The Business of Words and the Ocean Cooperative

Literary Agency Announces The Art of Brevity: An Unusual Short Story Competition


Lansdowne, ON, Canada-- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/26/2007 --The Ocean Cooperative Literary Agency, one of the online world’s oldest editorial services, has announced the creation of a new literary awards program to support and encourage short story writers. The"Art of Brevity" prize is awarded regularly on the basis of a single submitted story.

Robert Buckland, editor-in-chief at the Ocean Cooperative Literary Agency (, explained how the “Art of Brevity” Short Story Award program differs from the agency’s “Novel of Promise” award program — and from many other writing contests.

“Since its emergence from a multitude of contributory sources in the early nineteenth century, the literary short story has gained a permanent place in our affections. If short stories are rarely great in the sense that War and Peace or Ulysses might be called great, there's an undeniable pleasure is a work that gives all it has to give in the few minutes it takes to consume it.

“Short stories are quicker to read -- and less exhausting to write – but readers have grown more demanding of them. Whether it’s ingenious plot twists or deft and elliptical glimpses of character, the short story cries out for a gem-like polish. We writers might blunder through the creation of a big, bold, sprawling and slightly clunky novel, but we have more trouble impressing readers with a little timid clunky short story.

“So unlike our novel program, our judges here are looking for a finished work on which the author has invested time. On the other hand, writing is always a process and our foremost intention is to encourage writers. Every entrant in this competition is read and every entrant receives a brief comment on their work. And every entrant is encouraged to submit their work again, since we award only a single prize each round.”

The subject of prizes is of particular interest at Ocean Cooperative. Buckland explained that “many literary competitions have adopted the lottery -- not the literary -- model. That is, you pay to enter and the winner gets some part of the pot. Congratulations, but what will that $250 or whatever do for your writing, that is, if you care?

“The Ocean Cooperative competitions are absolutely free with no strings attached. And though the prize has a cash-equivalent value well in excess of $250, it's even greater value is that it is meant to help you better your future work and promote your present work. Is that so bad?”

The competitions are open to all writers and there are no limits on the number of submissions. Entry in the competitions in no way encumbers the writer's rights to his or her work or binds the writer to any agreement. The value of the prizes depends on the value the recipient attaches to them. For some, Buckland explained, they can be transforming.”

The Ocean Cooperative, which lists Random House and Cornell University among its recent clients, was founded in 1996 to offer editorial support to English-language writers. More recently, the service has expanded to include a broad spectrum of support for new and established authors who want to see their books published.

Competition rules and details are available on the Ocean Cooperative website at