Topic of SPUSA Writing Contest for year 2017/2018 is:
One of America’s most prolific and prophetic writers of the 20th century was Ray Bradbury. In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. He was the author of more than five hundred short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays. Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He was the recipient of the National Medal of Arts, National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution, Emmy Award for Television, Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ and the French ‘Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’.
With all of his accolades and accomplishments, he had one dream he still wished to fulfill. In the 1950’s, he began work on a mini-musical for the famed British married duo, Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester. This bit of fantasy and science-fiction was a look into their future (and a 40th wedding anniversary to take place in the year 2116). Unfortunately, the project was never finished or staged.
Fast-forward fifty years, when Bradbury approached American director, choreographer and writer, Steve Josephson, of Gallimaufry Performing Arts, to help him bring this piece to light. ‘2116’ received workshops in California (Laguna Beach and Los Angeles) and a more developed production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
In his remaining years, Bradbury turned over the completion of the piece to Josephson and urged him to stage its world premiere in Prague. The Czech culture, its writers, history and dedication to the arts, held a special place in Bradbury’s heart and he felt it was the perfect place to premiere this musical tale of robots, marionettes and dissident artists. Produced by Gallimaufry, ‘2116’ made its world premiere in ‘2016’ and is currently being translated into Czech (with hopes of a future production in 2018).
For this reason, Gallimaufry has partnering with SPUSA to produce the 24th Annual National Writing Competition. More than six hundred students from throughout the Czech Republic and Slovakia are expected to take part in this cherished creative writing competition.
This year, in honor of Ray Bradbury’s contribution to the literary world, the two organizations have chosen the theme of “Future”. Writers from Elementary School through College will be submitting their creative essays based on their personal interpretation of this subject. Perhaps this year’s winners will include the next Bradbury, Čapek, Kafka, Havel or Neruda.