In the words of the festival website, 'Think Graham Norton's red chair, with anonymity!' And while the West Cork example is the first time I've come across Writer Idol, it seems that the Boston book festival is set to follow Cork's example later this year.
In a world where getting your manuscript off the slush pile and into the hands of a publisher's reader is, by all accounts, close to impossible, the attraction of the Writer Idol idea isn't hard to fathom. Just like the hopefuls queuing up for the pop music equivalents, the writers who submit work will, for the most part, be committed to what they do and genuinely interested in a career in their chosen art. Unlike would-be pop idols, these writers are also well-protected by the anonymous nature of the competition."
— Books Blog, The Guardian
"This rare, and fun, event allows aspiring writers the opportunity to submit their work for an on-the-spot assessment by this high-powered panel, which includes two best-selling novelists, a literary agent and a commissioning editor. During the event, one-page samples of your work, submitted anonymously in advance, will be read by Kate, but when members of the panel have heard enough, they’ll put up their hand. Three hands up – the reading will stop and the panel will discuss the piece. If Kate reaches the end of the page – the writer, unidentified in the audience, can quietly rejoice."
— West Cork Literary Festival
"Can you produce a masterwork of fiction in a mere 72 hours? The annual International 3-Day Novel Contest is your chance to find out. The contest runs every Labour Day long weekend, as it has since 1977, and it now attracts writers from all over the world. It's a thrill, a grind, and an awesome creative experience. How many crazed plotlines, coffee-stained pages, pangs of doubt and moments of genius will the next contest bring forth? And what might you think up under pressure?"
— 3-Day Novel Contest