Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Literary competitions

Why do former winners of literary competitions enter them again, year after year? I think those who have already won should be barred from re-entering competitions where they have already walked away with a prize. I also think they should have the humility not to try to win again. It's on the CV, why do you need it twice? It would mean so much more to someone else.
As a personal rule, writers might ban themselves from entering any competitions where they have already been in the top 3. Leave room for others to 'crack' the code of the selecting committee.


FD Moran said...

Do you think this should apply to the top prizes too? Booker etc.?

Women Rule Writer said...

Thanks for your comment.
The Booker books are chosen, or entered by the publishers, so it's not really the writers choosing to send them in, as it is with the smaller competitions, like annual short story comps for example. I just object to the same person walking awy with say, The Bridport Prize twice. It seems unbelievable to me that someone would enter again having won before. WHY??!!

TitaniaWrites said...

This is a very interesting topic. I'd never actually thought of this but it's a great idea... I am sure I have read in certain competitions' rules that previous winners can't enter the year after they've won. You see it a lot - the same names in the lists of "previous winners", I suppose because each comp tends to have its own style, its particular taste. I would say that a year's break after a win should be enforced... give us all a chance!

Women Rule Writer said...

Thanks for that comment.
I personally would be mortified to be seen to be attempting to bag a prize I already 'owned'. It seems greedy to me. But, apparently, some writers are less...honourable than me. (Is that the right word?)
And don't get me started on the holders of paid uni teaching posts getting Arts Council bursaries. They don't need them!! We do! i.e. The Strugglers!

Emerging Writer said...

I tend to agree. I do know someone who ot 2nd prize one year in a competition so went in again the next year to try and get the 1st place. She wasn't even shortlisted! She vowed never again to enter twice as it was such a puncture to her ego!

Women Rule Writer said...

And I know someone who has come 2nd in a major comp 3 times and still enters every year hoping to bag the top prize. The money in this particular one is worth it, but like your friend, what happens when he isn't even shortlisted some time? Major body blow, I reckon...
Thanks for dropping by, EW. I like your blog!

Vanessa G said...

I'm not sure I know what I think here, but it's an interesting question.

I too know someone who has won 2nd several times at a major comp and still enters (wonder if its the same writer). There aren't many ways of earning decent dosh with short fiction, and if you have a cat in hell's chance of a place then why not?

The writing world is a competitive one. Toby Litt was a finalist at Bridport this year. So the comps attract entries from the great and the good as well as the less great and less good, like moi!

But I know EXACTLY what you mean about not going in for them again... for me it would be a matter of 'I won't ever do that again, so best not try!'

On the other hand... Olympic runners don't stop entering the top races because they've won... so why should writers? aaagh... good question though!!!

Women Rule Writer said...

Hi Vanessa
Thanks for stopping by. I take your point about Olympians, it's true. Sports people are supposed to strive and strive until they win gold. Maybe I need to shift my thinking re writing over to that?! Maybe I need to develop the brass neck of other writers? I dunno, seeing X famous/published writer winning a lit comp that he enters and wins for the 2nd time, from among a shortlist of relative beginners, just makes me feel uncomfortable. I say, enter if you must, win if you can, but then leave it at that, please!! Leave room for newer writers to rise to the top.
And, yes, money is really hard to come by as a writer. I earn my living as a writer and that's why I still enter comps. But when I win, I leave that particular comp behind.