Both the [Faulkner-Hemingway] contest and the longer-running Hemingway one are run with the help of the novelists' offspring and are treated by all involved as happy evidence of love and continuing attention - as well as of intelligent literary reading generally. The Wellses say the slim compilation of past winners is even used as a teaching tool by American-literature seminars abroad - "So, every so often we'll get, say, 10 entries from Bangladesh." Ernest Hemingway's son, [Jack Hemingway], is a mainstay of the Hemingway contest, although that contest got started - in a perhaps unsurprising cultural contrast to the genteel Faulknerites - as a 1977 promotional gag for the Century City branch of Harry's Bar and American Grill. Entries must still mention Harry's Bar - "nicely."
American Way started printing the Faulkner contest winners in 1989 via [Larry Wells], who had written for the magazine freelance and made a convert of its then-editor, Douglas Crichton. The Wellses, who edit a Faulkner publication called the Yoknapatawpha Review, had been aware of the International Imitation Hemingway Contest and had decided "that Faulkner fans deserved the same opportunity," Larry Wells says. The Hemingway contest had at that point just been called off after galloping costs - and high jinks at the awards ceremonies - caused the new parent company of Harry's to back off sponsorship. The dispossessed Harry's organizers read the Faulkner results and saw an opening. And so American Way agreed to do both, with the airline throwing in corporate sweeteners: Winners of the Hemingway contest - this year, an English professor named Bernice Richmond - get flown with a companion to the Harry's Bar and Grill in Florence, Italy, for dinner, and winners of the Faux Faulkner pick a U.S. destination of their choice. (A lot choose Hawaii, though [Samuel Tumey], true to the Cause, is using his for a trip to Gettysburg.)
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