I was alerted to this competition by a post by Roxane Gay. Here are the details from Black Balloon’s website:
At Black Balloon Publishing we champion the weird, the unwieldy, and the unclassifiable. We are battle-worn enemies of boredom and we’re looking for books that defy the rules, bend reality, twist preconceptions, and imagine the unimaginable.
If you’re our kind of writer, you’re braver, and smarter, and strategically crazier than all the rest. You’ve already written a masterpiece without a manual and we want to read it; we want to go down the rabbit hole, into the vast nothingness of outer space, swim among the strange illuminating creatures deep in the ocean. And to that end, we’re very pleased to announce the first ever Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize, an award for a previously-completed manuscript which comes with $5,000 and a Black Balloon Publishing book deal.
About Horatio Nelson:
We dedicate this prize to Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, a man who defied convention at every turn. A one-eyed, one armed lunatic genius who never gave up, he began his military career fully intact, but eventually lost his right eye (Corsica, 1793) and his right arm (the Canary Islands, 1797) in battle. He refused to wear an eye patch over the wound and used it to deliberately ignore a direct order from a superior officer during the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801, coining the phrase “turning a blind eye.” When egomaniac and noted short stack Napoleon attempted to use our beloved balloons for evil during the 1798 Battle of Aboukir with a “military balloon corps,” Nelson immediately destroyed the approaching objects, putting a permanent stop to the short-lived European militarization of these symbols of wonder. Our hero.
Like Nelson, we believe in relentless creativity and perseverance against all odds. Are you the literary Horatio Nelson we’re looking for?
Doesn’t this sound intriguing? I love the ethos behind this, and having written a hard-to-classify novel AND finding ingenious, experimental and fierce novels just my cup of tea, fully support the endeavour. It’s free to enter (I just have) and for the first round they’d like a summary and 4,000 words of your novel or fictions.
While you’re over on their website pondering whether or not you’d like to have a go, why not take a look at some of the books they’ve already published?
If Kilea were to win, I’d use the prize money to fund a book tour around the US and Canada – wearing an eyepatch in honour of Nelson to every one of my signings, and holding a lucky dip with Scottish sweeties for anyone who came along. It would also be a way to at the same time make a more limited version of this art project happen.
Ah, planning for what might be, my favourite thing.