Archive for June, 2011

Deadline approaches for Civil War Challenge Short Fiction Contest!

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

The deadline is looming for the 2011 Civil War Challenge Short Fiction Contest, presented by The Missouri Literary Festival and the Springfield News-Leader.

All short story writers are encouraged to take up the challenge and contribute their own creative work. The contest is open to any fiction genre but stories should contain some element (such as setting, character, theme) related to the U.S. Civil War. Authors can submit their short story entries from through 9 p.m. July 1, 2011. The entry fee is $10. Click here for an application.

Once judging is complete, a selection of finalists will be presented on the News-Leader Online where the public will be able to read and vote for their favorite short stories. Prizes of $100 will be awarded to the top National, Missouri and People’s Choice entries;  a $50 prize will be awarded to the first runner-up in each category.

For questions regarding the Missouri Literary Festival/Springfield News-Leader Civil War Challenge Short Fiction Contest email us at

Civil War encampment comes to National and Trafficway June 25

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

As part of the commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Foundation is hosting a Civil War encampment and drill at The Commons on the NW corner of National Avenue and Trafficway, just east of Hammons Field, to mark the anniversary of the arrival of the first army to occupy Springfield during the Civil War. The event will occur 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on June 25, 2011.  The public is invited to this free event.

At the 150th Anniversary Encampment, visitors will find an authentic Civil War camp of infantry and artillery, and can observe camp life and watch soldiers drill as their officers attempt to turn raw recruits into soldiers.  Information on the 150th Anniversary Reenactment of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek August 12, 13 and 14, 2011, will also be available.

Historical background:
On June 11, 1861, U. S. General Nathaniel Lyon declared war on the State of Missouri.  He immediately launched a campaign to drive the pro-secessionist Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson and his Missouri State Guard from the vital Missouri River Valley.  At the same time he dispatched troops under General Thomas William Sweeney toward Springfield to cut off the escape of the Missouri State Guard into Arkansas.  On June 24, 1861, Colonel Franz Sigel’s German-speaking, St. Louis-enlisted Union troops arrived in Springfield after a hot, wearying march from the railhead at Rolla.  Many of his troops had marched through their shoes and wore uniforms that had been reduced to rags by the exertions of the march.  This federal force was the first army to occupy Springfield during the Civil War.  It would not be the last.  Springfield would change hands many times during the war.  Sigel’s troops went into camp around Springfield and began rounding up southern sympathizers.  The arrival of these troops encouraged Unionists, discouraged secessionists, and brought home to everyone the reality that war had come to Springfield.

Established in 1950, the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Foundation is one of the oldest private sector support groups associated with the National Park Service. It is a non-profit corporation with IRS 501(c) (3) status.

Since the Foundation’s initial purchase of 37 acres on Bloody Hill, site of the heaviest fighting in the battle, the Foundation has worked to preserve and protect the park. The goal of the Foundation is to enhance awareness and appreciation of this national treasure—a haven for historians and those who enjoy the outdoors.

Get the scoop with the 2011 Missouri Literary Festival newsletter

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Have you seen the Missouri Literary Festival Newsletter? Join Our Mailing List to get the latest info on programs, events, authors and more, delivered right to your inbox.

View the June 2011 Missouri Literary Festival Newsletter

View the May 2011 Missouri Literary Festival Newsletter

Tickets on sale for Wilson’s Creek 150th Anniversary Re-enactment!

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Tickets are now on sale for the 150th Anniversary Re-enactment of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, to be held Aug. 12-14, 2011!

According to our friends at Wilson’s Creek, the anniversary is expected to draw 3,000 re-enactors from across the country and 50,000 to 60,000 spectators. Weekend events include not only battle scenario re-enactments such as “the fight in the cornfield” and “the fight for bloody hill,” but also a period wedding, military ball, 1860s baseball game, a church service and a duel. There will also be period craft demonstrations, old-time peace fair games for children, authentic Civil War sutlers, period music, and modern food vendors. The re-enactment site is adjacent to Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

A special addition is family camping. Family groups can have an authentic camping experience with the soldiers in period tents and see the life of a Civil War soldier up close. Limited space is available for the family camping experience, and more information is available on the re-enactment web site,

Tickets for the August 12-14 re-enactment can be purchased online at The price for a one-day adult ticket is $20 in advance and $25 at the gate. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. A three-day pass is also available for $50 in advance and $60.00 at the gate. On-site parking for the event is free.

The website also features a calendar of events leading up to the re-enactment, the re-enactment activities schedule, registration information for re-enactors, additional information, and regular updates. All proceeds from the 150th Anniversary Re-enactment, sponsored by the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Foundation, will benefit the national battlefield.

Missouri Humanities Council awards grant for 2011 Literary Festival

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

mhclogo_lgwebSpringfield Regional Arts Council (SRAC) is pleased to announce that the Missouri Humanities Council (MHC) has awarded a grant of $9,617 to SRAC for its project, the 2011 Missouri Literary Festival: The Civil War, to be held Sept. 23, 24 & 25 at The Creamery Arts Center and Jordan Valley Park. The Missouri Humanities Council is the only state-wide agency in Missouri devoted exclusively to humanities education for citizens of all ages. It has served as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities since 1971.

The 2011 Missouri Literary Festival: The Civil War features famed novelist Jeff Shaara, author of “Gods and Generals” and “The Last Full Measure,” Civil War Historian William C. Davis, author of “The Battle of Bull Run”; historical novelist Janis Cooke Newman, author of “Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln”; Springfield novelist Steve Yates, author of “Morkan’s Quarry”; children’s authors Kate Klise and Judy Young, and many more.

The Literary Festival also includes art and writing contests for schoolchildren; a short fiction contest; a concert of Civil War Hymns by the Voices of Deliverance Choir; interactive historical displays including cannon and musket firings, a Cavalry Tent display with horses, hands-on crafts, quilting, live music and displays on Civil War medicine, cooking and the life of the common soldier; a performance of “The Rhythm is Keeping Us Alive: A Celebration of African American Poetry” and more. Tickets are $5 for age 11 and up, free for children 10 and under. For more information, visit For more information about the grants program of the Missouri Humanities Council, please call (314) 781-9660 or (800) 357-0909, or write to the MHC at 543 Hanley Industrial Court, Suite 205, St. Louis, MO 63144-1905.

About the Springfield Regional Arts Council
SRAC, incorporated in 1978, connects people and the arts. It supports some of the most prominent visual, performing, literary and film/media arts organizations within 27 counties, the largest outreach of any in the state of Missouri. The current mission of the SRAC is to transform lives and enrich our Community through the Arts. The SRAC also manages The Creamery Arts Center, which houses the offices of the SRAC, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Springfield Ballet, Springfield Regional Opera, Missouri Literary Festival, Springfield Community Center and Care to Learn, as well as a board room, classrooms, instrument storage, arts library, exhibition hall, film editing bays and shared costume and set design shops managed by the Springfield Little Theatre.