The Washington University Summer Writers Institute is celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer. To celebrate, University College is pleased to announce the Summer in St. Louis Writing Contest, which brings two themes together: St. Louis and summer. We would be honored to have you share this information with your neighborhood residents and also via your social media outlets.

In summers long past, St. Louisans would set up tents in Forest Park to camp and try to escape the oppressive heat that settles over the city from late June to late October, air that fiction writer Harold Brodkey described as “wet noodles.” But the heat is far from the only thing defining a St. Louis summer, and we want to read all about it. We’re looking for stories, poems, and essays about neighborhoods from Soulard to North Pointe, Town and Country to Wentzville, with imagery that sizzles like an egg tossed onto the Arch on a July afternoon. We’re looking for language that resonates off the surface of the page the way Highway 40 shimmers in the August sun. And we want it all in 750 words or less.

The contest will be judged by Danielle Dutton, author of the books Attempts at a Life, S P R A W L, and Here Comes Kitty: A Comic Opera, with images by Richard Kraft. Dutton also founded the small press Dorothy, a publishing project.

Dr. Dutton will select a winner, runner up, and honorable mention. The winner will receive a $500 scholarship to the Summer Writers Institute, and the winning entry will be published in The Ampersand (http://pages.wustl.edu/ampersand). The runner-up will receive a $250 scholarship for the Summer Writers Institute. The winner and runner-up will also be invited to read their work at the opening of the SWI. All honorees will receive a signed book authored by one of the SWI instructors.

Writers must be 18 years or older, have graduated from high school, and be enrolled in the SWI to qualify for scholarship prizes.

Writers may submit a story, poem, or essay – Only one entry per writer, please.

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If you would like more information about the Summer Writers Institute, please contact Christina Zebrowski at (314) 935-4695 or email: SummerSchool@wustl.edu.