The Jane Lumley Prize for Emerging Writers: How It Works

When we launched Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal in April this year, our primary editorial aim was to present the literary compositions of emerging authors alongside those written by established ones in an aesthetically pleasing issue that will respect the contributions of all our writers equally. And six months and four issues later, we believe that we have been able to achieve that to a large extent. We thank all our submitters for placing faith in us and in our journal, and for trusting us with their poetry and prose. Overwhelmed with the amount of readership and support that we garnered in our initial months, we decided to introduce The Jane Lumley Prize for Emerging Writers, in an effort to recognize an outstanding poetry and prose written by an author who has yet not published a full-length book of poetry and/or prose.

The contest which began on 13th August will culminate on 30th November. There is no entry fee. The winner, chosen by our Editor-in-Chief, will be awarded prize money of $300, along with publication in the January issue of Hermeneutic Chaos.  The two semi-finalists will also find publication in our January issue.

What makes our contest unique is that it allows only the new and emerging writers to participate, as opposed to both emerging and established authors, thereby reducing an unconscious bias that the editors may be subjected to while encountering a poetry/prose written by a veteran. Though most of the contest judges read blindly in order to ensure a fair and impartial judgment, sometimes the professional expertise of a writer becomes just too obvious. We feel that it is simply unfair to pit renowned writers and beginners against each other, because though sometimes there are exceptions, one almost always knows the outcome of a contest in such cases.

Another unique factor distinguishing our contest from others is that it will alternate between poetry and prose every year. This will also allow us to focus our energies on only a particular aspect of literature and to appreciate the various nuances and intricacies that constantly perplex its contours. Thus, while the contest in 2014 will only cater to poetic submissions, the year 2015 will see it interacting with different forms of prose.

As a new literary journal, we were extremely apprehensive about the number of submissions we would receive for our inaugural contest, especially because its dates coincided with those of some extremely popular literary contests. Even without an entry fee, we were expecting not more than 150-200 submissions. However, we were pleasantly astonished to see our contest gaining huge popularity among the writing community, and we received a total of 102 submissions in the first month alone.  Till date (October 26, 2014), we have received over 450 brilliant poetic submissions ,and  are expecting even a greater number of submissions in November as a consequence of the final month syndrome. We feel extremely grateful and humbled for being given the opportunity to read your work. Thank you. It means a lot to us.

 

In accordance with the CLMP guidelines and in order to help everybody understand the structure of the entire process post the submission of a work for Jane Lumley Prize, we have briefly described below the various steps that your submission will go through once you send it to us. We hope that this will enable you to understand our editorial procedures and preferences and hence contribute to the journal in a better manner.

 

THE PROCESS:

  • Once you submit your work, you will receive an email from us in response to your submission, stating that we have received it. The same will be reflected in your Submittable account, as you will find the status ‘Received’ accompanying your submission.
  • Since all submissions are read blindly, nobody is able to determine the identity of the writer. This allows a fair and impartial perusal of the poems.
  • Your submission is then assigned a unique code number and its printout is taken.
  • Our Editor-in-Chief then goes through all the submissions received on that particular day and arranges them into three different files, “Yes”, “No”, “Maybe” (just as it is on Submittable). Your submission status changes from ‘Received’ to ‘In-Progress’.
  • These submissions are read again after two weeks in order to ascertain the value of the decisions taken earlier. This is the time when several submissions make their way from one folder to another. This step is extremely crucial because it ensures that every submission receives a consistent evaluation.
  • The submissions are then weighed against each other and then the ten best poems are chosen. All the other participants are then informed about the status of their submission are invited to send another batch of poems for consideration. This rolling rejection is extremely important as it allows the participants to submit the poems elsewhere.
  • As newer submissions arrive, they go through the same process again, and many find their way inside the top 10, pushing the earlier inhabitants out.
  • Post the deadline (November 30th), the Editor-in-Chief will spend time with the ten of the best poems submitted throughout the contest, and will decide the winner and the two semi-finalists.

 

PRIZE MONEY:

The winner will receive a prize money of $300, a part of which was donated by a generous literary enthusiast. The remaining funds were contributed by Shinjini Bhattacharjee. The money will awarded through Paypal within a week after the declaration of the results.

 

If you still have any query regarding the contest, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can also send us poetry and prose submissions for our regular issues. We look forward to reading them!

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