Women on the page

A lot of events fade in and out of popularity on college campuses, but Telling Women’s Stories is in its tenth year of running at Southwest Minnesota State University, and it shows no sign of slowing down.

It is clear to see how this contest remains prominent. There is an evident passion and need among SMSU’s students to share the written stories of women. “The contest does good on campus,” said Emily Errico, a Professional Writing and Communication senior. “How often do we take time to acknowledge people with a specific perspective and ask them directly to share their stories? The answer is not often enough.”

Telling Women’s Stories is an annual writing event that is sponsored by Southwest Minnesota State University’s Women’s Studies Program. Anybody who is a SMSU student, whether that be online, on campus, male, or female, can enter their written works into the contest. All works submitted should focus primarily on a woman or experiences involving or relating to women.

“When I first thought about entering last year, I had my doubts about whether anyone would actually want to read what I’ve written or if my experiences were ‘womanly’ enough for Telling Women’s Stories,” said Errico. “I had to step back and recognize that I have a valid voice for what it’s like to be a woman. I grew up with four sisters and rely heavily on my female friends and relatives for advice. The more I looked, the more ‘womanly” my story seemed to be. As long as I’m writing non-fiction experiences, the result is going to be a woman’s story.”

Sabrina Pankratz, a Professional Writing and Communications, Graphic Design and Studio Art major is writing 3 pieces relating to her own life. “I am submitting three pieces—two poems and hopefully a short story,” she said. “I am writing from my own experience and thoughts– experiences. . . that are quite diverse; some from childhood, growing up, and from present-day.”

Members of the Women’s Studies Committee will be judging the entries without the author’s names attached. There will be a prize of three gift certificates that correlate with the placing of the story entries — $100 for first, $75 for second, and $50 for third place prize. Up to 10 pages per person can be submitted of short stories, essays, plays, screenplays, or poems. Entries should be typed in 12-pt. font. Pages should be numbered, and stories as well as essays have to be double spaced, while poems may be single—spaced; each poem should start on a new page.

Pankratz also mentioned how this contest is not only helping women specifically, but it is giving young adults a chance to spread their writing wings through a subject matter that is important. “I’m entering because I want to share my writing with people,” she said. “This contest gives me something to write seriously about and allows me to share my work.”

Submissions are due by Monday, March 15 at 5:00 p.m., and should include one electronic copy of the student’s works emailed to [email protected]. This email must include the author’s name, address, phone, and the titles of the works submit- ted. The subject of the email should be: Entry for Women’s Stories Contest.

For more information or any further questions relating to the writing contest, please contact Professor Ruthe Thompson.