HarperStudio Reveals The “Next Mark Twain”By Steffen • Jul 7th, 2009 • Category: 26th Story, Books
And he has a surprising career history…
HarperStudio and Borders are pleased to announce the winner of the I am the Next Mark Twain writing contest: Mark Bagby, of Bakersfield, Calif. His conclusion to the unfinished Twain essay “Conversations with Satan,” was chosen from among 100 entries as the most fitting ending to Twain’s satirical piece. Ten other writers have been selected as Honorable Mentions: Joshua Minuto, James Pendergast, William Colletti, Robert Frazier, Robin Chae, Janet Reeves, Howard Krulewitz, Kimberly Maloney, Chris Narbone, and Craig Cheney. Contestants’ biographies and locales were not revealed during the judging process. In a twist to this story, the Grand Prize Winner just happens to be a Mark Twain interpreter and has been performing one-man shows of Twain’s works.
The contest was created to coincide with the publication of Who Is Mark Twain? and to engage readers and fans alike in “finding” the next Mark Twain. The entries were read by a panel of three judges: Robert Hirst, editor of the Mark Twain Papers project, Dave Taffner, a member of the Borders Fiction buying team, and Julia Cheiffetz, senior editor at HarperStudio.
“One of the most exciting things about publishing the newly-discovered Twain pieces in Who Is Mark Twain? is to see how contemporary Twain still is,” Robert Miller, HarperStudio President reflects. “The terrific responses we received to the ‘I Am the Next Mark Twain’ contest are the ultimate proof of that. I’m sure that Twain would have enjoyed seeing how brilliantly his work was finished, almost a century after his death. We are grateful to Borders for teaming with us on this contest—it was fun.”
Mark Bagby, as the Grand Prize Winner, will receive a free copy of Who Is Mark Twain?, have his piece published on Borders.com, and will give a reading of his work at his local Borders store. Bagby will be able to invite friends and family to hear him read the winning piece and another selection from the book. The winner will also be video taped and interviewed for a segment to air on Borders.com and theharperstudio.com. The date and location of the reading will be announced.
“The fiction buying team here at Borders is thrilled to announce our winner of the ‘I Am The Next Mark Twain’ writing contest. There was an abundance of interest in this contest, and we were pleasantly surprised at how many wonderful submissions we received. We are looking forward to Mark Bagby’s appearance at his local Borders store to read his winning masterpiece and we wish him the best of luck in his writing endeavors,” said Anne Kubek, executive vice president of Merchandising and Marketing for Borders.
Congrats to Mark Bagby, the next Mark Twain!