There’s a wonderful sense of calm wafting through the office today, but like snow at the seaside, I doubt it’ll stay long enough to settle.
Last night, we sent the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Anthology 2017 up the wire to the printers and we all breathed a welcome sigh of relief. From the moment the contest closed at the end of December, right through to the moment we hand over the money to our talented winners, there is a palpable sense of urgency to tick all the necessary tasks off the big To Do list.
Judging the pieces is a joy, but a huge responsibility. Every single entry is sifted, graded and graded again with a process more finely tuned than at a premium quality flour factory!
Once the entrants have been advised who’s in the shortlist, everything ramps up a gear as we attempt to collate their bios and appropriate head and shoulder photos. It’s exciting, but occasionally, feels a bit like herding cats! Then, things shift with ardent fervor to the typesetting and final proofing stage; it’s a critical point and one where single and double quote marks start to show up in our dreams purely to taunt us!
Then, the moment arrives where Simon presses the big black button to send its perfectly shaped digital form up a piece of electronic cable in a clever arrangement of ones and zeros… then we sleep.
We hit that point last night and we are now absolutely delighted to inform you that the book will be with us soon.
It is jam-packed with showcase entries from our shortlisters and winners: namely 10 superb short stories, 10 perfect poems, and 5 pithy pieces from the folks who won the Mini-MOLP writing contests we ran through the summer last year; you can place your pre-order for it here.
Without wanting to sound like an ad for M&S, this book really is so much more than an anthology! Aside from it being a cracking read, we will also arrange for a tree to be planted for every single copy sold, in our Word Forest in Kenya. If you’re not familiar with the MOLP contests, we also plant a tree for every single entry too. One of the next big jobs is for Simon, our resident technical guru, to send everyone the GPS coordinates of their tree… yes, you heard me right. The amazing folks who plant our trees in Kenya look after them incredibly well and they capture their precise location on an electronic logger.
This stage can take some time, because we have to advise them how many trees to plant, they plant them and nurture them and once they’re seen to be well established, we get the coordinates and send them on to the entrants. For us, it’s one of the most exciting parts of MOLP. Regardless of whether you’ve won money, you ALL win a tree and that has global benefit for the entire planet. It removes copious amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, it keeps the planet a bit cooler, it provides safe habitat for countless creatures, it provides impoverished villages with medicines, foods, water purifiers and so much more besides.
MOLP is the only contest where everyone wins!
Ahhh… I think it might be time for a celebratory cup of tea, as I pull together the threads of the actual Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Awards Evening on March the 11th, to which you are cordially invited! There’s a cracking stand up poetry night laced around the big announcements too and it’s FREE, so why not hop on the link and book your tickets for a lovely literary night out in Lyme.
Hope to see you there!