The Harper's Pen Award

In days of yore, a Harper was a bard who sang of the deeds of heroes and gods, demons and monsters, but these days we bards use the Pen (or the laptop) to tell our tales of the heroic exploits of mighty warriors and cunning wizards. Thus, the Harper's Pen.

The Harper's Pen Award is given in honor of the best Heroic Fantasy or Sword and Sorcery short fiction published during a given year. The award is sponsored by The Sorcerer's Guild.

Each year, nominations for The Harper's Pen Award are collected and finalists chosen for recognition by The Sorcerer's Guild. From the finalists a winner is then selected and the award is given to both the author and the publisher of the story. By establishing this award, we hope to encourage authors to continue to explore heroic fantasy and sword and sorcery fiction, as well as to reward those who continue to publish it.

The rules are simple. Any heroic fantasy or sword and sorcery short fiction story published through an established editorial process - that is, not self-published - is eligible. Any subgenre of heroic fantasy or sword and sorcery is eligible, including but not limited to: historical, modern, sword-and-planet, etc. The nominated story must have been published between January 1 and December 31 of the contest year. Final determinination of story eligibility is at the sole discretion of the judge or judges.

Only members of the Sorcerer's Guild may nominate a story for the Harper's Pen, but joining the guild is simple- just send me an email and you're in. In your missive, let me know if you're an author, editor, or fan (or a chimera of one or more such beasts), and also include your nominations.

Each member of the Sorcerer's Guild may nominate up to five stories which meet the above publication guidelines. Nominations should be sent by email to and must be received no later than January 9, 2011. Members are free to nominate their own stories and/or stories they have edited or published.

Stories which receive the most nominations will move into the semifinal round, where they will be asked to model evening wear while completing a grueling obstacle course.

Once the semifinalists have been announced, your host will ask for volunteers to join the secretive Wizards' Conclave. Members of the Wizards' Conclave cannot have a story in the semifinals, either as an author, editor or publisher. Wizards of the Conclave must be prepared to dedicate themselves to the task of reading all of the semifinalist stories. The members of the Wizards' Conclave will wear masks during our arcane ceremonies, to ensure they remain anonymous to each other and to any creatures we summon.

Each Wizard of the Conclave will be asked to select three stories from the semifinalists. Their votes will be tabulated and the finalists will be announced. The story which receives the most votes from the Conclave will be awarded the Harper's Pen.

The winner of the The Harper's Pen Award will receive:

Publisher - $200 and our heartfelt thanks.
Author - $200, our heartfelt thanks, and a handmade pen.

If you would like to donate and help fund this worthy award, drop me an email at the above address and I'll let you know how. Every dollar received goes directly to the funding of the award.