DAWSON CITY

If you’re a writer or a would-be writer and you’re struggling to knuckle down and fill a blank page, why not enter a homegrown Yukon writing contest?

If you’re up for the challenge, you have until 4 p.m. on Aug. 8 to enter Dawson City’s Authors on Eighth Writing Competition.

It’s true, there’s nothing like a deadline to help get the words flowing. And, rather than being restrictive, the rules of a competition can give you a focus if you’re overwhelmed by the infinite choice of topics the universe presents or, conversely, can’t think of anything at all to write about.

Actually, the Authors on Eighth competition really only has two rules: you have to stick to the theme of “what the Yukon environment means to you” and you mustn’t write more than 1,500 words.

You can submit either poetry or prose, there’s no entry fee, it doesn’t matter how old you are and anyone from all over the world can enter.

The competition was set up by the Klondike Visitors Association as part of a one-day event, Authors on Eighth, which this year takes place on Aug. 14.

“The event celebrates one-time Dawson residents and writers Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton, who all helped immortalize the Klondike Gold Rush and who helped create the mythology of Dawson City, the Yukon and the North,” said Rachel Wiegers, marketing assistant at the Klondike Visitors Association.

The Authors on Eighth event includes a walking tour of the three writers’ residences, which are all on Eighth Avenue in Dawson City, with readings from their works at each site.

“The event also celebrates Dick North who is our contemporary Author on Eighth,” added Wiegers. “He’s been involved with the Jack London Interpretative Centre for years and years. He’s the man who helped find and relocate Jack London’s cabin. We’re very happy to have his help.”

Famous for The Mad Trapper of Rat River and Lost Patrol and other northern-themed books, North received the Order of Canada at the end of last year “for his ongoing commitment to the preservation and promotion of the history of the Yukon territory as an author, journalist and historian” as stated on the Governor General’s website.

As well as a chance to meet North, winners of the writing competition will receive books by Authors on Eighth writers and will be invited to read their own work at the event’s closing reception, which will be hosted at Pierre Berton House by writer in residence, Elin Kelsey.

A natural history expert and science communicator, Kelsey writes non-fiction books for children aged nine to 14 and is at Berton House until September.

Last year’s Authors on Eighth Writing Competition winner was Jessica Simon (featured in the May 30 edition of What’s Up Yukon) whose first novel is due to be published next year.

To enter the competition, e-mail your submission as a Word attachment to marketing-kva@dawson.net. If you have any queries or would like to find out more telephone 993-5575.

PHOTO: KLONDIKE VISITORS ASSOCIATION