Friday, December 28, 2012

The Plonsker Prize: $10,000, Your Book Published, and Two Months to Write at Lake Forest College

In A Room of One's Own Virginia Woolf famously said that a writer who hoped to succeed needed £500 a year and private room in which to write.  A Room of One's Own came out in 1929, when £500 would get you $807.  If the most easily Google-able online inflation calculator is any guide, that $807 translates into just over $10,000 in today's currency—a handy sum for any aspiring writer, to be sure, and a sum that just happens to equal the prize money given out by Lake Forest College in our annual Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer's Residency Prize.  In a turn Woolf would surely appreciate, the prize also comes with a room of one's own in which to write—several of them, in fact, in the form of a suite at the Glen Rowan House, where the winning poet is bound to run into some interesting people visiting the college (here's the actual suite). 

The prize is open to writers under 40 who have yet to publish a first book (chapbooks and other small publications don't disqualify an applicant).  The residency includes meals and comes with no teaching or other duties—it's just time to write.  The prize alternates between poets and fiction writers—and the winner will read as part of the Lake Forest Literary Festival.

The residency takes place during the spring semester.  Applications for the 2014 residency begin on January first of 2013.  There is no fee to apply.

The judging panel consists of myself, Davis Schneiderman, and Joshua Corey, along with a guest judge.  Guidelines and a link to an online submission form are available here.  If you and your work fit the criteria outlined on the site, I do hope you'll apply.