Ernest Hemingway stated, “There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” Writing is the bedrock of many careers; it is also a passion for most members of NEHS; reading the writing of others and creating one’s own written expression are hallmarks of why language and literature study fulfills so many.
NEHS continues to focus on writing this year through a number of different initiatives.
NEHS Writing Challenge
Following the success of last year’s Poetry Challenge, NEHS has shifted the focus of this year’s Writing Challenge to Flash Fiction. We kicked off the challenge in September with Six-Word Stories—a form we will be returning to in April. October saw a record number of submissions—47 from 17 different schools—for the theme Dribbles, or stories in exactly 50 words. Judges are currently reviewing these submissions and we are eagerly awaiting November’s Postcard Fiction, narratives written on physical or digital postcards. Student members and Chapter Advisors alike are encouraged to submit today!
NEHS Awards and Scholarships
NEHS’s competitive awards and scholarships encourage members to engage with writing in a variety of ways. Through the month of September, in conjunction with the American Library Association‘s Banned Books Week, NEHS collected submissions to the Intellectual Freedom Challenge, which encourages students to write rationale essays based on potentially controversial texts and, in doing so, compete for monetary awards. The “Crafton Awards” are named after Dr. Robert Crafton, past president of Sigma Tau Delta, whose vision generated this effort. Beginning on December 1 and continuing through January 11, 2021, NEHS will accept applications to our competitive scholarship program. Graduating seniors who hold membership in active chapters may apply for a one-year, non-renewing scholarship. All applicants for NEHS Scholarships are required to read the Common Reader, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, and submit an original essay based on one of the Essay Prompts, which will be available on November 2.
In the face of the global pandemic and virtual learning, NEHS has initiated a Webinar Series to support Chapter Advisors. In our third webinar, “Why I Write: Writing Engagement, the National Day on Writing, and NEHS Opportunities,” Cristopher Lockwood, the Chapter Advisor for Instituto Blaise Pascale, Oaxaca, Mexico, and Breanne Hicks, a Southwestern Region Advisory Council member and Chapter Advisor for St. Mary’s Hall, San Antonio, TX, shared ideas about how they focus on writing. Chris also shared his chapter’s effort creating an amazing journal, “Pandemic Spring: An Anthology of Writing and Artwork From the Coronavirus Quarantine.”
National Day on Writing
We also encourage chapters to celebrate the National Day on Writing, October 20, 2020, and to use that day as a springboard for writing throughout the year. Hosted by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Day on Writing “celebrates writing—and the many places, reasons, and ways we write each day—as an essential component of literacy. Since 2009, #WhyIWrite has encouraged thousands of people to lift their voices to the things that matter most to them.” Breanne Hicks discusses how her chapter participates in the National Day on Writing in the NEHS Webinar video above as well as in her blog from last year’s event, “Beauty and Power in Writing: National Day on Writing.” There’s still time to plan how your chapter will Get Involved this year.