The Nature of Words is accepting entries in fiction, poetry, literary nonfiction, and nature writing for the 2011 Rising Star Creative Writing Competition! This event is a great opportunity for emerging authors. It is open to writers in three age categories (15-18, 19-24, and 25+) who have not previously published a book or chapbook. All entries must be previously unpublished, in Microsoft Word format, Times Roman typeface, 12-inch font, one-inch margins; poets may submit up to two poems equaling four single-spaced manuscript pages in length, and prose writers may submit one double-spaced piece — per genre — of no more than 3,000 words. (Note that “publication” includes appearance on any Internet source besides a blog.) The author’s name, mailing address, phone number, email address, genre of submission, age category, and word count must appear on a cover letter included with the submission. Entries should additionally be accompanied by a short biographical statement including information about the author and her/his interest in writing.

Submissions must be received by midnight on June 10, 2011, in order to be considered. They can be emailed to risingstar@thenatureofwords.org. For more information, visit www.thenatureofwords.org, email programs@thenatureofwords.org, or call 541.647.2233.

Winners will be honored at the Rising Star Creative Writing Competition Awards Ceremony, which will take place on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, and will feature readings of winning entries, presentation of trophies, and remarks by competition judges. A reception will follow the ceremony. (The image above is a flyer for the 2010 Ceremony.) Winners should also submit a photo — headshots preferred — for publicity purposes.

Here is The Nature of Words’ mission statement, from the organization’s website:

The mission of The Nature of Words is to foster an appreciation of the literary arts and humanities in the High Desert region of the Northwest through community interaction with acclaimed authors, and through creative writing programs for students and adults.

That seems pretty unassailable. All young writers (and, for that matter, those no longer so young) should feel encouraged to participate in this event. There’s a first time for publishing, as the saying goes. Who knows? Maybe that time is now!