COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Famed South Carolina author Pat Conroy is judging an essay writing contest for high school juniors and seniors.

The students are being asked to write about how they think the state of South Carolina could be improved. The first round was held earlier this month and the second session is being held Saturday on the University of South Carolina campus in Columbia.

Conroy will choose the grand prize winners, who could win up to $1,000 and assorted other prizes. Up to 30 of the first-round winners will be published in a USC Press anthology.

The contest is sponsored by the University of South Carolina Honors College and the University of South Carolina Press.