Landmark Trust announces first ever Rudyard Kipling young writers award


DUMMERSTON >> The Landmark Trust USA announced the first ever Rudyard Kipling Young Writers Award in celebration of its 25th Anniversary. Tristam Johnson, interim executive director of Landmark Trust USA said, "As owners of five historic homes that have been painstakingly restored and open for guests, including Rudyard Kipling's home, Naulakha, in Dummerston, where he wrote "The Just So Stories," "The Jungle Book" and "Captains Courageous," we wanted to celebrate his legacy along with our own anniversary. We believe this competition is an important opportunity to encourage imagination and creative writing skills in our young people."

The competition is open to all elementary school children in Windham County, fourth to sixth graders, whether in public or private schools or home-schooled. There are three categories to this award: poetry, narrative (non-fiction) and narrative (fiction). Submissions will be due by May 15 and awards, honorable mentions and overall best will be made June 4 at the Latchis.

Landmark Trust USA has convened a blue-ribbon panel of judges including Karen Hesse, an award-winning young adult author who is best known for "Out of the Dust" (1997) and "The Music of Dolphins" (1996; Dede Cummings who is a writer, book designer and publisher, a public radio commentator for Vermont Public Radio and frequently lectures and teaches at writers' conferences; Verandah Porche, a poet living in Guilford; Jerry Carbone, former executive director of the Brattleboro Library; and Tim Weed who teaches at GrubStreet in Boston and in the MFA Creative and Professional Writing program at Western Connecticut State University.

There will be two prizes; copies of Just So Stories signed by the judges and overall best will get a night at Naulakha with his or her family. This means our overall winner and his/her family will be able to write at Kipling's desk, sleep in his bed and soak in his beloved bath tub. The house sleeps eight, has a fully equipped kitchen, remarkably up-to-date bathrooms, extensive gardens, and even boasts the first tennis court in Vermont. They can also play pool on his pool table. Prizes will be awarded for Overall Best Submission, Best Submission for each of the three categories and Honorable Mentions for those that merit recognition.

"This creative writing competition is an extension of the Just So Stories dramatic presentations we have offered annually for 16 years free to local elementary schools. The recent presentations over four days sold out immediately. Next year, more schools are requesting involvement and Marlboro College, the official archive of Kipling material, is reviewing how to overlap with its curriculum," says Johnson.

For more information, please contact Tristam Johnson at


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