Woman finds news of $150,000 prize in her junk email — and it was real

author prize junk email woman throwing money in the air
According to the experience of Australian writer Helen Garner, it pays to check your email junk folder from time to time.

When the Melbourne resident recently took a quick look, she came across a message apparently from a Yale University employee who had some “good news” to share. The sender asked her to reply to the email with her phone number so they could call her about it.

Of course, with contents like that, it’s hardly surprising it ended up in the junk folder, but something about the message made her wonder if it might actually have been misplaced by her email service’s filters.

After speaking to her publisher and getting in touch with the university, the author learned she certainly did have some good news – she’d won the prestigious Windham-Campbell literary prize that included a handy $150,000 payout.

Garner told the SMH that she “nearly keeled over” when she learned of the win.

Garner has written more than a dozen books – both fiction and nonfiction titles – with her most recent work, The House of Grief, delving into the case of a father accused of deliberately drowning his three young sons.

Eight other writers also picked up the prize, presuming they checked their junk folder, that is. Of course, had Garner ignored her junk messages or simply regarded the one from Windham-Campbell as a scam, Yale University would’ve found a way to let her know about her award. You’d hope.

But the incident nevertheless shows that it is worth dropping by your junk messages from time to time to see if anything genuine has inadvertently landed alongside those dodgy messages with subjects such as, “Julia wants you to know about this great site,” “Interesting business proposal,” and “All lonely wives need a friend.” It could be a message from an old friend, a newsletter you actually want to read, or notification of a $10 million lottery win. OK, scrub that last one, but you get the idea.

As for the Windham-Campbell award, it’s little wonder that recipients of the award were initially suspicious of the news (two other winners also thought it was a scam). According to the organizer’s website, “The prizes have no submission process. Writers are judged anonymously and unaware that they are in the running. Most are genuinely surprised when they receive the phone call from Michael Kelleher, director of the prize.”

Emerging Tech

It’s not time travel, but scientists can turn back clock on a quantum computer

Physicists have demonstrated that they can wind back the clock on a quantum computer a fraction of a second. Don't get too excited about the prospect of human time travel any time soon, though.
Movies & TV

Once Upon A Time in Hollywood poster puts Pitt and DiCaprio front and center

Quentin Tarantino's ninth feature film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, uses the infamous 1969 Manson Family murders as a backdrop to tell a story set in bohemian Los Angeles. Here's everything we know so far.

James Gunn Returns, Avengers: Endgame Trailer, Apple's Time Bandits TV show

On this week's show, we've got a colorful collection of topics, from the Avengers: Endgame trailer to a Time Bandits TV show to a possible Netflix/Spielberg truce regarding their reported Oscars war. Join us live or take our podcast with…

Hey! Listen! Here's the entire Legend of Zelda series ranked from best to worst

The Legend of Zelda series is one of the most iconic video game franchises of all time, featuring more than a handful of the very best games ever made. We ranked all of the games in the series timeline from best to worst.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.

Privacy-focused DuckDuckGo added to Chrome as a default search option

DuckDuckGo is now listed as a default search option on Google’s popular Chrome browser. The privacy-focused search engine was added this week as part of the browser's latest update.

Hey Google, why did you kill off Allo, your best messaging app in years?

Allo, Google's messaging app, has shut down. I convinced my closest friends and family to switch to the app two-and-a-half years ago when it debuted, and we've been using it since. With its death, I'm feeling pain and sadness.

Netgear’s new Nighthawk Pro Gaming router keeps you connected at a nice price

Netgear's latest router expands its Nighthawk range with a $200 entry. It's still fast and helps reduce lag in gaming, but it does it at the lowest price of a Nighthawk Pro Gaming router yet.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.

Here's how to download a YouTube video to watch offline later

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are tools you can use both online and offline. This step-by-step guide will instruct you on how to use them.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.

Dodge the cryptojackers with the best torrent clients available today

Looking for the best torrent clients to help you share all of that wonderful legal content you own? Here's a list of our favorite torrent clients, all packed with great features while dodging malware and adverts.