Background: This award was established in memory of Miriam Chaikin, a longtime Westbeth resident and prolific writer. Born in Palestine, Chaikin grew up in Brooklyn, and her childhood memories and life in a close-knit Jewish community are all themes represented in her writing. She worked earlier in her career as an editor of literature for young people, and most of her books are intended for children and youth. Her works include lushly illustrated retellings of Old Testament
lessons, humorous stories of the misadventures of “Molly and Yossi” (based on her childhood and that of her beloved younger brother Joseph), and collections of poetry. The last two books she completed were for adults – Jewish Wisdom for Daily Life, and Jerusalem: An Informal Autobiography of the City. For Miriam/Molly/Chickie as she was known, the written word and the book were essential to her life and wellbeing.
It is in her memory that we seek to honor a member of the writing community who have created recent written works that are worth sharing across the community. Writers are encouraged to submit copies of plays, short stories, poetry collections, or other examples of creative writing. A selection panel will review submissions and select one winner each spring, who will be invited to do a public reading of selections from the work in the Community Room. Authors will retain full copyrights to their works, and submissions can be either published or unpublished manuscripts. Authors are encouraged to submit works that have not previously been submitted to this competition.
Authors are invited to submit short stories, excerpts from longer works of fiction or creative non-fiction, plays, screenplays, or poetry.
Works for review should not exceed 10,000 words. In the event the author wishes to send an excerpt from a longer work, a brief synopsis to frame the work submitted is recommended.
Submissions are due December 1, 2017. All submissions will have the authors’ name and any identifying information redacted, and the submissions will be read by a review panel. The review panel, composed of friends and family of Miriam as well as the Westbeth Artists Residents Council Literary Chair, will announce the winner by March 1, 2018. A public reading will be arranged subsequently as a spring event at Westbeth.
The winner of the award will receive $500 from the Miriam Chaikin Endowment Fund.