When New Rivers Press announced that Ron Rindo of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was a winner of the 2003 MVP Competition this past summer, some of the approximately six hundred entrants were perplexed. The guidelines stated that the contest, which awards three $1,000 prizes and the publication of three book-length manuscripts, was open to emerging poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. The rules defined an emerging writer as "any writer who has not published two or more books in the submitted genre with a commercial, university, or nationally distributed small press." Rindo, who won for his short story collection Love in an Expanding Universe, had previously published two books—Secrets Men Keep and Suburban Metaphysics—both with New Rivers Press.
"It's a typo in the guidelines," says senior editor Alan Davis. "For our purposes, an emerging writer is anyone who has published two or fewer books (no more than two books) in the genre of submission." Davis says that despite the error, most entrants read the guidelines the way they were intended. In the guidelines for the 2004 competition, which has a deadline of November 1, the definition of an emerging writer has been corrected.
Kevin Larimer is the associate editor of Poets & Writers Magazine.