Literary competition seeks creative works of fiction, poetry, and art

Winners receive prizes and will be published in 'Any Other Word' 10th issue
ANy Other Word Editors

Submissions are now being accepted for the Penn State York Literary Competition sponsored by the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center (The Pullo Center) and "Any Other Word," the campus online magazine.  Isabel Barbera and Ariel Barbera, editors for the magazine and judges for the competition, left to right, talk with Noel Sloboda, associate professor of English and adviser for the magazine, about the creative arts contest which includes fiction, poetry, and magazine cover art.  Students are encouraged to submit work by October 31.

Credit: Barbara Dennis

Creative arts are the focus of a competition under way now at Penn State York. Writers of fiction and poetry, and those with an artistic flare (cover art), who are interested in having their work published should plan to enter the Penn State York Literary Competition sponsored by the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center (The Pullo Center) and “Any Other Word,” the campus’ online literary magazine.  This competition is open to Penn State York students.

Submissions for the literary contest and magazine are being accepted through Oct. 31. Winners will receive Amazon gift cards and have their works published in the tenth edition of “Any Other Word,” set for publication in spring 2022.

"It has been a great pleasure to work with students in assembling 'Any Other Word' since this creative outlet for Penn State York first launched in 2006,” said Noel Sloboda, associate professor of English at Penn State York and adviser for the group. “Now, with the support of the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center, we are positioned to recognize excellent artistic contributions with awards as well as publication. I look forward to discovering what our campus has to say in the upcoming 10th issue of “Any Other Word.”  It was Sloboda’s idea to begin the online literary magazine and he is excited about reaching the milestone of the 10th issue.

Cover Art - Ophelia Chambliss

Strong Winds, an oil painting by Ophelia Chambliss, was the cover on the first issue of  "Any Other Word," the campus online magazine, back in 2007.  Chambliss, a Penn State graduate who started her degree at Penn State York, is a well-known local artist and also an adjunct faculty member at Penn State York and Penn State Harrisburg.  She recently was the recipient of the Dorrie Leader Advocacy Award.

Credit: Ophelia Chambliss

Three prizes will be offered in each category: fiction, poetry, and magazine cover art. Amazon gift cards will be awarded to winners - first place is $75, second place is $50, and third place is $25. In the fiction category, a maximum of 20 pages will be accepted and in poetry, between one-five poems can be submitted.  Paintings, drawings, photos, and collages can be entered for the cover of the online publication. Only top-quality works will be published, and some prizes may not be awarded.

For Ariel and Isabel Barbera, both English majors, judging the competition and editing work for the magazine, is something they are looking forward to. They are both appreciative of the support from The Pullo Center which makes the competition possible.

“I wanted to get involved because I have a passion for writing,” said Ariel. “As someone who won first place in a previous contest, it feels great coming back as one of the judges. I want to help aspiring writers,” she said. She is also an editor for another writing contest at Penn State called Short Edition.

When reviewing work, Ariel looks for a story that flows well and has few grammatical errors. Her advice to writers and artists is not to stress. She encourages students to join the literary group and write because they want to and to be creative. She also notes that there are thousands of topics to write about and students should “flex their creativity.”

“The best stories are the ones written for your own enjoyment because they have the most passion behind them,” she said. “As an editor, I can tell when someone writes a story because they truly want to.”

Isabel became involved as a judge and editor for “Any Other Word” because of her love of reading and peer reviewing the work of others.

“I love editing and reviewing what my classmates have written, especially in creative writing courses,” she said. “When reviewing work, I always look for signs of uniqueness and creativity.”

Isabel looks for something that stands out in a written piece and makes her feel she has read something new. She also pays attention to structure, and how well executed the writing is. A word of advice to those submitting pieces, she suggests that students dig deep into what kind of ideas they have for submission and work hard to bring them to life. She also suggests that writers have someone look over their work before submitting.

Both editors think it is important for students to submit work to the competition and the magazine because it gives them an opportunity to get creative and do something different. They believe that no matter what a student’s major is, they have an imagination and can benefit from writing. They urge writers and artists to explore their creative side.

Ariel and Isabel are part of the Graham Fellows Program for Entrepreneurial Leadership (The Graham Center) and will be graduating in December.

The Pullo Center has supported student creative work for a number of years. “The writing/creative arts contest offers a unique opportunity for The Pullo Center to engage with our students and support their interest in the arts,” said Tina Rohrbach, director and general manager of The Pullo Center. “We want to inspire the students to pursue all of the career avenues the theater industry has to offer, and we are proud to reward the imagination sparked by the contest every year.

Submissions are now being accepted for both the tenth edition of “Any Other Word,” and the Literary Competition. All submissions, along with any questions, should be addressed to Sloboda  at [email protected].

“Any Other Word” is a creative outlet for members of the Penn State York community (students, staff, and faculty) and was created to showcase literary talents and unite artistic minds. Work on the first issue began in the fall of 2006.   Work published in “Any Other Word” is selected by its editors who read all entries submitted and make selections.  All authors retain full copyrights on their works. The student adviser has the final say on what is published. The publication takes its name from the quote by William Shakespeare, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.”

To read previous issues of "any Other Word," visit the website.