“Where I’m From and Where I’m Going”
Since Narrative began, it’s been central to our mission to discover, mentor, and publish the next generation of talented writers. And for a long time now we’ve been hearing from teachers around the world who use Narrative’s free library as a vital tool in their classrooms. How best then, we wondered, to reach into those classrooms and hear from writers in their teens? This year, with the help of a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, we partnered with six California high schools to launch the First Annual Narrative High School Essay Contest. We say first, since it is our great wish to expand the contest to more schools across the country and around the world. Imagine that.
We put out the call to teachers in September, asking for essays, each 600 words or less, from juniors and seniors at our partner schools. Each student responded to the prompt “Where I’m From and Where I’m Going.” The scores of essays submitted revealed flights of resilience, creativity, and ambition—and a steadfast belief in the power of storytelling.
A good essay tells a great story—it has exciting language, powerful narration, and fierce originality. As our name suggests, we’re always on the lookout for compelling and cohesive narratives. Pull us into the scene, and seat us next to your characters. Surprise us with a unique point of view, a revelation, an unexpected ending, or all of the above. Given that this year’s prompt was “Where I’m From and Where I’m Going,” we were looking for pieces that conjure a singular and distinct journey. Finally, because we seek to celebrate the work of young writers, we kept our eyes peeled for potential: What can this writer do now on the page, and what will he or she be capable of down the road?
CHARLEY BURLOCK Shattered
The Urban School, San Francisco
ZOE HARRIS As a Girl, I’ve Been Taught
Lick-Wilmerding High School, San Francisco
HUGO APARICIO The Great Awakening
PUC Community Charter Early College High School,
Lake View Terrace
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