Only 3 Days Remain to Enter the Dan’s Papers $6,000 Literary Prize

Dan's Papers $6,000 Literary Prize for Nonfiction typewriter
The Dan's Papers $6,000 Literary Prize for Nonfiction Photo: nito100/iStock/Thinkstock

If you are a writer who wants to enter the Dan’s Papers $6,000 Literary Prize for Nonfiction competition for 2014, be aware that the final date for the entries is this Monday July 21 at 11:59 p.m.

There are three prizes to be awarded for 2014, two runners-up and first place, the winner of which will receive a check for $5,000 and a trophy at the awards ceremony. Each of the runners-up will receive $500 and a framed certificate. The awards ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, August 16, at the John Drew Theater in East Hampton. That gives time, between now and then, for our five judges to make their decision in time for the ceremony, which they will have done by awarding ratings of 1 to 5 (with 5 the highest) to each of the entries. The judges do not consult with one another. And the winner is determined by a mathematical tally of these numbers, with the highest total the winner. Our judges are a book critic, an English professor, the CEO of an advertising agency, a prominent nationally known novelist and the chairman of a national bookstore chain.

To enter the contest for these prizes, go to before July 21 at 11:59 p.m. and make your entry there.

Barnes & Noble provides major funding for this competition. Our sponsors include the Hampton Jitney, the Bridgehampton National Bank, BMW Southampton, Southampton Audi, the Southampton Inn, Southampton Mini, Bobby Van’s, Sotto Sopra restaurant in Amagansett, Two Trees Management, Ovation Travel and Porsche of Southampton.

The author of this article is me, Dan Rattiner, the President of Dan’s Papers, who, along with Chairman Richard Burns, founded the Literary Prize. We hope to see you all at the awards ceremony. And we hope you win.

Our contest is only for works of nonfiction. They must be between 600 and 1,500 words, relate in a meaningful way to the Hamptons, North Fork or Montauk, and they may be any sort of nonfiction. That means they can be biography, history, humor, autobiography, an account of an incident or a day, a reminiscence or a piece of news (but no poetry will be accepted).

People from all over are welcome to enter—it is not necessary to be a resident of the East End. If you know someone who writes well and wants to learn more about the contest, invite them to go to our website.

This is the third year of this competition. In our first year, the award for first place was presented at the John Drew Theater by Len Riggio, the chairman of Barnes & Noble. A keynote speech about writing was delivered by double Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Caro. And the winning entry was read by Emmy winner Pia Lindstrom. The winner was written by a member of the Shinnecock tribe, James K. Phillips, and runners up were Jean Ely and Susan Cohen.

Last year, the keynote speech was delivered by E.L. Doctorow, first place was awarded by Martin Shepard, the co-founder of the Permanent Press, and once again Pia Lindstrom read the winner. Caroline Doctorow played guitar to escort people to their seats. And the winner was Susan Duff for her essay “Moving Through Water,” and the runners up were Eve Eliot and Joe Carson.

This year, the keynote speech will be delivered at the John Drew Theater by the President of the Aspen Institute, Walter Isaacson, who is also the author of best-selling biographies of Steve Jobs, Ben Franklin and Albert Einstein. Academy Award-winning actress Mercedes Ruehl will read the winning entry.

All entries for each of the first two years, 2012 and 2013, have been posted on our Literary Prize website in e-books format, and we will do the same again for everyone entering this year. Also this year, for the first time, Dan’s Papers is offering a scholarship for a student studying journalism creative writing at Stony Brook University’s Southampton campus.

We’ve had entries from amateur writers and professionals. So far, amateurs have won the competition in each of the first two years. As you read this, there are only a few days left before we close down the entry process, so if you want to enter or know someone who would like to do so, tell them about it. Again, the deadline is a minute before midnight on Monday July 21, only online at In any case, I hope to see you at the awards ceremony.

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