Celebrating over 35 years at the University of Memphis, the WordSmith competition brings 200
middle and high school students from 30 area schools to the University of Memphis to
test their writing and creative thinking skills with a series of dashes.
These dashes include a 40-word dash that asked students to describe an object without
actually naming it. The 100-word dash asks students to create a narrative of events
depicted in one of a set of interesting and unusual pictures. 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 topics selected by WordSmith organizers.
The first three dashes are judged by English Department faculty and local English
teachers who also serve as coaches for many of the teams. The final dash is judged
by University of Memphis Department of English faculty members. Winning entries are
published and distributed to all participating schools.
The event is sponsored by the University of Memphis Department of English and the
Shelby- Memphis Council of Teachers of English.
For more information, enjoy these videos (2013 and 2012) about WordSmith or find us on Facebook!
Wordsmith Registration Forms
Registration Forms are always available in late fall or by contacting the Director,
Cathy Dice, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Registration Form
School Entry Form
Volunteer Judge Form
WordSmith Dash Descriptions, Rules and Prizes
National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
University of Memphis Campus Map
Catherine Dice: email@example.com, Patterson Hall, (901) 678 4535
Look for us on Facebook! - Search for the WordSmith Writing Olympics.