Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities

Short Story Writing Contest

Topic 

Write a fictional short story about a specific event in the year 1619. For inspiration, visit and read the “Why You Should Know About the Year 1619” New York Times webpage (https://pulitzercenter.org/sites/default/files/1619_kids.pdf) from August 25, 2019 and choose one of the events from the timeline to write about. Your story should describe the event in a creative and historically accurate way and should seek to broaden and deepen your understanding of people, life, and the general importance of 1619 for us today. 

You will probably need to do some extra research for your story! For additional resources, look through some of the materials in the links on our webpage (https://www.utoledo.edu/al/humanities_institute/) 

 Your story should be between 1500 and 2000 words.

THE DEAN OF ARTS AND LETTERS HAS INCLUDED AN ADDITIONAL DEAN'S AWARD, AND EXTENDED THE DEADLINE TO FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2020. 

Eligibility 

The short story contest has two categories: (1) grades 6-8 and (2) grades 9-12. When you upload your registration form and short story, make sure you place them in the appropriate folder. 

Sources 

Include at the end of your story a list of the specific works you relied on in your research (not included in the word count).  

Deadline 

The Deadline has been extended until Friday, Feb. 14.  

Submission 

Once you are satisfied with your story, complete the registration form on our webpage with your personal information and submit it along with your story to the Folder for Submissions on our webpage before midnight on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. Do not place your name or your school's name on any of the pages of the short story. Only the registration form should include this information. 

  • Please include at the end of your short story a list of resources you consulted (not included in the word count). 
  • Feel free to ask a parent or teacher to review your story for typographical and grammatical errors, but the content and ideas in the story must be your own. 

 Content  and  Judging 

Submissions will be judged on how well they express a story that is engaging, historically sensitive, and creative.  The top three stories from each group will advance to a final round of judging that will determine the winner, runner-up, and honorable mention for each group. All decisions of the judges are final.

The winner in each category will receive $600, the runner-up will receive $400, and the honorable mention will receive $200.


1619 Resources

Why you Should Know about the Year 1619

PBS News Hour 1619 Project

The New York Times 1619 Project

The New York Times 1619 Podcast

White Rage, by Carol Anderson

Carol Anderson at the University of Dayton

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Chicago Humanities Festival

The History Channel: America's History of Slavery Began Long Before Jamestown

The Washington Post: Before 1619 there was 1526

Zinn Education Project: Aug. 20, 1619: Africans in Virginia

Last Updated: 2/23/20