As 2023 begins, so does the Paris-Henry County Arts Council’s first activity for the new year. For the previous two years, the Arts Council has sponsored a writing competition for authors living in Henry County. Aimed to be a creative outlet during COVID, the idea of continuing the contest as a permanent event became apparent through the enthusiasm of one man, Dr. Eugene Gulish.
Besides being a well-known orthopedic surgeon, avid volunteer for several organizations, and photography enthusiast, Gulish enjoyed writing in his spare time and had taken classes to improve his wordsmith skills. He shared his works with an online group for critique and suggestions and was excited to enter his stories into the Arts Council’s competition. He handily won Judge’s Choice the first year he participated and placed first the second year.
Sadly, just a short time after winning, Gulish died from a long illness, and the Arts Council lost a great supporter and friend.
In planning the events for 2023, the Arts Council agreed upon changing the event’s title to the Dr. Eugene Gulish Writing Contest and expand on its scope.
“The day Gene came in to pick up his certificate for winning first place for his story, ‘The Sniper,’ he was thrilled,” said Chloe Roth, Arts Council executive director. “He couldn’t wait to have the story published in the newspaper. Little did we know, he wanted the actual person he fictionalized as his story’s main character to read it. It was a promise he made. Gene wasn’t able to see it in print. He died the same day the story was published in the P-I, but we feel his family made sure his friend saw it.”
The biggest change to this year’s rules is the contest will be open to surrounding counties. Writers from Henry, Benton, Carroll, Weakley, Gibson, Dyer, Obion, Stewart, Montgomery, and Houston counties in Tennessee, along with Calloway and Marshall counties in Kentucky, will be able to submit their manuscripts. Separate prize money will be awarded to Henry County writers and to the out-of-county writers.
Submissions by college students will be based on the student’s permanent address. High school students must supply parents’ information and contact information.
The writing contest rules are:
1. 2023 Theme: SUSPENSE & MYSTERY – Stories must not exceed 1,500 words.
2. Manuscripts must follow the rules for submission.
3. Prize money will be given to the top three entries in adult division (18 years old and above), plus a Judges’ Choice award will be given. First place: $100, second place: $75, third place: $50, Judges’ Choice for best overall story: $150. Youth (14-17 years old): First place: $75, second place: $50, third place: $25.
4. Submissions from outside Henry County will be judged and awarded separately.
5. Judges will consider plot, story structure, character development, and setting. Grammar and sentence structure will also be important factors during judging.
6. Authors may submit up to three stories, but prize money will only be awarded to one story. Send submissions to enter.phcarts@gmail. com.
7. Stories with coarse obscenities or erotica will be disqualified.
8. DEADLINE: Your complete manuscript must be received no later than 11:59 pm, February 11, 2023.
For a complete set of rules and submission requirements, visit our website (www.phcarts.com) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.