BEAUFORT — Open to all Palmetto State high school juniors and seniors, the annual South Carolina High School Writing Contest was created in 2013 by Steven Lynn, dean of the South Carolina Honors College at USC; writer and editor Aïda Rogers; best-selling writer Pat Conroy (the competition’s original judge); and Jonathan Haupt, then director of the University of South Carolina Press and now executive director of the nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center.
It is fitting then that Haupt was invited to return to the project to serve as the competition’s judge this year. In addition to Conroy, previous judges have included Walter Edgar, Nikky Finney, Pam Durban, Mary Alice Monroe, and Marjory Wentworth.
“It was my tremendous privilege to have helped Steve Lynn and Aida Rogers shepherd this important contest through its early years, and I’m beyond honored to be invited back to judge the 2020 competition,” Haupt said. “Opportunities like these can begin to give shape to the arc of a writing life for burgeoning storytellers. And this contest has always done such a masterful job of letting us know what’s on the minds and in the hearts of our young writers as they survey the present and look toward the future. It’s all the more important now that we recognize and listen to their voices.”
The writing contest’s topic is “How should we improve the state of South Carolina?” Submissions of up to 750 words are welcome by September 25 in all creative genres, including fiction, drama, and poetry, as well as straightforward essays, diary/journal entries, letters, or other literary forms.
After students submits their work, 15-20 finalists will be chosen. Those finalists will have their work reviewed by the 2020 writing contest judge. Cash prizes of $1,000, $500, and $250 will be awarded to the first, second, and third place winners. The entries of finalists and winners will be showcased by the South Carolina Honors College on its website.
The SC Honors College at USC partners with the Pat Conroy Literary Center, the South Carolina State Library, the University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Sciences, the South Carolina Academy of Authors, and the South Carolina Writers Association to present the annual statewide contest.
Learn more and submit entries at www.schonors.com/hswritingcontest.