Mini Mystery Writing Contest

“The perennial questions in the Osage land is, ‘who will be next?'”
-Daily Oklahoman reporter, quoted in “Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann

Photo of William Hale

Many members of the Osage Nation in 1920s Oklahoma lived in constant fear for their lives. They lost many friends and family to murders that were seldom solved or fairly investigated. Taking inspiration from this history as presented in “Killers of the Flower Moon,” we invite you to use the line, “Who will be next?” as a springboard for — and the first sentence of — a mini mystery story of your own. While the experiences of those in our One Read book were very real, your mystery can be completely fiction. The puzzle presented or the crime solved can be large (like a murder) or small (like missing possessions), but the writing must be about a crime or the threat or fear of one. The length limit for these mini mysteries is 250 words.

Enter starting August 31 using this form. You can also mail in your entry or drop it off at any library or bookmobile stop. (See full rules below for details.) Winning entries and honorable mentions will be published on this site and in the Columbia Missourian. Winners will receive a $25 bookstore gift card.

Participants must be age 16 or older and residents of Boone or Callaway Counties. Read on for complete contest rules.

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Beneath the Surface: One Read Art Exhibit Call for Submissions

Beneath the Surface
A One Read Art Exhibit
Orr Street Studios (106 Orr Street, Columbia)

“In May, when coyotes howl beneath an unnervingly large moon, taller plants, such as spiderworts and black-eyed Susans, begin to creep over the tinier blooms, stealing their light and water. The necks of the smaller flowers break and their petals flutter away, and before long they are buried underground.”
~ David Grann, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

 

Hidden: woman out of focus

Inspired by the 2018 One Read selection’s many-layered mysteries, we invite Mid-Missouri artists ages 16 and older to contribute works that explore what lies beneath the surface — of land, of water, the mask of a loved-one’s face or a well-worn story. Expose something hidden.

Cash prizes will be awarded for three winners, courtesy of Columbia’s Office of Cultural Affairs. The third place winner will receive $50, the second place winner $75 and the first place winner $125. First place will also receive a one-year membership to the Columbia Art League.

Art will be displayed August 29 – September 29 at Orr Street Studios (see orrstreetstudios.com for hours) with a reception and awards on Friday, September 7 at 6 p.m.

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Flash Fiction: Haunted

Update: Thank you for all of your entries! We’ll be announcing our winners here on October 18.

 

Mystical Beech Wood Tree

“Humans haunt more houses than ghosts do.”
-Angela Flournoy, “The Turner House”

 

In this year’s One Read selection, the characters are haunted by a variety of issues. Francis Turner moved from Arkansas to Detroit to start fresh and escape his past, while, years later, his son Cha-Cha is haunted by a “haint.”

Taking inspiration from “The Turner House,” we invite you to tell a story about a haunting in 250 words or less. It could be about a haunting by a ghost, the haunting consequences of a past decision or some other type of haunting entirely — the choice is yours!

Enter September 1-26 using this form. You can also mail in your entry or drop it off at any library or bookmobile stop. (See full rules below for details.) Winning entries and honorable mentions will be published on this site and in the Columbia Missourian. Winners will receive a $25 book store gift card.

Participants must be age 16 or older and residents of Boone or Callaway Counties. Read on for complete contest rules.

 

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Shelter: One Read Art Exhibit Call for Submissions

Shelter
A One Read Art Exhibit
Orr Street Studios (106 Orr Street, Columbia)Photo of robin's eggs in nest

“The newly arrived spring – the spots of color, the surprise of birdsong – gave the neighborhood a tumbledown, romantic quality. It reassured Lelah that the ghetto could still hold beauty, and that streets with this much new life could still have good in them.”
~ Angela Flournoy, “The Turner House”

 

Inspired by this year’s One Read selection, we invite Mid-Missouri artists ages 16 and older to contribute works that explore shelter or dwellings of any kind – homes, neighborhoods, families or places that give people or animals refuge.

Cash prizes will be awarded for three winners, courtesy of Columbia’s Office of Cultural Affairs. The third place winner will receive $50, the second place winner $75 and the first place winner $125. First place will also receive a one-year membership to the Columbia Art League. Art will be displayed August 27 through September 22 at Orr Studios with a reception, awards and program on Friday, September 1 at 6 p.m.

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Mini Memoir Writing Contest

UPDATE: This contest is now closed. Thank you to all who entered!

“On Betty’s Journey, I have learned something I had not known: I am very strong, strong enough to stay, strong enough to go when the time comes. I am staying not to cling on, but because sometime, at least once, everyone should see someone through. All the way home.” – George Hodgman, “Bettyville”

Great minds only need simple tools by Antti KyllonenIn this year’s One Read selection, George Hodgman tells the story of returning to Paris, Missouri after working for years in New York City and finding both his hometown and his mother in extreme decline. The book is full of stories from his childhood, woven among his present-day struggles and triumphs as his mother’s caregiver – memories, events and conversations that formed the man he now is.

Taking inspiration from “Bettyville,” we invite you to write a personal essay of 250 words or less – a mini memoir – that recalls a pivotal event or interaction that significantly shaped your personality, crystalized your worldview, or otherwise echoed through the years of your life. The memory you choose may be a monumental moment – like the birth of a child or loss of a loved one – or seemingly small, but it should be a moment that stands for something important and from which you learned something about yourself.

Starting September 1, entries may be submitted using this form, mailed or dropped off at any library or bookmobile. (See full rules below for details.) Winning entries and honorable mentions will be published on this site and in the Columbia Missourian (online and in print). Winners will receive a $25 book store gift card.

Entry Form

Entries are due by September 26. Participants must be age 16 or older and residents of Boone or Callaway Counties. Read on for complete contest rules.

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