‘Who Is a Citizen’ Contest to Award Seven $500 Prizes

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The Creative Writing and Film Studies programs within the Department of English are holding a literary and video contest with seven $500 prizes to be awarded. Contest participants must submit short prose, poetry, screenwriting, or video works that respond to the question, “Who Is a Citizen?

The works submitted may explore racial differences and prejudice, nationhood and personhood, interpersonal and systemic racialized violence, marginalized identities and experiences, migration and conflicted borders, or historical trauma and other themes relevant to evolving notions of citizenship. 

This contest is being held in conjunction with the John Lucas and Claudia Rankine: Situations exhibition that will be displayed at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum February 8 through May 31. This exhibit will mark the first time since 2008 that the entire series of Situation videos will be presented in a solo exhibition. The videos, collaboratively produced by National Book Critics Circle award-winning poet and Macarthur genius Claudia Rankine and documentary filmmaker John Lucas, address the vexed notion of a post-racial United States (a term coined during the Obama era to assert that the election of an African American president indicated the achievement of racial equality) by foregrounding the public and private experiences of black Americans.

Rankine’s book, Citizen: An American Lyric, offers much-needed representations and documentations of the micro- and macro-racist aggressions that occur throughout the social and political fabric of the United States. The work has been critically accredited for bringing national attention to police violence against blacks, racial prejudice, historical trauma, and implicit bias. 

All “Who Is a Citizen” contest submissions will be considered by a panel comprised of Michigan State University faculty. The contest also will be open to a community vote, which will decide one of the prizes. There will be six prizes of $500 each selected by the MSU faculty panel in addition to a $500 prize to be determined by community vote. 

Contest Partners:

  • College of Arts & Letters
  • Department of English
  • Creative Writing Program
  • Film Studies Program
  • Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

Winners will be contacted in March and the winning entries will be featured at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in spring 2020. Selected artists and writers who participate in the contest also will be invited to a critique session and conversation with Rankine and Lucas. 

The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 28. For more information on the contest and how to enter, see the “Who Is a Citizen” contest website.