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SFPA Elgin Awards
Elgin Chair Guidelines
 
Elgin Chair Responsibilities
The Elgin Chair administrates the nomination and voting process of the annual SFPA Elgin Awards. While many of the tasks involved can be delegated, the ultimate responsibility for the following is the Chair’s, unless notified otherwise.
 
Guidelines
The Elgin Awards are presented annually by the Science Fiction Poetry Association for speculative collections of poetry published in the preceding two years in two categories, Chapbook and Book. Chapbooks must contain 10-39 pages of poetry (or a minimum 401 lines or 4001 words, whichever is less). Books must contain 40 or more pages of poetry. E-collections are eligible, but self-published collections are not. Single-author and collaborative collections are eligible; anthologies are not. Collections containing fiction as well as poetry are not eligible. At least 50% of poems in a collection must be speculative; collections containing more mainstream or non-speculative genre poems than speculative poems are not eligible. Collections must be in English, but translations are eligible. In the case of translations that also contain the poems in the original language, those pages will not count toward the total page count. Collections which placed 1st-3rd in the Elgin Awards in the preceding year are ineligible.
 
Definition of Speculative
The SFPA favors a broad definition of speculative poetry that is inclusive of diverse genres and sub-genres (ie. science fiction, science, fantasy, horror, "what-if"). For this reason, Elgin Chairs should be familiar with the speculative rubric as defined by our organizational guidelines and publication history as well as manifestations of speculative poetry in the wider, global community. While it is important to remain true to our organizational purpose to spotlight speculative poetry as a distinct category and art form, Elgin Chairs are encouraged to apply generous standards when determining the eligibility of nominated works.

Nominations
Nominations open April 1 and close June 15. The Chair will provide an e-mail address to which nominations to elgin@sfpoetry.com will forward (this address also forwards to other SFPA staff in case of complications, and they are urged to both check their spam filter, and do a cross-check of nominations received with the SFPA secretary). Only current SFPA members may nominate poems (membership status will be verified by SFPA staff). Members may not nominate their own collections, but they may nominate multiple collections. Collections need not be by members in order to be nominated or to win. Nominations must include title, author, poetry page count, and press name and address (URL or postal). If available, a link to a page where the book can be purchased or downloaded should also be provided. Authors or publishers may also provide an e-mail address for SFPA members to request a .pdf of the book to facilitate reading for voting consideration. The Chair is expected to acknowledge receipt of nominations within three (3) days (an automated response is fine), and to ascertain eligibility as nominations come in. The Chair should notify a nominator immediately should a nomination be found ineligible.
 
Posting of Nominations
The SFPA posts the titles and authors of Elgin-nominated poems as a service to its members, to avoid duplicate nominations as well as to generate enthusiasm for the anthology and its contributors. Thus, it is of vital importance that all nominated works be screened for eligibility prior to their inclusion on the posted list of nominated works. All nominated collections must be reviewed by the Elgin Chair to confirm that the nominated work is 1)nominated by current SFPA members; 2)first published in the eligible year; 3)meets the length requirements of the category for which it was nominated; 4)50% of included poems can be categorized as speculative, even by the broadest interpretation of that term and; 5)does not contain offensive content that is counter to the SFPA values of inclusiveness and community. Once eligibility is verified, the title, author, poetry page count, and links for nominees should be forwarded by the Chair to the webmaster.
 
 
Reconsideration Requests and Appeal Process for Ineligible Works

Reconsideration Requests
The Elgin Chair has first authority to determine eligibility of nominated works. Should a nominated poem be deemed ineligible due to offensive content OR lack of speculative content, the nominator may request a reconsideration of the Elgin Chair's decision. Requests for reconsideration must be directed to the Elgin Chair, in writing, to the same email designated for Elgin nominations. Requests for reconsideration must be received within one week of the Elgin Chair's initial determination of ineligibility.

Requests for reconsideration must include a statement by the nominator justifying the use of content deemed offensive, AND/OR detailing the perceived speculative content of the contested poem. Note: publication in a primarily speculative market (magazines, journals, anthologies, collections, etc.) or professional qualifications of the nominator will not, in and of themselves, be considered justification for reversal of the Elgin Chair's decision of ineligibility without an accompanying statement citing justification for content and/or the poem's speculative elements.

The Elgin Chair is directed to review requests for reconsideration immediately, and to deliver a determination in writing within three days of receipt. If the Elgin Chair deems the nominator's explanation to be sufficient, the initial decision will be reversed, and the poem will be added to the posted list of nominated works on the SFPA website. However, should the Elgin Chair determine that the nominator's explanation is not sufficient to reverse the initial decision, the Elgin Chair is directed to provide the nominator with an explanation for why the determination of ineligibility has been upheld. The Elgin Chair will also inform the nominator of their right to file an appeal with the SFPA executive committee.
 
Appeal Process for Ineligible Works
In the event that a nominator has requested a reconsideration and wishes to appeal the Elgin Chair's final determination of ineligibility, the nominator may then file an appeal with the SFPA executive committee. No appeals will be considered without first requesting reconsideration by the Elgin Chair.

Appeals for ineligible works must be directed in writing to the SFPA Secretary within three days of the Elgin Chair's response to reconsideration requests. Appeals for ineligible works should include a transcript of the reconsideration request, along with a detailed rebuttal from the nominator explaining why the nominator feels the Elgin Chair's decision should be overturned.
 
The SFPA executive committee will review appeal requests immediately, and will deliver a determination in writing to the nominator and the Elgin Chair within three days of receipt. The Executive Committee must reach a unanimous decision to uphold the Elgin Chair's ruling; if one or more members of the Executive Committee deem that the poem should be considered eligible, the Committee will overturn the Elgin Chair's ruling and the nominated poem will be added to the posted list of nominated works on the SFPA website.

In the event that the Executive Committee unanimously agrees to uphold the Elgin Chair's determination of ineligibility, the nominator of the disqualified poem may select a replacement poem; extensions to the nominations deadline (February 15) will be granted on a case-by-case basis; however, due to time constraints, replacement poems selected after the February 15 deadline will not be eligible for reconsideration or appeal.

 
Permissions & Distribution
The Chair must obtain .pdf copies of all nominated collections in order to confirm eligibility. Collections that are found to be ineligible as per the above guidelines will be removed from the list of nominees. Collections that are not made available to the Chair within one month of initial request will be deemed ineligible. The Chair must obtain permissions for all nominated collections to be distributed as .pdfs to the membership for voting purposes. Nominated collections should be bundled as a "voting packet" to be made available to the membership by the chair. Recent Chairs have utilized Dropbox files for this purpose, disseminating invitations to all current members for convenient access. Available .pdfs can also be requested by SFPA members from elginpdfs@gmail.com.

Voting
Voting opens July 1. Voting is normally handled with an online form to which several officers and staff have access for validation. The form URL is given in the July issue of Star*Line, as only current members may vote. The SFPA secretary’s address is provided for those without internet access. The Chair is invited to confirm the count. The voting deadline is September 15. The Chair will notify winners; results will be announced as soon as confirmed, and published online and in the October issue of Star*Line.

Awards
SFPA staff will send the award to the winners and certificates to the second and third places.

Deadlines
In consideration of the SFPA's international membership, all deadlines defined within these guidelines pertaining to nominations and voting will be understood to fall at midnight relative to the participating member's geographical location.

Timeline
January 1 Chair announced in Star*Line
April 1   Nominations open
May 1   Nominee copies due to Chair
June 15   Nominations deadline
July 1   Voting opens
September 15   Voting Deadline
October 1   Winners published in Star*Line

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