Genomics-inspired writing competition

dnaFrom Ken MacLeod comes news of an interesting short story competition being run by the Genomics Network at the University of Edinburgh, my alma mater. In recent years new and astonishing discoveries in the field of genomics have been appearing at blistering speeds with every week seeming to bring news of new knowledge uncovered or old myths debunked. We understand more than ever what the genetic code means and the implications of this understanding can seem in equal parts inspiring and sinister. Every story of a new miracle cure for a killer disease has its counterpart in predictions of insurance companies using genetic scans before birth to determine our premiums in advance. The knowledge that we share most of our genes with other creatures on this planet instills some people with a newfound respect for nature while other fear the consequences of mankind losing its primacy in our worldview.

The questions raised above and the countless other facets of contemporary genomics research form the backbone of this contest. Basically we are tasked with creating a short story of up to 3,000 words based on the issues surrounding genomics – no stipulations on style, genre or anything like that so it’s pretty much open season for your imagination. The closing date is March 31st and as an incentive there’s a ¬£500 prize for first place in case the creative workout isn’t enough to get you moving in the first place.

I’ve never written a short story in my life but, as luck would have it, I’m starting a creative writing course a week today and this should be a suitable test subject. Obviously I’m not going to be in it for any prizes but it can’t hurt to try…

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