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G&A: The Contest Blog

PEN American Center, the New York City–based branch of the world’s leading literary and human rights organization, has announced the winners of the 2013 PEN literary awards. 

First-time novelist Sergio De La Pava received the organization’s most lucrative award, the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, given annually for a debut work of fiction. A Naked Singularity, De La Pava’s novel about the son of Columbian immigrants, was originally self-published in 2008 before being picked up by the University of Chicago Press.

Katherine Boo won the $10,000 PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction for Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Random House), which won the National Book Award in nonfiction last year. Robert Hass received the $10,000 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay for his collection What Light Can Do (Ecco). The awards are given to writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as translators, playwrights, young adult authors, and editors.

“Every year PEN’s literary awards recognize the brightest lights in literary fiction and nonfiction and honor the sustained careers of writers who are distinguished in their fields, raising awareness for a diverse array of outstanding books,” said PEN President Peter Godwin. “These awards represent the best of PEN’s work in defense of free expression throughout the world—fighting censorship, promoting translations into English, and honoring both the new and well-known authors who make up the core of PEN as an organization. Their voices amplify our advocacy work.”

The winners and finalists will be honored at a ceremony at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City on October 21. Visit the PEN American website for more information on the annual awards program.

Wendell Berry, the Kentucky–based poet, novelist, essayist, farmer, and activist, will receive the 2013 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award.

The award, announced yesterday, was given to Berry “in recognition of a lifetime of letters exploring how humans can live more harmoniously with both the land and each other.” Presented annually to an author for a complete body of work, the award is named in honor of the celebrated U.S. diplomat who played an instrumental role in negotiating the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords on Bosnia. The award will be presented to Berry at a ceremony in Dayton, Ohio, on November 3. Tim O’Brien, who won in 2012, will present the award.

berryBorn in Kentucky in 1934, Berry is a full-time farmer who has written more than fifty works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction “that explore themes of community, conservation, and the quiet power of living a simple and slower life.” His most recent works include New Collected Poems, the story collection A Place in Time, and the essay collection It All Turns on Affection, all published by Counterpoint Press in 2012. Berry was named the 2012 Jefferson Lecturer and received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama in 2011.

“In a career spanning more than half a century, Wendell Berry has used poetry, fiction, and essays to offer a consistent, timely, and timeless reminder that we must live in harmony with the earth in order to live in harmony with each other,” said Sharon Rab, founder and co-chair of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. “His writing has inspired readers to imagine the lives of people and things other than themselves—enemies, neighbors, plants, and animals—in order to advance the survival of humankind and Earth itself.”

“In a time that spends so many words and dollars upon conflict," Berry said, "it is encouraging to be noticed for having said a few words in favor of peace.”

Asymptote, an online quarterly dedicated to literary translation, is currently accepting submissions to its inaugural Close Approximations translation contest. Two emerging translators will each receive $1,000 and publication in Asymptote.

Using the online submission system, submit five to ten pages of translated poetry or up to twenty-five pages of translated fiction with a ten-dollar entry fee by September 1.

Submissions must also include the original text, a cover page including the names and bios of both the author and translator, and—if the author’s work is not in the public domain—a statement confirming that the translator has obtained permission from the author or rights holder.

asymptote

Translations from any language into English are eligible. Works must be previously unpublished in English, and written by authors who have yet to appear widely in English. Preference will be given to translators early in their careers, who have published no more than one book-length work of translation.

Eliot Weinberger, known widely for his translations of Octavio Paz and Jorge Luis Borges, will judge in poetry. Howard Goldblatt, the translator of Nobel Prize–winner Mo Yan, will judge in fiction. The winners and finalists will be announced in the January 2014 issue. 

Founded in 2011 by Singaporean writer and artist Lee Yew Leong and coedited by an international team of editors, Asymptote publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama in translation, as well as visual art, criticism, and interviews. The journal has published works from fifty-four languages and seventy-five countries. Visit the website for more information and complete submission guidelines.

Beginning this year, Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England, will double the amount of its international literary prizes. The Manchester Writing Competition, which originally awarded one annual prize of £10,000 to a poet or fiction writer in alternating years, will now give two prizes of £10,000 (approximately $15,350) each to a poet and a fiction writer each year.

Poets may submit three to five poems totaling no more than 120 lines and fiction writers may submit a story of up to 2,500 words with a £17 (approximately $26) entry fee by August 30. Submissions are accepted via the online submission system or by postal mail. Writers from any country are eligible to enter.

