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One Week until PRISM’s Non-fiction Contest Deadline!

By Jeffrey Ricker, Contest Manager

Tick, tick, tick… that’s the sound of PRISM‘s creative non-fiction contest deadline rapidly approaching! You have until Thursday, November 28 to submit your entry.

You may be wondering, what happens to my entry after I hit the Submit button (or drop the envelope in the mailbox)? I’m glad you asked! Let me tell you:

  1. Submittable sends me an email letting me know that a new entry has been received.
  2. I do a little dance of joy.
  3. I log into Submittable and assign category flags to the entry.
  4. Repeat steps one through three until the contest deadline.
  5. After the deadline: count up all the contest entries and determine how many each of our readers will review. (Previous step: hector, harass, and cajole as many writers as possible to volunteer to read for our contest.)
  6. Assign entries to contest readers. Each entry is read and voted on by at least three people. All judging is done blind—which means that no one knows who wrote what they’re reading. This also means that, as contest manager, I don’t have a say in the judging, because someone has to keep track of who wrote what. (That someone would be me.)
  7. Continue reading One Week until PRISM’s Non-fiction Contest Deadline!

How Winning PRISM’s Non-fiction Contest Helped Madeline Sonik

at tableIt’s official: There’s now less than a month to go before the deadline for PRISM‘s creative non-fiction contest! You’ve got a little over three weeks to put the final polish on your work, be it stranger than fiction or straight from the hip.

Writer Madeline Sonik won the non-fiction contest for her essay “Fetters,” which was published in the Spring 2010 issue. PRISM caught up with Sonik recently to ask how the award helped her writing and what she’s currently working on.

When you won PRISM‘s non-fiction contest, you had already published six books and won an Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction. How did winning this contest impact your work and how it is received?

I’d actually only published four books before I won PRISM’s non-fiction contest, and I have to say that the win had a profound impact on my writing. I’d been working on the collection, Afflictions & Departures, for years. It was the PRISM win that gave me the final rush of motivation to complete the project. It also motivated me to complete The Book of Changes, a largely autobiographical poetry collection I’d also been working on. Afflictions & Departures was published in 2011 and The Book of Changes was published last year.

Continue reading How Winning PRISM’s Non-fiction Contest Helped Madeline Sonik

3 Questions with Non-fiction Contest Judge Timothy Taylor

photo by Dave Middleton

photo by Dave Middleton

With PRISM‘s creative non-fiction contest well underway, we wanted to take a moment to ask contest judge Timothy Taylor to give us his thoughts on what he’s seeing in non-fiction writing lately, and the common ground it shares with fiction.

What are some of the more memorable non-fiction works you’ve read recently? What made them successful?

I enjoyed Wells Tower’s story about going with his cancer-stricken father to Burning Man. He tries to do what I guess you’re supposed to do there – lose himself in the moment and be spontaneous etc. etc. – and only finds himself reflecting yet more intensely on what a boring middle aged guy he’s become. Better still is the fact that Tower watches his father respond with much more ease and unselfconsciousness to these surroundings, which provides an opportunity for Tower to see his father in a new and more appreciative light. So he’s not a totally changed person by the end, by any means, but he’s changed a bit, shifted in at least that one part of himself that apprehends and appreciates his own father.

Continue reading 3 Questions with Non-fiction Contest Judge Timothy Taylor