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The Bess Streeter Aldrich Foundation of Elmwood is inviting all area residents to participate in its annual short story contest. Third graders through senior citizens are eligible to participate.

ELMWOOD – Attention all those with a passion for writing.

The Bess Streeter Aldrich Foundation of Elmwood is now hosting its annual short story contest aimed at inspiring excellence in fictional writing, as well as bringing more public awareness on the life and career of this famous Nebraska author.

The contest is open from third graders through senior citizens, according to Kurk Shrader, executive director.

“It’s an outlet for people with a passion for writing, as well as the opportunity to become more familiar with Aldrich’s writing style,” he said. “It also encourages reading.”

The writers are encouraged to create a fictional short story that is written in the wholesome spirit displayed in Aldrich’s works, while incorporating a theme focusing on Nebraska’s economy, history, cultural diversity, and/or current, past or future geography.

Each writer will be placed in one of four categories – adult, high school, middle school (grades 6 through 8) or intermediate school (grades 3 through 5).

Story lengths should be between 1,000 and 2,000 words. There is no minimum word requirement for the intermediate school writers, Shrader said.

A list of books by the author that the writers can read to be more familiar with her works can be found on the foundation’s website,

The deadline for submission is Feb. 1, 2019. A submission link and a complete list of rules can be found on that website. Please, no essays.

The category winners and the cash prizes will be announced at the foundation’s spring banquet next April. The first-place winner among the adults will receive $100, while the cash prizes among the top student writers will be $25 to $50. Other cash prizes will be given out, also.

Throughout her life, Aldrich wrote as many as 160 short stories, each one finding appreciative readers, according to Shrader.

“Everything she wrote, she was able to sell,” he said.

Publicity for this event is funded in part by Cass County Tourism.

For more information, contact Shrader at 402-994-3855 or email him at

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