The Crossroads Irish-American Festival, in an effort to support and develop the voices of Irish-American writing, announces the launch of the first ever Irish-American Writing Contest.  With first prize of $300, this contest invites the submission of memoir focused on the meaning of an Irish-American heritage, whether that heritage be singularly Irish-American or entwined with the other heritages. 
The Crossroads Irish-American Festival is interested in the varied and multiple ways in which one can be “Irish” in “America.”  In this sense, to be Irish-American means that one can be first or fifth generation, with or without a diversity of other ethnic/racial inheritances.
“To be Irish-American can mean that one hails from Boise, Brooklyn, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Halifax, Montserrat or Fairbanks.  In other words, we define Irish-American as inclusive of the Americas,” says Margaret McPeake, co-Producer of the Crossroads Festival.  “In addition, we are interested in all of the possible ways that the Irish have impacted and shaped experience, identity, culture and society in each and every corner of the Americas.”
Crossroads starts with memoir in this inaugural writing contest as it has been a strength in Irish-American expression.  From Maureen Howard to Frank McCourt, Michael Patrick MacDonald to Maureen Waters, skillful hands have mapped important aspects of Irish-American experience.
“We’ve chosen memoir, in particular, as we believe it will give writers the greatest opportunity to relate both the experience of this heritage and the meaning of that experience to their lives,” says Hillary Flynn, co-Producer of the Crossroads Festival. “Our cultural inheritance is deep and rich.  And, each of us continues to manifest this legacy through the experience of our lives, daily lived.  This contest presents an opportunity for writers to convey ways in which their cultural legacy is made real to them and by them, as well as why these questions of inheritance matter to the writer and, indeed, to any of us.”
Through this contest, we endeavor to spur and support the development of memoir from new and aspiring writers, wishing to add their voice to this growing repository of tradition.
Writers are asked to please submit previously unpublished work (English language only) of up to 3,000 words. Deadline:  December 31, 2010.  Electronic submissions only.  Please make submissions to [email protected].  Entry fee: $15.  

First Place Award: $300.