Write me a mall
US retail behemoth the Mall of America is celebrating its 25th birthday by launching a search for a writer-in-residence. The mall’s literary contest will give one winner the opportunity to spend five days immersed in the consumerist atmosphere created by the location’s 400 stores while scribbling their impressions of the experience. Also on offer are four nights in a Mall of America hotel, a $400 gift card, as well as a ‘generous honorarium’ for their shopping-oriented prose.
Applications need to be pithy as wannabe mall writers have just 150 words to pitch their ideas for the assignment. And the mall wants to see not merely those silky writing skills, but also a good dash of creativity. A judging panel – comprising writers and journalism professionals – will choose an initial 25 semi-finalists who will get the chance to expand on their idea in a comparatively lengthy 500-to-800-words.
Writers need to be aware that core daily work hours will be 11am to 7pm though they will be encouraged to take breaks from writing to ‘explore the mall, post on social media, eat and find inspiration’. However, he/she will need to be physically present at a writer’s desk for no fewer than four hours a day. Ongoing work may be displayed in almost-real time on a large monitor at the workspace.