The Faulkner contest has been temporarily suspended while we seek a new corporate sponsor. Please check back periodically.


The Faux Faulkner Contest is sponsored by Yoknapatawpha Press and its Faulkner Newsletter and the University of Mississippi's Center for the Study of Southern Culture. The contest was founded in 1989 by William Faulkner's niece, Dean Faulkner Wells and her husband and co-publisher, Lawrence Wells. As many as 750 Faulkner write-alikes from abroad and from all 50 states have entered the contest in a given year. Judging the semi-finalists were authors George Plimpton, Tom Wicker, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and John Berendt. Previous judges have included Plimpton, Wallace Stegner, William Styron, Barry Hannah, Willie Morris, John Grisham and Jack Hemingway. The winning entry and top two runners-up are published in The Faulkner Newsletter and released to the national media. Beginning this year, the winning "Bad Faulkner" entry will also be published in HEMISPHERES, along with the winning entry in the International Imitation Hemingway Contest sponsored by Harry's Bar & American Grill. Faulkner fans and imitators interested in entering the contest should submit their very best bad Faulkner, drawing on the Nobel Laureate's distinctive style, themes, plots and characters. Contestants may submit more than one entry, but previously entered submissions will not be considered again. University professors teaching Faulkner seminars sometimes will make the Faux Faulkner Contest a class assignment and mail a dozen entries in the same envelope. For example, a Russian professor of American literature admitted that she had used the Faux Faulkner Contest as a means of introducing her students to Faulknerian syntax and stylistic tendencies.

RULES AND REGULATIONS Each entry must be no longer than 500 words and must be typed and double-spaced. Entries must be postmarked by March 1 (or received by the end of the day by E-Mail). Contestants grant publication rights to Yoknapatawpha Press and the right to release their entries to other media.

HOW TO ENTER If submitting by mail, please address your entry to: Faux Faulkner Contest, P.O. Box 248, Oxford, MS 38655. Please enter hard copy text, typed and double-spaced. Handwritten entries will not be accepted or read.

PRIZES The winner receives airfare for two to Memphis on United Airlines, five days free car rental, two free passes to the Faulkner Conference (check the University of Mississippi Linksite below for information about next year's conference) and a complimentary room for five days and nights at an Oxford motel.

HOW TO WRITE LIKE FAULKNER The successful parodist will have read and studied Faulkner's work and have absorbed Faulkner's style and syntax and developed a feel for his dense sentence and paragraph structure. To attempt to imitate Faulkner without such basic knowledge is a lost cause. Contest semi-finalists typically will select a Faulkner character and place him in a comic situtation of their own devising, such as having Flem Snopes sell Yugoslavian automobiles ("Yugo Down, Moses") or play to a single idea, such as making Benjy the "dummy" in a bridge game, or build to a single famous punchline, such as Faulkner's self-parodying "Between scotch and nothing, I'll take scotch." Irreverent wit and humor are prerequisites, though most parodists season their entries with a dash of grace and humility. After all, nobody can really write like William Faulkner! For examples of previously submitted parodies, please see The Best of Bad Faulkner (listed above under "Current Titles List" of Yoknapatawpha Press).