My neighbor Ivy showed up on my front porch a few weeks ago and said I absolutely had to enter a contest to win a scholarship to a prestigious writing symposium in West Virginia. And the deadline was the next day. Oh.
But the entry form was short, they only wanted two stories and the chance at a trip sounded kinda fun. In doing some research I found out that the Greenbrier Symposium for Professional Food Writers has been around since 1989, and is considered one of the best gatherings in the country for food writers, with a deep panel of speakers and mucho opportunity for networking. So I sent in my entry the next day, got back a confirmation and pretty much forgot about it.
The notification date for winners came and went without a word, so I figured I hadn't won. Oh well.
Then a few days later I got an e-mail telling me that I'd won a Special Mention for a brand new award, the "James Patrick McDermott 'Place at the Table' Scholarship for Social Change through Food Writing." While it didn't come with any money attached, and I couldn't afford to go without it (it's a couple of thousand bucks not counting airfare), I was thrilled to have placed in the competition, especially in that category.
Out of the 114 individual entries, the message from Antonia Allegra, founder of the symposium, said, "the judges LOVED your writing, Kathleen, particularly the Hmong cookbook story! [Both] your stories scored high throughout the judging, which was done by 7 highly skilled judges. I’m so glad you have received this recognition that says you are a fine writer."
Oh, and Ivy won the Chronicle Books Scholarship for Recipe Writing and is there right now, taking it all in. Congrats, Ivy, and thanks for encouraging me to get off my lazy arse and enter!