Bernard O'Donoghue, Adam O'Riordan, and Fiona Sampson will judge in poetry; Alison Moore, Nicholas Royle, and Robert Shearman will judge in fiction. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Manchester on October 18.

Overseen by British Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University has sponsored the writing prizes since 2008. Visit the website for more information and complete submission guidelines.

StoryQuarterly, the literary magazine of Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey, is currently accepting submissions to its third annual fiction contest. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication.

Using the online submission system, fiction writers may submit a previously unpublished story of up to 8,000 words with an $18 entry fee by October 31. Jess Walter, the author of six novels and, most recently, the short story collection We Live in Water (Harper, 2013), will judge.

The winning story, along with the first and second runners-up, will be published in StoryQuarterly 46/47, a special double issue that will be overseen by author Paul Lisicky and released in Winter 2014. Christine Grillo of Baltimore, Maryland, won the 2012 prize for her story "Legendary and Non-Evolving." Amy Hempel judged.

Founded in 1975 as an independent literary journal based in Illinois, StoryQuarterly has been published by Rutgers University in Camden since 2008. Regular submissions are considered from September 1 through October 31. Visit the website for more information and complete guidelines, and check out StoryQuarterly Online to read stories from recent contributors.

The Cambridge, Wisconsin–based literary magazine Rosebud is currently accepting submissions to its fifth biennial Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication in Rosebud. The deadline is September 15.

Submit one copy of a previously unpublished short story of up to 4,500 words with a $10 entry fee ($15 to receive a copy of the prize issue) by postal mail to Rosebud Magazine, N3310 Asje Road, Cambridge, Wisconsin 53523. Checks can be made payable to the Rosebud/Shelley Award.

Works of literary fiction, as well as works of science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, and “stories that reach beyond the boundaries of those genres” are eligible. Fiction writer Ray Vukcevich will serve as final judge.

Established in 1993 and staffed entirely by volunteers, Rosebud Magazine is a nonprofit organization that publishes works of poetry, fiction, and essays in three print issues each year. For more information and complete submission guidelines, visit the website. 

Thirteen fiction writers make up the long list for the 2013 Man Booker Prize, which was announced this week in London. The winner of the prize—one of the most prestigious awards in literary fiction—will receive 50,000 British pounds, or approximately $75,000.

This year's so-called “Booker’s Dozen” includes Five Star Billionaire (Fourth Estate) by Tash Aw, We Need New Names (Reagan Arthur Books) by NoViolet Bulawayo, The Luminaries (Granta) by Eleanor Catton, Harvest (Picador) by Jim Crace, The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Sandstone Press) by Eve Harris, The Kills (Picador) by Richard House, The Lowland (Bloomsbury) by Jhumpa Lahiri, Unexploded (Hamish Hamilton) by Alison MacLeod, TransAtlantic (Bloomsbury) by Colum McCann, Almost English (Mantle) by Charlotte Mendelson, A Tale for the Time Being (Canongate) by Ruth Ozeki, The Spinning Heart (Doubleday Ireland) by Donal Ryan, and The Testament of Mary (Viking) by Colm Tóibín.

According to the announcement on the Booker Prize Foundation website, this year’s judges—Robert MacFarlane, Martha Kearney, Stuart Kelly, Natalie Haynes, and Robert Douglas-Fairhurst—read 151 books, and “have found works of the greatest quality in places as distant from one another as Zimbabwe and New Zealand, Canada and Malaysia and from writers at the start of their careers (Eleanor Catton, aged 28, whose book The Luminaries weighs in at a whopping 832 pages) to those who have been at the writing game for many years (Jim Crace, aged 67)—and every stage in between.”

Seven of the long-listed books are written by women, three are debuts, and only Crace and Tóibín are previous Booker finalists.    

Founded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is given annually for a book of fiction published in the previous year and written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the British Commonwealth, or the Republic of Ireland. Hilary Mantel took the 2012 prize for her novel Bring Up the Bodies, the second installment of her acclaimed Tudor trilogy; the first, Wolf Hall, won the prize in 2009.

A shortlist will be announced September 10 and the winner on October 15. In the meantime, check out an excerpt from finalist NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names, featured as part of the annual first fiction roundup in the current issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, and an essay by Ruth Ozeki—about the creation of her long-listed novel and the relationship between readers, writers, and characters—which appeared in the May/June issue.

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