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Writing Competition

Inspired by Charmian Kittredge London (1871-1955) Writing Contest

(CANCELLED)March 1 to September 1, 2018

(CANCELLED)As a result of interest in Charmian Kittredge London, the Jack London State Historic Park is updating the House of Happy Walls with more focus upon her extraordinary life. Known primarily as the wife of the writer, she was also a published writer, London's collaborator, a photographer, and a sea-loving adventurer. She was a lifelong Socialist who worked for prison reform and animal rights. She challenged conventional femininity through her dress, decor, athleticism, and private behavior. As a result, she was early a celebrity in the United States, and later in Europe.

We encourage you to share her creative life with others through our Inspired by Charmian Kittredge London Writing Contest. Adults 18 and older are invited to enter with original short fiction, as described below.

To learn more about Charmian:

  1. Visit the Cottage with her bedroom, den, and clothing.
  2. Visit the new display at Happy Walls when it reopens this summer.
  3. Read one of her books, The Log of the Snark, Our Hawaii, The Book of Jack London. (Available in the Park bookstore or find free online.)
  4. Look at the latest scholarship, collected in a special issue devoted to her in Women's Studies, Volume 4, Number 4, 2017.
  5. Read about her in Clarice Stasz, American Dreamers or Jack London's Women

Suggestions to pique your creativity:

  • Pick a point in Charmian's life when someone interviews her about some aspect of her life other than Jack London.
  • Imagine a conversation about her by her contemporaries, who are familiar with her public life, and respond to that image.
  • Write an article as though written by Charmian on how to raise a daughter to be independent.
  • Write a short story set in one of the locations where Charmian traveled during her life where you include the history of the place you are writing about.  E.g., the Haleakala volcano on Maui, at the leper colony on Molokai, rounding Cape Horn in a schooner. 
  • Write a short story with a strong female protagonist that encapsulates what it was like to be a woman in the early 1900s.  How was it different from today to be a woman during that time?  How was it the same?

Meet the Judges

The judges are both experts on Charmian London's life and accomplishments. Iris Jamahl Dunkle is Professor of English at Napa Valley College, and is author of a manuscript on Charmian's creative life. Clarice Stasz is Professor Emerita of History, Sonoma State University, and author of two books regarding Charmian and her relationship with Jack London. Both have contributed to the recent Women's Studies volume and reference works


Direct any questions to Contest Chair Deborah Large dlarge@jacklondonpark.com

Note: All historic photographs shown here are courtesy of the Huntington Library, San Marino, CA

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