The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities announces the availability of applications for the 26th Annual Larry Neal Writers’ Competition, which is open to District of Columbia resident amateur and professional writers of all ages. Submissions will be judged using a blind format by distinguished area literary professionals in the following genres: poetry, short story, essay, and dramatic writing. Winners will be announced at the much anticipated awards ceremony to take place at 6:00 pm, May 8, 2009 at the Elizabethan Theatre of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Cash awards and prizes will be given. The ceremony is presented in partnership with the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C., PEN Faulkner Foundation, and the Folger Shakespeare Library.
Special initiative for 2009: The Big Read-D.C. Special Recognition Award for Creative Expression. As part of DC’s 2009 Big Read celebration of author Carson McCuller’s The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, a special prize will be given in each age group to writers who compose an essay on the theme of courage.
DEADLINE: Submissions must be received in the Commission’s office by 7:00 pm Thursday, March 19, 2009. For more information, program guidelines and an application form, please visit http://www.dcarts.dc.gov/ and click on “special events.”
About Larry Neal (photo): Larry Neal was a journalist, essayist, arts and culture critic, playwright, and poet during an artistic era known as the "Black Arts Movement" from the mid 1960s to the mid 1970s. Lawrence P. Neal was born in Atlanta, GA in 1937. His family moved to Philadelphia, PA where he and his four brothers grew up. He graduated from Lincoln University in 1961 and received his Masters from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963. In 1968, Neal co-edited Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing with Amiri Baraka which captured the spirit of the Black Arts Movement. Neal also wrote an essay about "The Black Arts Movement" in the same year. He worked as executive director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities from 1976 - 1979. Larry Neal died from a heart attack in 1981.