JOPLIN, MO – As part of Harry Potter Week at Missouri Southern State University, the Department of English and Philosophy Department will sponsor a short story writing contest as well as a play writing contest.

The contests are open to current Missouri Southern students as well as those in high school or below, and community members and university faculty and staff.

Short story contest

Submissions should be in the portal genre fiction. Portal fiction is a popular subgenre of fantasy and science fiction in which a character is magically transported to another world or time.

Entries must follow these guidelines:

· Feature a specific place or object as a portal that takes your character(s) to another time or place

· Reference a lion—literal or metaphoric

· Smoothly incorporate one of these phrases from J. K. Rowling’s books:

“What sort of objects are Portkeys?”

“The snake suddenly opened its beady eyes.”

“They dropped their voices as they entered the muffled stillness of the library.”

“Professor, did you understand — ?”

· Underline each of the three above required elements.

· The short story you submit must be your own, original creation

Select which category your entry belongs in and submit it to the appropriate email address by 3 p.m. Sunday, March 1.

· High school and below: MSSULitLives.HighSchool@gmail.com

· Current MSSU students: MSSULitLives.MSSUStudents@gmail.com

· Community, faculty and staff: MSSULitLives.Community@gmail.com

Playwriting contest

Entries should be five to seven pages in length and set in a wizarding world, and must follow the following guidelines:

· 2-5 characters

· 1 location

· No costume changes

· Minimal props

· The short play must be your own original creation

The winning play will be directed and performed by MSSU students and will be performed live during the closing gala.

Submit manuscripts to MSSUPlayContest@gmail.com by 3 p.m. Sunday, March 1. Note: The directory may contact the play writer to discuss the production, so please include contact information in the body of the e-mail with your submission.

Closing gala

Finalists in each short story category and the play contest will receive special invitations to attend the closing gala at 6 p.m. Friday, March 6, in the North End Zone Facility.

Winning short story writers will be invited to read their stories, while the winning play will be performed.

Those attending are encouraged to wear costumes.