June 1, 2017

The judges have decided!

Between April 21 and May 21, as part of PROJECT:OBJECT’s TALISMANIC OBJECTS series, we solicited entries in HILOBROW’s first-ever nonfiction story contest. The judges: PROJECT:OBJECT editors Josh Glenn and Rob Walker, plus special guest Annie Nocenti. We wanted to hear true tales about objects that you carry wherever you go, or keep on your desk or dashboard — to brood about, fondle and fuss over, or otherwise consult on the regular.

We were soon inundated with meaning-bearing talismans. For example: a bracelet that a father gave to his daughter; a Zippo that a father gave to his son; silver star stickers that helped inspire a rebellion at a New York Post Office branch; a Royal Lifesaving Society medallion, awarded to the writer’s grandmother in 1930; a framed page of Hamlet; a stone picked up in England by the author at age 9 (“probably the ugliest stone on the beach”); a Corvette key, signifying the author’s hard work and self-discipline; a carved walnut from Singapore; even a Dark Phoenix pin.

So many great stories! Alas, we could only pick one winner, and three runners-up. The votes are in…


The runner-up stories, in no particular order, are: UNDERWATER GUY by Vanessa Hua (of San Francisco, Calif.), OBAACHAN’S NECKLACE by Rimika Solloway (of London, England and Kasukabe City, Japan), and FOUL BALL by Alex Peterson (of San Mateo, Calif.).

These terrific talisman stories will appear on HILOBROW later this month, as an adjunct to the TALISMANIC OBJECTS series. The runners-up will each receive a $50 cash prize and a TALISMANIC OBJECTS zip pouch.


And the contest winner is… Seth! Yes, the brilliant Canadian cartoonist (Palookaville) is also, as it turns out, an inveterate talisman collector and talented raconteur.

His story, PEANUTS PAPERBACK, will be published as the 25th and final installment in our TALISMANIC OBJECTS series. In addition to this honor, Seth will receive $100 cash and a TALISMANIC OBJECTS coffee cup.


Congratulations to our contest winner and runners-up, and many thanks to everyone who entered.

Let’s do this again soon!


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.