Story zone: $1,000 contest strikes again


It's time for you to take a seat in front of your keyboard and begin to cast your magic spell. Tell your story. The Hook Fiction Contest is back.

Prizes and such

 First comes the money. There's $1,000 at stake. The grand-prize winner receives $700. Then there's $200 for second place, and $100 for third place. Each winner also gets a $75 gift certificate to dine at Kiki, a stylish little bistro on the Downtown Mall.

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.

Plus, all three winners will be officially saluted at the opening event of this year's Virginia Festival of the Book ( on Wednesday, March 22. This year's Festival hotshots (besides you, of course) include Tim Flannery, Judith Viorst, Art Buchwald, Donovan Webster, Rita Dove, and Barbara Ehrenreich.

Three special celebrity judges will make the final decision:

* last year's winner David Ronka, author of "What Can't Be Cured"

* well-known essayist (on radio and in the Hook) Janis Jaquith,

* well-known globe-trotting author (Aftermath) Don Webster


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 come with a cover sheet containing the author's name, address, phone, and email (if any) 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.

 We're looking for short stories under 3,500 words that have not been published either in print or electronically.

By entering, you give The Hook permission to use your name, story, and even your smiling face in our pages and on our website.

We usually get about 100 submissions, so, in keeping with our 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 we seek.

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 scorching heat of our judges' scrutiny will win and will be notified by the end of the day Wednesday, March 1.

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.

Deadline: 5pm, Tuesday, February 7. 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)