The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities announces the availability of both adult and youth/teen applications for the 25th Annual Larry Neal Writers' Awards. Last year, the Commission awarded $6,400 in prize money to Washington writers in the much anticipated awards ceremony. This year's awards ceremony will take place on May 9, 2008 at 6 pm, at the Elizabethan Theatre of the Folger Shakespeare Library. It will be the culminating event for the competition, which is open to District resident amateur and professional writers of all ages.
"We are pleased to be able to acknowledge Washington's creative writing community," said Arts Commission Executive Director, Tony Gittens. "We are especially excited to be able to encourage the work of our young writers." The ceremony is presented in partnership with the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and the Folger Shakespeare Library.
The 25th Larry Neal Writers' Awards will be judged using a blind format. Submissions will be judged according to their artistic merit in three literary genres (poetry, short story/fiction, and essay) by distinguished professionals. Applicants may apply to one category only, and entries must be received in the Commission's office at 1371 Harvard Street, NW, by Thursday March 20, 2008, 6 pm.
The competition is named for Larry Neal, one of the most influential writers of his time. He gained an appreciation of the aspects of Afro-American life and used them as a source of artistic expression. In addition to his writing, Larry Neal was also a well-respected academic. He was a professor at Yale and Wesleyan Universities, received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1971 and held a Chair in Humanities at Howard University. In 1965, Neal saw that many young Afro-American writers were reevaluating Western ethics and the traditional role of writers in society, as well as the social function of the arts in general. This led him to found the Black Arts Repertory and School with Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones). His works of poetry, most notably Hoodoo Hollerin BeeBop Ghost and Black Boogaloo, powerfully reflect his philosophy of continuity and the need to reflect the Afro-American experience.
For more information about the Larry Neal Writers' Awards, email Charles Barzon or call (202) 724-5613, TDD (202) 724-4493.