QUESTION: I would like to submit to the contest, but I have taken an online class from the judge of the category I want to submit to. I've made lots of changes to the manuscript, but I'm afraid they still might recognize my work. Should I still submit?
ANSWER: This is a tough one, but in this case we would recommend you do not submit if there is any possible chance a judge might be familiar with your work already. The WV Writers contest is judged blindly, so that the judges are never provided the names of the authors whose work has been submitted to them. The only possible way for them to know who has written a piece is if they recognize it as something they have read before. We pick judges from out of state to help minimize the chances of this happening, but with prevalence of online writing workshops, the chances can increase. For this reason, we give our judges strict instructions that if they recognize a piece of writing and realize the identity of its author, they are to disqualify that work from consideration.
If you think there is even a possibility that one of our judges might recognize your work, we ask that you save that work for submission next year when a different judge will be assigned to that category.
This has happened in the past and it created one of the rare situations in which we had to disqualify the entry.