2006 Prairie Schooner Book Prize Series Competition

Contest Code of Ethics:

Prairie Schooner, as a member of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, subscribes to this code of ethics for our annual Book Series Competition:

CLMP's community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines -- defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize Series Manuscript Selection Process:

We employ a Book Series Coordinator who works for the contest only in an administrative capacity. Her office is far removed from the Series Editor’s office and from the magazine’s editorial offices. She receives all manuscripts, opens and removes identifying information, and assigns each a number. Her data base is confined to a dedicated computer in her locked office. All manuscripts are read anonymously.

We employ a group of experienced, paid screeners that changes from year to year. The Coordinator assigns anonymous, numbered manuscripts to each screener, who receives instruction in ethical selection procedures. No current or former paid employee of Prairie Schooner or the University of Nebraska Press, nor any member of the faculty, nor any student at the University of Nebraska is eligible for the contests. Screeners must return any manuscripts familiar or recognizable to them; such manuscripts will be reassigned to a different screener.

Each screener reads all manuscripts assigned and selects 3 top choices from his/her group of approximately 50. The screener provides evaluative paragraphs about his or her top three choices. The Coordinator receives the returned manuscripts from each screener and forwards the screeners’ top choices to a senior reader.

The top three selections from each screener are given by the Coordinator to one of two senior readers. These senior readers choose up to ten finalists from among the screeners' choices. These manuscripts are sent to members of our national literary board—two are selected each year, in each genre—for further readings. Their ranked responses are sent directly to Hilda Raz, the Senior Editor of the Prairie Schooner Book Series, who makes the final selections in both poetry and short fiction, taking into consideration the comments of the literary board, senior readers, and screeners.

Throughout the screening process and until the winners are selected, only the Book Series Coordinator, who may not serve as a screener, knows the identity of the writers.

Contact Information:

Any questions, please contact Kelly Grey Carlisle at mailto:kgrey2@unlnotes.unl.edu


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