Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Opportunities for Pittsburgh Teens

Pulse Blogfest!

March 14-17 |

Who is participating in Pulse Blogfest?

It’s a veritable who’s who of teen fiction. More than 110 teen authors have committed to participating, including such bestsellers as Scott Westerfeld (Uglies), Ellen Hopkins (Glass), D.J. MacHale (Pendragon), Holly Black (Ironside, Spiderwick), Kate Brian (Private), Cassandra Clare (City of Bones), Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising), James A. Owen (Here, There Be Dragons) and many, many more. See the end of this email for a complete list of confirmed authors.

How will it work?

Each day of the blogfest will be devoted to one question submitted by a teen ahead of time. The questions will be general and will provide a range of subjects, some writing-related, some not. The questions have been chosen from those submitted by our Pulse It Board, which is Simon & Schuster’s teen advisory board that currently has more than 700 members. More information on the Pulse It Board (and how teens can join) can be found at . The questions will not be made public until the Blogfest begins.

How often will authors post?

The participation of every author will vary depending on their schedule. Every author will answer at least one question, while many authors have committed to participate on at least five different days.

Will teens be able to post during the Blogfest?

Teens won’t be able to start their own brand-new blog entries. However, anyone will be free to submit comments to any particular blog entry, which will appear below the relevant entry once the comment has been approved. (To make sure that no confidential information is given out, or any spam or obscenity creeps in, every comment will be carefully screened before going up.) Some authors will be coming on to the blog to address those comments, and others may not have the time to. Text on the blog will make it clear that teens should not expect every author to necessarily be able to respond to all comments, and that some authors, due to time constraints and touring schedules, may not even be able to see the comments until after the Blogfest is over. However, all authors that participate will receive a transcript after the Blogfest is over that contains all the comments that teens made to their posts.


Malin Alegria • Kim Antieau • Marc Aronson • Avi • Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Lisa Barham • Lauren Barnholdt • Hilari Bell • Phil Bildner
Franny Billingsley • Holly Black • Judy Blume • Jennifer Bradbury
Kate Brian • Robin Brickman • Teri Brown • Linda Buckley-Archer
Marina Budhos • Christian Burch • Melvin Burgess • Niki Burnham
Nancy Butcher • Deb Caletti • Janet Lee Carey • Patrick Cave
Cassandra Clare • Rachel Cohn • Rhody Cohon • Susan Cooper
Melissa de la Cruz • Kavita Daswani • Stacia Deutsch • Cheryl Diamond
Allison van Diepen • Cameron Dokey • Frances Dowell • Erin Downing
Sharon M. Draper • Kathleen Benner Duble • Kathleen Duey • Clare B. Dunkle
Kelly Easton • Jennifer Echols • Thomas Fahy • Terri Farley
Susan Fletcher • E.R. Frank • Diana Gonzalez • Lorie Ann Grover
Randi Hacker • Margaret Peterson Haddix • Cathy Hapka • Pete Hautman
Julie Hearn • Karol Ann Hoeffner • Nancy Holder • Ellen Hopkins
James Howe • Jeffry W. Johnston • Cynthia Kadohata • P.G. Kain
Ronald Kidd • Annette Curtis Klause • Chris Krovatin • Nancy Krulik
Evan Kuhlman • Dakota Lane • Hope Larson • Richard Lewis
Julie Linker • Greg Logsted • D. Anne Love • Whitney Lyles
Chris Lynch • D.J. MacHale • Eric Marcus • Amanda Marrone
Kelly McClymer • Lisa McMann • Nico Medina • Kai Meyer
Sarah Miller • Annabel Monaghan • Kate Morgenroth • Taylor Morris
Sarah Mussi • Donna Jo Napoli • Phyllis Reynolds Naylor • J. Adams Oaks
Ken Oppel • James A. Owen • Bronwen Pardes • Jamie Ponti
Staton Rabin • Deborah Reber • Randi Reisfeld • Ashley Rhodes-Courter
Paul Ruditis • Alex Sanchez • Robyn Schneider • Lisa Schroeder
Elizabeth Scott • Gloria Skurzynski • Brian Sloan • Thomas E. Sniegoski
Sonya Sones • Todd Strasser • Wendy Toliver • Roderick Townley
Kristen Tracy • Adrienne Maria Vrettos • Judy Waite • Robin Wasserman
Scott Westerfeld • Suzanne Weyn • Matt Whyman • Ellen Wittlinger
Elisabeth Wolfe • Bil Wright • Janet Ruth Young

The YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Office of Racial Diversity and Inclusion

The deadline for essay submissions is Friday, March 21, 2008

The YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Office of Racial Diversity and Inclusion (formerly the Center for Race Relations) is pleased to announce that our annual Student Essay Contest will take place in the Spring of 2008. The Racial Justice Student Essay Contest supports anti-racism efforts by raising awareness among young people and acknowledging their own search for racial harmony and equality. This year we are asking middle school students in grades 6, 7, and 8 to respond to the following question:

If you were elected into a public office, what would you do to eliminate racism? Describe your plan of action. (300 words or less)

Here is a link to the complete contest rules and an entry form. Each student essay must have a completed form, including parent/guardian signature. We encourage you to participate by advertising the contest throughout your school/organization and distributing directly to your young people. We have found it helpful to assign a specific individual as a coordinator for the Student Essay Contest to generate interest, provide technical writing assistance and advice where needed, and assume responsibility for submitting the essays.

The deadline for essay submissions is Friday, March 21, 2008.

A panel of judges from the greater Pittsburgh educational community will select the essay contest finalists, who will be notified by Friday, April 4, 2007. Students selected as first, second, and third place finalists will be honored with at a recognition ceremony on Thursday, April 24, 2008 at the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh.

Thank you for your assistance in promoting the contest and best of luck to your participants!

Debra Mason
Director of Racial Diversity and Inclusion

Questions? Email or call 412-255-1466.
Entries must be received by Friday, March 21, 2008.

From Poet to Playwright: August Wilson Poetry and Spoken Word Contest

Sponsored by the August Wilson Center for African American Culture

Open to high school students (grades 9-12) in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties
$1,000 prize for one winner from each county
Submissions due: April 9, 2008

Before he became an award-winning playwright, August Wilson was first a poet. In 1965, Wilson purchased his first typewriter for $20 and began to write poetry. In the late 1960s, he became part of a group of poets, educators and artists who formed the Centre Avenue Poets Theater Workshop in Pittsburgh. High school poets and spoken word artists are invited to submit a poem inspired by August Wilson’s life and work. Whether you’ve seen or read one of Wilson’s plays, or read a biography of him, this is your opportunity to honor his words with your words.

Poems will go through a blind judging process, and will be judged on four criteria: style, grammar, creativity and content. Winning poems will demonstrate an outstanding understanding of August Wilson’s life and/or work, and a high level of creative expression. Entries will be judged by staff of the August Wilson Center, community volunteers, members of the poetry community, and relatives/former colleagues of August Wilson.

Eligible participants include all high school students (grades 9-12) in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties. Employees of the August Wilson Center, its Board of Directors, and their immediate family members are not eligible to participate in this contest. All entries become the property of the August Wilson Center and will not be returned.

Each participant may submit only one poem. A poem must be no longer than two pages, and must be typed in a legible, 11- to 12-point font. A submission must also include a maximum one-paragraph statement explaining how the poem draws upon themes in August Wilson’s life and work. No identifying information (name, school, etc.) should appear on the poem or the explanatory statement. Participants must submit five (5) copies of both the poem and the statement.

A submitted poem must be accompanied by a stapled cover sheet with the following information: name, complete address, phone number, e-mail (if available), county of residence, name and address of high school, and if applicable: name of the teacher, librarian or other adult who assigned the poem, and the name of their organization (school, library, community organization, etc.). Participants should submit only one (1) copy of the cover sheet.

Entries must be received in the August Wilson Center offices by 5 pm on Wednesday, April 9, 2008. Entries may be mailed or dropped off in person. Electronic submissions will not be accepted. Semi-finalists and winners will be notified via mail/e-mail/phone before or by April 18, 2008. Entries that do not follow ALL contest requirements WILL NOT be considered.

A prize of $1,000 will be awarded to one winner from each of the five counties. Winners will also be invited to read their poems at the Second Annual August Wilson Birthday Celebration, starring Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance, on Saturday, April 26, 2008 at the Byham Theater in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Please send all entries to:

August Wilson Center for African American Culture
Attn: Sarah Williams
Regional Enterprise Tower
425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 1750
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Call 412.258.2664 or e-mail for further information.

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