25 October 2006


First prize: round-trip ticket anywhere in the continental U.S.

The paragraph of the day (tpotd) is sponsoring CONTEXT, a writing competition in which contestants are asked to write and submit a single paragraph. The paragraph should be written as it would appear in the context of a longer work — a novel, short story, memoir, essay, newspaper article, work of history, or analytical writing : any piece of prose. But the longer work need not actually exist.

The submission should include two or three sentences describing the work from which the paragraph is derived (even if the longer work is entirely imaginary). Paragraphs must come from a work that has not been published.

Paragraphs that win first, second, and third place will be posted on the tpotd website and will be sent to readers of the paragraph of the day. In addition, the top three submissions will win these awards:

First place: a round-trip airline ticket anywhere in the continental United States (subject to some restrictions on available dates);

Second place: a one-year subscription to Granta magazine;

Third place: a copy of The Best American Essays of the Century, Robert Atwan and Joyce Carol Oates, eds.

Submissions to the CONTEXT writing competition should be made using the “Contact Us” button on the paragraph of the day website, Entries are due December 31, 2006. Winners will be announced on or before March 1, 2007.

Include with your submission your name, address, and e-mail address. And don’t forget to include a short description of the underlying work, real or imaginary. Please, only one submission per person.


The paragraph of the day (tpotd) delivers an example of good prose by e-mail on most weekday afternoons. It is free and comes without advertising or commentary. Paragraphs sent in the past are in the archives section of the website,

To receive the paragraph of the day, use the subscribe tab on the website. There is no fee. We welcome new subscribers.

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