Celebrating over 35 years at the University of Memphis, the annual WordSmith Writing
Olympics competition brings approximately 150 middle and high school students from
30 area schools to campus to test their writing and creative thinking skills.
The students participate as teams and individuals in dashes that include a 40-word
dash that asks students to describe an object using only descriptive details such
as color, smell or shape. The 100-word dash asks students to create a narrative of
events depicted in an unusual photograph. Students also participate in a 120-word
dash that asks them to write a letter to the editor taking a stance on an issue referenced
by a collection of recent news headlines. At the conclusion of the first three events,
door prizes are given out and student winners of each dash and in each grade are
announced. Each student winner is then invited to participate in the 400-word main
event dash, a chance to write for 60 minutes on more challenging topics.
The first three dashes are judged by area English teachers who also served as coaches
for many of the teams. The final dash was judged by University of Memphis Department
of English faculty members. Winning entries will be published and distributed to all
The event is sponsored by the University of Memphis Department of English and the
Shelby- Memphis Council of Teachers of English.
See the 2013 WordSmith Writing Olympics video at the Department of English YouTube
National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
University of Memphis Campus Map
Catherine Dice: email@example.com
467 Patterson Hall (901) 678 4535
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