* * This contest is now closed. Winners will be announced September 23, 2011. * *

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It’s that time. New columnist time. Column contest time. We’ve done it each year for the past two, so we’re doing it again, basically the same way:

1. Form and content is open. We are looking for writing that is engaging and interesting, in a “we know it when we see it” way. It would probably be a mistake to look at our current columns and try to replicate them. We love those columns, but they came about by authors simply following their own paths. Write about subject matter you’re interested in, in the way you find most compelling. Our site is primarily known for printing funny things, but columns need not be comic in nature. They just need to be good reading. Please take your time to make your submission as good as possible. One of the criteria we’re looking for is a writer who is reliable and obsessive over their own work.

2. Length is also open. In general, we find anything over 2000 words begins to be taxing on readers when read on the Internet, but if the length is justified, we’re the last ones to complain.

3. Submissions should contain the following:

  • a brief description of the proposed column (keep it short; just tell us where you’re coming from)
  • one full example column
  • brief descriptions of three additional installments of your column
  • a short biographical note

4. Submitting your submissions. All submissions should be both pasted into the body of an email and sent as a .doc or .rtf attachment. Please arrange the material in the order outlined in #3 above. Any submissions that fail to provide all the requested information will be ineligible for consideration. All material should be previously unpublished, including personal blogs, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever thing is invented between now and the end of the contest. There is no fee for contest submission. Submissions should be sent to columncontest@mcsweeneys.net.

5. Previous winners and current or past columnists. Are not eligible for the column contest this time around.

6. Please submit only one entry per author. Pick the idea that’s most compelling to you and run with it.

7. Deadline. Submissions will be accepted until the end of the day Friday, September 9th at 10 pm Eastern time. Winners will be announced no later than September 23rd. Please include a phone number where you can be reached in case of e-mail failure.

8. Prizes. We have prizes. Cash prizes. The top five selections will each receive $500 and a one-year contract to write your column (twice a month or thereabouts) for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. We do reserve the right to choose fewer (or more) winners than our planned number of five.

9. Responses to submissions. You will receive notice of receipt of your entry; however, because of the volume of submissions we will not be able to respond personally to each entry if they are not advancing in the contest.

10. If you have any questions that aren’t answered here, please feel free to send them to columncontest@mcsweeneys.net.