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Maine Community College System

News Release
CELEBRATED MAINE AUTHORS TO JUDGE YOUNG MAINE WRITERS" WORK

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 13, 2004
CONTACT: Alice Kirkpatrick
Tel: (207) 767-0116, ext. 3
Email: akirkpatrick@mccs.me.edu
Lee Umphrey
Tel: (207) 287-2531

AUGUSTA, ME — Maine students who are juniors in high school next fall may have the chance to show off their writing talents to three of Maine's most celebrated writers — Stephen and Tabitha King and Richard Russo — in a new writing competition announced today. A Journey Into Writing was unveiled at a State House press conference this morning by Governor John E. Baldacci, who was joined by the three authors, and the partners in the project.

The contest will be led by Maine's Community College System, in partnership with the Maine Sunday Telegram, MaineToday.com, U.S. Cellular, and Central Maine Power Company.

"Every day, in every way, our lives are enriched through the gifts of Maine writers, by drawing on our emotions, providing us insight, enhancing our knowledge, and inspiring us to see the world and its people through a wider lens," said Governor Baldacci.

"With the program we're announcing today, Steve, Tabitha and Rick — each true masters at their craft — will help inspire a new generation of Maine writers," the Governor said.

Maine Community College System President John Fitzsimmons thanked the Governor and authors for their support and participation. "Your personal involvement sends a tremendous message to Maine students that you believe in their potential," he said.

Over 16,000 Maine high school juniors will be eligible next fall to submit an original poem, short story or essay, up to 1,500 words in length. Entries will be accepted between October 1st and December 1st by the Maine Community College System which will conduct the first round of reviews. Up to 25 semi-finalists will be selected for final review by the three authors, who will each select a winner.

The three winners, who will be announced next May, will be honored as the Governor's "Young Writers of the Year," and receive a check for $2,500. Each of the semi-finalists will receive $100. The Maine Sunday Telegram and MaineToday.com — which will help promote the program — will announce the semi-finalists and finalists in the spring, and post the students' writings on MaineToday.com.

Fitzsimmons praised the Maine Sunday Telegram and MaineToday.com for their involvement. "It is important to not just encourage and support Maine youth, but also to celebrate and promote their accomplishments," he said.

In addition to the Maine Sunday Telegram and MaineToday.com, the project is also being sponsored by U.S. Cellular, which has donated $10,000, and Central Maine Power Company, which is contributing $7,500.

Fitzsimmons said the competition is a way for Maine's newly-revamped Community College System to reach out to Maine high schools in a unique way, to help emphasize the broader curriculum now offered through the former-technical colleges.

The Community College System is working with the State Department of Education to inform high schools of the project.

The contest rules and entry form for A Journey Into Writing are available on the Maine Community College System's Web site at www.mccs.me.edu.

(Note: See the authors' bios at writing.mccs.me.edu/page3.htm)

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