Each year, The Writer's Center awards $500 to the a author of the best first novel published in the previous calendar year. Conceived and funded by board member Neal P. Gillen, the McLaughlin-Esstman-Stearns Prize honors three dedicated writers and members of The Writer’s Center faculty—Ann McLaughlin, Barbara Esstman, and Lynn Stearns—each of whom unselfishly nourish and inspire students and fellow writers.
Previous winners include Karen Thompson Walker for The Age of Miracles (2013), Ismet Prcic forShards (2012) Heidi Durrow for The Girl Who Fell From the Sky (2011).
Eligibility and Requirements:
All first novels published in print in 2013 are eligible, including those published by major, independent, and self-publishing presses. Only American authors publishing in English are eligible. Non-eligible books include short story collections, flash fiction, memoirs, biographies and books published solely in electronic format.
Entries not postmarked prior to or on this date will be ineligible, and they will not be returned unless accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope, postmarked by March 15, 2014
Publishers (or authors) must submit three copies of their published novel along with a contact cover sheet indicating name, address, phone number, and e-mail address (no cover letter required). No galley proofs will be accepted.
Following the judging process, books will not be returned unless accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope with sufficient postage. The Writer’s Center is not responsible for lost or damaged books.
Writer’s Center staff, board, and workshop leaders may not enter.
The Writer’s Center will solicit a group of 15-20 volunteer judges to serve as first and second-round judges. These volunteers will evaluate books to determine if they meet eligibility requirements, and they will read and evaluate the submissions. Submissions advancing to the third round of judging will be evaluated by a team of three final judges. The winner is chosen at the sole discretion of the final judges.
The winner will receive $500 and will be featured in the 2014-15 Winter/Spring edition of TheWorkshop & Event Guide, on Writer.org, and our blog, First Person Plural. In addition, if feasible, he or she will be invited to read at The Writer’s Center during a reception to honor his or her work.
Send entries to:
The Writer’s Center
Attn: Mia Cortez
Re: First Novel Prize
4508 Walsh St.
Bethesda MD 20815
The submission period ends March 15, 2014.