NYT Bestselling Author Inspires Young Writers with National Student Essay Contest Featuring International Prize

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Grand prize includes a trip to London, a scholarship, and book haul for winner’s school library

To celebrate the release of her 14th book, the Young Adult title “Toward a Secret Sky,” New York Times bestselling author Heather Maclean is hosting a nationwide student essay contest with an international prize package.

“Growing up, I lived for writing contests,” Maclean says. “I entered them all—even the dodgy ones in the backs of comic books. They gave me confidence, even when I didn’t win, that I could write, and that someone cared about reading what I wrote. My junior year, I won the VFW Voice of Democracy contest which included trips to Washington, D.C. and Chicago. For a kid from the backwoods of Missouri, it was a life-changing experience.”

To share that inspiration with the next generation of writers, Maclean created an essay contest and teamed up with premier travel brands The Red Carnation Hotel Collection and Evan Evans Tours to craft an extraordinary prize package.

The Grand Prize winner of the “Toward a Secret Sky Student Essay Contest” will receive a four-night trip for two to London. Airfare is courtesy of U.S.-based travel planner Meeting Your Needs, and Red Carnation Hotels is contributing two nights each at two of their luxury, boutique hotels: The Chesterfield Mayfair and The Rubens at the Palace. Evan Evans Tours, Britain’s oldest sightseeing company, is offering a comprehensive tour of London.

Along with the trip, the essay contest winner will receive a $500 scholarship from Maclean. Their school library will also receive a $400 book prize pack from HarperCollins’ YA imprint Blink.

“‘Toward a Secret Sky’ is an adventure quest set in the U.K. about an ordinary American girl facing extraordinary circumstances,” Maclean says. “It’s reality mixed with possibility since all of the locations in the books—from the highlands of Scotland to the secret city under London—are real places. I want to give one young reader the chance to walk in the main characters’ footsteps, to venture beyond their backyard and be inspired by an international adventure.”

Students can enter the “Toward a Secret Sky Student Essay Contest” by answering the question “What inspires you?” with a 400-600 word essay by June 15, 2017 at http://www.towardasecretsky.com. No purchase is necessary; students must be an American resident between the ages of 13-18. Full contest details and official rules, along with printable flyers for download can be found at the aforementioned website.

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About Toward a Secret Sky
Toward a Secret Sky is New York Times bestselling author Heather Maclean’s first YA novel, an intelligent adventure-quest that blends an epic romance with a breathless flight through the highlands of Scotland, the secret city under London, and history itself. (HarperCollins/Blink, April 2017)

About Meeting Your Needs
Meeting Your Needs is an independent American travel planning company that specializes in finding the perfect hotel or resort for any event, meeting, or convention--at home or abroad. Clients include schools, associations, corporations, and even Hollywood production companies. (http://www.meetingyourneeds.org)

About The Chesterfield Mayfair
Located in the heart of Mayfair, just minutes from Bond Street, Piccadilly and the Royal Parks, The Chesterfield is a luxury boutique hotel with a storied history. It was voted #6 Best Hotel in London in Travel + Leisure magazine’s 2016 World’s Best Awards. (http://www.chesterfieldmayfair.com)

About The Rubens at the Palace
Located adjacent to the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, The Rubens is a majestic 4-star luxury hotel that recalls the magnificence and splendor of a bygone age while also offering the latest in modern comfort and technology. The Rubens was voted one of the top 12 hotels in London in the 2016 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. (http://www.rubenshotel.com)

About Evan Evans
Evan Evans is the largest, longest-established, and best-reviewed sightseeing company in London, offering guests outstanding capital tours and out-of-town excursions since 1930. Guests see the sights from the comfort of luxury, air-conditioned coaches or private automobiles, and are escorted by professional local guides. (http://evanevanstours.com)

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