Last year, I agreed to be a reader for a writing contest put on by my local writer’s organization. I did so mostly out of curiosity to see what kind of material people in my area were producing. I also thought it’d be fun to serve as a screener. I occasionally think it’d be a little rewarding to curate a literary magazine tailored to my own tastes — as no magazine gets it all quite right — though I know it’d be a lot of work for very little reward and with little chance of anything resembling success. So it was partially out of a desire to screen what being a screener would be like that I raised my hand to help out with the contest. I read 40 or 50 short stories and I think a dozen or two novel excerpts and floated my top few for the final judges to deliberate over. It was interesting and sort of fun but also a heck of a labor.
A few months ago, a couple of the organization’s members who were associated with the board and the contest asked to meet with me to discuss how the contest had gone. I took it to be sort of a post mortem but came away from the meeting with the sense that I had allowed myself to be volunteered to basically run the contest this year. Oops. Really, I’m just maintaining the web page for it, collecting entries, and presumably wrangling screeners once all the entries are in. There’ve been precious few entries so far, though, and I’d like to drum up some more.
So, the details. Although I had originally thought it was a contest only for local writers, there’s no such limitation. There’s a variety of categories, including some new genres in fiction, and each category has modest cash prizes. All but one also have modest entry fees (gotta pay for the prizes somehow).
Last year, there were some really good, publishable entries in the short fiction and novel excerpt contests. It’s a pretty small-potatoes contest, but I can vouch for the quality of at least some of the work submitted last year. I’d love to see some entries come through from people I pitched online. It goes without saying that I have no influence on who wins any of the contests; I’m just a conduit for the entries.
For full details, see the contest info here.