ASHEVILLE — Is there a 21st century Thomas Wolfe in our midst? The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is offering talented young writers the chance to share their work. On April 27, the finalists in the ”Telling Our Tales” Student Writing Competition will present their stories at a ceremony at the Wolfe Memorial.
To commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, and Wolfe’s short story, the memorial is asking students in grades four through 12 to create a riveting historical tale. The youth are encouraged to interview an elder and then craft a narrative inspired by the conversation. This is a fantastic opportunity to fostering inter-generational relationships, learn about earlier periods of the American past, and to exhibit imagination and writing skills.In 1937, Wolfe interviewed his 95-year-old great uncle, John Westall, about his Civil War experiences, which led to Wolfe’s short story “Chickamauga.” The tale was based on Westall’s recollections of the 1862 Battle of Chickamauga, and became one of Wolfe’s most famous short narratives.
First, second and third place winners in three categories (grades four and five, six through eight, and nine through 12) will receive a cash prize and also present their stories on April 27. All student narratives should be dropped off or mailed to the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, 52 North Market Street, Asheville, NC, 28801, no later than April 6. Submissions should be 500 to 1,000 words and should present a suspenseful, emotionally engaging and climatic tale based on the elder’s experiences.
For complete guidelines and instructions call (828) 253-8304, visit the memorial online or drop by the Wolfe Memorial. The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is the restored boardinghouse of the mother of this great American writer and memorialized as “Dixieland” in Wolfe’s epic autobiographical novel, “Look Homeward Angel.”
The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is a unit of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. For more information on North Carolina arts, history and culture, visit Cultural Resources online.