Larry Neal Writers’ Awards
Since 1981, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities has recognized and celebrated the literary accomplishments of District of Columbia resident writers through the Larry Neal Writers’ Competition. Cash awards and prizes are given to adults aged 19 and up for artistic excellence in writing in three categories: poetry, short story and dramatic writing, and to youth (ages 8-12) and teens (ages 13-18) in three categories: poetry, short story and essay.
The Larry Neal Writers’ Competition is sponsored by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Guidelines and Application
DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities will accept Larry Neal Writing Competition applications from March 1st through March 28th at 5:30 pm. For your convenience, we have attached the application forms and submission guidelines below. The materials can also be found on DCCAH’s website by clicking here.
The Larry Neal Writing Competition is open to emerging and professional writers of all ages who reside in the District of Columbia. Cash prizes are awarded to adults (aged 19 and above), teens (ages 13 – 18), and youth (8 – 12) for artistic excellence in unpublished poetry, short stories, essays, or dramatic writing. Awards will be presented at the 28th Annual Larry Neal Writers’ Awards Ceremony on the evening of Friday, May 6th, 2011 in the Elizabethan Hall of the Folger Shakespeare Library. The ceremony is presented in partnership with the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and is free and open to the public. Registration for the ceremony will open in mid-March.
About Larry Neal
Born in Georgia in 1937, Neal moved to Philadelphia as a child. He gained an appreciation for all aspects of black life, such as folk tales, slang, and street chants, and used them as sources of artistic expression. He enrolled in courses at Drexel University and continued graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1963, Neal moved to New York as arts editor of The Liberator.
In 1965, Neal founded the Black Arts Repertory Theater and School with Amiri Baraka (also known as LeRoi Jones) in Harlem.
His powerful works of poetry include Hoodoo Hollerin’ BeBop Ghosts and Black Boogaloo. In 1969, Neal and Baraka coedited Black Fire, the definitive anthology of the 1960s black cultural experience.
In addition to his writings, Neal was a well-respected academic. He was a professor at Yale and Wesleyan universities, received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1971, and held a chair in Humanities at Howard University. He also served as the Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities from 1976 to 1979.
At his untimely death in 1981, Neal had just finished an introduction to a three-volume series on Zora Neale Hurston’s works, was collaborating on a jazz series for WGBH-TV in Boston, and had nearly completed a book on the rise of black consciousness during the 1960s.
The Larry Neal Writers’ Award program commemorates his artistic legacy and vision of cultural understanding.