"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"In the Village": The Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Writing Competition, 2011 -- Launch

The Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia
officially launches
“In the Village”: The Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Writing Competition, 2011

Date: September 22, 2010
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Place: Elizabeth Bishop House, 8740 Great Village, N.S.
Date: September 23, 2010
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Place: Writers Federation of Nova Scotia, 1113 Marginal Rd., Halifax, N.S.



“I was five. My grandmother had already taught me to write on a slate my name and my family’s names and the names of the dog and the two cats. Earlier she had taught me my letters, and at first I could not get past the letter g, which for some time I felt was far enough to go. My alphabet made a satisfying short song, and I didn’t want to spoil it…. By the time school started, I could read almost all my primer, printed in both handwriting and type, and I loved every word. First, a frontispiece, it had the flag in full color, with ‘One Flag, One King, One Crown’ under it. I colored in the black-and-white illustrations that looked old-fashioned, even to me, using mostly red and green crayons.”

[from Elizabeth Bishop, “Primer Class,” The Collected Prose, New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1984.]

Photograph by Laurie Gunn

Learning to read and write is arguably the single most important primary education for any writer. Elizabeth Bishop had a particularly vivid recollection of the process which brought her to this uniquely human accomplishment. Her earliest memories of learning to read and write are set in her maternal grandmother’s kitchen, her childhood home in Great Village, Nova Scotia, quickly followed by her first formal pedagogical experience at the Great Village School. Both buildings still stand and continue to foster the language and literary arts.


The Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia’s mission is to raise awareness of Elizabeth Bishop’s connection with Nova Scotia, and to encourage young people to read Bishop’s work. Part of the vision of the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary celebrations in Nova Scotia is not only to mark this important anniversary and honour Elizabeth Bishop’s life and art and continuing legacy, but also to encourage Nova Scotian artists of all ages and disciplines to pay tribute to Bishop with the creation of new work.

As the EBSNS discussed what projects it would sponsor to mark Elizabeth Bishop’s 100th birthday, a writing competition, with a focus on Nova Scotia students from Elementary to Senior High, quickly became the first choice. The society felt a writing competition was an appropriate way to fulfill its mission and the centenary’s vision to bring more young people to Bishop’s poetry and stories and foster creativity and artistic excellence.



You are invited to join us on 22 and 23 September in Great Village and Halifax to help us launch this exciting EB100 event.

There will be special guests and a chance to talk with EBSNS members about the competition and all the other Elizabeth Bishop Centenary events being planned for 2011.

Photograph by Laurie Gunn



“In the Village”: The Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Writing Competition opens for submissions on 15 September 2010 and closes on 15 March 2011. Winners will be announced in June 2011 and awards will be presented at an Arts Festival to take place in Great Village, 19-21 August 2011. Stay tuned for exciting announements about this festival!

Much more information, including Guidelines and Entry Form, about the writing competition can be found can be found on the EBSNS website: www.elizabethbishopns.org – click on the “Writing Competition” link in the menu. Also on the website, you can listen to Halifax storyteller Claire Miller read Elizabeth Bishop’s story “In the Village” (click the audio file link provided on this page).

Photograph by Laurie Gunn


The EBSNS will also be making a preliminary annoucment about “In the Village”: The Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Arts Festival, 19-21 August 2011. An exciting line up of writers and musicians will be attending and performing at the festival. So come and learn what else is in store for the EB100 celebrations!!

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