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G&A: The Contest Blog

Detroit’s new Write a House program has announced the winner of its inaugural writers residency, through which renovated houses in Detroit are given permanently to creative writers.

The winner is Casey Rocheteau, a poet, writer, historian, and performance artist currently living in Brooklyn, New York. Rocheteau is the author of the poetry collection Knocked Up On Yes, published by Sargent Press in 2012; her next collection, The Dozen, will be published by Sibling Rivalry Press in March 2016. She has also self-published four books, released two spoken-word albums, and has performed slam poetry and led writing and performance workshops for youths and adults throughout the United States.

“Being granted with this opportunity to take root in a city so rich with history, creativity and tenacity is truly an honor,” Rocheteau wrote on the Write a House blog. “I look forward to exploring Detroit and getting to know its literary community.” She plans to move from Brooklyn to Detroit in November.

Billy Collins, the former U.S. poet laureate and one of the judges that selected Rocheteau, said of her work, “These are witty but deeply serious poems. The poet uses straightforward language and clear syntax to address some of the more frightening aspects of racism.”

Serving as judges alongside Collins were dream hampton, Major Jackson, Sean MacDonald, Michael Stone-Richards, Tamara Warren, and Write a House cofounder Toby Barlow. Hundreds of poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers applied for the residency; Rocheteau was chosen from a shortlist of ten finalists that was announced in August 2014.

Detroit will welcome Rocheteau to the city’s literary community at a public event sponsored by the Detroit Free Press on September 19. Write a House will open a new round of applications in early 2015 for its next set of houses, which will be located in the same Banglatown/No Ham neighborhood where Rocheteau will reside.

To learn more about the Write a House program, read an article in the current issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Photo: Casey Rocheteau, credit Thomas Sayers Ellis, 2013.

Submissions are currently open for the inaugural Payton James Freeman Essay Prize, cosponsored by the Freeman family and Drake University’s English department. The prize will be given for an essay on a theme. The winner will receive $500 and publication in the Rumpus, and will be invited to read at Drake University in Des Moines in February 2015.

Using the online submission system, submit an essay of up to 3,500 words on the subject “After the Unhappy Ending” by September 30. There is no entry fee. The students and faculty of Drake University will select the finalists; Cheryl Strayed will choose the winner. The winner and finalists will be announced in December 2014.

The Freeman family established the award to honor their son Payton James Freeman—who died at the age of five from the genetic disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy—and to raise awareness about the disease.

Judge Cheryl Strayed is the author of the popular memoir Wild (Knopf, 2012), the novel Torch (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006), and Tiny Beautiful Things (Knopf, 2012), a collection of pieces from Strayed’s advice column for the Rumpus, Dear Sugar.

Photo: Cheryl Strayed (Joni Kabana)

The longlist for the 2014 National Book Award in Fiction has been announced. The list represents a notable range of emerging and established writers, including such heavy-hitters as Richard Powers (who won the award in 2006) and Pulitzer Prize winners Marilynne Robinson and Jane Smiley, alongside debut novelist and Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle, and Molly Antopol and Phil Klay, who were both nominated for debut story collections.

The ten long-listed finalists are: Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman (Grove Press); Molly Antopol, The UnAmericans (Norton); John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See (Scribner); Phil Klay, Redeployment (Penguin); Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven (Knopf); Elizabeth McCracken, Thunderstruck & Other Stories (The Dial Press); Richard Powers, Orfeo (Norton); Marilynne Robinson, Lila (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); and Jane Smiley, Some Luck (Knopf).

Robinson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her 2004 novel Gilead, has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award, for her novels Home (2008) and Housekeeping (1980). Antopol was named one of the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 recipients in 2013.

The judges in for the 2014 National Book Award in Fiction are Geraldine Brooks, Sheryl Cotleur, Michael Gorra, Adam Johnson, and Lily Tuck. Publishers submitted a total of 417 titles for this year's award.

The nonfiction longlist was announced yesterday, and the poetry longlist was announced on Tuesday. The longlist in young people’s literature was released on Monday.

Shortlists in all four categories will be announced October 15, and the winners on November 19 at the National Book Foundation’s annual awards ceremony in New York City.

For bios of the finalists and judges, visit the National Book Foundation website.

Photo: Marilynne Robinson

Louise Glück and Edward Hirsch and are among the ten longlisted finalists for the 2014 National Book Award in Poetry, which were announced this morning. Hirsch is nominated for his most recent book, Gabriel (Knopf), an elegy for his son, who died at the age of twenty-two. Glück makes the list for her twelfth collection, Faithful and Virtuous Night, published this month by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

The seven other books competing for the $10,000 prize include Collected Poems (Knopf) by Mark Strand, Roget’s Illusion (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) by Linda Bierds, A Several World (Nightboat) by Brian Blanchfield, Second Childhood (Graywolf) by Fanny Howe, This Blue (FSG) by Maureen N. McLane, The Feel Trio (Letter Machine Editions) by Fred Moten, Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf) by Claudia Rankine, and The Road to Emmaus (FSG) by Spencer Reece. Both Glück and Strand have served as poet laureate of the United States and have won Pulitzer Prizes. Earlier this year, Rankine recieved the $50,000 Jackson Prize from Poets & Writers, Inc.

