One BWI writing contest kicks off, another wraps up

WILMETTE, Ill. – Boating Writers International is accepting entries to its 13th Annual Writing Contest, which recognizes excellence in boating and fishing journalism, featuring 14 categories and offering $19,000 in cash awards, it reported in a recent statement.

The awards will be distributed to 42 winners in 2006. First place receives $500, second $300 and third $200. All winning stories are entered into a “Phase II” competition which culminates in a single selection honored with the West Marine Writer’s Award and $5,000 prize.

In fact, the 2005 winner of this “Phase II” competition was recently named. Marty (Martha) LeGrand, a freelance boating, fishing and travel writer and editor, has won this top award, including the cash prize, and will receive a lucite tower trophy at a formal presentation during the BWI annual meeting at the Miami International Boat Show in February.

LeGrand’s article, “Back in Business,” published in September 2004 by Chesapeake Bay Magazine, took a one-year look back on three marinas that had been decimated by Tropical Storm Isabel and its eight-foot storm surge. The article explored not only the financial impact of a natural disaster on the marine community, but the personal toll as well.

It was first recognized in the Consumer Issues, News and Analysis category earlier this year, one of 42 award winners in the 2004 BWI annual Writing Contest. The top three entries in each of 14 writing categories were automatically entered for this grand prize.

The judges, acting independently, each decided it was the winner and noted the writing – particularly narrative description – was outstanding. They commented, “The writing and reporting are first-class. As a result, ‘Back in Business’ is interesting and informative, with the impact on people, marine life and – yes – marinas depicted as beyond belief. A short quote from the story: ‘Golf carts bobbed upside-down in the flooded service building, and the 2,000-square-foot pool house was simply gone.’ How these people put it back together after all they had already invested in their operations – and that they had the stamina and grit and endurance to weather the challenge – is what the author brings to life. It’s actually an inspiring story.”

Judges for the West Marine Writer’s Award are associated with Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and have had careers in newspapers, magazines and broadcasting. They include: Richard J. Roth, Senior Associate Dean and Associate Professor; Greg Stephan, Adjunct Lecturer and teacher of News Writing & Reporting; and David L. Nelson, Associate professor in the Newspaper Department.

The judges cited two additional entries for honorable mentions: “Boarding Party Do’s and Don’ts,” by Lenny Rudow (Texas Fish & Game magazine, August 2004) and “Does Minnesota Really Have 10,000 Lakes?” and other columns by Robert Stephens (Boating Life magazine, March, April and July/August 2004).

More information on the contests, including a downloadable pdf image of the contest brochure, rules and entry form, is available on the BWI web site at

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