So, are you a resident of South Carolina and have written a novel but have not yet had it published?  This may be your chance!  The South Carolina Arts Commission, Hub City Press and their literary partners are once again accepting submissions for the biennial “South Carolina First Novel Prize”.

The deadline for applications is soon, so this is probably not a situation where you will see this as a chance to start a novel today and enter the contest (although anytime is a great time to start writing or work on your writing!).  Partnering again with the SC Arts Commission and Hub City Press (in Spartanburg, SC), are The Humanities CouncilSC and the South Carolina State Library.  Entries must be received by March 19, 2012.  Basic eligibility requirements are that the applicant must be a legal resident of the US and South Carolina with a permanent residence in South Carolina for twelve months prior to the application deadline.  Applicants must be 18 years of age or older at the time of application and they cannot have published a novel before.   Applicants may have published a book of non-fiction, short stories, poetry, or children’s literature.  According to the guidelines, the novel may have been submitted to other publishers previously, but it is not eligible if it is currently under consideration by any publishing company.

This is the third First Novel Competition.  The winner of the first contest was Brian Ray.  Ray, who at the time lived in Columbia, SC, won with his book, “Through the Pale Door“, which was published in June 2009 and received favorable reviews across the Southeast.  Booklist gave it a starred review and called Ray “a talent to watch.”  His book also received an IPPY award for best novel in the Southeast by an independent press.  The second contest was won by Matt Matthews, of Greer, SC.  Matthews’ book “Mercy Creek” was published in 2011.  The book sold out two hardback editions and is being released as a paperback and in an e-book format.  Publishers Weekly called the book “an enticing full-blown whodunnit…a first-rate effort displaying skill, sensitivity, and grace.”

The winner of this third contest will be announced in October, 2012.  The distinguished judge is Josephine Humphreys, a Charleston novelist whose latest book is “Nowhere Else on Earth“.  (Applicants works are reviewed anonymously by panelists who make their judgements on the basis of artistic merit.  Six to eight novels will then be judged by Humphreys, who will select the winner).  

The winning author will receive a book contract with the Hub City Press, and award-winning independent press in Spartanburg, SC.  The winner will also receive a $500 advance against royalties, and the Hub City Press will publish at least 1500 paperback copies of the book.  The book will be distributed nationally through John F. Blair Co. of Winston-Salem, NC.

So if you are a South Carolinian with that just waiting to be published book, this may be your chance!  For all the information, guidelines, and eligibility requirements, visit http://www.SouthCarolinaArts.com/firstnovel   or call (803) 734-8696.  (Information for this article was taken from the Hub City Press website). 

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