Today's awards go back to the news that Britain's Royal Literary Fund finally made its files public. Now we know that many bygone writers received assistance (Coleridge, 10 guineas). Our midsummer competition invited you to suppose you were a bygone author and to write an aid application of no more than 100 words in that author's style.
Some promising candidates were late or too long. Some failed to be bygone authors, as specified, but applied in their own names. Applicants ranged from nine Shakespeares and five Dickinsons to many other familiar authors and a few unexpected ones, such as Sylvester Graham of cracker fame. Certificates to: I wrote my letter to the World And did it all for free - There yet dwell verses in my Brain That long for Liberty
But I cannot sup upon the Air Like Flower or spreading Tree - So if it desires more of my Fare The World must pay my Fee.
Emily Dickinson, c/o Helen Lewis, Seattle
I have not yet received funds from the publication of my recent work and find myself in need of a small sum, which I will certainly reimburse you at the earliest opportunity. Among the physical needs your funds will succor will be a pound of serviceable tea, and a pair of sensible shoes. Among the spiritual needs will be tinned sweets for the upcoming meeting of the Ladies Brass Polishing Society, which the Vicar plans to attend. If anyone should be more in need of these funds than I, please make this grant to them in my stead.
Miss Barbara Pym, c/o Kathleen O. Flynn, San Francisco
I turned the cheap hotel key in the lock, and entered a room only slightly improved by the neon glow through the window. I threw my bags down and lit a cigarette. I still had the newspaper I bought on the train, and if I was any judge, I'd be using it tonight to swat the vermin in this rathole. I figured I'd get started on the slaughter, when I noticed your item on the back page. Seeing as how I wouldn't be in this joint if it weren't for ''The Maltese Falcon,'' I guess I qualify. Where's the catch?
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