1st Place – Pandemic Percussion

by Athena Gillespie, 06/30/2020, Traverse City, MI

High School 9-12 Category

As I lay in bed, the natural light from my window slowly dwindling, I hear them. A cacophony of drums, maracas, pots, pans, and more. I glance at the clock. 8:00 PM on the dot. I wasn’t expecting a tradition that started in March to last all the way to May, but it was something I had adjusted to and learned to appreciate. Every night, my neighbors stood on their porches and banged on drums, etc. for one full minute. No less, and (usually) no more . . .


We are accepting submissions from anywhere in the world, but prizes will be awarded to those living in the five-county area: Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Kalkaska.

We ask that submissions be truthful, civil in tone, with no profanity or personal attacks.

You may make more than one entry but are eligible for only one prize. Please limit your submission to 1,000 words or less.

Judging of submissions will begin on June 30, 2020 and announced at our summer fundraiser on August 22nd.

Because the story is evolving day-by-day, week-by-week, we’ll keep this website open indefinitely. Submissions will be digitally preserved by the Traverse Area District Library.

The National Writers Series is a nonprofit, dedicated to holding great conversations with nationally renowned authors. Net proceeds of our events go to our Raising Writers programs that help build the reading and writing skills of area youth. For more information, go to www.nationalwritersseries.org

While you’re home, take a look at or listen to some of the National Writers Series past author events. They were so much fun!

Enter the Contest

    Your Information

    A brief description about yourself, i.e., "A nurse at Munson Medical Center"

    Entry Instructions

    Please find your contributor category and type in your story, limiting it to 1,000 words. Prizes will be awarded in each category.  

    Categories and Prizes

    Adult: Gift Certificate for for shops in downtown Traverse City
    • 1st Place – $350
    • 2nd Place – $100
    • 3rd Place – $50
    High School: Grades 9-12, cash prize
    • 1st Place – $350
    • 2nd Place – $100
    • 3rd Place – $50
    Middle School: Grades 6-8
    • 1st Place – $350
    • 2nd Place – $100
    • 3rd Place – $50
    Elementary School: Grades K-5
    • 1st Place – $100
    • 2nd Place – $50
    • 3rd Place – $25

    The above awards are generously funded by NWS board members Laura Asiala (adults and elementary children) and Grant Parsons (high school students).  Long-time NWS volunteer Meredith McComb funded the middle school awards. Thanks so very much to all of you!!