The deadline for submissions for a new, $1,000 writing prize in honour of Michael Fellman has been moved back three months to November 1 in order to allow more time for awareness of the contest to grow.
"We received just a few submissions by the Aug. 1 deadline, and while the quality was high we felt we needed to do more outreach," explained David Beers, editor of The Tyee, which is co-sponsoring the prize with Simon Fraser University's History Department.
Over the past weeks, word about the prize has gone out widely to academic departments, journalistic groups and other arenas for public intellectuals. "This prize is as likely to be won by a scholar or history buff as by a journalist," says Beers. "Perhaps you are sitting on some fascinating research that could be drawn upon to comment insightfully on what we read in today's headlines. The Michael Fellman award is meant to bring more voices into the public conversation."
Fellman was a noted historian and political commentator who taught for 39 years at Simon Fraser University and contributed regularly to the pages of The Tyee and other publications. He died in June 2012.
An expert researcher unafraid to present provocative conclusions, Fellman wrote a number of acclaimed books about the U.S. Civil War and drew on his historical expertise to place in sharp context current day political events in Canada as well as the U.S.
Beyond 'stylized paragons'
In an essay for The Tyee, Fellman summed up his point of view and motivation for writing: "I disbelieve in heroes, searching as I do to understand the motives and actions of human beings rather than to present stylized paragons of good and evil."
The Michael Fellman Award was created to reflect that spirit of public engagement, awarded to a piece of accessible writing that demonstrates bold thought, clear analysis, and rests on well researched historical understanding.
Entries should be no longer than 2,500 words. The winner will be selected by a trio of judges: a Tyee editor, an SFU History Department member, and Michael Fellman's partner Santa Aloi.
The winner will be published on The Tyee and all rights belong to the author.
As The Tyee noted upon Michael Fellman's passing, "Michael was a clear-eyed optimist whose years spent unearthing the grim record of America's internecine guerrilla war did not undermine his fundamental faith in reason and humanity. He said that he chose the Civil War as his recurring focus because its archival sources were so rich -- the last uncensored war, he called it -- and because the racial and economic inequalities so powerfully at work then so evidently had not been resolved by that terrible conflict. The wounds linger even today, and so their origins, believed Michael, were in constant need of honest scrutiny."
Michael Fellman's writing for The Tyee ranged from U.S. election coverage to unfolding Canadian politics to deconstruction of Clint Eastwood's films. His Tyee work can be found here.
To submit an entry for the Michael Fellman Award send the document attached to an email addressed to [email protected]. Subject line should read: Submission for Michael Fellman Award.
Read more: Media