Dream Foundry Contest Rules


General Info
Art Contest
Writing Contest
About the Judges

2021 Contest announcements and rules

The Dream Foundry contests for beginning professionals are back!

The contest coordinators will be responsible for selecting ten finalists from all valid submissions received during that time, and the judges will select winners for first, second, and third prize from the finalists.

This year, the prizes for contestants will be:

1st: $1000

2nd: $500

3rd: $200

There is no submission fee. All rights remain with the creators.  There are no age restrictions on entry.

Want support, cheer leading, or to connect with other contest entrants? Join the Dream Foundry Discord server to find that and more!

Both contests are running on the same schedule this year. That schedule is:

August 10: Submissions Open
October 11: Submissions Close

Finalists will be announced in mid-November. Winners will be announced in early December.


Art Contest Guidelines

This will be the second year we have the honor of issuing the Monu Bose Memorial prize for art.  This is a $1000 prize awarded to the first place winner of the art contest.  (This is the source of the first place prize, not in addition to it.)

Dante Luiz is the contest coordinator for the 2021 art contest.

The art contest judges are Charis Loke and Juliana Pinho.

Submissions for the art contest will open on August 10, 2021, and close on October 11, 2021. All entries must be submitted via our submission manager.

Eligibility

This contest is for artists who are relatively new to paid illustration work for speculative publications in English. To be eligible for this contest, all the following rules must be true of you:

  • You have a maximum of one (1) commissioned/original artwork for the cover of a speculative publication.
  • You have only two (2) or less non-original artworks (reprint/licensed art) used for covers of speculative fiction magazines or publications.
  • You have never been nominated for any Hugo award for art, including fan categories.
  • You are not a previous winner of the Dream Foundry art contest

Please note that you are on the honour system for judging your own eligibility. However, we may disqualify any entrants in order to uphold the spirit of this contest’s goals; such determinations of eligibility are decided by the Dream Foundry and are not open to debate or argument.

Requirements

Submit one .pdf with at least three finished artworks, but no more than five. Those illustrations don’t need to be exclusive for the contest, and they can have been previously posted on the internet. Please include a title for each of the works, and specify which media you used (e.g. watercolors, mixed media, digital art, etc).

All entries are final. No revisions are accepted.
No multiple submissions (do not send more than one .pdf portfolio.)
Entries can be from any country.
All entries must be original artwork (no fanarts). Illustration work only (no collages, photomanipulations, etc).

Please Don’t Send

We are looking for speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, weird fiction, etc.) themed artwork. Please don’t send us artwork without a speculative element (mainstream, contemporary, romance, westerns, historical fiction etc.).
No erotica or explicit work.
No fanarts, no collages, no photomanips.

FAQ

Can I see the work of past art contest winners anywhere?

You can! You can see Thaleia Demeter’s work here, Lauren Blake’s art here, and Michaela Matthews’ work here.

The art contest submissions page has space for wordcount and submission title. What should I put there for my portfolio?

It’s fine to just ignore those fields! The submissions manager we’re using doesn’t let us hide those fields – just put 0 in the wordcount and leave the title blank.

What should I include in my cover letter?

A cover letter is optional for both contests. We do like to know a little bit about the entrants, though, so something short is nice. A good template is: “I’m a X style artist/writer from Y place with an interest in Z thing. Here’s a quick tidbit about my art/writing background. Thank you for your consideration.”

Questions

Send all questions to art dot contest at dreamfoundry dot org

Submit Art Here


Writing Contest Guidelines

Submissions for the contests will open on August 10, 2021 and close on October 11, 2021.

The contest coordinators for the 2021 writing contest are Vajra Chandrasekera and J.D. Harlock.

The writing contest judges are Vajra Chandrasekera and Premee Mohamed.

Eligibility

This contest is for writers who are relatively new to paid or incoming-earning publication of speculative short fiction in English. To be eligible for this contest, all four rules below must be true of you:

  • You have published a total of less than 4,000 words of paid or income-earning speculative fiction in English.
  • You have earned a total of less than USD 320 from those words.
  • You have never been nominated for any award listed here as a major award in speculative fiction.
  • You are not a previous winner of the Dream Foundry writing contest.
Please note that you are on the honour system for judging your own eligibility. However, we may disqualify any entrants in order to uphold the spirit of this contest’s goals; such determinations of eligibility are decided by the Dream Foundry and are not open to debate or argument.

