The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King: Los Angeles, CA, November 11, 2003 - Select high schools and middle schools in four US cities are set to join New Line Cinema in a creative writing contest leading up to the December 17 release of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the final installment in Peter Jackson's motion picture trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel.

Anchored in New York by PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning); by the Board of Education, Office of Language and Education, in Chicago; Turning the Page in Washington, D.C.; and the San Francisco School Volunteers, the contest is designed to not only inspire reading and creative writing, but will earn schools cash grants, books and early screenings of the film.

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The children will be asked to write a 200-word essay on the theme of Gandalf's quote from The Lord of the Rings: "All you have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to you."

Five finalist essays will be chosen by contest organizers in each city, with New Line selecting one winner out of each group of five. These four grand prize winners will receive promotional merchandising package tied to the film, along with a private screening for the student's friends and family.

The prizes for all schools that participate include a $10,000 grant per city applied to the purchase of new books for the school library, as well as a complete set of The Lord of the Rings book series and tie-in guides donated by publisher Houghton Mifflin.

Further, each of the four cities where schools are participating will have its own screening of the film two weeks prior to its December 17 release. Guidelines for judging will be set individually by the organizing body within each city.