How to: Enter a creative writing competition

BFA Acting student Jessy Ardern shares her tips on how to prepare an entry for the U of A’s Leone McGregor Prize

Jessy Ardern was recently named the first winner of the Leone McGregor Writing Competition for Leone, her complex and imaginative play about the historic alumna’s life.

The Leone McGregor Writing Competition is being held again in 2015, with a $10,000 prize up for grabs in each of two categories – one for undergraduate students and one for all other students registered at the University of Alberta (includes graduate or open studies).

The awards will go to the best play, screenplay, television drama or short story in each category focusing on the life of Leone McGregor. Students can pick up a free copy of a book about McGregor’s life from the Faculty of Arts to use for ideas and inspiration.

I recently caught up with Jessy to talk about her award, and she offered these tips for students who are interested in entering the 2015 competition.

1. Read the book more than once.

It took me three reads of the book to get what I needed.

2. Don’t be afraid to throw things away.

There’s so much stuff that I wanted in there that never made it in, such as the fact that McGregor was friends with King Alfonso of Spain…I really wanted it in, and it just didn’t fit.

3. Find what’s interesting to you in her story.

For me it was something very specific about her attitude towards the world, and I’m sure it will be something different for someone else. It’s a big life – find something interesting in it.

4. Don’t be afraid to just send in your entry.

I almost didn’t send mine because I didn’t think it was ready.

Interview by Carmen Rojas.

Deadline for 2015 Leone McGregor Prize Application:

Monday, June 15, 2015 at 3 p.m..