Contest Canceled

Back in September I pointed you to some doubts about a splashy new literary contest. Now Galleycat reports that the Sobol Award competition has been canceled.

Here are some of the eye-catching lines in the AP article by Hillel Italie on the development:

First announced last September, the Sobol prize was immediately attacked by agents, bloggers and other critics for the entry fee and for requiring that Sobol officials serve as the winners’ literary representative. Industry policy prohibits agents from charging money to read manuscripts.

“Maybe the message is that unpublished writers have been exploited in so many different ways that it’s difficult to launch an effort, regardless of whether it’s in good faith or not,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, which represents thousands of published writers. “Charging people is fundamentally suspect and it’s hard to overcome that.”

[Award creator Gur] Shomron told the AP that he had invested more than $1 million in the prize and that a full-time staff of four would be laid off.

(And in case you’re wondering, I did not include this prize in our literary contest directory for writers of book-length fiction.)