Florida Heritage Book Festival opens youth poetry competition


The Florida Heritage Book Festival, Inc. (FHBF) is holding a poetry competition for sixth through 12th grade students who are either in St. Johns County schools or home-schooled.

The theme is “Florida’s Natural Resources” and each participant must submit an original poem in English based on that theme. Poems are not to exceed 24 lines of text. Students will compete in one of two divisions: middle school (sixth through eighth grade) and high school (ninth through 12th grade). The deadline for entry is Friday, Sept. 8.

Winners will receive cash prizes and certificates sponsored by All American Air Charitable Foundation. Three prizes will be awarded in each division: $100 for first place; $50 for second place and $25 for third.

Winners will present their poems at The Florida Heritage Book Festival on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 2:20 p.m., at Flagler College Ringhaver Student Center, 50 Sevilla Street in St. Augustine. Winning presentations will appear on the FHBF website, www.fhbookfest.com.

“Our AAA Charitable Foundation is honored to support the work and mission of The Florida Heritage Book Festival and their continuous efforts in providing awareness to Florida's authors, literature and culture while cultivating the art of writing in the oldest city in our nation,” said Christine Chapman, president of All American Air Charitable Foundation. AAACF has been a Book Festival sponsor since 2014.

Debra Gibson, president of The Florida Heritage Book Festival, said the poetry competition is a part of the Festival’s continued commitment to youth programming.

“We are looking forward to this year’s inclusion of the poetry contest for local youth and we love the idea that AAACF has agreed to sponsor this event,” she said. “We cannot put on the Festival without our community sponsors.”

The judging panel will be St. Johns County residents.

“Our judges were chosen because of their keen interest in literary works, and in fostering youth involvement in reading and creative writing,” Gibson said.

Poems will be judged based on originality, creativity and artistic quality. Poems containing profanity, vulgarity or offensive material will be disqualified. The decision of the judges will be final.

Contest rules and parental forms are available at http://www.fhbookfest.com. Printed rules and entry forms are available at all St. Johns County libraries.

Electronic entries in Microsoft Word, PDF, or WordPerfect are encouraged. Paper entries will be accepted at any St. Johns County library or bookmobile locations, or may be mailed to FHBF at P.O. Box 4011, St. Augustine, FL 32085, postmarked by Sept. 8. Winners will be announced by Sept. 15. (Parents or guardians of minor contestants must sign a release authorizing the FHBF to reprint the authors work, or to use video of the author presenting the work.)

The Festival began in 2008 and is a free event every September highlighting Florida’s literary heritage under the direction of The Florida Heritage Book Festival, Inc., Board of Directors. For more information, contact Debra Gibson at (904) 827-6926 or at dgibson@sjcfl.us.