Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Win $100,000 with 3,000 Thoughtful Words. The Nine Dots Prize Is Back

"Dusk Call" -- Oil on canvas, Frank Holmes
Have you ever wished you could be on the receiving end of a $100,000 advance to complete a book idea that you've been percolating? If you're a writer, here's a writing contest where this is precisely the prize you'll be privy to if you win. It's called The Nine Dots Prize.

The Nine Dots Prize is a prize for creative thinking that tackles contemporary societal issues. Entrants are asked to respond to a question in 3,000 words, with the winner receiving $100,000 to write a short book expanding on their ideas.

The aim of the Prize is to promote, encourage and engage innovative thinking to address problems facing the modern world. The name of the Prize references the nine dots puzzle that we've all encountered at one time or another – a lateral thinking puzzle which can only be solved by thinking "outside the box."

The theme for this year's 3,000 word challenge: Is there still no place like home?

The deadline for your 3,000-word response is January 21, 2019, which means that if you are a slow writer you only have to write 1000 words a month to reach the goal, or 33 words a day, or just over a word an hour.

There's more to it than writing a 3,000-word statement. The Nine Dots folk are offering a $100K payout because they're looking for a book in return, so in addition to the 3,000 words you will be needing to produce an outline of the book, and some kind of document indicating that you would be capable of completing the book in within seven months of being selected. Their aim is to have the book in print by a 2020 deadline.

Actually, though, they are not really looking for just any book. They are seeking an idea big enough to be worthy of the prize, which will be expanded on for the length of a short book. Not an epic, just something powerful that addresses a contemporary issue... Do you have something inside you that you believe big enough to change the world?


A summary response to the set question, which must be no more than 3,000 words in length. Should you win the Prize, you will be required to develop this summary into a short book of between 25,000 and 40,000 words. The summary should cover the main ideas and arguments your proposed book will make, the evidence and research on which it draws and the key conclusions it will reach.

An outline structure of this short book, including provisional chapter headings. This can be up to 1,000 words and will show how you see your response expanding into a complete book and how you would develop your arguments, should you be successful. It is an opportunity to prove that there is enough depth to your arguments to provide content for an entire book.

A justification statement of your ability to complete the book in the time given (approx. seven months). This can be up to 1,000 words, and will outline your previous experience in communicating effectively about evidence, research and ideas, and a commitment from you that your responsibilities will allow the book to be completed in the seven month period.

DEADLINE: Entrants must submit their 3,000-word response, an outline structure for their proposed book and a justification statement of their ability to complete the book in seven months via an online submission form.

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Over the years I've thought a lot about the notion of "home" and why this longing for home has such power for many. Here are a few blog posts I have written about it.

Reflections on the Meaning of Home
An Easter Reflection on Gardens in the Bible
Thoughts about being banished from Eden and our longing for a Promised Land

Here's the Home Page for The Nine Dots Prize: 


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