Deadline extended for Mayborn conference contest for high school, community college students

Friday, May 31, 2013 - 13:58

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- This fall, many Dallas-Fort Worth residents may recall the exact moment 50 years ago when they heard about a tragic historical event -- the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza. Or they may remember their parents' or grandparents' accounts.

By writing down eyewitness accounts of history for the Mayborn National History Writing Competition, high school and community college students may receive scholarships to attend the 2013 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference this summer. The deadline for the competition has been extended to June 29 (Saturday).

The annual Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, which is hosted by the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at the University of North Texas, has offered a writing contest for high school and community college students, ages 14-25, for the past three years.

The contest is a partnership of the conference, the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, and Big Thought, a nonprofit organization in Dallas that provides creative learning programs. This year's contest was launched last October with Pulitzer Prize-winner author Ron Powers, best known for Flags of Our Fathers, presenting two lectures on writing historical narratives at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. About 600 students from across Texas attended his lectures, which are available on the contest website.

The 2011 and 2012 contests focused on biography, but conference organizers decided to focus this year's contest on historical narratives to go with the conference theme -- unearthing the past. Participants may submit not only accounts of those who witnessed historical events, but write about the events and characters in history that have left lasting marks on communities and shaped the towns' futures.

All students must enter the contest with a mentor, which may be a teacher or a parent. Ten winners will be selected, and they and their mentors will receive free registration for the 2013 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, which will be held July 19-21 (Friday-Sunday) Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center. The hotel is located at 1800 Highway 26 East in Grapevine, Texas. The winners and their mentors will also receive hotel accommodations, meals and transportation to and from the conference. The students' work will also be published in The Dallas Morning News.

Powers will be among more than 20 narrative nonfiction authors and literary journalists speaking at the conference, which will feature keynote speakers Susan Orlean, author of the best-selling The Orchid Thief and a new book about Hollywood canine star Rin Tin Tin; Rick Atkinson, a military historian and winner of three Pulitzer Prizes; and Texas Monthly executive editor Skip Hollandsworth, screenplay writer for the true-crime movie "Bernie." The conference will also offer a bus tour of The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas to tie into the upcoming 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

For more information about the contest, contact contest coordinator Tasha Tsiaperas at or 469-387-6985. For more information on the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, contact Jo Ann Ballantine at 940-565-4778 or

UNT News Service
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