Introduction

For general information and specific instructions for each of the contests that students and teachers prepare BEFORE the Festival, see any of the links below.

Awards and Contests

Special certificates, T-shirts, books, pins, notebooks, and money are given as prizes for Festival competitions. All prizes are awarded at a ceremony in Kilcawley Center from 3:15–3:45 p.m. on each day of the Festival. Prize winners will come on to the stage to receive their awards and the congratulations of the author-lecturer, the visiting lecturer, Board members, and Committee members. The prize-winning Candace Gay Memorial Awards, the prize-winning Impromptu Writing essays, Journalism Workshop articles, and the English Festival Writing Award for Teachers are printed in A Festival of Writing, a copy of which is provided to each participating school the following fall.

Judging of all competitions which are held during the English Festival is done by members of the YSU English Department, area teachers, substitutes, librarians, administrators, retired teachers, and qualified parents. The Candace Gay Memorial Essay Contest is judged by the Festival Committee itself, the English Festival Writing Award for Teachers competition by a specially selected committee. The Festival Art Contest and the Jeremy Salvner Memorial Music Award are judged by English Festival committee members and representatives of the YSU Art and Music Departments respectively.

Before the Festival, judges read the Festival books for the grade level they will be judging and participate in a training session at YSU on holistic and trait analysis scoring methods, systems of assessment perfected and used for numerous state and national writing tests. At the Festival, judges first evaluate papers holistically. The best papers are re-read, using trait scoring methods, and evaluated according to ideas, style, mechanics, and use of specific evidence from the books. Papers with the highest scores are declared the winners.

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Candace Gay Memorial Essay Contest

Candace Gay Memorial Awards, established in 1978 by Professors Thomas and Carol Gay in memory of their thirteen-year-old daughter, Candace McIntyre Gay, are given to junior and senior high school students who exhibit distinctive writing ability in the Candace Gay Memorial Essay Contest. More than $2,500 in prizes is distributed each year in the Candace Gay Memorial Essay Contest.

Candace Gay Memorial Essay Prompt

It has been said that teenagers are the most misunderstood people on Earth. They are treated like children and expected to act like adults. Drawing on characters from at least two of this year’s English Festival books, discuss the lives of kids who are essentially misunderstood and identify the significance of what other characters do not seem to understand about them.

Your entry will be judged by how well you:

Your entry will not be considered unless you

At the bottom of the title page, write the following statement and sign your name beneath it:

I have received no direct help on this paper from my teachers, parents, or anyone else.

Below the statement printed above on your title page write the following statement and have your teacher sign his/her name beneath that:

This essay was not written as a class assignment, and I have not directly helped the student with this essay in any way.

Postmark your entry by February 23, 2018, and address it as follows:

Melanie Loew

The Candace Gay Memorial Essay Contest
Department of English
Youngstown State University
One University Plaza
Youngstown, OH  44555

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Festival Art Contest

All students at schools eligible for the 2018 English Festival are invited to enter the Festival Art Contest by submitting two-dimensional artwork. The submission may be no larger than 14 inches X 18 inches. Any submission of a 3-dimensional object will be disqualified. Students may submit only one entry. Each entry must be the creation of an original drawing, painting, or photograph inspired by an illustration suitable for the cover or for promotional materials of a Festival book and must be the student's original work. Artwork may be in any medium and in any style. Entries will be judged on their originality, artistic merit, and appropriateness to the book being illustrated. The entry may be vertical or horizontal in format. The entry need not contain the author and the title of the book if it is not intended as the cover of a book. If the entry does contain author/title, correct spelling is important. The author/title may be on an overlay to preserve the original image without text. The entry cannot be copied from other artwork or photographs unless the photograph is one taken by the student (please tape to back of entry).

The entry must be accompanied by a cover sheet attached to the back of the submission that indicates the student’s name, grade, school, English teacher, and the book being illustrated. The entry must also be accompanied by a statement of no more than 250 words that explains how the submission is inspired by (or reflective of) characters, settings, events, situations, themes and/or moods of a particular book on this year's English Festival reading list. This statement must also be attached to the back of the art work.

Multiple prizes will be awarded for 7th–9th and for 10th–12th. We reserve the right to copy art work for display on our web page or in our publications, with credit to the artist.

