New youth historical fiction competition brings Tacoma’s history to life

The City of Tacoma’s Historic Preservation Office, in partnership with local literary non-profits Write253 and Creative Colloquy, has launched an inaugural youth historical fiction competition, “Bringing Tacoma’s History to Life.” The competition, which is geared towards high school age students, offers a series of four prompts about decisive but little-known moments in Tacoma’s history.

“These prompts ask students to reflect on the local landmarks and landscapes that they already know in a new, creative way,” said Assistant Historic Preservation Officer Lauren Hoogkamer.

The prompts range in location, time period, and focus, and are all included in a new resource guide for teachers, complete with the competition guidelines, discussion guide, and historical prompts. Each prompt provides historical background information for students, historic photos, and excerpts from era newspapers. The prompts then ask students to develop their own cast of characters, locate them in this particular time and place, and develop a narrative related to these historical events. The resource guide is available digitally on the Write253 and City of Tacoma websites

“These are important moments in Tacoma’s past, and all of them have present-day relevance,” said Michael Haeflinger, executive director of youth writing and literary organization Write253. “These prompts offer rich canvases for youth to imagine what life was like in Tacoma in the twentieth century.”

Youth writers can pick any of the four prompts to develop a piece of original historical fiction. Submissions will be judged by a panel of local historians and writers. Each submission must be under 2,000 words in length, include a short bibliography, and be written by someone 18 or under who lives in Pierce County.

Submissions are being accepted February 15 – March 30, 2018. To download the resource guide with writing prompts and competition guidelines, visit To find out more about the competition, email, or call (253) 591-5254.

– City of Tacoma

Image courtesy  City of Tacoma
Image courtesy
City of Tacoma

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