Listener Challenge: Significant Objects

Rob Walker doesn't see junk. He sees “objects waiting to be made significant.” Dozens of great writers contributed fictional backstories for weird and mundane objects gathered by Walker and Joshua Glenn. They’re featured in the new book Significant Objects: read some examples here.

Now it’s your turn. 

Walker and Kurt Andersen visited Vintage Thrift in Manhattan to find these three prime examples of junk. Your task is to make one piece of junk (or more) significant. Walker will judge the entries, with one winner for each object. The prize, of course, is the piece of junk itself. 

 Because you totally need that wooden ... thing ... whatever it is.


Click on an image below to enter the contest — and to read stories by other listeners:


  • Choose an object — click on an image above.
  • Write a backstory for the object: it can be in any form you choose — short story, encyclopedia entry, poem, comic, etc. (Here are some ideas to get you started.)
  • Keep it short: we suggest around 500 words. (Entries exceeding 1,000 words will not be considered.)
  • Feel free to write stories for all three objects — but only one story per object will be considered (the first submitted). 
  • The deadline to be considered for our contest is 11:59 ET April 8, 2012.

Click here for the complete rules and regulations for the contest.


Video: In Search of Significant Objects

Comments [9]

Frances G from Athens, GA

Are you sure the "wooden thing" is not a puzzle box?

360, try smacking the small end that opens on the palm of your hand, and then open it. There may be a secret compartment.

Apr. 30 2012 09:10 PM
Jenny from Studio 360

Hi Matt --

We've just announced the winners:

We were thrilled with the response -- nearly 300 entries -- it was a very tough choice!

Thanks to everyone who shared their work with us!

Apr. 13 2012 09:49 AM
Matt micheli from Austin, TX

Good day,

When will the winners be announced? I didn't see this info in the rules section.


Apr. 11 2012 12:57 PM
Jenny from Studio 360

Hi folks -- sorry for the confusion.
I've rearranged a couple things on the page in the hopes it'll be more clear how to enter the contest.
Thanks for the feedback and your interest -- looking forward to reading your work!

Apr. 03 2012 01:31 PM

the kind folks at 360 have illuminated all: click on the image of the'll get the page with the form entry area below...

Apr. 02 2012 12:16 PM
Judy from Dallas TX

Hi Steve. I had the same question myself. The only link I could find was the little (and I do mean little) envelope signifying email on the main page. Once open it appears to be the submission form. I don't know about you, but I was intrigued by the creative idea of the contest and SO disappointed by the mechanics of it as it differed from the radio interview.

Mar. 28 2012 09:18 PM
Steve from NH

How do I submit the story/
Do I leave it in this comment field or some other way.

Mar. 28 2012 03:46 PM
Judy from Dallas TX

This might help -- rules say 1,000 words or less.

Mar. 25 2012 08:06 PM
steve Carey from Hooksett NH

I have an entry about the wooden thingy
I have been trying to get it down to the 500 word mark but seem to be stuck at 675. Is the 500 word mark a hard and fast rule or guideline?
Can I go with something north of that ?
thanks and love the show

Mar. 25 2012 09:20 AM

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