The #ApartTogether Contest was featured through the 2020 summer of COVID-19. It was offered as a way of having writers write about their experiences and what they have gone through during this pandemic. Mississauga Arts Council offered three prizes for the best submissions – 1st place $250, 2nd place $150, and 3rd place $100. Mississauga Writers Group handled the admin part of the contest and will be featuring the submissions in their yearly anthology, the upcoming WordFest, Celebrating Family, Friends and Neighbours. Peel Weekly News published the different submissions and will be publishing the winners in their weekly newspaper. Heritage Mississauga will be posting all the writings to their city archives.
21 submissions came in as poetry and stories. School, pet, family, sad and happy stories were judged by a panel of five judges. All of them were amazed at the submissions and were happy to be a part of it. So many submissions were from the members of the Mississauga Writers Group and as the director, I was very happy that they did step up. That is what it’s about. We are a writers’ group and we were given an opportunity to write about our everyday lives and how we were coping.
The requirement was that we all lived in Mississauga and that it was a maximum of 500 words. Some were over but happily reduced the number of words. We insisted on having a bio and a photo for our promotions just like other contests and they obliged. One of the most difficult writings we have is our own bio – much like a resume but it is personal. Everyone stepped up and signed a permission slip to have their writings promoted within our four different venues.
Congratulations to our three winners! 1st place, Marisa Baratta – Together (poem); 2nd place, Angela Chao – Falling of Father Tree, 1950 (poem); and 3rd place, Frances Frommer – I Celebrate My Cats: Constant Companions During the Coronavirus Pandemic (prose). Their stories will and have been published in the Peel Weekly News. The announcement will be coming soon.
This was our first collaborative effort with a contest and it proved very successful. Our city is full of artists and writers and this just proves it.