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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Writing Awards

Charles Deemer muses on writing awards and the people who make up the judging panels:

A writing award is the collision of a judge’s taste and a particular work. This was brought home to me a little over a year ago when I was one of three judges for a number of lucrative awards given to playwrights and screenwriters. Three judges — myself, a woman in Texas and a guy in LA — were given over 70 scripts from which to nominate seven for these awards. So each of us listed the seven from the seventy that we’d give the award to.

We did not agree on a single script!

Think about that. We three judges nominated 21 different writers because no two judges agreed on even one of them for the award!

So if any one of us had been the judge alone, a completely different group of writers would have won the award. Think about what this really means. It means it’s a crap shoot.

So what did we do?

For the answer to that question go over to The Writing Life II.

3 Responses to “Writing Awards”

  1. Thomas says:

    This is true to an even greater degree in School. The students write and if the teachers who are the judges happen to have an affinity with your style of writing then you’re in luck.

    jb says: Hi Thomas. Someone had to say it. School’s too far away for me to remember, but I’ve come across some nightmare creative writing tutors.

  2. Hello John,
    Often personal choices which I had always suspected too, for the Man-Booker Prize. It depends on the panel of the year & does not reflect as any one book being cleverer than the other.

    jb says: With major prizes like the Man-Booker, it’s often a political choice.

  3. I didn’t know that at all, John.

    jb says: “OK, so we can’t agree on which is the best book. You think this, I think that, and she thinks the other. Can we agree on which of these titles would be a reasonable compromise?”