Get your story judged by John Grisham!

You’ve read stories by John Grisham, but now he wants to read your story. Yes, the world renowned author of The Firm, A Time to Kill, and The Innocent Man is the judge of this year’s Hook short story contest.

Surely the idea that one of the world’s top-selling authors wants to read your work should be incentive enough to enter, but there’s also the $1,000 in cash prizes.

The grand-prize winner receives $700, and there’s $200 for second place and $100 for third.

Next comes the fame. The grand prize-winning story will be published in the Hook in late March when lots of literary types are in town for the Virginia Festival of the Book.

In addition, all three winners will be officially saluted at the opening event of this year’s Virginia Festival of the Book ( on Wednesday, March 21. This year’s Festival hotshots include Lee Smith, Hal Crowther, Doug Marlette, and Earl Hamner.

The Rules (taken from The HooK’s website)

All manuscripts must be typed in 12 pt. or larger font, double-spaced, on 8 1/2” x 11” paper.

All manuscripts must be bound with one staple at the upper left corner, and be accompanied by a cover sheet containing the author’s name, address, phone, email (if any) and word count clumped within a match-book-size area on the cover sheet (so we can temporarily hide your name during the judging). Entries with your name in a header or footer on each page will be discarded and your fee refunded.

We’re looking for short stories under 3,500 words that have not been published either in print or electronically. Any that exceed the word count will be discarded and your fee refunded.

By entering, you give The Hook permission to use your name, story, and even your smiling face in our pages and on our website.

In keeping with this newspaper’s name, make sure your story “hooks” us from the first page, and please make sure it has conflict, dialogue, action, and resolution. Essays and slices of life are not what Mr. Grisham seeks.

Anyone — professionals and amateur — can win, and everyone retains rights to re-publish the story in other places after it has run in The Hook.

Please check your manuscript for errors; we can’t accept hand-corrected copies. No emailed or faxed entries!

Those whose stories withstand the steely scrutiny of Covesville’s best known citizen will be notified by the end of the day Wednesday, March 7.

There is a limit of two (2) manuscripts per author. Please enclose your entry fee of $5 for one entry or $10 for two entries. All fees received exceeding the prize-money will be donated to the Rebuild the Coast Fund, a charity Grisham launched to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Deadline: 5pm, Tuesday, February 13. We don’t care about postmarks; the manuscript must be in the Hook newsroom by deadline.

Mail or carry your entry and fee to:

Fiction Contest

The Hook

100 Second St. NW

Charlottesville, VA 22902

(Questions? Call 434.295.8700×232)

Via The HooK

3 Replies to “Get your story judged by John Grisham!”

  1. Marc Holt says:

    How do we apply? There is nothing in the announcement telling us how.

  2. Claudia says:

    Sounds cool, I take it you must be eighteen or older to enter, right?

    If only I livd in Virginia….xD

  3. Rasmus says:


    I updated to add the rules and details (which are on the HooK’s website also). You’ll have to mail or carry your story and fee ($5 for one entry or $10 for two entries) by 5PM of February 13 to:

    Fiction Contest
    The Hook

    100 Second St. NW
    Charlottesville, VA 22902

    Do you plan to take part? 🙂


    they don’t mention the age requirement anywhere so I guess as long as you can write, you’re fine to enter. 😉

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