Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Win a Plane Ticket for Your Writing

This sounds like an amazing opportunity, but as with all contests, please do diligent research to make sure everything is legit before sending in your work and your five bucks. Where would I go…Italy? England? Alaska? Nepal? Australia? Something to daydream about….

The Writer’s Travel Scholarship -- Win a Round Trip Ticket to Anywhere

This is is a short-form writing contest where the winner gets a round-trip ticket to anywhere in the world. Really.

This is the fifth year of the contest. Previously, I've written the contest announcement from the edge of the Sahara desert in Mali, or the coast of Sri Lanka. This year, I am at home in San Francisco, but my gaze is always elsewhere. I'm lucky to have seen a lot of the world, and I'm writing about it.

Are you writing too? Not about the remote places in the world, perhaps, but about something that matters to you? If so, please enter the 2009 Writer’s Travel Scholarship. As usual, the prize is a round-trip ticket anywhere in the world. As usual, the basic rationale for the contest remains:

I think travel is good. I think writing is good. I think it is important that writers travel.

Naturally, I do see a lot of travel writing submissions, but I’d like to reiterate that this is not about travel writing: it’s about writers traveling. Anything is fair game, as long as it’s prose under 10,000 words. Fiction, non-fiction, memoir, porn, whatever… just make it a good read.

Applications are open until midnight April 30th, 2009. The winner will be announced May 15th.

Changes from last year:
I am now requiring a $5 application fee for each entry. The contest is getting big, and this will help cover the costs of promotion, my time reading through all your submissions, and (part of) the cost of the ticket prize. And, sorry, no more poetry. Poetry just seemed too different to compare fairly to prose.

How To Enter

* Applicants must submit a short prose piece, 10,000 words maximum. Fiction, non-fiction, whatever, on any topic.

* Also tell me a little about yourself, where you would go with your free ticket, for how long, and why. You can’t ever have been to that country before — I impose this restriction to encourage people to go somewhere new, rather than using the ticket to visit their overseas girlfriend. Also, you don’t have to write about your destination. I just want to know why you want to go there.

* Email entries as an attached document in text or Word format to by April 30th 2008. They will be judged by myself and my writer friends, the winner to be announced on May 15th 2009.

* Send the $5 USD entry fee via PayPal to

* To keep things fair, I will not consider pieces I know to be written by friends or acquaintances. What this means is that if you know me(Jonathan Stray), you must anonymize your submission (including your email address!)

* Entries must be previously unpublished, there is a limit of one entry per author, and the ticket is limited to $2000 US. I will work with you to book the cheapest available round-trip ticket, based on departure and return dates given to me by the winner. I will try to accomodate these dates and other preferences as much as possible, but I reserve the right to shift each date plus or minus up to a week, and to make other choices such as routing and airline, in order to find the best fare. Other travel requirements, such as additional destinations or an open return date, may be accommodated if the winner wishes to make up the difference in cost.

* By submitting a piece, you grant me (Jonathan Stray) limited web-publishing rights, specifically the right to display it on and any other sites of I may have editorial control over. I reserve no other rights. If someone sees your work here and wants to publish it, fantastic.

* All decisions are final, and by submitting a piece you agree that I am under no obligation to award any prize at all. I have no funding, no committees, no mandate. I’m doing this just because I think it’s a good idea, so let’s keep it simple.

Full details at


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.