Second through sixth-grade students at schools within 25 miles of Mark Twain’s Quarry Farm in Chemung County can take part in a creative writing contest sponsored by the Center for Mark Twain Studies.

According to the center, the annual Fireplace Writing Contest is inspired by Twain’s stays at Quarry Farm in Chemung County, where he “often encourages his children to create and tell their own stories based off the tiles adorning the parlor fireplace. The 25 tiles around the fireplace depict fables written by ancient Greek storyteller Aesop, who utilized animals, such as crows, snakes, mice, and foxes to illustrate moral lessons.”

Twain stayed at the farm for more than 20 consecutive summers, according to the center, where he wrote some of his most noted works including “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.”

Students can view the tiles on the center’s website and then create their own stories. The center’s staff will choose three winners from three different schools, who will then be given a personal tour inside Quarry Farm, be able to read their stories from the Quarry Farm Porch, and enjoy Train’s favorite dessert of gingerbread, vanilla ice cream, and lemonade. Farm tours are typically only available to Mark Twain Scholars.

Submissions are due by April 24. The can be sent to the Center for Mark Twain Studies, Elmira College, 1 Park Place, Elmira, NY 14901. For contest information and pictures of the Quarry Farm fireplace tiles, visit