CONTEST FOR FICTION- Story zone: Grisham our judge this year!

You've read stories by John Grisham, but now he wants to read your story. Yes, the world renowned author of The Firm, A Time to Kill, and The Innocent Man is the judge of this year's Hook short story contest.

Prizes and such

Surely the idea that one of the world's top-selling authors wants to read your work should be incentive enough to enter, but there's also the $1,000 in cash prizes.

The grand-prize winner receives $700, and there's $200 for second place and $100 for third.

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 Virginia Festival of the Book ( on Wednesday, March 21. This year's Festival hotshots (besides you, of course) include Lee Smith, Hal Crowther, Doug Marlette, and Earl Hamner.

The Rules 

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 one staple at the upper left corner, and be accompanied by a cover sheet containing the author's name, address, phone, email (if any) 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.

In keeping with this newspaper's name, make sure your story "hooks" us from the first page, and please make sure it has conflict, dialogue, action, and resolution. Essays and slices of life are not what Mr. Grisham seeks.

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!

Those whose stories withstand the steely scrutiny of Covesville's best known citizen will be notified by the end of the day Wednesday, March 7.

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. All fees received exceeding the prize-money will be donated to the Rebuild the Coast Fund, a charity Grisham launched to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Deadline: 5pm, Tuesday, February 13. We don't care about postmarks; the manuscript must be in the Hook newsroom by deadline.

Mail or carry your entry and fee to:

Fiction Contest 

The Hook

100 Second St. NW 

Charlottesville, VA 22902 

(Questions? Call 434.295.8700x232)



I'm working on a story right now, even though I'm only 13 years old, I have a love of writting that is beyond anyting. I've waited for a contest like this for a while, and I'll do my best to prove that anyone can write.

i'm thirteen years old but i've been wanting to enter something like this for AGES! can't wait.

What if it snows on the deadline date preventing people from getting their entries in? Is there a reprive?
Vance High

I have written a short story that everyone is bugging me to try to get published and of course I have no idea where to begin. Doing some online surfing I came across your site, and you had a contest and it says "deadline February 13", but no year. I'm assuming it was 2007 as at the top of your site something is posted in January 2007, and the blog comments are all dated February 2007.

My question at this time is, if this is a past contest, i.e., 2007, and was it a one-time thing or will you be doiong it again in 2008?


This is definetly a great thing that the Hook and Grisham does for the Community.

Dag. Why couldn't this have been for 2008?

I would love to enter the contest on the next round, as it is an annual event. Please send me the info or a link. I have the winning story, it will grip hearts and inspire all. (I think!) Thought provoking because it brings in the medical field, the major crutch- the pharmaceutical industry, and crooked bunch of Leesburg judges and attorneys in bed with the locals. It is not complete yet-but it is true!