SFWP 2017 Literary Awards Program: Timeline

The 2017 Literary Awards Program ended on July 20th. This year, we received nearly 800 entries from over 30 countries.

Even at a glance these last few days, I’ve been blown away by the amazing quality of the manuscripts, and the wide range of voices and styles. I saw wild experimental fiction/art fusion, powerfully heartbreaking memoir, sci-fi and fantasy adventures, and even a gripping graphic novel. There was fiction and nonfiction from just about every genre, and several entries that simply defied genre altogether.

I’ve already earmarked about 40 entries to review for publication. No matter who walks away with the grand prize and the two runner-up prizes, I think there are several other folks who’ll be hearing from me at some point down the line.

So let’s get to the timeline! That way I’ll have an answer for all the emails I’m about to receive. You should also follow me on Twitter and Facebook as I plan to update on the progress periodically. The next post here at the blog, though, will be to formally announce the long list of finalists.

We allow the judge plenty of time to go over the manuscripts and, of course, the more entries there are, the longer it takes. The nature of the SFWP Awards program is that we don’t care about genre or marketability. Our catalog is all over the place by design. We are all about supporting excellence in the craft of writing.

With no fixed timeline, and with so many entries, judging can sometimes get lengthy. It all depends on the judge’s schedule, of course. Mr. Percy is very busy.

As I post this, we are reviewing entries to make sure there aren’t any technical problems – can we access the files? Are they readable? Are there any weird alerts or errors? This will take about a week. We will then get everything moving to the judge with some specific orders on creating a long list and a short list of finalists.

This year, we’ll be asking for a long list of around 100 entries. It may be more, it may be less. There’s no fixed rule here. The long list will be the list of finalists who have moved on to the next round of judging. Let’s tentatively say we’ll have this in hand by late August.

Next, the judge will decide on a short list. Again, there’s no fixed number, but we’ll ask for 25 manuscripts. This should show up in mid September.

Depending on how the judge feels, we may also get a very short list of 10 finalists. We usually do this, but not all the time. Sometimes the judge just wants to plow through to the end at this point.

So our goal for announcing the prizes is, right now, sometime in October. But, this year, it might take a little longer. So do stay tuned!

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