Monday, August 5, 2013

Becoming a judge . . .

. . . for the Minnesota Book Awards?

I got an email the other day announcing the first call for judges.  I have always wanted to be a judge for the MN Book Awards, but never have.  However, before you can even apply, some decisions have to be made.

First off, there are eight categories of awards:

Children's Literature
General Nonfiction
Genre Fiction
Memoir & Creative Nonfiction
Novel & Short Story
Young People's Literature

According to the application, you are supposed to have "professional experience, volunteer experience, or in-depth knowledge related to the category for which you are applying".

Under those rules, some categories are immediately ruled out for me (i.e., Poetry and Minnesota).  The only category I have "professional experience" with would be children's literature, having worked in the first grade for the last five years.  Unfortunately, it's not the category I am most interested in.  

Which category intrigues me the most?  Novel & Short Story (the category I would like to win someday), or Young People's Literature (a category I read a lot.  Does that count as in-depth knowledge?  Probably not.)  Then there's Genre Fiction, the fun stuff: mysteries, romance, sci-fi, graphic novels, fantasy.  (I have very little experience or in-depth knowledge here.)

You must also decide between being a preliminary round judge and a final round judge.

What's the difference?

Big amounts of reading difference!  For preliminary round judges:  Depending on their assigned category, judges can expect to review 20-65+ books.  That is a lot of reading!  Additionally, the description also states that candidates should have experience and a comfort level with reviewing a large volume of books within a relatively short period of time.  You get less than a month to do that reading?  Not sure that describes me, although I could probably manage it for the Children's Literature category.

A final round judge's duties are merely to read the 4 books chosen by the preliminary judges as finalists, and then "engage in thoughtful deliberation with their panel to select one award winner."  I could probably do that . . .

So, what do you think?  Any advice for a wannabe judge?

1 comment:

  1. You live and play in Minnesota. They probably need preliminary judges in that category, so ask for it. You also published a (sort of) short story magazine article, so go ahead and apply to be a final judge in the novel and short story category. Publish your first novel and apply for that category again next year. -- Alias