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PLDL, Rozsa hold short story contest

(Jon Jaehnig/For the Gazette) Preceding the performance, individuals have the opportunity to attend two workshops at the Portage Lake District Library and submit their original short story to be read by Selected Shorts.

HOUGHTON — If you have a story to tell, but have trouble telling it, this might be your golden opportunity.

Selected Shorts is coming to Michigan Technological University’s Rozsa Center and is bringing a unique opportunity for locals.

Selected Shorts is a podcast and nationally broadcast radio program produced by Public Radio International. The program, which features actors performing dramatic readings of short stories, is based in New York City but also travels to record live shows at venues around the country. One of the short stories that they read during their show at the Rozsa Center may be by a resident of the Copper Country.

Mary Jennings is the Director of Programming and Development at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. While putting together this year’s schedule, she heard an unbelievable winter weather story that inspired her.

“I thought, ‘how cool would it be to use this as a call-out for more crazy winter stories,'” said Jennings. “I reached out to the Selected Shorts producers … and they gave us the green light to submit a story to them.”

Jennings reached out to Michael Stantitis, the Program Director at the Portage Lake District Library to put together a short story writing contest – with the winner to be read by Selected Shorts during their recording at the Rozsa Center.

“I’m really hoping that somebody pops out of the woodwork with something really novel and interesting,” said Stantitis. “We spend these long winters up here, there have to be some great stories.”

Stories can be submitted in hardcopy to the Portage Lake District Library or online at mtu.edu/Rozsa by Nov 11. Some stories have already been submitted.

Writers with a little less confidence have two opportunities to hone their works before submitting.

“When Selected Shorts agreed to read and potentially rebroadcast a story, these writing workshops became much more important,” said Jennings. “To have Michael and Charli both on board was great.”

Charli Mills is a local writer who specializes in short stories. Mills already holds a regular writing workshop at Portage Lake District Library. When she was approached by Stantitis and Jennings about holding two additional workshops specifically for the Selected Shorts contest she agreed.

“In the first one, what we’re hoping to do is help people really shave (their drafts) down, and focus on structure” said Stantitis. “The second one would be to really polish it up.”

All entries will be displayed in the Rozsa Center Lobby prior to the Selected Shorts Performance.

The two story writing workshops are scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 29 and Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. in the Portage Lake District Library. Attendance is free and attendants do not need to register in advance but should have a draft of an original short story with them. For more information, visit the Portage Lake District Library at 58 Huron St. In Houghton, call (906)482-4570.

Selected Shorts will be performing at the Rozsa Center on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. To purchase Tickets, visit mtu.edu/Rozsa or call (906)487-2073.

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