While on summer vacation in Utah, I set up an Unconventional Writing Contest with great prizes and the chance to publish here on the hub of World Domination.
I’m happy to announce that the results are now in!
It was a fierce competition, but by the end, it was also clear who the winners should be. The multinational Supreme Court that reviewed the finalists included a professional copyeditor from Australia, a Writer’s Digest editor, a full-time blogger from the U.K., a literary agent, and my dad. Each of them spent at least an hour (some of them spent several hours) reviewing the entries.
And Here’s the Overall Winner
I’m proud to announce that the overall winner is….
Allan Bacon, whose entry was titled: “How a Married Father of Three Got Paid to Move to Paris (Without Quitting His Job): A Lesson in Becoming a Nonconformist.
Allan’s entry made everyone’s shortlist, then everyone’s “really short” (i.e. top 5) list, and was the overall choice of two of the judges. Since the others had him in the top 5 and no other entry was favored as much, I awarded the prize to Allan this morning.
Allan will receive the Grand Prize, which consists of:
- The Complimentary Business-Class upgrade on any American Airlines flight ($500-2000+ value)
- The AONC Unconventional Guide “Combo Pack” ($197 value)
- A new journal from Piccadilly Journal
- Props and respect from the universe
And now, the Runners-Up —
Second Place Winner: Adam Baker
Adam’s entry was called “7 Life Lessons My 1-Year-Old Has Taught Me While Backpacking Abroad.” Adam and his family are currently backpacking in New Zealand with his wife Courtney and their daughter Milligan. I like Adam’s story in general (and all of his writing on ManvsDebt.com) because he shows how it’s possible to travel with a young child.
Third Place Winner: Amber Shaw
Amber Shaw did something unconventional and wrote a poem about non-conformity. It was different from all the other entries because it was a poem, and it was different from most poems because it doesn’t suck. Well done, Amber.
The winners were chosen out of more than 150 complete entries and a few random submissions – someone who wanted to sell me something, a marriage proposal for my Australian copyeditor, and so on. In addition to the winners, the shortlist included 15 other entries – thanks to Tiara, Erin, Michele, Jonathan, Evanne, Christine, Amy, James, Tom, Patrick, Matthew, Karl, Kyeli, Rachel, Darren, and Jen for their great contributions.
At the risk of singling out a few entrants when so many others were good, the judges also liked these essays:
- Why You Suck at Life (and How to Change that Right Now) by Tom Meitner
- An Unconventional Guide to Saving Lives by Kyeli Smith
- 3 and a Half Years in Pakistan by Matthew Cook
- The World Needs You to Be Unreasonable by Jonathan Mead
- My Life in a Box on Wheels: The Genesis of a Young, Full-time RVer by Evanne Schmarder
If you don’t see your name there, don’t worry. It just means your entry wasn’t the best fit for this contest; it doesn’t mean it wasn’t good or doesn’t belong elsewhere. In fact, it’s probably brilliant. When you win a Nobel sometime, you can thank me for passing up the rights to your entry and allowing it to be great somewhere else.
There were also a number of entries (20+) from people who did not include their name. We decided to cross that bridge if any ended up being finalists, but thankfully, it turned out to not be a problem.
I’ll make a plan to do some editing with the winners and publish their essays before the end of the year. Of course, I’m good for the other prizes as well – among other things, I owe Allan the complimentary American Airlines upgrade (or 25,000 Frequent Flyer Miles if he prefers). I owe Adam the Unconventional Guide Combo Pack and Amber the Unconventional Guide of her choice.
(After writing that sentence, I realized that all three winners have names that start with “a” – it’s not a conspiracy, really.)
Thanks so much to all of you who entered. We’ll have another contest at some point whenever I get more upgrades or miles to give away– and after my volunteer team has recovered from reading 150 essays.
Feel free to post your congratulations to the winners and other entrants.
Image by Edwin11