Coal Creek Eisteddfod
Literary Competition

Awards to be given during
Briceville School History Field Trip
on Friday, 18 May 2018


Jacob Sharp being recognized as winner of the
2011 Coal Creek Eisteddfod Competition

WHO: Briceville Elementary School 4th & 5th graders
WHAT: Welsh miners who came to Coal Creek after the American Civil War brought with them many traditions.  One was a ceremony called an eisteddfod (pronounced A-steth-vod) literary competition, which had its roots in medieval Wales.  “Eistedd” means “seated” in Welsh.  The festival reaches a climax when someone is announced as the winner of the eisteddfod chair (cadair in Welsh).  This is a writing competition based on a specified topic.  In our case, the topic is, “Historical Fiction Stories Set in Coal Creek.” 
WHEN: Essays should be submitted to Carol Moore  by Monday, 14 May 2018.  Winners will be announced during the Briceville School History Field Trip for 4th and 5th graders on Friday, 19 May 2018. 
WHERE: The ceremony will be held at Briceville Church, which was built by Welsh miners in 1888, when we return to Briceville after eating lunch at Cracker Barrel. 
WHY: One of the ways the Welsh coal miners celebrated their language and culture was through these annual eisteddfod festivals.  In 1890, the Welsh held their festival in Knoxville and in 1891 it was held in Chattanooga.  They reported having Welsh coal miners from 10 different states participate in literary competitions at those cultural festivals, known as the Dixie Eisteddfod.  The winner of the 2016 Coal Creek Eisteddfod Literary Competition will be given a ceremonial chair and a cash prize of $100.  Runner-up winners will receive a cash prize of $20.
HOW: Enter the 2016 Coal Creek Eisteddfod Competition by writing a historical fiction story set in Coal Creek after the American Civil War. Historical fiction is a type of literature in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past.  An essential element of historical fiction is that it pays attention to the manners, social conditions and other details of the period depicted.  Authors also frequently choose to explore notable historical figures in these settings, allowing readers to better understand how these individuals might have responded to their environments.  Famous authors of historical fiction include Sir Walter Scott, James Fenimore Cooper, and Leo Tolstoy.  More recently, Chris Cawood wrote the historical fiction novel, “Tennessee's Coal Creek War: Another Fight for Freedom.” 

One of the Coal Creek miners who participated in the Dixie Eisteddfod competitions in the 1890s was David R. Thomas.  He later donated a rare collection of Welsh literature published in America to Harvard University.  That collection is still used by Harvard students and professors today.  Dr. Eirug Davies of Harvard University used books in that collection as references in his book, “The Welsh of Tennessee.”  Dr. Davies’ book acknowledges the contributions of students from Briceville Elementary School in his research.

For more details, contact Carol Moore at (865) 584-0344, ext. 102 or

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