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Maine Community College System--News Release

Russo, Greenlaw and McNair to Serve as Judges for Writing Contest

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

CONTACT: Alice Kirkpatrick
Tel: (207) 767-0116, ext. 3 or Ellyn Chase: (207) 629-4007

AUGUSTA , Me. – Maine's junior high school students will have a chance, like last year's class, to have their writing read by three of the state's most prominent authors. Writers Richard Russo, Linda Greenlaw and Wesley McNair have each agreed to serve as judges for this year's A Journey Into Writing contest, which was created last year by the Maine Community College System (MCCS). Students can submit their entries starting October 1st, 2005.

“We’re thrilled to once again attract such distinguished authors to judge this contest,” said MCCS President John Fitzsimmons. “Our first year was a great success and a wonderful experience for all involved. We are pleased to continue sponsoring the contest along with our partners: the Maine Sunday Telegram, and U.S. Cellular,” he said.

Pulitzer-prize winning author Richard Russo, who helped launch the contest last year with Stephen and Tabitha King, is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Empire Falls", as well as “Nobody’s Fool”, “Mohawk”, “The Risk Pool”, “Straight Man” and others. In addition to novels, Russo has also written several movie screenplays.

“Maine's first Journey Into Writing contest hit all the right notes, I think. It was exciting and rewarding for both the young writers and their teachers. Even the judges had fun. I look forward for bigger and better things in the years to come,” said Russo.

Linda Greenlaw is author of three bestselling books about life as a commercial fisherman, including “The Hungry Ocean”, “The Lobster Chronicles", and “All Fishermen Are Liars.” Greenlaw was the winner of the 2004 New England Book Award for nonfiction. Most recently, she published “Recipes from a Very Small Island ” with her mother Martha Greenlaw.

Wesley McNair is the author of eight collections of poetry and the editor of three anthologies of contemporary Maine writing. A new collection of poetry, “The Ghosts of You & Me”, is forthcoming in February 2006.  He is the recipient of numerous prestigious national fellowships and awards and recently retired from the University of Maine at Farmington, where he directed the creative writing program.

A Journey Into Writing was created as a way to encourage creativity and inspire young writers to develop their craft. Last year, 420 high school juniors from 103 Maine high schools submitted short stories, essays and poems for the contest.

Students must submit their writing entries electronically to the MCCS Web site. The contest rules and entry form are available online at: (click on: A Journey Into Writing). Entries will be accepted between October 1st and December 1st, 2005.

Over 15,000 Maine high school juniors are eligible to submit an original poem, short story or essay, up to 1,500 words in length. Up to 15 semi-finalists will be selected by the MCCS for final review by the three authors. Each of the authors will select a winner.

The three winners will be announced next May and honored as the Governor’s “Young Writer of the Year.” The winners will each receive a check for $2,500; the semi-finalists will receive $100. The Maine Sunday Telegram and will announce the semi-finalists and finalists in the spring, and post the students’ writings on

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