So, two weeks have passed since the grand announcement of the Prize For The Advancement Of Good Beer Writing. Behind the scenes I have been scurrying about doing three things: seeking out judges, clarifying the rules and drumming up funds for the prize. Let's see where things stand.
I could not be more pleased to announce the names of our judges. In this inaugural year I am honoured to be joined, in alphabetical order, by Martyn Cornell, Stan Hieronymus and Evan Rail. Each we selected for not only their distinct physical location within the good beer world but as importantly their professional journalism chops. These three have edited and been edited at the highest level. It will be their job alone to make determinations in relaxation to the entries. I am not on the panel. I also will not submit an entry. I may be asked to provide procedural advice but that's it. And what is it they will be judging?
1. The topic should relate fairly directly to the experience of beer: brewing, drinking or local pub life. It should display humour and wit, historical context and a depth of research. It should not be derivative.
2. Prize(s) to go to only unpublished finished new writing displaying a interesting point of view.
3. Quality footnoted research showing primary records will be rewarded. If not by way of footnotes, other proof of research will be considered and itself judged according to a professional standard.
4. A work of fiction or non-fiction in English between 2500 to 4000 words is the goal but no penalty for going to, say, 6000 as long as its necessary for the story or essay or poem - and not a sign of poor editing control.
I am quite excited by this. The entries will be due in time to coincide with this year's holiday photo contest. The winner will be announced along with the photo contest winner. And unlike the photo contest I hope the prize will a more than a nominal book prize. I am beating the bushes seeking pledges from my contacts in the brewing trade to get in some significant cash to share. I myself and committing my annual honorarium of $100 USD for judging in last year's NAGBW awards. Other pledges to date have come in from the US, the UK and New Zealand with a total of over $250 USD in the kitty so far. My goal will be something north of $1000 and the dream multiples of that. But the monies that will be awarded will be only those monies actually received in my hands. Relying on pledges, one learns from running contest involving beer folk, can be rather disappointing. Not this time. As money is received, the donors will be announced. As of today, then, the prize stands at $100 USD. All donations go to the prize or prizes.
Any questions? Like "why are you doing this?" Because, as the dog said, I can. Happy to discuss and refine the requirements. Let's get this going.