Department of English Department of English College of Arts and Sciences
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WordSmith Writing Olympics

Celebrating over 35 years at the University of Memphis, the annual WordSmith Writing Olympics competition brings approximately 150 middle and high school students from 30 area schools to campus to test their writing and creative thinking skills.  

The students participate as teams and individuals in dashes that include a 40-word dash that asks students to describe an object using only descriptive details such as color, smell or shape.  The 100-word dash asks students to create a narrative of events depicted in an unusual photograph.  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 more challenging topics. 

The first three dashes are judged by area English teachers who also served as coaches  for many of the teams. The final dash was judged by University of Memphis Department of English faculty members. Winning entries will be 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.      

See the 2013 WordSmith Writing Olympics video at the Department of English YouTube Channel!


 Important Links
National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
University of Memphis Campus Map


Catherine Dice:
467 Patterson Hall (901) 678 4535                        


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2013 Winners (.pdf)

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Last Updated: 2/10/13