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January 16, 2011

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I administer but do not read for or judge two contests, one in Creative Nonfiction
2011 Judge: Elizabeth Wurtzel (1st year)
http://www.anderbo.com/anderbo1/andernonfictionprize2011.html
and one in Poetry (2011 will be the 6th year)
2010 Judge: Linda Bierds
http://www.anderbo.com/anderbo1/anderprize2010.html

Mr general function in these contests is to keep everything running along and sorted out: the advertising and publicity, the entries, the return notification envelopes, the entry-fees, the prize, the notifications, the publication of the winners. Sometimes an entrant will write in to inform us that, say, one of his or her poems has been accepted elsewhere, so that has to be fished out.

What I'm trying to say is that, even without doing any reading or judging at all, and even while averaging only a hundred entries per contest, there's a lot to keep anyone who's running a literary competition's hands full.

Sincerely,
Rick Rofihe
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
http://www.anderbo.com

Thanks for posting this. I think this is an aspect of literary life that most of us taken for granted - the "in-kind" service that most writers perform when asked. In fact, the only reason I've ever encountered that people turn these requests down is a question of time; that is, they have their plates full with other in-kind service work. I think it's worth remembering when folks think about the state of literature today. It's largely a well-run, committed, passionate, mostly invisible volunteer force that keeps the literary biz humming along. Only a slender top layer gets any financial cream - judging fees, paid editing jobs, etc. - that may rise. What other industry can say that? What other industry would not collapse without a financially-compensated workforce? I believe this says a lot about writers - perhaps we are fools, perhaps starry-eyed angels, perhaps a little of both.

Terrific insight into the process. I'm going to share this with my blog readers :)

People aren't aware of how much thought and hard work go into these deliberations. Your column is a salutary reminder that there are people out there who give selflessly of themselves to honor the art and its practitioners.

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