The identity of our judges will be announced the day after submissions close on 31 August 2023.
What is double-blind judging?
Like us, many competitions judge their stories blind. Here at the Oxford Flash Fiction Prize, we are introducing double-blind judging, where the identity of the judges are only revealed once the deadline has passed.
Why do we need it?
Double-blind is a new method for reviewing publications that is still being assessed and trialled in the academic community. However, in 2015 new research highlighted the need for the cultural and creative sector to invest in new methods to overcome significant barriers faced by women, minority groups and those from working-class backgrounds. Find out more about the report here.
So what are the advantages?
- Double-blind judging means that entries cannot be tailored to the judge(s) identities. If you know the identity of a judge, you may consciously or unconsciously make assumptions on what you think they would like based on their gender, race, background or even their past judging. You may not even enter at all if you believe it may be slim odds of them shortlisting a story like yours. This ends up creating an echo chamber for the judges, limiting the range of voices, experiences and writing for them to choose from. Read more about unconscious bias here.
- We want to encourage new voices. It takes courage to write, and it can be intimidating to submit to competitions and journals, especially if you come from an environment that has not encouraged or nurtured creativity in the past. If in the future, our judges are well-known authors, agents or academics, we want to ensure this doesn’t deter anyone with less confidence or support.
What if one of the judges is someone I know who has helped me with the story I submitted?
Although this is very unlikely, judges are required to flag any stories that compromise the identity of the entrant and the story will be assessed by the remaining judges.
Do you have a question that isn’t answered here? Get in touch!