Dispatches | May 02, 2007

Several years ago, I took a Radio Essay class from Prof. Jeff Porter at the University of Iowa and had a great deal of fun converting a written essay into an audio essay. Since then, the popularity of producing radio essays and documentaries has spread tremendously. Unfortunately, there aren’t many venues out there for these audio pieces. With that in mind, we decided to provide another outlet through our new Annual Audio Competition, which makes The Missouri Review (I believe) the first literary magazine to offer such a contest.

It seems a natural fit. Whether it’s a manuscript meant for print or broadcast, each requires careful attention to language, story, and setting. And as creators, we want our stories to inform and entertain. With our website and podcast programming, The Missouri Review can appropriately offer this opportunity for writers and producers, providing a large listening audience. In addition, we’re offering $3,500 in total prize money.

We’ve structured our categories to allow writers of all types and experience levels to participate. Writers may enter the Voice-Only Literature category — all you need is a great manuscript of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction, audio software that’s readily available, and a microphone — no need to fuss with music or other sound tracks. Those more venturesome or experienced with sound may enter the Narrative Essay or Documentary categories. Our most unique category is the 10-minute Play, which will provide playwrights national exposure to their work.

We hope you’ll help make this a great success. And whether you enter or not, you can expect to hear some great audio pieces in the future. Stay tuned.

Richard Sowienski