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G&A: The Contest Blog

Do you write novels, short stories, or essays? Spend some time this weekend polishing those manuscripts; below is a round-up of prose contests with a deadline of November 15. These contests offer prizes ranging from $1,000 to $20,000, as well as publication.

For short prose writers looking to submit a full-length manuscript, the Pleiades Press Robert C. Jones Prize for Short Prose awards $2,000 and publication by Pleiades Press for a collection of short stories, flash fiction, essays, or lyric essays. Jenny Boully will judge. Submit a manuscript of 90 to 200 pages with a $25 entry fee.

Another opportunity for short prose writers—very short prose writers, that is—is Quarter After Eight’s Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest, which awards a prize of $1,008.15 and publication in Quarter After Eight for a single prose poem, a short short story, or a micro-essay. Ander Monson will judge. Submit up to three pieces of no more than 500 words each with a $15 entry fee, which includes a subscription to Quarter After Eight.

In addition to $3,000 and publication in Writer’s Digest, the winner of Writer’s Digest’s Short Short Story Competition will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference in August 2017 in New York City. Using the online submission system, submit a story of up to 1,500 words with a $20 entry fee; the entry fee goes up to $25 after November 15.

One of the world’s richest prizes for a collection of short fiction, the Story Prize annually awards $20,000 for a book published in the previous year. Two runners-up will each receive $5,000, and one entrant will receive the $1,000 Story Prize Spotlight Award,  given for a collection that merits further attention. Larry Dark and Julie Lindsey will select the three finalists and the Spotlight Award winner; Harold Augenbraum, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, and Daniel Goldin will choose the Story Prize winner. Publishers, authors, or agents may submit two copies of a book published between July 1 and December 31, 2016 with a $75 entry fee. (The deadline for books published during the first half of the year was July 15.)

The Pushcart Press Editors’ Book Award occasionally offers a prize of $1,000 for a fiction or nonfiction manuscript that has been rejected by a commercial publisher and  “overlooked by today’s high-pressure, bottom-line publishing conglomerates.” An editor at a U.S. or Canadian publishing company must submit a formal letter of nomination. There is no entry fee.

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines and submission details. For more upcoming contests, visit our Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar.

This Friday marks the deadline for editors to nominate stories for a new annual fiction prize. Sponsored by PEN America and Catapult, the inaugural PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers honors twelve emerging fiction writers for debut short stories published in the previous year. Twelve winning writers will each receive a prize of $2,000, and their stories will be included in an annual anthology, The PEN America Best Debut Short Stories, to be published by Catapult.

Debut stories published in online magazines, cultural websites, or print magazines distributed in the U.S. in 2016 are eligible. A debut story is defined by PEN as the writer’s first short story publication that has undergone an editorial review process and has been accepted and published by a publication with which the author is not professionally affiliated. Authors must be either U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents.

Using the online submission system, editors of participating publications may submit up to four stories of no more than 12,000 words each, along with the required eligibility and consent form, by Friday, November 11. Authors may not submit their own work. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The winners will be honored at the annual PEN Literary Awards ceremony in New York City.

Launched this year, the PEN/Robert J. Dau Prize aims to help launch the careers of new writers. The award is named for and supported by the family of Robert J. Dau, a Petoskey, Michigan–based arts advocate who passed away last year.

Last night at a ceremony in Austin, Texas, Kirkus Reviews announced the winners of the third annual Kirkus Prize. Three awards of $50,000 each are given for a book of fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature published in the previous year.


C. E. Morgan won the fiction award
for her second novel, The Sport of Kings (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Fiction writer Claire Messud, bookseller Annie Philbrick, and Kirkus Reviews critic Gene Seymour judged.

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Susan Faludi took home the nonfiction prize for In the Darkroom (Metropolitan). Writer Jim Piechota, bookseller Chris Schoppa, and journalist and novelist Héctor Tobar judged.

Jason Reynolds won the young readers’ literature prize for his novel As Brave As You (Caitlyn Dlouhy). Bookseller and author Elizabeth Bluemle, Kirkus critic and librarian Deborah D. Taylor, and National Book Award–winning author Jacqueline Woodson judged. 

The winners were selected from 1,154 titles that received a Kirkus starred review between November 1, 2015, and October 31, 2016, for fiction and nonfiction, and between October 1, 2015, and September 30, 2016, for young readers’ literature.

One of the world’s richest literary awards, the Kirkus Prize was established in 2014 to honor the eighty-first anniversary of Kirkus Reviews, a publication that today provides review coverage of more than seven thousand commercially published books, as well as more than three thousand self-published books, each year. For more information about the prize, as well as a list of finalists in each category, visit the Kirkus Reviews website.

(Photos from left: C. E. Morgan, Susan Faludi, Jason Reynolds)

The deadline approaches for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, given annually for a book of poetry or fiction published in English in the previous year by an author between the ages of 18 and 39. The winner will receive £30,000.

Publishers may submit ten copies of a book published between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2016, along with the required entry form, by Friday, November 4. Entries should be mailed to the International Dylan Thomas Prize, c/o Dr. Elaine Canning, Research Institute for Arts and Humanities, Keir Hardie Building, Room 405c, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK.

There is no entry fee. Translations and self-published books are ineligible. E-mail or visit the website for complete guidelines.

