The Dearborn Public Library has been sending out a call for stories written by Dearborn residents about animals, as part of The Big Read celebration of Jack London's “The Call of the Wild.” Librarian Henry Fischer said that Saturday's deadline has been delayed because not enough entries have been submitted for a book, only 40 of the hoped-for 100 stories “to make it a good-sized book.”
“The stories can be anything about animals or wildlife,” Fischer said. “The stories could be real or fictional.”
When asked if the fictional stories had to be limited to real-life animals, Fischer thought stories about imaginary animals like snipes or unicorns “would be fine.” Possible topics that would be considered for publication would be a short story, poem or essay by pet owners on their pets (or on any animal real or fictional); a short story, poem or essay about the environment, nature or wildlife; a short story told from the perspective of an animal (“The Call of the Wild” is told from the perspective of the dog Buck); or an essay about “The Call of the Wild.”
The idea of The Big Read activities in Dearborn from March through May being centered on “The Call of the Wild” originally came from the schools, according to Fischer. When a list of titles was offered, and the schools were asked which book readers would be excited about, he said, the schools thought Jack London's book could fit into their curriculum.
“The book would fit a wide age range: middle school, high school and adults too,” Fischer said. “The book also deals with history—they (The Henry Ford) were more into that than any other reason.”
The Henry Ford will be hosting the big kickoff event for The Big Read celebration of Jack London's “The Call of the Wild” with its 11 a.m.-3 p.m. “The Adventure—Call of the Wild: EmBARKING on Discovery” in the Anderson Theater. The Dearborn Public Library is also hoping to get the word out to the public on that March 8 event, he said, because The Henry Ford will be revealing the “fun-filled activities and events centering on 'The Call of the Wild'” that it is planning to hold as part of the 10-week-long literary adventure.
While Fischer believes it is now unlikely that the Call of the Wild Dearborn: Animal Tales book will be put together in time to be included in the Anderson Theater event, he said that a book that will be submitted at the March 8 kickoff event will be three copies of the Jack London book put together by the school students in tabloid format. People will also be able to make submissions in a photo competition.
“It will be pretty exciting,” Fischer said. “I do not know when we'll be able to put our book together, but we hope it will be as soon as we can.”
The animal stories collection is open to anyone, he said, of all ages. To participate, entrants need to email their short story (or other written work) of 1-4 pages to firstname.lastname@example.org. They must include their name, email address and current phone number; along with one or two sentences about themselves.
The content should be written as text in the email message, or in a Word document attached to the email (the libraries have the Word program available for use on their public computers). Fictional characters must be original to the author, Fischer cautioned, and entrants must sign release forms (available at dearbornlibrary.org or www.bigreaddearborn.org) and turn them in to the Dearborn Public Library.
Photos and artwork are welcomed to be included with the text narrative. Though people are welcome to make submissions to both the book and photo contests, Fischer said, he cautioned that since each require signing separate release forms, the same photo cannot be entered in both contests.
Those lacking email access can also mail these items to: Henry Ford Centennial Library, 16301 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI, 48126, Attn: The Big Read Dearborn. If entrants have already submitted their entries to meet the original Feb. 1 deadline, even though they did not have all their accompanying artwork or true-story research completed, Fischer said that revised entries can be submitted before the new deadline.
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. The program “is designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture, and to encourage people to read for pleasure and enlightenment.”