Annie Wright Freshman Wins Regional Writing Award


Faye Prekeges

Annie Wright freshman Michelle Foster won second place in the teen writing contest sponsored by the Pierce County Library: Our Own Expressions. Michelle’s entry began as a writing exercise from last year’s Scholar Search Weekend. Over the course of the year she finalized and polished her piece with the help of her fellow Annie Writers, Mrs. Barber, and professional writers the group met in Port Townsend in October. Her story is titled “A Letter to You,” and is from an anti-hero who is attempting to attract the reader to join him in his alternate world.

Michelle was one of over a thousand students who submitted their stories, and at the awards ceremony, which will take place at PLU on Wednesday, May 31, Michelle and other winners will read excerpts and say a few words about their stories. In addition to winning second place in the grades nine and ten short-story category, Michelle will receive $75 for her accomplishment.

Michelle Foster

Inkwell: What award did you receive?

MF: The contest is called “Our own Expressions,” and it’s sponsored by the Pierce County Library. I received $75 and they are going to publish my story in a booklet with all the other winners’ stories.

Inkwell: What was your story about?

MF: It had parallels with the idea of Adam and Eve I guess. I didn’t mean for it to start like that, but I realized it ended up like that. It’s a letter to the reader from this guy in a kind of messed up world. He is talking about it and how he both loves it and hates it, but he is trying to convince the reader to come into the world with him, saying “Some day in the future you’ll end up here with me.” It has this ominous, almost prediction, because the main thing is he says “I’m not going to force you to join me here; in the end it will be your choice.”

Inkwell: How did you get your story submitted into the competition?

MF: Mrs. Barber showed us at the beginning of the year and told us about it, and said she wanted us all to write a story for it, and it has to be under 1,200 words. I wrote that, and I spent a lot of time revising it along with the rest of the group, and some people submitted theirs and some people didn’t. I think some people had stories that were extensions of stories they already had, but mine was an independent thing, so I thought I might as well submit it.

Annie Writers Advisor Laura Barber:

Inkwell: How are excited are you about Michelle’s award?

Barber: I am so excited! I jumped up and down. It has been my dream ever since I heard of this contest for one of the Annie Writers to win, not even necessarily an Annie Writer, but someone from Annie Wright. I was looking at their list of schools, and thought ‘Annie Wright should be on that list.’ I am particularly proud of Michelle for being open-minded and listening to a lot of feedback from the other Annie Writers, me, and the writers we worked with when we went to Port Townsend in the fall. She really refined her work based on that feedback, and I felt that has been the secret to her success.

Inkwell: Is this the first time an Annie Wright student has won a writing contest?

Barber: Some students entered last year, and not just Annie Writers but sophomores from class. But this is the first time they’ve won a contest. I do say won even though it was second place, I consider that a win.

Inkwell: What type of work do the Annie Writers create in this activity?

Barber: So, sometimes the students get to work on whatever kind of piece they want. Some people are working on novels or short stories or poetry right now. We also wrote the script for Murder Mystery in the fall, and they created scenes last quarter that now the Masque Players are going to perform some of them.

Inkwell: Are there more opportunities for the writers to submit their work into a contest?

Barber: Definitely. Right now I am looking up different places that publish writing, so there are maybe more opportunities than just contests. Then next year we are hoping to go to a conference in the spring that has a writing competition associated with it, and I’ll have students enter again into this contest next year. So yes, there are many opportunities, even students who are not in Annie Writers and like to write can contact me and I will give them the list of different contests and publications is they want to try to publish something.