June 15, 2017

You’re so vain, you probably thought this award was about you

Recently I submitted an application to the National Magazine Awards at a cost of $107.35, even though that’s not the way it works. Usually the journal that originally published your work thinks you’re so great that they do the application for you, betting that your story will be selected from all those published that year. Journals have done this twice before on my behalf, but I’ve never won. The closest I ever came to a major prize was being included in the Journey Prize Anthology, from which a jury picks the winners—call it a long list. About a hundred years ago (okay, 1997) I had the somewhat diluted pleasure of being one of five horourable mentions in the Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. In 1980 I was twelve and pretty thrilled to have my story read on CBC Radio. Besides these very well-spaced, minor victories, my stories don’t seem to be good contest candidates. So why risk being labelled vain and delusional? It felt strange to personally submit my story, bypassing the normal process, but I had a good feeling about “Tickles the Clown”. Feedback from the editor at Grain was very positive, but beyond that I felt the […]