Dan’s Papers Literary Prize Returns and Expands

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

At 8 a.m. on the morning of February 15, the pistol will be raised and fired. The 2015 Dan’s Papers Literary Prize for Nonfiction will open to receive entries at literaryprize.danspapers.com. Everyone is welcome to enter. Let the scribbling begin.

This is the fourth year we have held the Literary Prize competition, the only literary prize for nonfiction awarded on Long Island. But, new this year, there will be two separate competitions with prizes totaling $10,000: the annual Dan’s Papers $6,000 Literary Prize for Nonfiction, and the inaugural Dan’s Papers $4,000 Emerging Writers Prize for Nonfiction.

All entries in either category must be between 600 and 1500 words, must reference the eastern end of Long Island in a meaningful way, and be nonfiction—memoir, autobiography, humor, biography, history, even an account of a day. The contest ends on August 15, 2015, and on September 3 at 5 p.m., an awards ceremony will take place at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater in East Hampton to announce the winners.

For the Dan’s Papers $6,000 Literary Prize for Nonfiction, first prize is $5,000. Two runners up receive $500. And this year, for the first time, there will be three “Judge’s Choice” awards announced. All winners will receive trophies, framed certificates and other prizes. Also at the awards ceremony, the recipient of a Dan’s Papers college scholarship at Stony Brook University’s English Department will be announced.

In addition to our annual $6,000 Literary Prize for Nonfiction, we are, this year, offering a second prize: the Dan’s Papers $4,000 Emerging Writers Literary Prize for Nonfiction.

This competition is open only to those 25 years old or under. Entrants can be students, young adult graduates or anyone else. This competition is separate from the regular competition, but runs concurrently with it. (There is nothing to prevent a young writer from entering a submission in both competitions.) It is hoped that we will find in this competition a future bestseller, screenwriter or Pulitzer Prize winning author. First prize is $3,000, with two runners up prizes at $500. There will also be Judges’ Choice Awards.

In the first year of the competition, Robert Caro gave the keynote speech at the awards ceremony at Guild Hall. In our second year, we had E.L. Doctorow, and musician Caroline Doctorow performed at the ceremony. Last year Walter Isaacson spoke about his work. Readers of the winning entries have been read aloud to the packed house by Emmy winner Pia Lindstrom and Oscar winner Mercedes Ruehl.

Entries in the competition come from local residents and those who’ve only visited, amateur writers and professional authors and journalists. All entries are collected in online books at our website, available to all (you can read the first two volumes at literaryprize.danspapers.com right now—and look for the announcement of the 2014 collection soon).

Entries in both competitions become eligible for consideration for publication in Dan’s Papers and on DansPapers.com. Entrants also become eligible to be invited to one of our monthly literary salons, where authors selected by our editors are asked to read their work to an audience. The next literary salon, which is free and open to the public and includes wine and cheese, will take place at the Southampton Inn at 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 21. Salons will continue this spring at the Southampton Inn through April, with locations of future ones to be announced.

Last year’s sponsors, in addition to our major funding sponsor, Barnes & Noble, included Hampton Jitney, Bridgehampton National Bank, Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, Sotto Sopra restaurant in Amagansett; Southampton BMW, Audi, Mini and Porsche, Ben Krupinski Builder, Two Trees Management Co., Hamptons H2O, Southampton Inn and Ovation Travel Group.

The fee to enter either competition is $25 per essay. Writers may enter up to three essays. For more details, visit literaryprize.danspapers.com.

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