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Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Climbing to the top of the slush
The Sunday before last, I wrote an article in Ideas about new online fiction writing sites, like The Frontlist and Zoetrope Virtual Studio, that offer not only a writers' workshop and a relief from loneliness but also a chance to circumvent the slush pile by rising to the top of the sites' rankings and getting noticed by agents and publishers.
Now the British literary agency Christopher Little, best known for representing the author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling -- talk about putting big bucks in the eyes of writers -- is sponsoring a 1,500-pound prize for fiction writers in the City University of London program. As with The Frontlist and Zoetrope, the real prize for the budding Rowling, I suspect, is the chance of publication -- specifically, that Christopher Little will go that last step and print the winning work. (Clearly they'll get the first crack at whatever comes out of this venture.) Too bad the contest is only for students at one school, but it's an interesting model for others to follow. I wonder if organizations like the NEA or the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts would consider a competition with publication as the treasure at the end of the rainbow.