The Sidney Prize Honors Writers of the South
The Sidney Prize is an award honoring the work of writers who write about the South. It is given out to writers who are published in American magazines and newspapers and to work that is published on a blog or in a book.
The prize offers $500 in honorarium to the winner and a certificate. The judges selected eight short stories from more than 500 entries. All of the stories were considered to be well-written and accessible to an audience of American readers.
The prize was established through the generosity of the late Sidney Edelstein and his family. Ruth Edelstein Barish donated the prize in his name. He was the founder of the Dexter Chemical Corporation and a noted expert on the history of dyes.
The Sidney is named after a 19th-century Southern poet, and is awarded annually to a writer for his or her work in writing about the South. The winners of the prize are chosen by a panel of judges who examine the quality of the work, as well as the journalist’s reporting on social issues and economic injustices.
The competition is open to anyone who has written a story of no more than three thousand words that deals with the South. If your work is chosen for the prize, it will be published in Overland, a literary magazine. A writer may enter the competition at a discounted rate if they already subscribe to Overland.
Several notable writers have been honored with the Thomas Robinson Prize. Some of the more renowned writers who have been honored include Elisbeth Passmore, who won the postcard from Nowheresville; Alan Sincic, who won Westernport Crossing; and Tricia Dearborn, who won several national awards for her short stories.
In addition to the Sidney Prize, the Foundation also offers the Heather Dawn Reynolds Equity Award, which recognizes a writer or artist who has made a significant contribution to diversity and social justice. To be eligible, the nominee must be female, of a non-white ethnic or racial background, and be a graduate or undergraduate student at an accredited college or university in the United States.
As with other prizes, the deadline for submissions for the Sidney Prize is March 15th. Entries will be accepted by organizations and individuals, but the award will only be given out after a committee meets to determine the honorees.
The judges are looking for writers who explore themes of the South, including the civil rights movement, the Civil War, the Great Depression, slavery, and more. The award is sponsored by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation.
The Overland Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize was founded in 2007 and is supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation. The prize is worth $5000 and the story selected will be published in the Overland magazine. Those interested in applying for the prize should submit their three-page stories to the foundation.
Nikky Finney is an author and a professor. She grew up during the Black Arts movement and has taught at the University of Kentucky and Berea College. Her work has been featured in anthologies and she has won national awards for her poetry.