Requirements

Submit one complete and finalized story of up to 10,000 words via our submission manager.

All entries are final. No revisions are accepted.

No multiple submissions (do not send more than one story.)

Your submission must be previously unpublished at the time of submission, but simultaneous submissions (submitting the story to us while also submitting elsewhere) is allowed.

Entries can be from any country.

All entries must be original prose works in English. Plagiarism, poetry, song lyrics, or stories that utilize characters or settings from another person’s works will not be considered.

The manuscript should be in standard manuscript format and should be titled and numbered on every page, but the author’s name MUST BE DELETED from the manuscript file to facilitate fair judging.

Please Don’t Send

We are looking for short speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, weird fiction, etc.) Please don’t send us stories that have no speculative element (mainstream, contemporary, romance, westerns, historical fiction etc.)
Sexual and adult themed stories are allowed. Please don’t send us erotica or gratuitous depictions of violence, sexual assault, or abuse.

Don’t send novels or non-standalone novel excerpts, screenplays, poetry, non-fiction or works written for children.

FAQ

If my piece has been posted/self-published on my blog, Twitter, Instagram, Patreon, etc. is it eligible for the contest?

No. Posting your work publicly in these venues counts as publication. Please only send us unpublished work.

Can I post/publish snippets of my piece on social media?

Stories are judged anonymously and it’s important to us that this anonymity is preserved when we send the finalists to the judges. Please avoid publicly posting identifiable snippets of your work to help us preserve this anonymity.

I’m going to be professionally published, but my professional publication is due to be published after the contest is over. Am I still eligible?

Congratulations on your sale! If you won’t be published until after the contest is over, you may still submit.

Can I read the work of past writing contest winners anywhere?

You can! Two of last year’s winning stories have already been published. (The third will be published by Strange Horizons on October 11!) You can read “The Failed Dianas” in Clarkesworld and “The Loneliness of Former Constellations” in Strange Horizons.

What should I include in my cover letter?

A cover letter is optional for both contests. We do like to know a little bit about the entrants, though, so something short is nice. A good template is: “I’m a X style artist/writer from Y place with an interest in Z thing. Here’s a quick tidbit about my art/writing background. Thank you for your consideration.”

I made a sale that disqualifies me after submitting. Do I need to withdraw?

Congratulations! No, you do not need to withdraw. As long as you were eligible at the time you made your submission, you can stay in the contest.

Questions

Send all questions to writing dot contest at dreamfoundry dot org

Submit Writing Here


About the Judges

Vajra Chandrasekera is from Colombo, Sri Lanka. His work has appeared in Analog, Clarkesworld, and Nightmare, among others, and he is a fiction editor at Strange Horizons.

Charis Loke is an illustrator and comics editor based in Penang, Malaysia. Drawing upon literature and visual culture, she evokes wonder and curiosity through thoughtful images. Her work is rooted in Southeast Asian cultures and influenced by traditions of speculative fiction. She’s also the Comics and Illustrations Editor at New Naratif where she works with artists from all over Southeast Asia and the diasporas to tell visual stories for democracy and freedom of information.

Premee Mohamed is an Indo-Caribbean scientist and speculative fiction author based in Edmonton, Alberta.

She is a Social Media Manager and former Associate Editor for the short audio science fiction venue Escape Pod, and was a Capital City Press Featured Writer for 2019/2020 with the Edmonton Public Library. Her guest editing positions include novellas with Interstellar Flight Press and short fiction with Apparition Lit.

Her debut novel, ‘Beneath the Rising’ was a finalist for the Crawford Award, the Aurora Award, and the Locus Award. She is also the author of ‘A Broken Darkness,’ ‘These Lifeless Things,’ ‘And What Can We Offer You Tonight,’ and ‘The Annual Migration of Clouds.’ Her next novel, ‘The Void Ascendant,’ is due out in March 2022.

Her short fiction has appeared in print and audio venues including Analog, Escape Pod, Augur, Nightmare Magazine, Shoreline of Infinity, and PodCastle. Solicited appearances include The Deadlands, A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods, and Jo Walton’s New Decameron. In 2017 she was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for her story ‘Willing’ (Third Flatiron Press).

She can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @premeesaurus and on her website at www.premeemohamed.com.

Juliana Pinho is a Brazilian historian and illustrator with a passion for the arts who has recently moved to the US in order to live with her wife. Some of her work can be found in Strange Horizons and in the Dates anthology, as well as in some Brazilian publications.