Book Festival opens 2017 youth poetry competition

August 7, 2017

The Florida Heritage Book Festival, Inc. is presenting a poetry competition for students in St. Johns County schools or, home-schooled in grades six through 12.

The theme is Florida’s Natural Resources and each participant must submit an original poem in English on that theme. Poems should not exceed 24 lines of text. Students will compete in one of two divisions: Middle school (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12). The entry deadline is Sept. 8.

Winners will receive cash prizes and certificates sponsored by All American Air Charitable Foundation. Three prizes will be awarded in each division: First, $100; Second, $50; Third, $25.

Winners will present their poems at the Florida Heritage Book Festival on Saturday, Sept. 23, at 2:20 p.m., at Flagler College Ringhaver Student Center, 50 Sevilla St. Winning presentations will appear on the FHBF website, www.fhbookfest.com.

“Our AAA Charitable Foundation is honored to support the work and mission of The Florida Heritage Book Festival and their continuous efforts in providing awareness to Florida's authors, literature and culture while cultivating the art of writing in the oldest city in our nation,” said Christine Chapman, president of All American Air Charitable Foundation. AAACF has been a Book Festival sponsor since 2014.

Debra Gibson, president of the Florida Heritage Book Festival, said the poetry competition is a part of the Festival’s continued commitment to youth programming. “We are looking forward to this year’s inclusion of the poetry contest for local youth and we love the idea that AAACF has agreed to sponsor this event,” she said. “We cannot put on the Festival without our community sponsors.”

In addition to AAACF, sponsors are: St Augustine Media (TheSt. Augustine Record), Flagler College, St. Johns County Tourist Development Council, Florida Department of Cultural Affairs (Culture Builds Florida), Culture Around Every Corner − St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & Florida’s Historic Coast, Herbie Wiles Insurance, Old Town Trolley Tours, and Flagler College Bookstore.

The judging panel will be St. Johns County residents. “Our judges were chosen because of their keen interest in literary works, and in fostering youth involvement in reading and creative writing,” Gibson said.

Poems will be judged based on originality, creativity, and artistic quality.  Poems containing profanity, vulgarity or offensive material will be disqualified. The decision of the judges will be final.

Contest rules and parental forms are available at www.fhbookfest.com. Printed rules and entry forms are available at all St. Johns County libraries.

Electronic entries in Word, PDF or WordPerfect are encouraged. Paper entries will be accepted at any St. Johns County library or bookmobile locations or, may be mailed to FHBF at PO Box 4011, St. Augustine, FL 32085 postmarked by Sept 8. Winners will be announced by September 15, 2017.  (Parents or guardians of minor contestants must sign a release authorizing the FHBF to reprint the authors work or, to use video of the author presenting the work.)

The Festival began in 2008 and is a free event every September highlighting Florida’s literary heritage under the direction of The Florida Heritage Book Festival, Inc., Board of Directors. Executive Director is Bob Boese.