Budding writers from across the region are being invited to showcase their writing skills by participating in an essay contest.

The contest, which is being hosted by Conde Nast Traveler in conjunction with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), will give Caribbean youth the opportunity to display their creative side through writing.

The theme of the contest is “My Caribbean” and it targets persons between the ages of eight and 12 years. Participants should not have passed their 12th birthday by the start date of the 31st Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC-31), which is in October 2008.

Each individual entry must be submitted through the contestant’s school, and participants must submit one original essay of no less than 250 words and no more than 500 words on the following topic: “If you could share a secret about your island with someone visiting for the first time, what would it be?”

Essays will be judged on the following criteria: creativity, originality, knowledge of the subject/content, grammar, spelling, and style/structure.

Each entry must be neatly written in the contestant’s own handwriting, double-spaced, on an 8 1/2” x11” lined sheet of paper or on the enclosed entry form.

Entries must be accompanied by the following information: name of contestant as it appears on passport or birth certificate, complete home address (including country, and postal code), home phone number, name of school, school address, name of school principal and phone number, country, contestant’s date of birth, parent’s name as it appears on the passport or birth certificate, name of CTC- 31 chaperone as it appears on passport or birth certificate, relationship of chaperone to the contestant (mother, father, aunt, uncle, etc) and email address, if any.

Entries may be submitted in the contestant’s native language and must be submitted to the designated point in the contestant’s country, no later than Friday, May 16, 2008.  No entries will be accepted after the closing date.

Finalists from each CTO member country will be presented to the CTC-31 delegates.  Each student will receive a certificate from Conde Nast Traveler commemorating his/her achievement.

The grand-prize winner will be required to read his/her essay to the delegates and Conde Nast Traveler may, at its discretion, publish the winning “My Caribbean” essay in an upcoming issue of the magazine.

The winner will receive from Conde Nast Traveler a special certificate commemorating his/her achievement as well as a $2000.00 award. The two runners-up will each receive $500 and special certificates.

Additional information may be obtained from Marsha Armstrong, Ministry of Tourism, at telephone number 430-7500.

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