Hook Mr. Grisham: By writing a great short story
2010 was a busy year for John Grisham. Not only did he come out with another legal thriller, The Confession, but he also found the time to write a novel for young adults, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer.
And now he wants to see what you can do. He has again accepted the challenge of wielding a gavel in the literary world by judging the Hook's annual short story contest.
Prizes and such
The idea that one of the world's top-selling authors wants to read your work should be incentive enough to enter, but wait, there's also the $1,000 in cash prizes.
The grand-prize winner receives $550, second place $250, and third place $150.
Next comes the fame. The grand prize-winning story will be published in the Hook in late March when lots of literary types are in town for the Virginia Festival of the Book.
In addition, all three winners will be officially saluted at the opening event of this year's Festival on Wednesday, March 16. This year's Festival hotshots–- besides you!–- include Kathryn Stockett (author of the bestseller The Help), Kathy Reichs (whose books inspired the Fox series The Bones), David Shenk (author of The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ is Wrong), and PBS mainstay (as well as prolific novelist) Jim Lehrer.
• All manuscripts must be typed in 12 pt. or larger font, double-spaced, on 8 1/2" x 11" paper.
• All manuscripts must be bound with at least one staple at the upper left corner and must be accompanied by a cover sheet containing the author's name, address, phone, email, and word count clumped within a match-book-size area on the cover sheet (so we can temporarily hide your name during the judging). Entries with your name in a header or footer on each page will be discarded and your fee refunded.
• We're looking for short stories under 3,500 words that have not been published either in print or electronically. Any that exceed the word count will be discarded and your fee refunded.
• By entering, you give the Hook permission to use your name, story, and even your smiling face in our pages and on our website. A new rule we started last year is that entrants must live in Central Virginia, which we define as Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Orange, Madison, Louisa, Greene, Nelson, Fluvanna, and even Buckingham and Augusta.
• In keeping with this newspaper's name, make sure your story "hooks" us from the first page, and please make sure it offers conflict, dialogue, action, and resolution. Mr. Grisham does not want to read essays, memoirs, and slices of life. He will not read cover letters. In fact, he judges the stories blind, so he will not ever see your name (unless you win, of course).
• Anyone– professionals and amateur– can win, and everyone retains rights to re-publish the story in other places after it has run in the Hook.
• Please check your manuscript for errors; we can't accept hand-corrected copies.
• No emailed or faxed entries!
• There is a limit of two (2) manuscripts per author. Please enclose your entry fee of $5 for one entry or $10 for two entries. Any fees received exceeding the $1,000 prize-money will be donated to Grisham's ball park.
5pm, Tuesday, February 1. We are very strict and don't care about postmarks; the manuscript must be in the Hook newsroom by that time and date.
Mail or carry your entry and fee to:
Short Story Contest
100 Second St. NW
Charlottesville, VA 22902
(Questions? Call 434-295-8700 x 236)
Those whose stories withstand the steely scrutiny of the guy who created kid lawyer Theodore Boone will be notified by the end of the day Thursday, March 3.