Winners of Bookworm of Edwards writing contest to be announced at Friday event | VailDaily.com

Winners of Bookworm of Edwards writing contest to be announced at Friday event

Sarah Taylor
Special to the Daily
Participants from the 2014 annual children's writing contest sign books for their admirers at The Bookworm of Edwards. This year's winners will be announced Friday at 6 p.m.
Special to the Daily |

A local writing contest has one Eagle County fourth-grader convinced he can achieve his career goals.

Blu Fernandez submitted an entry for The Bookworm of Edwards’ third annual Children’s Writing Contest. Fernandez was last year’s third-grade winner.

“I see myself as an action and adventure author, and writing movies,” Fernandez said. “The writing contest has pretty much told me that I can write books and get them published.”

The winners of this year’s contest will be announced Friday evening at The Bookworm of Edwards. The winning stories will be published in the 2015 edition of “Ungoverned Children,” available for purchase at the event. The awards ceremony will start at 6 p.m.

‘AN AUDIENCE FULL OF YOUNG WRITERS’

Community is the driving force behind The Bookworm of Edwards, from its beginnings as a mobile bookshop through the rise of e-books and Amazon. It has helped guide the direction and growth of the store, according to owner Nicole Magistro.

“With no exception, it was interest from students in the community that led to the launch of the annual Children’s Writing Contest three years ago,” Magistro said. “Over the years, more than 200 kids have submitted stories, and we’ve published three books featuring the winners and honorable mentions. It’s the coolest thing we do all year.”

Franny Gustafson, children’s director at The Bookworm, has been involved in this contest since the beginning.

“We hosted a children’s event three years back that featured two authors,” she said. “When it came time for the Q&A period, all the kids in the audience asked questions about their own writing or for advice about being a writer. It became very clear that we had an audience full of young writers. We decided that we needed a way for these kids to showcase their talents, and the writing contest was born.”

‘STUDENT VOICES MATTER’

The contest is open to young writers in third though 12th grade and is judged by local authors and teachers. This year, nine judges aided in the contest. Heather Sappenfield, longtime Eagle County educator and author of “The View From Who I Was,” read the entries from eighth and ninth graders.

“When I began reading the first story and as I finished the last, I was over the moon because I was so impressed by the amount of good stuff going on in these stories,” Sappenfield said. “They showed a depth of understanding of structure and character. Conflicts built that had complications and satisfying resolutions. Setting or voice enhanced these conflicts in great ways. I was so pleased to see this coming from kids in the Vail Valley. It made me proud of our schools.”

Another judge, Rebecca Cohen, author of “Fifteen Minutes Outside,” echoes Sappenfield’s impression of the talent from the valley.

“I look forward to meeting all students who entered,” Cohen said. “It takes work and courage just to enter; I want to shake the hands of students who participated. We all have something to say given the opportunity, and this contest shares the message that student voices matter.”

Among these entries were many first-time submissions and many past honorees.

Lauren Rumley, a first-time participant, saw the contest as an opportunity to chase her dreams.

“I love to write,” she said. “My favorite part is to sit down and think about my story and how to make it better. I wanted a chance to have my writing published. That is my dream.”

The Bookworm is proud of all the stories submitted this year. The awards ceremony will be a time to celebrate a new wave of published authors in the valley.

“This event just keeps growing,” Gustafson said. “I am continually amazed by the talent within our valley, and it is such a pleasure to recognize all the hard work and creativity that goes into these stories. “

Judges and The Bookworm staffers will announce the winners and honorable mentions, with every participant earning a certificate and a spot on the acknowledgments page.