Friday, 10 January 2014

Exclusion Zones?

I've seen quite a few writing competitions recently that are only open to people of one sex, a particular ethnic group, or residents of a certain area. Why? Surely things such as gender, skin colour and nationality are unimportant to readers of the story or poem?

Perhaps I'm wrong and some groups aren't getting a fair deal and therefore deserve extra help. I can only go by my own experience, which is that although I have sometimes been asked for a photo (for publicity purposes) this has only happened AFTER my work was judged.

Some restrictions I can understand. Competitions just for children for instance, or new writers, as it wouldn't be fair to judge their entries against those of more experienced writers.

Esecially frustrating is when such requirements aren't at all obvious and you have to send off for further details, or miss them until double checking the small print just before sending off your highly polished piece of work. Grrr. Still, it's always our responsibilty to check all the rules to make sure we are eligible and happy to accept any conditions imposed.

What entry requirements would you like to see in a competition? One only for redheads who got married in purple would be good I think.



30 comments:

  1. I do see a lot that are open to Canadians only.

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    1. I wonder why, Alex. Are Canadians famously bad writers, unable to compete with those anywhere else in the world?

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  2. We don't have a culture positive discrimination here in the UK. I've recently subbed to a couple of women only venues (not a competition) and I do feel strange about it. Not strange enough to stop me subbing, though.

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    1. Yes, I've seen women only markets, Deborah. They seem slightly patronising to me and I know I'd be jolly annoyed if I wanted to sub somewhere and discovered they only took work from men.

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  3. Maybe you should ask all redheads who got married in purple to comment on your Facebook page. That way, you'd know how much competition is out there. :)

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    1. There's a thought, Jacula. I'll try a survey.

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  4. I have not seen that in the USA. They find other ways to discriminate. Also, I did marry a redhead, but she wore white - and she does not enter writing contests. Maybe I should check it out.

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    1. You get half a point for the redhead, JJ.

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  5. In total agreement with you, Patsy... a writer is a writer is a writer.

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  6. Yes, judge by the quality of the writing not who the writer is.

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    1. Exactly. We should judge everyone by what they do, not how they look of course.

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  7. As if things weren't tough enough for writers.....boo!

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    1. I imagine this id actually done to try to make it easier for some of us, Sharon. Unfortunately that limits the opportunities for whoever doesn't fit into that group.

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  8. I thought this was becoming outdated, except fro Mslexia who are still women only.

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    1. I don't know of other magazines which only accept work from women, Rosemary but there are quite a few competitions limited to female entrants (and some for people of a particular ethnic group, from a certain area, even of particular sexual orientations)

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  9. I have seen ones that are only for the country the contest is hosted from. Only Canadians, only Australians. I guess they like to keep it local. :-P

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  10. Personally I'd like to see more competitions exclusively for vertically challenged, pig-loving vegetarians. To be honest I'm not a fan of any comp with an exclusion - Ok yes I won Hysteria which is only open to women writers, but I don't think gender should come in to it in writing. If there was a big prize only open to male writers can you imagine the uproar they'd be from the writing community?

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    1. If I see one which matches your requirements, I'll let you know, Tracy.

      Odd isn't it how it's apparently OK to have women only contests, but not men only ones. I can't see the logic.

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  11. Hi Patsy .. too many crazy rules and regulations around now-a-days ... you could try a JK ... or dress up with your red tresses under a cloth cap ... wearing waders and a large check shirt under a padded jacket - Patrick .... and be UPC - unpolitically correct!

    You are good at writing up competitions etc ... cheers for now - I'll be emailing once I've got beyond my dustsheets ... Hilary

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    1. Hilary, have you been spying on me down the allotment? That's pretty much how I look in the winter.

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  12. I think the only boundaries should be already published writers from non-published writers. Doing separate categories for those makes sense. It's also good to see Little Grey Hen is for ladies over a certain age only. Makes a change for the older ladies to have a preference. So many opportunities around now though, nobody should moan. Writing is best. You looked fab in your purple dress.

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    1. Suzy, you're right there are a lot of competitions around and I'd probably do best to concentrate on the ones whose conditions I like.

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  13. sometimes I've entered a competition because it seems to be aimed AT my age group / llevel of experience / particular genre, but more oftne I read the fine print to discover I am geographically excluded. Bah1

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    1. It must be especially annoying when they seem so perfect in every other way, Lizy - or of course if you don't realise the restrction until after writing something you're really pleased with.

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  14. I just go for the free ones that don't expect me to turn up at some venue across the country to receive my FIRST prize. I'm not joking.

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    1. I've seen at least one like that, Maggie - where you lose the prize if you can't go to the award ceremony. Very odd and rather unfair, I feel.

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  15. I agree with you, Patsy.
    I love to submit to literary journals, but Canadian literary journals tend to publish Canadian writers only, so I seldom submit to them.

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Thanks so much for commenting!