Beach Reads

50 Ways to Win the Dan’s Papers $10,000 Literary Prize

The East End of Long Island—whether you’re in Westhampton Beach or on Wades Beach, enjoying the day in Montauk or Mattituck, antiquing in Southold or dining in Southampton—touches countless people in countless ways. Maybe you’re visiting for the first time, or have been coming here with family for generations. You could be a summertime renter or a year-round resident, a grandparent watching the grandkids frolic in the sand, a young couple saying “I do” in bucolic Long Island Wine Country, a paddleboard aficionado who can’t wait to get on the water every day, an artist painting a local sunset, a chef creating a new dish from local bounty…no matter who you are, you have a story to tell about the East End.

Now is the time to write it down. Now is your chance to take those memories, those magical moments, and share them with the world. Now is the moment you could pen the winning entry in the $6,000 Dan’s Literary Prize for Nonfiction or the $4,000 Emerging Young Writers Prize. But time is running out! The deadline is Monday, August 14!

If you haven’t entered yet, it could be because you’re facing that blank page, trying to figure out what to write about. Maybe you need just a bit more inspiration, a spark to ignite the creative flame. We’re ready to help. Of course, any and all ideas can be winners, but here we share 50 ideas that could put you on the way to literary glory.

Climbing the Montauk Lighthouse
Lavender fields in East Marion
Pumpkin picking
Sitting front row at WHBPAC
Watching the sunset from the Long Wharf
Iceboat racing on Mecox Bay
Exploring Camp Hero
Sitting in traffic
Finding a back-road shortcut
Meeting a local artist
Shucking your own oysters
Strolling Main Beach in winter
Horseback riding
Your first lobster roll
The fire pit at Gurney’s
Riding the carousel in Mitchell Park
Driving in the Bridgehampton Road Rally
Strolling Main Street
Greenport tall ships
Surfing Ditch Plains
Flying a kite at Sagg Main Beach
Paddle boarding on the Peconic
Seal watching
A vineyard engagement
Loving Love Lane
Stargazing at Crescent Beach
Apple picking
July Fourth fireworks
Biking down Dune Road
Gin Lane
Standing on the deck of the ferry to Shelter Island
Planting garlic at Sylvester Manor
Getting lost in a corn maze
Catamaran sailing
A favorite artwork at the Parrish Art Museum
Dancing in the aisle at Suffolk Theater
Meeting your favorite chef at Taste of Two Forks and GrillHampton
A glass of rosé
Farmers market finds
Rocking with Nancy Atlas at Bay Street
Piping plovers
Finding that perfect shell at Orient Beach
Crossing Ponquogue Bridge

Today, what you were doing the moment before you picked up this story, what you’re about to do the moment you put it down.

Enter until Monday, August 14 at There is a $25 fee per submission to enter the Dan’s Papers Literary Prize for Nonfiction and a $10 fee per submission to enter the Emerging Young Writers Prize for Nonfiction. Individuals may enter multiple submissions. The Dan’s Papers Emerging Young Writers Prize for Nonfiction is open ONLY to writers age 25 and younger as of the closing date of the competition: August 14, 2017. All entries must be prose and must reference, in some meaningful way, eastern Long Island.

2016 Grand Prize winner Richard Weissmann
2016 Grand Prize winner Richard Weissmann, Photo: Barbara Lassen

Dan’s Papers Literary Prize for Nonfiction Grand Prize winner will receive $5,000, while two runners up will receive $500 each. Dan’s Papers Emerging Young Writers Prize for Nonfiction Grand Prize winner will receive $3,000, while two runners up will receive $500 each. Each contest also includes three Judges Choice Awards.

This year’s awards ceremony honoring the winners and runners up will take place at Thursday, August 31 at Guild Hall, located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. Opening and final remarks will be made by Dan Rattiner.

Author Dava Sobel
Author Dava Sobel, Photo: Mia Berg

The address for Dan’s Papers $4,000 Emerging Young Writers Prize for Nonfiction will be made by Gail Sheehy, whose nonfiction book Passages was named one of the 10 most influential books of our times by the Library of Congress. Dava Sobel, New York Times best-selling author of popular science nonfiction books, including Galileo’s Daughter and The Glass Universe, will give the evening’s keynote address. Academy Award-winning actress Melissa Leo, of Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here, will give a dramatic reading of both Grand Prize winners.

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