The adage goes that you never forget your first time. True enough. But there’s no arguing that the second time’s a charm. Even when an original is unforgettable, the follow-up can build on its predecessor and become even better. The Godfather Part II. Ali-Frazier II. The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle. The second annual Dan’s Papers $6000 Literary Prize for Nonfiction, which kicks off this week.
Dan’s Papers has showcased artists on its covers for more than a quarter-century, and the inspiration for the Dan’s Papers Literary Prize came from a vision of doing the same thing for writers. When the inaugural Dan’s Papers Literary Prize was handed out in August 2012—the first such prize ever offered on the eastern end of Long Island for short literary nonfiction—both the response and the reception were overwhelming.
Some 400 entries were accepted from writers on Long Island and Manhattan but also as far off as Florida and California. The collection of both professional scribes and people who had never before been published was diverse, but they all shared at least one common trait: they had stories to tell, all inspired by the East End. And this was their venue to share them.
“This contest has put an exclamation point on my notion of the genius of everyday people,” said Barnes & Noble Chairman Len Riggio onstage at the standing-room-only 2012 awards ceremony at East Hampton’s Guild Hall, where he was joined by the likes of Honorary Chair and two-time Pulitzer prize-winner Robert Caro, and others. “Quite simply, the entries were awesome, and more than a pleasure to read. Many revealed a piece of our culture and natural habitat I quite frankly never knew existed.”
The 2013 Literary Prize, with major funding provided by Barnes & Noble, will again award one of the biggest prizes for any writing competition of its kind—a $5,000 first prize and a pair of $500 second prizes, all selected by an esteemed panel of independent judges. All submissions must reference, in some meaningful way, eastern Long Island. Each work must be between 600 and 1,500 words and can be any genre of nonfiction, including autobiography, biography, account of a day, opinion, history, profile of a person or institution, memoir, essay or humor (you’ll find the complete official rules online at DansHamptons.com/literaryprize).
And, once again, the honors will be handed out during a gala awards ceremony at Guild Hall in August—already one of the most anticipated events of the summer.
The Hamptons has long inspired outstanding writing and storytelling. As Len Riggio said onstage during the 2012 Literary Prize awards gala, the writers who submitted stories to this contest did that longstanding tradition proud. Surely they will do so again for sequel.
Since the inaugural Dan’s Papers Literary Prize for Nonfiction was launched early in 2012, we’ve published various entries in the paper and online at DansHamptons.com, sharing a selection that exemplifies the breadth of voices and styles that made the contest so special. You’ve read about celebrities and fishermen, about drives along the North Fork and perfect days at the beach. You’ve enjoyed the two second-prize essays—“Littoral Drifter” by Susan Cohen and “Waiting for the Ferry” by Jean Ely—and the grand prize winner, “Magic Shirts” by James K. Phillips.
Now exclusively at DansHamptons.com/literaryprize, you will find every work accepted to the 2012 contest in two digital books: Hamptons Review 2012 the full set of more than 400 stories, and Hamptons Memories 2012, a special collection of reminiscences about the East End. You can also watch video highlights of the awards ceremony and enjoy the reading of Magic Shirts” by Emmy Award–winning broadcast journalist Pia Lindstrom.