By Edward Nawotka -- Publishers Weekly, 8/27/2008 3:02:00 PM
As host for the Democratic National Convention, Denver is very much in the spotlight right now. The city is also celebrating its sesquicentennial anniversary this year, an event that is being marked in an unusual fashion by the Rocky Mountain News: The paper has commissioned 11 short stories from local writers that they will publish each Tuesday starting next week.
Dubbed “A Dozen on Denver: Stories to celebrate the city at 150,” authors participating include Margaret Coel, Joanne Greenberg, Pam Houston, Connie Willis, Nick Arvin, Sandra Dallas, Manuel Ramos, Robert Greer, Arnold Grossman, Diane Mott Davidson and Laura Pritchett. The twelfth and final story will be chosen through a writing contest, offering $500 and publication in the paper for the best story depicting Denver of the future.
Judges for the contest include Rocky Mountain News staffers Sandra Dallas, books editor Patti Thorn, editor John Temple, as well as retired Tattered Cover bookseller Margaret Maupin, and publishing consultant Laurie Brock, who was responsible for originating the idea.
“I think there's a place in newspapers for fiction,” wrote Temple in an editorial in the paper. “It's commonly said that a newspaper is fresh in the morning and fish wrap by the evening. That's only partly true. If you visit a library and watch patrons scrolling through old newspapers on microfilm, a larger truth is revealed. Just as newspapers are a good way to find out what's going on in a city today, they also are a window to study what a community was like in years past.” The stories that make up “A Dozen on Denver,” Temple continued, “will reveal something about the forces that made this the city it is today. The winning entry will tell us what life in the Denver of tomorrow might be like.” At present, there are no plans to turn the stories into a book.