The International Dylan Thomas Prize was established in 2006 in honor of Dylan Thomas, who, according to the website, was: “the quintessential adolescent writer, ideally suited to serve as an inspiration to young writers everywhere. The freshness and immediacy of his writing were qualities that he never lost. The Prize seeks to ensure that readers today will have the chance to savour the vitality and sparkle of a new generation of young writers.”

Recent winners of the prize include Max Porter for his novel, Grief Is a Thing With Feathers (Graywolf, 2016), Joshua Ferris for his novel To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Little, Brown, 2014), and Claire Vaye Watkins for her story collection Battleborn (Riverhead, 2012).

The 2017 winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in Swansea, Wales, in May.

Poet, children’s book author, and translator Marilyn Nelson has won the 2017 Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature. The biennial award recognizes a “storied career exploring history, race relations, and feminism in America,” and carries with it a $25,000 purse.
Ohio-born Nelson, who currently serves as professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut, has written or translated more than a dozen works, and has received honors including the Newbery Honor, the Coretta Scott King Honor, and the Pushcart Prize. In addition to her awards, Nelson has served as the poet laureate of Connecticut, and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Poetry Society of America.

Robert Con Davis-Undiano, the executive director of World Literature Today who oversees the prize, said in a press release of Nelson’s work, “Her engaging, lyrical style builds awareness around sensitive issues through human, and even humor storytelling that both children and adults can relate to.”

Established in 2003, the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature honors a living writer or author-illustrator who has made significant achievements in the field. Funding for the award is provided by Nancy Bercelo, Susan Neustadt Shwartz, and Kathy Neustadt, and the prize is sponsored by World Literature Today, the University of Oklahoma–based magazine of international literature. Previous winners include Vera B. Williams, Virginia Euwer Wolff, and Naomi Shihab Nye.

Are you a nonfiction writer? Looking to publish an essay, or in search of funding to finish your book? If so, there’s a writing contest for you—and several of them have deadlines within the next few days. So get to work this weekend, and check out these contests with November 1 deadlines.

If you’re an emerging writer looking for experience and mentorship in New York City, A Public Space’s annual Emerging Writer Fellowships might be right for you. Each fellowship includes $1,000, publication in A Public Space, a six-month mentorship with an established author, and optional workspace in the journal's Brooklyn, New York, office from March 2017 to September 2017. There is no application fee.

Looking to publish an essay? Reed Magazine’s Gabriele Rico Challenge in Creative Nonfiction offers an annual prize of $1,333 and publication of an essay of up to 5,000 words (with a $15 entry fee). Similarly, the Briar Cliff Review offers an annual prize of $1,000 and publication for an essay of up to 5,000 words (with a $20 entry fee).

Want to travel abroad to finish your book? There’s a contest for that. The American-Scandinavian Foundation offers annual writing fellowships of up to $23,000 and grants of up to $5,000 to creative nonfiction writers for study and research in Scandinavia. The application fee is $60. Meanwhile, the American Academy in Rome’s annual Rome Prize— which includes a $28,000 stipend, lodging, workspace, and most meals—allows writers to spend eleven months at the American Academy in Rome. It’s open to nonfiction writers who have published either a book or at least five essays or memoir excerpts in two or more literary journals, magazines, or anthologies. The application fee is $40.

For study in the United States, Washington College’s Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship confers a nine-month fellowship, which includes a stipend of $45,000, at the C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, to a nonfiction writer working on a book that addresses the history or legacy of the American Revolution and the nation’s founding ideas. There is no application fee.

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines and submission details. For more upcoming contests, check out our Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar.

The deadline approaches for several contests for fiction writers. Below is a roundup of fiction contests—for everything from flash fiction and stories to full-length manuscripts and published books—with deadlines of October 31 or November 1.

For emerging story writers, check out Glimmer Train Press’s Short Story Award for New Writers, given for a short story by a writer whose fiction has not appeared in a print publication with a circulation of more than 5,000. The winner will receive $2,500 and publication in Glimmer Train Stories; the deadline is October 31.

You might also try your luck with the Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards, one of which will be given for a short story or novel excerpt. The winner will receive $1,000 and an invitation to participate in a panel discussion at the annual Tucson Festival of Books and attend a workshop on the University of Arizona campus in March 2017. The deadline is October 31.

Story writers may also consider a handful of contests with a November 1 deadline that offer at least $1,000 and publication of a story, including the Madison Review’s Fiction Prize, the Malahat Review’s Open Season Award in Fiction, and Reed Magazine’s John Steinbeck Fiction Award.

For writers working on a novel or who have published a novel, the Dana Awards offer a prize of $2,000 for a novel or novel-in-progress; the deadline is October 31. Writers with a book of fiction published in 2016 can also submit to PEN/Faulkner Foundation’s annual Award for Fiction, a $15,000 prize given for a short story collection, novella, or novel published in the preceding year. The deadline is October 31.

And for those seeking publication of their fiction manuscript, several contests with November 1 deadlines offer at least $1,000 and publication. The $1,000 Washington Writers Publishing House Fiction Prize is given annually for a story collection or novel by a writer who lives in Washington D.C., or in Maryland or Virginia within a 75-mile radius of the U.S. Capitol. Fiction Collective Two is administering two prizes for story collections, novellas, novella collections, or novels: the $15,000 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize, given to a writer who has published at least three books of fiction, and the $1,500 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest, open to all fiction writers.

Visit the prize websites for complete guidelines. For more contests with upcoming deadlines, visit our Grants & Awards Database, and check out the Submission Calendar.

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