Kansas residents will get a chance to tell everyone why they like the state, thanks to a contest that starts today.
The University Press of Kansas is co-sponsoring "The Great `What Kansas Means to Me' Essay Contest." People living in Kansas may submit an essay of 500 words or less that explains why they've chosen to live in Kansas.
The contest opened today in honor of Kansas Day.
The contest was inspired by the publishing of "What Kansas Means to Me: Twentieth Century Writers on the Sunflower State," edited by Thomas Fox Averill, said Carol Estes, the press' publicity manager.
"Part of the reason we're sponsoring the contest is to promote the book," she said. "But part is just for fun, because we wanted to let the public tell us what they like about it here."
The grand prize for the essay judged the best in the adult category is $250, publication in the Wichita Eagle newspaper and $100 in books from the University Press. Writers of the top 10 essays will receive an autographed copy of Averill's book.
The contest also has a student category for people 18 and under as of Feb. 1. That contest offers a prize of publication in the Eagle and a hand-lettered winner's certificate.
Judges for the contest are Robert Smith Bader, author of "Hayseeds, Moralizers and Methodists: The Twentieth-Century Image of Kansas"; Ramon Powers, executive director of the Kansas State Historical Society; Paul Hawkins, assistant director of the South Central Kansas Library System; and Averill. The contest is co-sponsored by the Kansas Library Assn. and the Kansas State Historical Society.
The deadline is April 15. For more information, write the University Press of Kansas, 329 Carruth, Lawrence, 66045.