Eastern Michigan University Literature Program’s academic journal to host writing contest highlighting stories of those who live and work in Detroit

Contest created to give voice to people who helped shape the city’s daily narrative during a historic and challenging year

YPSILANTI – The Journal of Narrative Theory (JNT), an international academic journal run out of the Literature Program at Eastern Michigan University, is hosting a creative writing contest focusing on how residents experienced the city of Detroit during the past year. 

The competition, which runs through February, is in anticipation of the Journal’s 2021 Dialogue, “Detroit as a Narrative Space,” a virtual conversation featuring Detroit-based authors Desiree Cooper and kim d. hunter, who will discuss how their creative and activist work is shaped by their hometown.

The contest’s homepage notes that Detroit became known in the 20th century as a space of art, industry, and activism. Then, in 2020, the city experienced a pandemic, yet emerged as a key element in the national Black Lives Matter movement and played a critical role in a historic national election. It was a difficult and unprecedented year of meeting challenges and rising to them.

In such a singular year, the stories of Detroiters should be the ones that shape the narrative of the city, the journal says. Which is why it’s holding a contest to encourage people to write stories about Detroit and Detroiters, so that they can be remembered by future generations.

The contest asks those who live or work in the city of Detroit to enter nonfiction submissions inspired by a specific Detroit location. Entrants should compose a short story, 250 words or less, about what it was like in Detroit in the year 2020, using a particular location in the city as the story’s setting.

“When we were planning the JNT Dialogue event and realized it would need to go virtual because of the pandemic, we wanted to explore how we could make the event something special and still provide that sense of community and connectedness even when everything is so virtual,” said Christine Neufeld, an EMU professor of English and editor of the JNT. “This month-long contest gives people a single platform to come together and create Detroit’s story - from the perspective of Detroiters themselves.”

The winner of the contest will be announced at the March 18 JNT Dialogue event. The winner will receive a $250 award and be published on JNT websites and social media. Once the competition has concluded, top entries will also be featured here as an archive of Detroit in the year 2020.

The online JNT Dialogue event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required and can be completed through the event homepage.

This initiative is sponsored by the Journal of Narrative Theory and Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. 

For more information about the Journal of Narrative Theory contest, visit the contest homepage. 

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 16,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

February 12, 2021

Written by:
Morgan Mark

Morgan Mark