Smart Pop Supernatural Essay Contest

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Smart Pop is a series of essay anthologies on popular culture texts (films, tv shows, comics) produced by BenBella Books. BenBella prides itself in making Smart Pop anthologies non-academic and fan-friendly. According to the Smart Pop website:

What happens when you get great writers to write about the most interesting movies, books and television series? What happens when some of the world’s smartest philosophers, scientists, psychologists and religious scholars are asked to write – in clear English - about pop culture? What happens when really smart writers take television and movies seriously … but not too seriously? What happens is Smart Pop … a series of anthologies on the best of pop culture. Anthologies that are smart, thoughtful and insightful … but never forget to have fun.

– home page, Smart Pop website

Smart Pop are publishing an anthology of Supernatural essays.. Submissions are invitation-only, but the fan community is encouraged to enter the competition (see details below) for having fan essays published.

The resulting book In the Hunt: Unauthorized Essays on Supernatural was published in March 2009.

Supernatural Essay Contest

In January 2008, Smart Pop in partnership with announced an essay competition for fans to submit essays for inclusion in the Smart Pop Supernatural book. The best three essays will receive a cash prize and be published in the anthology. The winners of the competition were: Erica Brickley, Avril Hannah-Jones and Sheryl A. Rakowski See for runners-up.

Got something to say about Supernatural? BenBella Books and have teamed up to give you a chance to say it to the world!

What do I do?

Write a 3000 to 4000 word essay that says something fresh, funny, or insightful about the television show Supernatural. Then send it to by April 1, 2008.

The essays will be read by the crew at, and the best ones will be sent on to BenBella’s editor for final judging.

Three winners will get $100—and have their essay included in BenBella’s upcoming Supernatural Smart Pop book alongside Supernatural tie-in writer Keith R.A. DeCandido and many others. Twelve other finalists will get a copy of the book and a mention inside.

What’s Smart Pop, and what do you mean by “essay”?

BenBella’s Smart Pop series is a line of smart, engaging essay anthologies on pop culture properties. You can learn more at, and download some essays from past books for free to see what we mean.

Our idea of a great essay is one that brings something new to its subject: new insight, a new angle, new information. It’s smart but not jargon-y. It can be serious or tongue-in-cheek, formal or informal, but is always written for other fans, so there’s no need to explain who Sam and Dean are, or to extensively recap episodes.

When will the winners be announced? When does the book come out?

Winners will be announced by June 1, 2008; the final book will be published in March 2009.

BenBella Book Competition,

Further guidelines & rules for entering the competition can be found at