The People’s Choice Challenge

Published 11:17 am Wednesday, May 13, 2020

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Lanier Library has announced a second Quarantine Challenge, this one with the added motivation of voting competition and prize—a gift certificate to the Tryon restaurant of the winner’s choice.

The People’s Choice Challenge seeks to discover the next great American novelist right here in Tryon. They ask that beginning May 1 you take advantage of your stay at home to explore that latent literary talent you know you have and submit the first sentence of your novel and a title. At the end of the month, after submissions have been made public on the library’s website and Facebook page, people will be asked to vote for the novel they would most like to read next.

“We had so much fun with the Quarantine Haiku Challenge that we decided to initiate a second one, with voting and a prize for the winner,” said Lanier Library Executive Director Jenny Purtill. “We saw what great writing talent there was in the community with the haiku challenge and thought we would take it to the next level. This challenge is meant to tempt the writer of the next Great American Novel to begin writing. We all have at least one book inside us, and most have vowed to write it one day. Why not now?”

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So, here’s the challenge: submit to the first sentence of your novel, and a title. (“It was a dark and stormy night” is a disqualifier.) The library will publish them on their website and Facebook page, and ask the public vote at for the book they would most like to read next. Deadline for submissions is May 25, with voting taking place May 26 through 31.

The first sentence is the first step…who knows where it might lead.


Submitted by Clare O’Sheel