Ohio’s Original Interscholastic Creative Writing Program for Middle Schools

2021 Power of the Pen State Tournament

The 2021 State Tournament, hosted virtually by Otterbein University on Saturday, May 15, was the culminating event of the year for Ohio's 7th and 8th grade Power of the Pen writers. Students earned a spot in the state tournament with exceptional writing at the district and regional events. On this page, you'll find the 2021 State Tournament Program, information about books by guest author Jack Gantos, information on Book of Winners orders, and more!

A Word of Thanks

As a 501(c)(3) organization, Power of the Pen depends on funding from donors and sponsors to provide a place for 7th and 8th grade writers to shine. Thank you to sponsors and special contributors to the 2021 State Tournament!

Otterbein University
In addition to serving as virtual host, Otterbein is the title sponsor of this year's state tournament. 

St. Raphael Home and School
When the St. Raphael tournament in December was cancelled due to the pandemic, St. Raphael Home and School generously donated to the state tournament.

The Turner Foundation of Springfield
A longtime supporter of Power of the Pen, The Turner Foundation of Springfield provides grant funding for our program throughout the year, including for district and regional tournaments, the state tournament, and the Book of Winners.

Power of the Pen Founders' Award at the Springfield Foundation
We are saddened at the recent loss of our founders, Frank and Lorraine Merrill. In their memory, family members established the Power of the Pen Founders' Award to honor an outstanding 8th grade writer. The Founders' Award will be presented annually at the state tournament.

State Awards Ceremony

The state awards ceremony was posted at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 30, on our YouTube Channel and Facebook page! The video remains available for those who couldn't watch at that time. Presenters include guest author Jack Gantos, poet George Bilgere, alum Sage Boggs, and other alumni, as well! Congratulations to all of the writers who participated in the state tournament!

Looking for State Tournament Results?

The list of the top 12 students at each grade level, top 4 teams, state Best of Round and Director's Choice winners, and regional Platinum Pen awards is available on the 2020-2021 Tournament Results page on the pull-down menu under the "For Coaches" tab. Winners of the special awards can be found in the state program.

Now Available for Order!
The 2020 Book of Winners 

The 2020 Book of Winners is available for order at powerofthepen.org/Publications. With stories on topics ranging from silly pranks to deeply felt personal loss, the book is not only a model of excellent student writing, but also a compelling read.

This edition of the Book of Winners contains writing from the 2019-2020 season. Click here for a copy of the index to see the names of students whose work is published in the book.

School teams that register and pay for the 2021-2022 season in the fall will receive a free copy of the book to use as a model of student writing for team practices. 

The 2021 State Program:
Award Winners, Participants, and More

The 2021 State Tournament program is now available to download! Click on the image to the left to view the program, which features writing from the winner of the new Founders' Award, as well as the winners of the Promising Young Talent, Powerful Pen, Humor, and Poetry Awards.

You'll also find a recap of top individuals and teams from the district and regional tournaments, a list of state tournament participants, scenes from the season, alumni profiles and more. 

Meet Guest Author Jack Gantos

Jack Gantos delivered the keynote presentation at 7 p.m. Friday, May 14. State participants received a link to view the keynote if they were unable to attend on Friday night.

Jack has written books for readers of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include Hole in My Life, a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert honors; Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist, Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book, and Dead End in Norvelt, the 2012 Newbery Medal Winner and the Scott O’Dell Award Winner for Best Historic Fiction.

Jack says he decided to become a writer when he was in high school. But he would have to wait another three years, until he went to college, before he could actually meet other writers and study with teachers who thought writing amounted to more than just cribbing book reports and composing sympathy notes.

While in college, he and an illustrator friend, Nicole Rubel, began working on picture books. After a series of rejections, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph, in 1976. It was a success and the beginning of Jack’s career as a professional writer.

Jack continued to write children’s books and began to teach courses in children’s book writing and children’s literature. He developed the master’s degree program in children’s book writing at Emerson College and the Vermont College M.F.A. program for children’s book writers. He now devotes his time to writing books and educational speaking. As you can tell from the picture, Jack has become quite adept at Zoom presentations. However, he is available for school visits in fall 2021. Visit https://jackgantos.com.

Books by Jack Gantos

Check out Jack's website for a complete list of his works. Writing Radar is a must-read for coaches and writers. With his trademark humor, Jack offers advice for finding stories in our everyday lives. Writing Radar includes snippets from Jack's own journals.

Additional must-reads:
The Joey Pigza series
Dead End in Norvelt
From Norvelt to Nowhere

For older readers:
The Trouble in Me
Hole in My Life

And many more! Order from Amazon Smile and choose Power of the Pen to donate 0.5% of the purchase price to Power of the Pen.

Scenes From the 2020-2021 Season

Power of the Pen
PO Box 2640  |  North Canton, Ohio 44720

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