Friday, May 16, 2008

New No-Win Nonfiction Contest (JoAnn Beard)

Looks like we've got another no-win contest on our hands, friends. Fuel for another debate? Or just too boring?  Either way, this just came in from an anonymous LROD reader: 

"Dear Entrant,

We at Columbia: A Journal of Literature & Art, would like to thank you for your submission. There were many fantastic pieces to choose from this year, and the selection of winners was carefully considered by our judges. The fiction and poetry winners can be read in your complimentary issue of Columbia, and runners-up can be found on
After much deliberation, nonfiction judge JoAnn Beard exercised her right not to select a winner, as written in our contest rules.

We encourage you to enter our 2009 contests. Judges will be announced on our Web site in the fall."

JoAnn Beard has judged a lot of contests and has once before refused to choose all the winners, as reported here on LROD; maybe it's a habit of hers.  Anyway, I'm pretty sure she's rejected me several times along the way, though I didn't submit for this particular contest.  But could it really be that not one creative nonfiction piece was good enough for publication?  Thanks for sending this, "A Lonely Writer in the Trenches." Given the insult of this rejection, I hope you are a poet and fiction writer.


Joy said...

Apparently this is a pattern. I sent a short story to a Columbia fiction contest in 2005 and they "exercised their right" not to choose a winner then too. If a journal repeatedly exercises rights not to award promised prizes, at what point do their contests stop being contests and become money-making scams? In any case, I would suggest writers avoid submitting to this journal's contests.

Writer, Rejected said...

Wow. That is uncool. And, yeah, they should exercise their right to give you back your entry fee, too.

Anonymous said...

Did they refund the entry fees?

If not, how can this be promoted even further?

Maybe it's time to get a campaign to find all entrants so they can upload their entries to a site for the world to judge. Were they all really unpublishable, or is something else going on here?

Jade Park said...

I am sick of the whole "no winners" thing. What is the point of a contest? Totally ridiculous.

In the case of some of these contests, no money is taken from the entries--so there is no question about the money/profit. Did Columbia's contest have an entry fee? If so, how are they accountable for the money?

Anyway. I guess if this trend continues there will be no winner on American Idol, no winners in the Olympics...


ealbert said...

Yeah. JoAnn Beard is one of my favorite authors and one of my rules for submitting to contests is that I have to like the journal and/or the judge’s work. Although I had to withdraw my piece from the 2008 Columbia Nonfiction Contest (it had been accepted elsewhere), I was very startled to have the same message (Dear Entrant, We at Columbia … would like to thank you for your submission, yada, yada) delivered to my inbox, because never in all my years of submitting 100’s of stories and poems to 100’s of journals, had I heard of a journal willfully refusing to name a contest winner.
JoAnn Beard is once again judging the Columbia Nonfiction Contest, 2011.

ealbert said...

actually, spelling of her name is Jo Ann Beard