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Student Opportunities

Scholarships

James Rodey Young Creative Writer's Scholarship

The James Rodey Young Creative Writer's Scholarship of $1000 is offered annually to one exceptional and deserving student in our Creative Writing Program. Eligible students are nominated by faculty and must be registered as English majors pursuing a Certificate in Creative Writing. Scholarship recipients are honored at an awards banquet in early spring.

 


Student Readings and Performances

Students enrolled in our Program's workshops and courses receive opportunities to participate in our campus events showcasing their original writing. 

New Voices: A Student Reading

The semesterly student reading is a Grossmont College tradition that is almost as old as the college, itself. At the end of each semester, our Creative Writing Program faculty select students from their courses who have composed stand-out original works, and invite them to participate in an evening of readings.  The event is free of charge as well as open to the public, and students typically invite family members, friends, instructors and peers, making it one of the more popular literary events. During the spring semester, the New Voices reading is included in our Literary Arts Festival program, permitting students a rare opportunity to be showcased in the same events calendars as nationally and internationally recognized poets and writers.  The event features a New Voices booklet containing the printed versions of their works that let audiences read along and participating students take home a keepsake of the evening. Students selected for inclusion in the New Voices program are also given priority consideration for the campus literary journal, which is edited and produced by students under the advisorship of Creative Writing Program faculty member, Julie Cardenas.


At Rise! Dramatists Project

During spring semesters when Drama Writing is offered, registered students receive an opportunity to stage, direct, promote, organize, rehearse, and perform in a reader's theater showcase of original, new plays composed for the class.  Although anthologies of short one-acts are common, longer multi-act plays are also considered for the event. Participating students may perform in their own works or, if they choose, audition participants from other programs and departments, or even the public sector. All forms of dramatic work are permitted.  Past At Rise! events have included works of absurdist theatre alongside traditional comedies, genre stories like crime dramas, children's theater, and even musicals. The event is included in the Literary Arts Festival program as an extension of the student reading but is given its own separate venue and evening.  As with the New Voices student reading, attendance of At Rise! is open to the campus and the public, and is free of charge.

Specialty Readings and Events

Our Creative Writing Program often collaborates with other campus agencies, programs, student organizations, or clubs to offer special events for which students are selected to participate as presenters or readers.  These are often occasional events or themed readings for which select students may be privately invited to participate. Some past examples:

    • African American Read-in (Black History Month)
    • Why Literature Matters (Literary Arts Festival)
    • Celebration of Banned Books (Fall Readings Series)
    • Sounds of Solidarity (Student Empowerment Organization)
    • Literary Careers Night (student-organized special event)
       

Writing Contests

The Creative Writing Program offers a variety of writing competitions typically, but not exclusively, offered during the annual Literary Arts Festival held each spring. Competitions can vary from year to year in genre emphasis or can be open to multiple categories. Most are open to any Grossmont College student, but some are designed to appeal to specific circumstances, backgrounds, or skill levels. Winners receive awards, recognition, and opportunities to participate in literary events such as readings. Here are some examples: 

Basic Skills Writing Contest

The annually sponsored Basic Skills Writing Contest draws inspiration from the literature and lives of visiting Literary Arts Festival authors and challenges basic skills writing students enrolled in Basic Skills courses, such as English 98, to compose essays or narratives on selected themes. Participating manuscripts are collected into a Festival 'zine, and select students win prizes and receive opportunities to meet keynote Festival authors; Grand Prize winners read their winning manuscripts at important Festival events.

First Female Writing Contest

In outreach to our future Creative Writing students, this annual writing contest is open to all young women in east San Diego County high schools. Co-sponsored by the La Mesa-El Cajon American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Grossmont College English Department, the contest's goal is to celebrate and support young women who are breaking through barriers as a “First Female”: young women who are the "first" in their family to experience opportunities, achieve dreams, or overcome challenging circumstances. Winners receives prizes and are celebrated at an annual luncheon sponsored by the La Mesa-El Cajon American Association of University Women.

Genre Writing Contests

The Creative Writing Program offers Grossmont College writers in every major genre opportunities to compete in contests that pose creative and thoughtful challenges. One example, Photo Gets Lit (offered in spring 2015), required student writers to compose poetry, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, or short works of drama as interpretations of original photos by photographer Aaron Sarafino. Another, a Flash Fiction contest (offered fall 2013), asked students to write stories no more than 250 words in answer to the question, "What are you most afraid of?"; compositions had to contain a minimum of three elements from a unique list of seventeen ranging from a note in a book or a depressed hamster, to fake beards, or even blue teeth. Other contests have showcased specialized topics in poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction, in all their variety of expression.

 


Other Opportunities

Enrolled Creative Writing students frequently have behind-the-scenes access to the organization and staging of our literary events, but they also receive invitations to craft lectures, master classes, and workshops not available to the public: the award-winning poets and authors featured in our Fall Readings Series or Literary Arts Festival mentor students about their own writing, discuss their craft as writers in a more intimate venue, and provide other inspiring learning opportunities that can only come through directly engaging with living authors. 

First Book Contest

As part of the Literary Arts Festival’s 20th Anniversary celebration, the Creative Writing Program will hold a FIRST BOOK CONTEST in 2016 for writers who have taken one or more creative writing courses at Grossmont College in the past twenty years, and who have a sufficient writing portfolio for a book-length manuscript in one of the following genres: literary fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry. The winner of the contest will be announced at an event during the 2016 Fall Reading Series. Click here for First Book Contest details and guidelines, or use the menu at left.

Last Updated: 08/03/2016
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