The fifteen-year-old literary journal Alligator Juniper, published by Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona, is holding its annual writing contest until October 1. One winner in each genre—poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction—will receive one thousand dollars and publication in the magazine, which has a circulation of fifteen hundred.
The 2010 winners are Lillian-Yvonne Bertram for her poem "In Leaving My Lover Teaches Me Half a Bible Story," Laurie Anne Doyle for her story "Wings Raised Up," and Miles Fuller for his essay "The Mormon Martyr’s Guide to Chemical Reactions."
Former managing editor Jeff Fearnside, who recently left the post to work on his own writing, let us in on a few details about the journal and the competition.
What makes this competition unique?
It is judged almost entirely by undergraduate students enrolled in the Literary Journal Practicum course at Prescott College, under the guidance of published writers and teachers. I worked as an editor in graduate school for the national journal Willow Springs, and I can attest that what these students do at Prescott College is comparable to graduate-level work. The results speak for themselves: Alligator Juniper has won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs National Program Directors’ Prize for Undergraduate Literary Magazines in content for its 2000, 2003, and 2008 issues. No other journal has won this prestigious award more than once.
What are the judges looking for in a submission?
Quite simply, the very best writing. Naturally, how that is defined varies from year to year, depending on the individual tastes of the student editors. Prescott College’s mission focuses on the environment and social justice, and our editorial tastes may occasionally and incidentally reflect this, though by no means are we limited to any aesthetic or literary school; we’ve published work in styles ranging from traditional to experimental, and reflecting a wide range of themes.
How many finalists are offered publication?
It varies, as we select work based on quality, not a particular quota, but typically we publish fifteen to twenty finalists total in addition to the three winners.
An entry fee of fifteen dollars, which includes a copy of the prize issue, is required with each submission, and all entries must be made via postal mail. Complete guidelines are available on the Alligator Juniper Web site.