I got an e-mail from James Jones the other day — I mean, it wasn’t from James Jones himself, but from the committee that administers the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. You know what I love about this e-mail? First, my name is on it. Second, it is not a rejection (I mean, I didn’t win the whole thing, but I was pretty high up on that list.) Third, my name is spelled right.
I’d like to point out that I, Lily Hamrick, write things that get rejected a LOT. I think this happens to everyone who writes and sends things out, so I don’t feel special about the rejections I get. I also think I am proof that if you keep at it, which is to say, if you keep working at improving your writing and keep sending it out, even when you feel so deflated by your rejections, eventually you will find that your work is getting read and appreciated. Or maybe it never will be — after all, look at Emily Dickinson — but I think it’s true that no matter what, you just have to keep doing what you love doing.
This applies to many, many things other than writing, of course. And that’s what I wish for you, dear readers — that you keep working away at the things you love, and that those things bear fruition.
James Jones First Novel Fellowship 2008
This year, the James Jones Fellowship had a total of 520 submissions.
Below are the top seven novels as decided by the judges.
Winner:§ Margarite Landry, Southborough, MA, is the winner of the James Jones First Novel Fellowship with her manuscript titled Blue Moon.
§ Matthew Dillon, Port Townsend, WA, is a runner-up winner with his manuscript titled Restoration.
§ Nicholas Gerogiannis, Birmingham, AL, is a runner-up winner with his manuscript titled Sere.
§ Lily Hamrick, Berkeley, CA, for the manuscript, The Secret War
§ Elizabeth Wetmore, Chicago, IL, for the manuscript, The Earth is Flat
§ Kim Triedman, Arlington, MA, for the manuscript, The Other Room
§ Lowell Brower, Walworth, WI, for the manuscript, The Safari Guide
Thank you to everyone who participated.
Diane Reed, J. Michael Lennon, Kaylie Jones, 2008 Judges