April 21, 2017

Do you have a talisman? A thingamajig that fits into your hand, say, and which may look unremarkable to the casual observer, which might even resemble a piece of junk — but which you’ll never throw out because of its talismanic power? Perhaps you carry it wherever you go, or keep it on your desk or dashboard, to brood about, fondle and fuss over, or otherwise consult on the regular? Tell us about it!

PROJECT:OBJECT is now publishing a series of 25 nonfiction narratives about talismanic objects… and we’re saving the final slot for the winner of this contest.

Here are the contest guidelines. Deadline is May 21!

  • Describe your object’s significance — what you think about when you contemplate it, what emotions it provokes, why you cling to it — and explain exactly how this ordinary object came to possess such extraordinary significance. Write no more than 400 words! Please note that your narrative must be nonfiction; we’ll trust you not to inject any fictional elements into the mix.
  • Snap a non-blurry, well-lit photo of your talismanic object.
  • Email the photo and story to us — projectobject at significantobjects dot com — by May 21st. By submitting an entry to this contest, you grant HILOBROW permission to publish the story online.
  • Make sure to include your name, mailing address, and a short author bio.
  • Our contest panel — PROJECT:OBJECT’s Rob Walker and Josh Glenn, plus guest judge Annie Nocenti — will select a winner and three runners-up. We’ll announce our decision on June 1st.
  • The winning story will be published as part of the TALISMANIC OBJECTS series at HILOBROW; it will be the final, show-stopping story in the series — we’ll publish it in late June. In addition to this honor, the winning writer will receive $100 cash and a TALISMANIC OBJECTS coffee cup.
  • The three runners-up will each receive $50 cash and a TALISMANIC OBJECTS zip pouch. These stories will be published on HILOBROW — as an adjunct to the TALISMANIC OBJECTS series.

For examples of the sort of narratives in which we’re interested, see the introduction to the TALISMANIC OBJECTS series!

Image courtesy of 4CP


TALISMANIC OBJECTS series: INTRODUCTION | Veda Hille on CROCHET SHEEP | Gary Panter on DINOSAUR BONES | Jami Attenberg on SELENITE CRYSTAL | Annie Nocenti on MINIATURE DICE | Wayne Curtis on CLOCK WINDING KEY | Judith Zissman on SPINDLE WHORL | Amy Fusselman on BOX OF PENCILS | Josh Glenn on MONKEY WHIMSEY | Mike Watt on DASHBOARD TOTEMS | Gordon Dahlquist on CLAY FOX | Mark Kingwell on ZIPPO | Jennifer Schuessler on BEER-CAN CHAIR | Anne Gisleson on WISDOM TEETH | Ben Ehrenreich on CHROME LUMP | Matthew De Abaitua on HATCHET | Ty Burr on INFLATABLE KING KONG | Jacob Covey on ARGUS COIN | Jessica Helfand on PILL BOTTLE | Shelley Jackson on IMPUNITY JANE | Jennifer Krasinski on LEO’S LIGHTER | Molly Heintz on EVIL EYE | Mark Frauenfelder on MARTIAN FINK RING | Amanda Fortini on PRAYER CARD | Ed Skoog on MAMMOTH IVORY | CONTEST-WINNING STORY: Seth on PEANUTS PAPERBACK.

SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS at HILOBROW: PROJECT:OBJECT homepage | PROJECT:OBJECT newsletter | PROJECT:OBJECT objects (Threadless shop — all profits donated to the ACLU) | POLITICAL OBJECTS series (1Q2017) | TALISMANIC OBJECTS series (2Q2017) | ILLICIT OBJECTS series (3Q2017) | LOST OBJECTS vol. 1 series (4Q2017) | FLAIR series (2Q2018) | FOSSIL series (4Q2018). 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE (AGAIN) | ANOTHER 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE . ALSO SEE: SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS website | SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS collection, ed. Rob Walker and Josh Glenn (Fantagraphics, 2012) | TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY, ed. Josh Glenn (Princeton Architectural Press, 2007) | TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY excerpts.