Writing contest offers $500 prize, promotes tourism

Published 8:32 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2016

By Alaina Denean Deshazo | The Selma Times-Journal

Selma and Dallas County is full of history, but through a writing contest hosted by the Selma and Dallas County Chamber of Commerce local writers will be able to expand on that story.

By compiling these fictional short stories, marketing coordinator for the chamber Landon Nichols said the chamber is hoping to encourage people to come to Selma and Dallas County.

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“The whole premise of this contest and style of writing, is you set rich fictional stories in these locations, and the end goal is piling them all in an anthology and then sell an anthology of southern tourism shorts,” Nichols said. “You’ll read the story and get really engaged in the location, and then you’ll actually be drawn to the location in real life.”

The chamber teamed up with the Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative and the Alabama State Tourism Department to host the contest, where the winner will take home $500 cash and the 2016 SELTI Tourism Fiction Award in Dallas County.

Nichols said the fictional writing contest has happened in other cities before, but this is the first time for Dallas County and Selma.

The plot for the story has to be set in Selma or Dallas County, and Nichols said that shouldn’t be hard to do.

“Selma has an incredibly complex and incredibly rich history, and when you ask someone to write a fiction story set in a place like this, they’re going to draw from all of those different histories, draw from the community and culture we have today, and look towards the future how things might change,” Nichols said. “The range of possible interpretations are just absolutely limitless.”

Patrick Miller, the founder of SELTI, agreed with Nichols saying there is so much in Selma and Dallas County to play off of.

“It would be impossible for writers to visit the Selma area and not be inspired and the stories they write can help share the experience here with their readers on a whole new, deeper level,” Miller said.

Nichols said he is looking forward to reading all of the stories.

“I’m really excited to read the stories, just because I’m really curious to see those different perspectives and different takes on our community,” Nichols said.

The contest is open to people of all ages. The short story can be up to 2,000 words in length and should follow all official rules and guidelines, which can be found at www.selmaalabama.com or by visiting the Centre for Commerce Building at 912 Selma Ave. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 31 and they must be submitted to literarytourism@aol.com.