Update: Significant Objects/Slate story contest

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Earlier this month, when we announced that Slate was hosting a fiction contest to select one of the 100 stories we’d publish as part of the Significant Objects project, we figured that it would only take a couple of days to read through the entries and pick a winner. Because the contest’s deadline was last Friday (Oct. 16), we announced that Slate (and we) would publish the winning story today.


No such luck, I’m afraid. Why? Because Slate received a staggering 600+ entries! That’s right: over 600 Slate readers wrote a story about an insignificant object object that I’d purchased at a thrift store, this summer, for 75 cents. This overwhelming response validates our project’s hypothesis, and demonstrates just how imaginative and talented Slate‘s readers, not to mention those Significant Objects fans who entered the contest, truly are.

Every day of this past week, Rob and I worked with Slate‘s editors to read all 600+ stories. We’ve succeeded in winnowing the vast pool of entries down to 12 surprising, inventive, and stylish stories — any one of which we’d be proud to publish. Next comes the most difficult part: selecting a single winner out of the pool of finalists. So we’re taking the weekend to make that tough decision.

Stay tuned! The winning entry will be published at Slate and right here, early next week.


Joshua Glenn is an editor, publisher, and a freelance writer and semiologist. He does business as KING MIXER, LLC. He's cofounder of the websites HiLobrow, Significant Objects, and Semionaut; and cofounder of HiLoBooks, which will reissue six Radium Age sci fi novels in 2012. In 2011, he produced and co-designed the iPhone app KER-PUNCH. He's coauthored and co-edited Taking Things Seriously, The Idler's Glossary, The Wage Slave's Glossary, the story collection Significant Objects (forthcoming from Fantagraphics), and Unbored, a kids' field guide to life forthcoming from Bloomsbury. In the '00s, Glenn was an associate editor and columnist at the Boston Globe's IDEAS section; he also started the IDEAS blog Brainiac. He has written for Slate, n+1, Cabinet, io9, The Baffler, Feed, and The Idler. In the '90s, Glenn published the seminal intellectual zine Hermenaut; served as editorial director and co-producer of the pioneering DIY and online social networking website Tripod.com; and was an editor at the magazine Utne Reader. Glenn manages the Hermenautic Circle, a secretive online community. He was born and raised in Boston, where he lives with his wife and sons. Click here for more info.

14 thoughts on “Update: Significant Objects/Slate story contest

  1. I’m embarrassed to even ask this, as it’s so transparently hopeful, but would the 12 finalists know who they are by now?

  2. So is there a chance that you’ll let us know who the finalists are? I just need to know if I’m going to spend the weekend in the cold sweat of anticipation. 🙂

  3. If they are that good, maybe you could publish a couple of the runners-up as well, like with the cartoon ones.

  4. Gah! I keep waiting for the winner to be announced! That is exciting though, to have so many entries. Will you be announcing the top 12 entries at some point? Or notifying the top 12?
    (just curious, I did enter the contest.)

  5. Tremendous amount of talent swimming around out here, treading water for the next 72+ hours, it seems, with sharks to the left and sharks to the right….

  6. Sorry to keep you on tenterhooks, but it looks like we’ll announce the 11 runners-up next week, when we announce the contest winner. And it doesn’t look like any of this will happen on Monday; we’re aiming for Tuesday. Also: No, we haven’t notified the 12 finalists. They’ll find out at the same time the rest of the object-story-loving world does. And finally: We do like the idea of publishing some runners-up, but no promises. Have a good weekend, thanks so much for all the stories!!

  7. Looks like it’ll be another weekend of praying to Significus…the God of Made Up Stories Based On Assorted Bric-a-Brac.

  8. Good news! At the moment, we’re on track to name the winner TOMORROW (Tuesday), plus the 11 runners-up.

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