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Columnist wins Ohio writing competition

Marcy O’Brien

An area resident and weekly contributor to this newspaper has won accolades in a recent contest.

Marcy O’Brien of Warren, a columnist in the Times Observer, The Post-Journal and OBSERVER, took first in the Global Human-Interest category with Heart and Sole. O’Brien’s work has earned Honorable Mentions twice in the past.

O’Brien is one of the winners of the 2024 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition, sponsored by the Washington-Centerville Public Library in Ohio. According to the news release, entries touched the judges’ funny bones and hearts with humorous and poignant essays ranging from a hilarious conversation between a parent and teacher in “the parent-teacher conference” to a cherished friendship that started with a pair of sandals.

O’Brien is one of four winning writers to receive a free registration to the April 4 to 6 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, $1,000 and publication of their essays online and in the workshop’s program. There were 480 entries received from six countries (Australia, Canada, Ireland, Spain, United Kingdom, and U.S.) and 48 states.

It took a small village of established authors, columnists, creative writing teachers, screenwriters, editors and stand-up comedians to read and evaluate more than 230,000 words during preliminary and second rounds of judging. Bill Scheft, veteran head writer with David Letterman, and Vick Mickunas, WYSO and Cox Media book reviewer and host of “The Book Nook”— served as finalist judges for the humor and human-interest categories, respectively.

“Bill and Vick have judged the second round in previous years and independently told me how much they enjoyed serving as final judges. The quality at this level is superb and this year’s entries seem to be the best they’ve ever been!” said Debe Dockins, who coordinates the biennial contest for the Washington-Centerville Public Library in affiliation with the workshop. “The Erma contest has established itself as one of the premier contests in the field, and we are proud to honor our hometown legend.” she said.

Betsy Bombeck, daughter of Bill and Erma Bombeck, will serve as the keynote speaker for the Erma Bombeck Celebration Evening slated for Wednesday, April 3, 7-8:15 p.m., at the Woodbourne Library (6060 Far Hills Avenue). The winners will read their essays and members of the public are invited to attend. The program is free, but registration is required as seating is limited. Refreshments will be served.

Washington-Centerville Public Library is committed to providing programs, services, and facilities that ensure inclusive and adapted access for all. Please contact us for a personalized approach to individual accommodation. For more information about Washington-Centerville Public Library, or to register for the program visit https://www.wclibrary.info. Contact Debe Dockins at ddockins@wclibrary.info with questions about the contest or the Celebration Evening.

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