Deadline for 2018 Dan’s Literary Prize Contest Extended to August 8

Notable Dan's Literary Prize participants: Gayle Sheehy, Melissa Leo, Robert Caro, Carl Bernstein, Pia Lindstrom, Jules Feiffer and this year's guest Joy Behar
Notable Dan’s Literary Prize participants, Photo: (Joy Behar) ©PATRICKMCMULLAN.COM

For the last three months now, writers have been scribbling away to complete essays about the time their grandfather took them clamming, about the time they got lost in Northwest Woods, about the history of the Bridgehampton Race Track or some other essay of history, memoir, humor, fact or biography that they hope will, when they enter it in the Dan’s Papers Literary Prize for Nonfiction, win the first prize of $7,500.

In the meantime, their children are working away on essays that could win them the Emerging Young Writers Prize competitions and the $1,000 first prize. Rules require that the entrant be under 25 years of age to enter to win this contest.

None of these people are enjoying the Hamptons quite as much as they should during these times they are scribbling away, and we apologize for that, but what we hope comes out of all of this is the next Tom Wolfe or Bob Caro or E.L. Doctorow.

The essays need to be between 600 and 1,500 words and reference the Hamptons or North Fork in a meaningful way. The deadline for entering them is now looming. The last moment allowed—and all are entered online at–is 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, August 8—yes, we’ve extended your deadline one week—at which time the gates creak and groan and finally shut forever, for 2018 anyway, with a clang.

This is the seventh year of the competition. The judges read all of the entries and make their choices. The awards ceremony is on Thursday, August 23, on the stage at the John Drew Theater in East Hampton, where all will be sorted out Academy Awards style (“…and the winner is…” fumble with envelope…).

Towne Cellars Leaderboard

In addition to the first place winners, there will be two runners up in each category—the Literary Prize runners up each win $500, and the Emerging Writers runners up each win $250.

There will also be three Judges Choice awards in each contest, who will take home framed plaques announcing that fact in addition to other prizes. In both categories, the winning entries will be read to the audience by Daytime Emmy–winning TV personality, actress and author Joy Behar.

In each of the last six years, literary lions such as those mentioned three paragraphs above have issued the keynote address to the audience at the Dan’s Papers Literary Prize for Nonfiction awards ceremony. The Hamptons is chock-full of successful authors, and we are delighted that those mentioned above have taken the time to give these addresses.

Others who have given the address include Walter Isaacson, Jules Feiffer, Carl Bernstein, Dava Sobel and Gail Sheehy—literary lions all.

This year’s keynote address will be delivered by New York Times bestselling novelist and essayist Roger Rosenblatt, twice a winner of the George Polk award and once the winner of a Peabody and the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement.

Come to John Drew Theater on Thursday, August 23 at 4 p.m. and see who won! And after the winner is declared, come out to the John Drew Theater garden to enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres and a book signing by this year’s participants. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information on entering this year’s contests, to read all of the past entries, to watch videos of the past awards ceremonies and more, visit

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