Q: What is the Sylvia K. Burack Writing Award?
A: The Sylvia K. Burack Writing Award is a writing competition for high school students in grades 11 and 12 in the U.S. and Canada. The award is made in memory of Sylvia K. Burack, longtime editor and publisher of The Writer magazine. Burack was known for her dedication to helping writers and editors.
Q: What do I have to do to enter the contest?
A: Write a 600- to 800-word personal essay in English on the following topic: "Select a work of fiction, poem or play that has influenced you. Discuss the work and explain how it affected you." No song lyrics. The essay must be previously unpublished in print or online. Your essay must be submitted online at WritingClasses.com/Burack before the deadline.
Q: Who is eligible to enter the competition?
A: You must be a student in grade 11 or 12 attending a public, private, or home-school high school in the U.S. or Canada at the time you submit the essay. The winner will be asked to provide proof of enrollment in grade 11 or 12 in the U.S. or Canada. Employees of The Writer, Kalmbach Publishing Co., and Gotham Writers' Workshop and their families are not eligible to participate.
Q: Can I submit something that has already been published in print or online?
A: No, the essay you submit must be unpublished in print or online.
Q. I accidentally entered the wrong essay. How can I fix this problem?
A. Entries are forwarded to The Writer for judging as soon as they are submitted, therefore we cannot accept revisions for any entry.
Q: How do I change my contact information if my email, mailing address, or phone number changes?
A: You may change your contact information by sending your name, e-mail address, mailing address, and phone number to Office[at]Write[dot]org. Please make sure to include the name of the competition you’ve entered and your name so we can match it to your submission.
Q: Is there an entry fee?
A: No, contest entry is free.
Q: What are the prizes?
A: The author of the winning essay will receive $500; publication in The Writer magazine and on WriterMag.com; a one-year subscription to The Writer and a copy of the Gotham Writers’ Workshop anthology Fiction Gallery.
Q: What are the judges looking for in a submission?
A: Entries will be judged based on the expression of ideas and overall quality of the writing, including grammar, punctuation and syntax. Only essays written on the specified topic will be considered.
Q: Is the title included in the 800-word maximum word count?
Q: What if my essay is 810 words (or 590) words? Will it be disqualified?
A: Essays will not be disqualified for being slightly over the 800-word maximum, but they must meet the minimum word count of 600 words to qualify.
Q: Can I enter more than one submission to the contest?
A: No. Each student may enter only one submission.
Q: What is the deadline for submitting my entry?
A: All entries must be received by March 31, 2011 at 11:59PM EST.
Q: How do I submit my entry?
A: You must submit your entry using the online submission manager, found at WritingClasses.com/Burack. Entries sent via the postal service will not be accepted.
Q: How can I confirm that my entry was received?
A: You will receive an e-mail confirmation once your entry is received and processed for judging. Please allow five business days for the processing of your entry.
Q. Do you accept entries from students outside the U.S. and Canada?
A. No. Only students who are attending a U.S. or Canadian high school may enter. All entries must be written in English. The contest is governed exclusively by the laws of the United States. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Void wherever prohibited or restricted by law.
Q: Who is judging the entries?
A: Five editors at The Writer magazine will read the entries and choose the winning essay.
Q: Do you provide notes or feedback to writers?
A: Unfortunately, we cannot provide notes or feedback due to the large number of entries we receive.
Q. Is there an age limit on entering your competition?
A. There is no age limit, however, you must be in grade 11 or 12 in a public or private high school or home-schooling environment in the U.S. or Canada on the day you submit your essay.
Q. How will the winner be notified?
A. The winner will be notified by e-mail. No substitution or transfer of a prize is permitted except by The Writer.
Q: Can entries be submitted via regular mail?
A: No, all entries must be submitted using the online entry form found here: WritingClasses.com/Burack.
Q. When will the winners and finalists be announced?
A. Winners will be notified via e-mail by June 1, 2011. If the winning entrant cannot be reached by June 1, 2011, the runner-up will receive the award. All entrants will be notified of the results by June 30, 2011.
Q. Do I need to copyright my work before I submit it? How do I do this?
A: Some believe that once you create a piece of writing, you need to mail it to yourself to unofficially "register" the copyright and prevent someone from stealing your work in the future. However this practice began, it is unnecessary under U.S. copyright law.
According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright law protects your work as soon as you create it, or when it is fixed in a copy. On its Web site, the office notes that "Copies are material objects from which a work can be read or visually perceived either directly or with the aid of a machine or device, such as books, manuscripts, sheet music, film, videotape or microfilm."
If, for some reason you are worried about future lawsuits over your work, you simply need to save your initial notes and drafts. If the authorship of your work ever is contested in court, these will assist you in claiming initial ownership of anything you wrote.
Official copyright registration occurs upon publication of your work. At that time, the publisher registers the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. If you self-publish a book, you may mark it with a copyright symbol, although you don't need to officially register it.
Finally, when submitting your unpublished manuscript to editors, it's not necessary to mark it with a copyright symbol.
For more detailed information, visit Copyright.gov.
Q: Where can I find essay writing tips?
A: Essay writing tips can be found at WriterMag.com.
Q: If I have questions regarding the competition, who should I contact?
A: Send an e-mail to burack[at]writermag.com.
ENTRY FORM - RULES