The University of Tennessee's English department funds an annual writing contest for its fiction and poetry graduates. The requirement, for fiction, was simply to enter 20 pages of prose, either published or not, for anonymous judging. The top three entrees in each genre win a cash prize and a place in the winners' reading, held in the library auditorium.
There are some really good fiction writers working their way through the five years of this programme, and so I wasn't sure how well I would do. I entered a lightly edited version of “My Arctic Circle” and won second place. This has made me quite happy (the $300 prize will make my credit card company happy, too). It's a lovely end to my first year at Tennessee.
If you are in the Knoxville area, you should come to the contest winners' reading on Monday (April 22nd). These are some very talented and widely published emerging authors, and I'm excited to read with them.