Unpublished authors over the age of 50 are invited to submit work to the second annual Cedric Literary Awards, which will be awarding a $3,000 prize in each of four categories.
Originally conceived and funded by Dr. Peter Dale, “the Cedrics” have been incorporated as a non-profit organization. This year only writers in B.C. can submit works, but the Cedrics plan to go nation-wide in 2017.
“The award gives people 50 and older an opportunity to get their work before a panel of award-winning writers,” says Cedric Awards Executive Director Veronica Osborn. She notes that when it comes to writing, those 50 and older are often unrecognized, despite the fact they have come through and seen a lot of changes in their lives. “The Cedrics are about recognition and appreciation.”
Works can be submitted in four categories: Fiction (a short story of 3,000 to 7,000 words, or a novella of 20,000 to 50,000 words); Creative Non-fiction (to a maximum of 3,000 words); Poetry (a chapbook of 15 to 25 pages, containing a selection of poems); and First Nations Writing. Writers must be previously unpublished, and submissions for this year’s competition must be received by May 1.
Osborn says that while the Cedrics accepted novel-length works last year, the decision was made to go with shorter works this year. “People seem to have embraced the shorter length, especially the novellas.”
An electronic submission system is being used this year, which Osborn says will allow judges to insert comments and recommendations in submissions as they read them. These comments will only be visible to the judge making the comments and to the author of the work in question. “We decided after last year that it was important for writers to be able to get feedback.”
Wendy Donawa, a 2015 shortlisted writer, says that “These awards are a generous endeavour and acknowledge the serious work of a largely unacknowledged demographic. Certainly for women of my generation, it is only after a busy life of domestic and professional work that we can give the focused time and energy that a serious writing practice requires.”
Last year the Cedrics attracted more than 160 entrants, and Osborn hopes to get at least as many submissions this year. She says that a search of their database from last year shows that no one in this region submitted a work. “It would be wonderful if we were to receive a few entries from communities in your area this year,” she says. “And I encourage and welcome all B.C. writers ‘of a certain age’ to add their manuscripts to those we’ve already received. If last year’s competition was anything to go by, there is a deep pool of writing talent in our 50-plus demographic.”
For more information about the Cedrics, and to read the submission guidelines, go to the website at www.thecedrics.ca.