The Grist Short Story Competition

You know, sometimes you want to spit.

We all know that writers are low down the food chain. Watch the BAFTAs and be convinced (the writers are the ones in the rented tuxedos, all the actors and directors and producers have bespoke ones) of our relative insignificance. But you expect people who are:
• Academic
• Taking money from you
to demonstrate a bit more nous, don’t you?

Well not in the case of the University of Huddersfield. Yesterday I got a letter from them. It didn’t tell me that I’d been shortlisted for their short story competition, judged by Joanne Harris. It didn’t tell me that I hadn’t been shortlisted. It didn’t tell me a bloody thing.

It said “Dear Grist Entrant, the fourth Huddersfield Literature Festival is set to return this March, boasting a host of writers, poets, musicians, comedians, actors and even a cabaret act, all promising to make this a festival with a difference. Yes, this year’s festival is the biggest and best yet …” and so on for another nine paragraphs.

Essentially then, the lovely people at Huddersfield don’t give a flying Fortress that I entered a competition and might like to know how I did. No. They’ve used my entry fee to send me a promotional flyer that doesn’t even MENTION the contest I entered. Lovely, sensitive behaviour that.

So I visit the website and it says this: This Grist competitions (sic) are now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered. The judges are now busy drawing up a shortlist. The winners will be announced at the launch of the 4th Huddersfield Literature Festival 2009 on Wednesday 11th March 2009 at 7.30pm. All shortlisted writers will be notified in advance of this date.

So I assume I wasn’t shortlisted. And I assume the University of Huddersfield views writers as being like goldfish, with seven second memories, who will have forgotten that the paid an entry fee and haven’t been told anything about the competition they entered. No, those dizzy little literary people will just squeal with pleasure and get on the phone to book their tickets for the Huddersfield Literature Festival (the biggest and best yet) won’t they?

Actually not.

Actually, Huddersfield, you stink.

Goldfish image courtesy of bucklava at Flickr under a creative commons license

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