butterflies” to circle him while they sang “Jingle Bells.”
The CWA Speakers Bureau will be a program menu distributed to Chicago area libraries, community centers, bookstores, writers' groups, etc. This menu, which will be updated annually, will provide event organizers the chance to read about your program and consider bringing it to their patrons. Some of these entities will pay you an honorarium to speak (libraries paying about $100 and up), others will not. Nearly all grant the opportunity to sell your related book.
The menu will include your presentation as well as other CWA members in the Speakers Bureau. Programs might include: writing workshops (i.e. writing the memoir; starting the writing process, etc) or author programs about your book's topic (i.e. Traveling Illinois’ historical sites; the 1968 Democratic National Convention, etc). They can be narrow or general. It is BEST if you have the experience and credentials to give the presentation. Consider looking at library websites for the type of programs they bring in (Glenview, Downers Grove, and Orland Park are three that I know schedule many programs).
Interested? Here's more info.
It is $15 to list one program; $10 for every additional program you want listed on the menu with a maximum of four programs. Your listing is for one year from the date of the menu's publication. Payments should be made electronically by PayPal (see below) or sent by check or money order to Chicago Writers Association at PO Box 6505, Evanston, IL 60204-6505. Please include a print out of your program(s) in that mailing. In addition, your program description should be sent to Danny Smith electronically at firstname.lastname@example.org as he will be the one compiling the information. All fees and program descriptions must be received by JULY 1, 2009.
Your program description should include the following information in this order:
·Program Description (100 words or less)
·Intended Audience (adults, children, all, etc)
·Program Duration (in minutes)
·Suggested Fee (example: $100; $100-150; Free; $100 negotiable; if you want permission to sell books, then say so)
·References (name, organization, phone and e-mail for 1-2 references; before listing, get approval from your references; if you don’t have any, it’s not the end of the world)
·Your contact information, including e-mail, phone, and website
All presentations will be subject to CWA approval. Please note: there is no guarantee you will get booked for an event. Ultimately, your program has to speak for itself and, as always in the writing world, some luck and timing is involved. The event programmer will contact you to schedule a presentation, not CWA. You're in charge of following up, getting the details, setting the fee, etc. The CWA Speakers Bureau is merely the vehicle.
The Speakers Bureau is open only to CWA members. If you have a colleague who may want to be included, he or she will first need to join CWA.
The plan is to submit the CWA Speakers Bureau menu to all appropriate groups by the end of summer 2009. You will receive numerous copies of the brochure for your own distribution. In addition to the physical menu, scheduled presentations will be listed on CWA’s blog; however, it will be your responsibility to inform CWA of your event. Details on how to do that will follow.
If you should have any questions, please contact Danny Smith at email@example.com
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