Added: (Thu Apr 19 2001)

Pressbox (Press Release) - The Santa Fe Writers Project (SFWP) and London-based literary agency Litopia today announce an exciting collaboration for SFWP's second annual Literary Awards Program.

Founded by a coalition of writers, editors and arts advocates, The Santa Fe Writers Project offers support to writers of any age, gender or nationality, and has established an extraordinary international reputation as an incubator for new writing talent.

Prizes for this year's awards are: Grand Prize: $2500, Second Prize: $1250, Third Prize: $750, Fourth Prize: $500. In addition, and perhaps even more usefully, the four winners will each receive six months mentoring from Litopia.

Comment's Litopia's Peter Cox:
"With the SFWP's second annual Literary Awards Program, we're covering some interesting and rather radical new ground. When SFWP Advisory Board Chairman Richard Currey and I discussed the nature of the prizes to be offered, we came up with a novel idea. I think you could probably best describe it as offering a "virtual agent" to the winners. What this means is that, for a period of six months after the awards, the winners would be treated almost exactly as if they were clients of this agency, with access to our facilities, staff and resources. This starts with a detailed commercial appraisal of the work in question. The quality of the winners' writing will be unquestionably outstanding, but this by itself— as you may have noticed — doesn't necessarily ensure bestseller-status, or even successful publication. Over the next six months, we will provide at least three personal mentoring sessions during which we will aim to help the winners take some steps along the road towards fulfilling their writing ambitions… whatever they may be! These may be conducted face-to-face in London or New York, or over the phone if neither of these locations is convenient for the winners. At the very least, I think the experience of working with a professional agency will be interesting and useful; and at best, it could result in spectacular publication."

The distinguished judge for this year's awards program is Jayne Anne Phillips, whose first collection of stories "Black Tickets" won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, awarded by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Raymond Carver praised "Black Tickets" as containing "stories unlike any in our literature".

"I'm thrilled that together, SFWP and Litopia may help to discover and launch tomorrow's most talented authors", says Peter Cox.

Closing date for entries is July 15th, 2001.

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