Friday, 16 October 2009

places to send your work to: part 2 - The Dana Awards

*post edited slightly since I had an email from the Dana Awards organiser*

I've been ferreting around the web and various listings sites looking for something interesting to share with you for Part 2 of my 'Places to send your work to' series.

If you missed it, last week I wrote about Tomlit Magazine. Alex, the editor, tells me he's accepted quite a few pieces sent to him as a result of that post, which is excellent news.

I thought it'd be nice to focus on a competition this week. There are a few big-name and established annual competition deadlines coming up: Fish, Sunday Times, Cinnamon Press. I thought about writing about one of those but they get a fair bit of attention anyway, so instead I'm going with the Dana Awards (listed in Mslexia Magazine).

When I looked them up I found this, not the flashiest of websites, but one where you get the 'feel' of the people who run it quite easily. Mary Elizabeth Parker is a writer herself while her husband Michael Dana (see, she named the award after him) provides the funding. Judging is done in-house at the moment, with a view to getting more outside judges for future prizes.

There are 3 categories in the Dana Awards, each with a prize of $1000.

1. The Novel Award: for the first 50 pages of your novel (completed or in progress). Any genre, except memoir.

2. The Short Fiction Award: for short stories up to 10,000 words in length. Again, no memoirs.

3. The Poetry Award: for the best group of 5 poems. No light verse.

I think $1000 is very generous, especially as it's awarded in each category.

There's no promise of publication - this is purely a 'monetary encouragement' award, supportive of unrecognised talent. You do have to pay to enter, as with most competitions. It's $15 for short stories and groups of poems, $25 for novels.

All entries must be made by post, to
Mary Elizabeth Parker, Chair
Dana Awards
200 Fosseway Drive
North Carolina
USA 27455

Looking at the past winners they are very heavily located in the US. This isn't a bad thing if you're not in the US - since I found the Dana Awards listed in Mslexia Magazine I'm sure they're looking for a more international flavour this year. *I've just had an email from Mary Elizabeth assuring me they do get entries from international writers but they'd love to have more on board this year*

Closing date is soon - entries should be postmarked by Oct 31st.

I'll end with this direct quote from the website about what they're looking for:

Whether fiction or poetry, it must be work that is original yet not merely sensational for the sake of sensation. It must contain clear, well-developed themes and be written in a style that exhibits love of language and mastery of craft.

If fiction, whether literary/mainstream or genre fiction, the characters must be fully drawn, not stereotypes, and must be engaged in conflicts (either internal or external) that are compelling and show forward momentum.

In both poetry and fiction, if it's a universal story (love, death, loss, coming of age, moral responsiveness or failure to respond), it must be told in a fresh way.

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