Manistee Middle School student a semifinalist in statewide writing contest

MANISTEE — Manistee Middle School student Nora Winter’s eyes lit up when asked what intrigued her about submitting an entry in Write Michigan Short Story Contest.

Manistee Middle School student Nora Winter and her teacher Connie Josvai look at the website where people can go to cast a ballot in the Write Michigan Short Story Contest. Winter's story was one of 10 that were selected as a semifinalist from entries from all over the state that will be voted on until Jan. 31. (Ken Grabowski/News Advocate).

Manistee Middle School student Nora Winter and her teacher Connie Josvai look at the website where people can go to cast a ballot in the Write Michigan Short Story Contest. Winter’s story was one of 10 that were selected as a semifinalist from entries from all over the state that will be voted on until Jan. 31. (Ken Grabowski/News Advocate).

She looked at her teacher Connie Josvai, who was sitting next to her and smiled because it is obvious writing is already a passion of this sixth grader. Winter’s story was selected one of the top 10 choices that will be competing for the Readers Choice Award in the Michigan Short Story Contest.

“Mrs. Josvai presented it to our class that there was going to be a challenge for, like the whole state of Michigan and she wanted us all to put in for it and I did,” said Winter. “We had to write a short story that was a minimum of 3,000 words. I wrote a story called the ‘Butterfly Curse’ because I always wanted to write a horror story.”

Josvai said she felt the contest was a good opportunity for the students to show both their creativity and writing skills at the same time.

“It could be any topic or genre, which is great, so if a student was even interested in writing a poem even, they could enter it,” said Josvai. “It gives all students an opportunity to shine in a certain area. One thing that was kind of hard is students are used to writing to a certain genre or assignment and this one was just open to anything.”

Josvai said it made for some interesting stories and she didn’t start looking at them until after they were submitted to avoid not selecting certain ones to be entered.

“A majority of the students did decide to submit their stories and there were a few that didn’t, but I told them you never know,” said Josvai.

Winter’s “Butterfly Curse” and the other nine semifinalist stories now have the opportunity to be voted on by the public to select the top winner for a $250 prize.

To cast a vote people should go to writemichigan.org and then to the purple ‘Vote’ Entry Tab and then the Youth Entry Tab. They should then find Nora Winter’s story, “The Butterfly Curse,” select her story and then select vote.

“People are able to vote once a day,” said Winter.

Josvai said the other nine entries are from a variety of locations around the state.

“There are a lot of them from the Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit areas and there is one from Hart and one from Marquette,” said Josvai. “The voting goes on until Jan. 31 and the judges have left that part of it to the public.”

Additionally, the stories will be reviewed by our panel of judges to determine the Judges’ Choice Winner and Runner-up. These winners will receive $250 and $100 respectively. The Readers’ Choice and Judges’ Choice short stories, along with two additional semi-finalists’ stories will be printed in the Write Michigan Anthology.

The Write Michigan Award Ceremony will be held at Schuler Books and Music (2660 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids) on March 17. This event will celebrate all of the Write Michigan writers. The Write Michigan Anthology will include the winning story and will be available for sale and for a book signing at the award ceremony.

Josvai said this is the first time she has had her class enter this contest and she has been pleased with the response of the students.

“It is run through the Kent County Library and Shuler Books and Music and we were in the middle of writing short stories, so we decided to run with it,” said Josvai. “This is the sixth year that this competition has been put on by them.”

Winter’s mother, Sheryl, said she is very proud of her daughter reaching this level.

“She is quite a writer,” said Sheryl and then added with a laugh, “I was kind of surprised she did a horror story, but the principal joked that all the kids are into that type of thing and someday she will be rich.”

Now they are all hoping the public will respond by reading her story online and casting a vote that will help make Nora the overall winner of the contest.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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