Lookout Alabama to publish winner of national tourism short-story contest

January 11, 2013 in Luminaries by oliviagrider

Jan. 11, 2013


  • Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative, DeKalb Tourism, Greater Gadsden Area Tourism co-sponsor competition
  • Homer Hickam, New York Times bestselling author of ‘October Sky,’ to judge contest
  • Winner to receive $500 courtesy Alabama Tourism Department

The nation’s next tourism fiction contest will focus on Alabama’s Lookout Mountain region, and the winning story will be published in the inaugural issue of Lookout Alabama magazine. The Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative (SELTI) has partnered with DeKalb Tourism and Greater Gadsden Area Tourism to announce the Lookout Alabama SELTI Writing Contest.

The contest challenges writers to compose short stories that promote tourism to the Lookout Mountain region in Northeast Alabama. Photos of real places and a tourism guide with information on visiting real places in the fictional piece will accompany the story, which will be published on the Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative website and at LookoutAlabama.com as well as in the print magazine.

The contest will be judged by New York Times bestselling author Homer Hickam, whose memoir “Rocket Boys” was made into the movie “October Sky,” along with a select team of publishers, university representatives and tourism professionals, including John Dersham, executive director of DeKalb Tourism, and Hugh Stump, executive director with Greater Gadsden Area Tourism. A $500 cash prize sponsored by the Alabama Tourism Department will be awarded to the winner.

The Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative conducted the nation’s first tourism fiction contest with co-sponsor University of Alabama Museums to highlight the tourism appeal of Moundville Archaeological Park near Tuscaloosa. Sen. Clay Scofield, chairman of the Alabama Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee, presented the 2012 SELTI Tourism Fiction Award in October, and Alabama Public Radio featured the first contest in a story about how the concept of tourism fiction could be applied nationwide.

“The mysterious nature of Moundville made it the most intriguing place in the state to set a story, but the breathtaking natural beauty of Lookout Mountain makes it the most scenic place in the state to inspire writers,” said SELTI founder Patrick Miller. “I am very excited to see what writers come up with for the Lookout Alabama SELTI Writing Contest.”

Contest submissions will be limited to 2,000 words and must be fictional short stories set in Alabama’s Lookout Mountain area, which ranges from Gadsden to the Georgia state line and includes the valleys on both sides of the mountain. Entries should be e-mailed to literarytourism@aol.com or ogrider@lookoutalabama.com by March 25, 2013. Click here to read full contest guidelines.

“We are very excited to showcase the talents of writers with an interest in the Lookout Mountain area,” said Lookout Alabama Editor Olivia Grider. “We also are fortunate to partner with local tourism associations and SELTI. This contest fits perfectly with the mission and goals of Lookout Alabama, and we believe it is a win-win for the area, SELTI, the magazine and our readers.”


About the Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative

SELTI is an organization that promotes tourism through literature. It offers readers short stories, poetry and book excerpts – along with companion travel guides – about real places to visit.

Founder Patrick Miller’s suspense novel, “Blind Fate,” was the first in the nation to include an online tourism guide embedded in the novel with tourism links to all the real places. SELTI followed up “Blind Fate” with “This Side of Paradise: Interactive Tourism Edition,” a new version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic 1920 debut novel that now includes tourism links to the real settings in the story. The royalties for the Fitzgerald edition are being donated by SELTI to the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery, Ala., located in the Fitzgeralds’ only surviving family residence.

About Lookout Alabama

Lookout Alabama is a quarterly, regional magazine whose mission is to celebrate and promote the unique culture, history and environmental treasures of the Lookout Mountain region, with a goal of facilitating job creation and economic development in the area by increasing tourism.

The staff of Lookout Alabama has more than 35 years of publishing experience. Publisher Randy Grider, a native of the Lookout Mountain area, started his career as a newspaper editor before taking the helm of a national trade magazine in 2000. Editor Olivia Grider has worked as both a newspaper reporter and the managing editor of a national trade publication. The Griders have earned numerous awards for newspaper and magazine journalism. They are the only husband and wife duo to each win the Jesse H. Neal Award – considered the Pulitzer Prize of business journalism – at different magazines.

About Homer Hickam

Homer Hickam is best known for his award-winning and New York Times best-selling memoir “Rocket Boys,” which was made into the movie “October Sky.” But he is also a prolific author of 14 other fiction and non-fiction books, including his popular “Josh Thurlow” World War II series and his latest, a novel titled “Crater” set on the moon in the 22nd century. More on Mr. Hickam and his books can be found at his website, www.homerhickam.com.



Randy Grider

Patrick Miller
literarytourism@aol.com/ 334-201-7274