Five shortlisted finalists will be announced on October 15. The longlist for young people’s literature was announced yesterday, and the longlists for fiction and nonfiction will be announced in the next two days. Winners in each category will be announced at the National Book Foundation’s annual awards ceremony in New York City on November 19.

The judges for this year’s poetry prize are Eileen Myles, Katie Peterson, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Paisley Rekdal, and Robert Polito. The panel considered more than two hundred submissions. Books written by U.S. poets and published in the United States between December 1, 2013, and November 30, 2014, are eligible for this year’s awards.

To read conversations with both Edward Hirsch and Louise Glück, read the current issue of Poets & Writers Magazine. Watch a video of Hirsch speaking as part of a panel on Why We Write at the most recent Poets & Writers Live event in New York City.

Photos: Glück (Webb Chappell), Hirsch (Tony Gale)

American writers Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler have made the shortlist for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, announced today by the Booker Prize Foundation. This year the prize was open for the first time to writers of any nationality whose fiction books were written in English and published in the previous year in the U.K. The winner, who will receive £50,000 (approximately $80,000), will be announced in London on October 14.

The finalists are: American writers Joshua Ferris for To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking) and Karen Joy Fowler for We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent’s Tail); Australian writer Richard Flanagan for The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus); and British authors Howard Jacobson for J (Jonathan Cape), Neel Mukherjee for The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus), and Ali Smith for How to Be Both (Hamish Hamilton). The six finalists were selected from a longlist of thirteen announced in July.

“As the Man Booker Prize expands its borders, these six exceptional books take the reader on journeys around the world, between the U.K., New York, Thailand, Italy, Calcutta and times past, present and future,” said A. C. Grayling, chair of the judges. “It is a strong thought-provoking shortlist which we believe demonstrates the wonderful depth and range of contemporary fiction in English.” Along with Grayling, the 2014 judges are Jonathan Bate, Sarah Churchwell, Daniel Glaser, Alastair Niven, and Erica Wagner.

Established in 1969, the Man Booker Prize was originally awarded to a writer who was a citizen of the U.K., the British Commonwealth, Zimbabwe, or the Republic of Ireland. Jonathan Taylor, chair of the foundation, announced the prize’s expansion last September. Recent winners include Eleanor Catton, Hilary Mantel, Julian Barnes, and Howard Jacobson.

Upper left: Joshua Ferris, photo by Laurent Denimal; Upper right: Karen Joy Fowler, photo by David Levenson

The Rona Jaffe Foundation has announced the recipients of the twentieth Rona Jaffe Awards, given annually to six emerging women writers. The foundation offers awards of $30,000 each to poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers.

The 2014 winners are poets Danielle Jones-Pruett of Salem, Massachusetts, and Solmaz Sharif of Oakland, California; fiction writers Olivia Clare of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and T. L. Khleif of Ann Arbor, Michigan; and nonfiction writers Karen Hays of Minneapolis and Mara Naselli of Grand Rapids, Michigan. They will be honored at a private reception in New York City on September 18, and will give a reading at New York University on September 19.

Novelist Rona Jaffe (1931–2005) established the awards in 1995 to “identify and support women writers of unusual talent and promise in the early stages of their writing careers.” The foundation has awarded nearly $2 million to emerging women writers. Previous recipients include Rachel Aviv, Elif Batuman, Eula Biss, Sarah Braunstein, Lan Samantha Chang, Rivka Galchen, Aryn Kyle, Rebecca Lee, Dana Levin, ZZ Packer, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Tracy K. Smith, Mary Syzbist, and Tiphanie Yanique.

The recipients are nominated by writers, editors, publishers, academics, and other literary professionals, and chosen by a committee of judges selected by the Rona Jaffe Foundation. To learn more about the history and growth of the awards, read the Q&A with Beth McCabe, director of the program, in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Photo: Rona Jaffe

The finalists have been announced for the inaugural Write a House residency, a new program through which a formerly vacant home in Detroit is renovated and given permanently to a creative writer.

The ten finalists are Lydia Conklin of East Sandwich, Massachusetts; Matthew Fogarty of Columbia, South Carolina; Adam Morris of San Francisco; Anne Elizabeth Moore of Chicago; Jason Reynolds and Casey Rocheteau, both of Brooklyn, New York; Aisha Sabatani Sloan of Los Angeles; Valerie Vande Panne of Detroit; Darryl Lorenzo Wellington of Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Monika Zobel of Bremen, Germany. Finalists' bios can be found on the Write a House website.

The winner will be announced on September 19, and will be invited to move into his or her new house soon thereafter.

Write a House received roughly 350 applications in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction from throughout the United States and abroad. “Many of our best applicants came from right here in Detroit,” the organizers wrote in an announcement on the Write a House blog. “There were many excellent and inspiring submissions, and if we could give a home to every talented writer who applied, we would.”

The organization plans to open applications for its next house in early 2015.

The judges were Write a House cofounder Toby Barlow, along with poets and writers Billy Collins, dream hampton, Major Jackson, Sean MacDonald, Michael Stone Richards, and Tamara Warren. Finalists were selected based on the quality of their work and for their potential to contribute to the neighborhood and the literary culture of Detroit.

For more information on Write a House, read an article on the program currently featured in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Photo: The first Write a House property, located in Detroit’s Banglatown neighborhood. Credit: Andy Kopietz.

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