Attention longform newspaper writers — Big news from the Mayborn:
In an effort to encourage narrative nonfiction storytelling at newspapers across America, the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference and The Dallas Morning News are launching a new writing contest this year. The Best American Newspaper Narrative Writing Contest will award prizes to three long-form narrative nonfiction pieces previously published in daily U.S. newspapers or on the newspapers’ websites.
Newspaper reporters and editors may submit one to three narratives published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2012, including narratives that are part of a series.
The first-place winner will receive $5,000 and free registration to attend the 2013 Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, which will be held July 19-21 (Friday-Sunday) at the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center in Grapevine, Texas. The contest’s second-place winner will receive $2,000 and the third-place winner $1,000. The three winning narratives and three runners up will be published in print and e-book form in an anthology, “The Best American Newspaper Narratives.”
All submissions to the Best American Newspaper Narrative Writing Contest must be postmarked and sent electronically in word and pdf format no later than June 1 (Saturday). The winners will be notified by e-mail on June 15 (Saturday). Editors and writers may submit a short cover letter with each entry, explaining the challenges of producing the story and readers’ reactions to it after it was published.
For more information about the contest, contact contest coordinator Tasha Tsiaperas at or 469-387-6985. For more information on the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, contact Jo Ann Ballantine at 940-565-4778 or

4 thoughts on “Contest

  1. A conference celebrating long-form in all forms limits its contest entries to daily newspaper writers: That’s what happens when you team up with the Dallas Morning News, I guess.

    Joe Tone
    Dallas Observer
    Dallas’ Weekly Newspaper
    Unless You Read Us Online
    In Which Case We’re More or Less Daily
    Although Admittedly on Sundays We’re Sometimes Too Hungover to Publish Anything New

    • Object of the competition, Joe — and I’m not speaking for the contest sponsors, only out of my own observations — is to encourage dailies to make greater use of long-form narratives as a way of hanging on to core readers and maybe even attracting other readers who have abandoned dailies, mostly I suspect out of boredom.
      Weeklies, including your own, have relied on long-form since the beginning, and for the most part have done very well by it. Little encouragement is needed, there. But among dailies the battle goes on. Too many grizzled veterans still put all their faith in slam-bang just-the-facts pyramid-style journalism; too many talented young writers still complain that they never get a crack at long-form. “We can’t do that here.” Meanwhile, too many readers drift off to find stories in other media.
      I know that you weeklies are facing your own crisis, Joe. I sympathize,. But I suspect that for daily papers long-form narrative and investigations need to be a bigger part of the mix. And I think of this competition as an experiment to test that idea.

      • Bill:

        You’re right. As usual. I wish you’d stop so the rest of us could look smart every once in a while.


  2. This is such an amazing opportunity! I’m glad we’re offering it this year. I expect to see some familiar names in the mix. 😉

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