Monthly Archives: February 2013

The 2012-2013 Reading Period is Officially Closed

The 2012-2013 Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest reading period is now officially closed.

And for the next two weeks while we sort through all the submissions we’ll be … um … reading.

I suppose, ultimately, that was predictable.

In any case, we’ve acknowledged receipt of all the electronic entries and catalogued them. Well, all save one, whose author we have not yet been able to get in touch with (it looks like the e-mail address tied to their PayPal account may no longer be active). Still working to sort that one out. And if you happen to be the writer who submitted your work and haven’t heard back from us yet, and are reading this now, please do get in touch with us as we don’t yet have an entry to go with your payment.

Speaking to situations like the above, if anyone else has sent us something electronically and not heard back from us please do get in touch with us because we did not receive whatever you sent.

We’ll also be keeping an eye out for any late postmarked hard copy submissions (everything postmarked no later than February 15th is eligible) , but you’re more than welcome to get in touch with us and query as to the status of receipt of a hard copy entry if you sent one and haven’t heard back about it yet.

Please use to get in touch with us, or you can DM us on Twitter (@fomcontest).

We’ll be sorting through the submissions in hand over the next couple of weeks, and the proverbial cage match to determine who makes the finalist list will be held at the end of February. Consequently, we’ll have the finalist list prepared by March 1st.

There will be six finalists this year (down from nine last year), and we’ll be posting up the titles of the finalist stories (without attendant names) on the website at the same time as we send our Final Panel Judges copies of the finalist entries. Notifications will be sent out to the finalists at that time as well (via e-mail). Finalists may announce that they are finalists in this year’s contest, but we ask that you please not mention which story is yours in order to help preserve impartiality in the final round of judging.

As with last year we’re also going to get in touch with everyone who did not make the finalist list in order to let all entrants know the status of their submission(s). And once all the numbers have been compiled we’ll be posting a statistical breakdown of the contest, following the same format as last year. Both for transparency’s sake, and also because the breakdowns prove to be interesting in general.

And at this point we would like to thank everyone who has, again this year, been good enough to help us through various means. To all those of you who have taken the time to promote the contest, and to those of you who have offered direct support via submissions, thank you immensely. We appreciate all of you sticking with us while we try different things from year to year, and are grateful for all the input and feedback we receive as well.

And speaking to things done differently, we’ll address more fully this year’s non-monetary prizes and how those will work for the finalists once the finalist list is posted.

Thanks again to everyone who stuck with us for the second year, and thank you as well to those of you who are new to us this year.

If there are any questions or concerns you would like to raise while waiting for the shortlist to be posted (or, generally, really), please don’t hesitate to contact us. Again, you can reach us either via e-mail at, or get in touch with us via Twitter (@fomcontest).

One Week Left to Enter – Don’t Be Left on the Outside Looking In

Well, there’s now one week remaining to submit your entries to the 2012-2013 Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest.

If you’re not already familiar with the guidelines or other specifics of the contest, you should visit either the Contest Rules page, or you can see the last post on the website, “It’s Time: The 2012-2013 FoMSSC Reading Period Opens at Midnight“, for a breakdown of the basic information and some more in-depth information on what kind of work we hope to see for this year’s contest.

We’ve seen a fair number of entries thus far, but we are well short of our goal for this year. Now, admittedly, that will have no impact on the prize monies to be disbursed to the three winners (though the entry fees do go toward the prize monies, the total value of that pool is guaranteed regardless). Nor will it affect any of the other prizes we’re awarding/providing this year (see the Prizes page for more information). But, as the Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest is a fundraising initiative designed to aid the Merril Collection of the Toronto Public Library system,  we obviously hope, every year the contest runs, to do better than break even.

As we’ve mentioned in prior posts, we lowered the total value of the monetary prize pool offered this year, and opted to offer a set of non-monetary prizes in addition to the cash winnings, because the amount we offered in the first year turned to be a good, if not yet, entirely feasible pool. The Friends of the Merril Collection is a volunteer organization whose activities are funded by memberships and donations, so there’s a delicate balance to be maintained. While we certainly do want to offer larger monetary prizes, in addition to being able to offer interesting and useful non-monetary prizes as well, we’re still looking into ways to make that work.

Now, in the first year of the contest, we talked about the idea of sponsors. And we do actually on the Sponsors page mention that we’re open to direct contributions to help fund the prize pool, and/or have that money accrue toward the fundraising efforts once the value of the prize pool is met. We never really did get off the ground with doing that, but I think this might not be a bad thing to come back to.

We initially talked about offering space on the Sponsors page for a link to the website of contributing organizations, but there’s certainly also the possibility of doing individual posts on the website highlighting sponsors as a form of thank you.

It’s all worth looking into at this point, and we’d love to have your input (whether you would be considering contributing or not). Any and all can get in touch with me, Michael Matheson, at, or you can get in touch with us on Twitter (@fomcontest).

Anyone who has any other questions relating to the contest should also feel free to use that contact information.

And to those of you who are still considering entering the contest, but haven’t done so yet, please note that there is a base entry fee of $5.00 (CDN) per story, with no limit on the number of stories you can enter in the contest this year, and that the deadline for entries in the 2012-2013 contest is midnight (UTC -5), February 15th, 2013. Also, though you can enter either electronically or by hard copy submission, your hard copy entries need to be postmarked no later than February 15th.

Many thanks to all of you who have submitted your entries so far this year, and we look forward to seeing whatever else comes our way in this year’s contest.