Send entries and cover sheets by February 23, 2018, to:

Melanie Loew
YSU English Festival Art Contest
English Department
Youngstown State University
One University Plaza
Youngstown, Ohio 44555

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Jeremy Salvner Memorial Music Award

The Jeremy Salvner Memorial Music Awards, established by Gary, Kathy, and Matthew Salvner in memory of their late son and brother Jeremy, are awarded to junior and senior high students attending the English Festival for original musical compositions inspired by one or more books on the English Festival list. Original musical compositions may be submitted by individuals or by groups of no more than five (who will then share in any prize awarded to the group). Compositions may be either vocal or instrumental and must be no more than ten minutes long. Vocal compositions must be recorded (accompanied by any instrumentation) and submitted on CD, and should be accompanied by written lyrics of the composition. Instrumental compositions must be recorded using solo or ensemble instruments (any instruments are allowed) and submitted on CD.

All entries must be titled, and each submitted CD must be labeled with the musical work’s title, names of book(s) that inspired the work, and the names, grades, and schools of composers/performers written onto the CD. Each entry must also be accompanied by a statement of no more than 250 words that explains how the composition is inspired by (or reflective of) characters, settings, events, situations, themes, and/or moods of a particular book or books on this year’s English Festival reading list. This statement must also contain the title of the work and names, grades, and schools of composers/performers. Entries will be judged by a committee of YSU Dana School of Music faculty, other music professionals, and at least one member of the English Festival Committee. Separate prizes are given at the junior-high and senior-high levels. No professional musicians, including music teachers, may participate in the creation or production of a composition, including its musical accompaniment.

Entries will be judged according to the following criteria:

Entries to the Jeremy Salvner Memorial Music Awards may not be returned. We reserve the right to use excerpts of winning compositions on our website and in other English Festival publicity, with credit given to the artists.

Send musical entries and accompanying essays by February 23, 2018, to:

Melanie Loew
Jeremy Salvner Memorial Music Awards
English Department
Youngstown State University
One University Plaza
Youngstown, OH 44555

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The English Festival Writing Award for Teachers

The English Festival Writing Award for Teachers was established to reward teachers with a cash prize for excellence in writing about and in response to the YSU English Festival. We are inviting you to submit writing centered on a Festival book, Festival author, and/or Festival experience. Your entry may be personal, reflective, and/or critical in purpose. You may utilize your experience of the Festival, the reactions and responses of your students, and/or outside critical or popular sources. You might want to keep a log/journal of impressions and observations during the entire English Festival experience to draw on. 

Submissions should be at least 4 pages in length.

Deadline for submission is August 15, 2018. Your name, mailing address, and school must appear only on the cover sheet. If you are a prize winner, you will be asked to submit an electronic copy of your essay and your social security number in order to distribute funds per YSU policy. The winner will be announced in the fall, published in the 2016 Festival of Writing, and recognized at the next English Festival.

Essays must be postmarked (or hand-delivered) by August 15, 2018, and addressed as follows:
Melanie Loew
YSU English Festival Committee
Department of English
Youngstown State University
One University Plaza
Youngstown, Ohio 44555

If you want your manuscript returned, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

The English Festival Graphic Essay Contest

The English Festival Committee will continue to sponsor a special contest that we began last year in honor of the National Ambassador of Young People's Literature Gene Luen Yang.

Contest rules

1. Select one character from this year's English Festival booklist who has a particularly noteworthy name or nickname. In a graphic essay, explore the significance of that name.

2. Entries should contain panels (in comic book style), which may further be arranged into tiers (rows of panels like a page from a graphic novel), and may contain both “dialogue or thought bubbles” and captions (commentary by a narrator or other non-dialogue text).

3. Use original art in your entry, either hand drawn or computer generated.

4. Use writing that complements the art and expresses the idea you are trying to convey.

5. Students may collaborate (e.g., if one student is a writer and one student is an illustrator); however, any monetary prizes will be split among the collaborators.

Don’t know what a graphic essay is? Here’s an example by Gene Luen Yang:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/04/01/books/review/28sketchbook-yang.html?ref=todayspaper

Click here for excerpts from the 2017 graphic essay contest winners.

Here are some websites that might help you with the graphic portion of your entry:

Marvelkids.com

Storyboardthat.com

ToonDoo.com

Makebeliefscomix.com

All entries will be judged using these criteria:

• Originality of the idea expressed.

• Effectiveness of the writing and illustrations.

• Ability to express an idea pertaining to the topic.

Essays must be postmarked (or hand-delivered) by February 23, 2018, and addressed as follows:
Melanie Loew
YSU English Festival Committee 
Department of English 
Youngstown State University 
One University Plaza
Youngstown, Ohio 44555

If you want your manuscript returned, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

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