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G&A: The Contest Blog

The Chicago Tribune is currently accepting submissions for its annual Nelson Algren Short Story Award. One winner will receive $3,500 and publication in Printers Row Journal, the Tribune’s weekly literary supplement. Three finalists will receive awards of $1,000 each, and four runners-up will receive $500 each. The deadline is February 1.

United States residents ages eighteen and over are eligible to enter. Using the online submissions system, fiction writers may submit a previously unpublished story, written in English, of up to eight thousand words. There is no entry fee. Winners will be selected by a panel of established fiction writers and announced during the annual Printers Row Lit Fest, which will be held this year on June 8 and 9 in Chicago. 

Given annually for over twenty years, the Nelson Algren Award is named for the iconic Chicago writer best known for his novel The Man With the Golden Arm, which received the inaugural National Book Award in 1949. “Fiction helps us make sense of a world in which horrible things happen,” writes Tribune Literary Editor Elizabeth Taylor on the newspaper’s website. “This is a world that all but defies imagination, where lovers and friends, criminals and victims, enemies and allies, traitors and confidantes engage with each other on the page, and elevate the everyday of life into art. In the Nelson Algren contest, we try to create a perfect world, in which all stories are treated equally.” The contest, which is judged blindly, has published early work from authors such as Louise Erdrich and Julia Glass. Past judges have included late authors George Plimpton, Studs Terkel, and Eudora Welty.  

The winner of the 2012 prize was Jeremy T. Wilson of Chicago for his story “Everything is Going to Be Okay.” For complete eligibility requirements and guidelines for the 2013 contest, visit the Nelson Algren Award rules page.

The finalists for the 2012 Story Prize, an annual book award given for a short story collection published during the previous year, were announced this morning. The winner, who will be chosen in March, will receive twenty thousand dollars.

The 2012 finalists are Dan Chaon for Stay Awake (Ballantine), Junot Díaz for This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead), and Claire Vaye Watkins for Battleborn (Riverhead). The collections were chosen from ninety-eight submissions, representing sixty-five different publishers.

Dan Chaon is the author of two previous books, including the collection Among the Missing (Ballantine), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Junot Díaz’s second book, the novel The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead) won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Claire Vaye Watkins has received a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame and earned a spot on the National Book Foundation’s  2012 “5 Under 35” list. Battleborn is her debut collection. 

“These are all outstanding short story collections by skillful and accomplished authors, whom we're thrilled to have as finalists for The Story Prize,” wrote Director Larry Dark on the Prize blog.

The judges for this year’s prize include critic and writer Jane Ciabattari, author Yiyun Li, and bookseller Sarah McNally. The winner will be announced on March 13 at an annual award ceremony and reading at the New School in New York City.

Founded in 2004, The Story Prize is dedicated to the short story, a form often overlooked among major literary prizes. The 2011 award went to Steven Millhauser for his collection We Others (Knopf). 

The finalists for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Awards were announced today. Of the thirty finalists, one winner in each of the six categories will be selected this February to receive the prestigious literary prize. 

The finalists in poetry are David Ferry for Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press), Lucia Perillo for On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths (Copper Canyon Press), Allan Peterson for Fragile Acts (McSweeney’s Books), D. A. Powell for Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys (Graywolf Press), and A. E. Stallings for Olives (Triquarterly).

The finalists in fiction are Laurent Binet for HHhH, translated by Sam Taylor (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Ben Fountain for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ecco), Adam Johnson for The Orphan Master’s Son (Random House), Lydia Millet for Magnificence (W. W. Norton), and Zadie Smith for NW (Penguin Press).

The finalists in autobiography are Reyna Grande for The Distance Between Us (Atria Books), Maureen N. McLane for My Poets (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), the late Anthony Shadid for House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Leanne Shapton for Swimming Studies (Blue Rider Press), and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o for In the House of the Interpreter (Pantheon).

For a complete list of finalists, including those in the additional categories of general nonfiction, biography, and criticism, and for profiles of each author, visit the National Book Critics Circle Tumblr page or the official blog of the NBCC, Critical Mass.

The National Book Critics Circle Awards—the only national prizes selected by a panel of established literary critics—have been given annually since 1976 for books published in the United States in the previous year. The NBCC also honors one of its member critics with the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, and awards the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award for a distinguished author, editor, publisher, or literary institution, each year.

The winners of the 2012 awards will be announced on Thursday, February 28 at a ceremony at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium in New York City. A finalists reading will be held on February 27. 

The Hong Kong-based Man Asian Literary Prize has announced the shortlist for its 2012 prize. Of the five finalists, culled from an original long list of fifteen, one winner will receive an award of thirty thousand dollars.  

The shortlisted finalists include: Musharraf Ali Farooqi of Pakistan for Between Clay and Dust (Aleph), Hiromi Kawakami of Japan for The Briefcase (Counterpoint Press), Orhan Pamuk of Turkey for Silent House (Knopf), Tan Twan Eng of Malaysia for The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon Books), and Jeet Thayil of India for Narcopolis (Faber and Faber).

The chair of judges, international journalist and cultural critic Maya Jaggi, selected the shortlist along with her fellow judges, Vietnamese American novelist Monique Truong and Indian novelist Vikram Chandra. The winner will be announced on March 14 at the prize ceremony in Hong Kong.

The international award is given annually for a novel by an Asian writer, written in or translated into English and published during the previous year. For more information, visit the Man Asian Literary Prize online.

In the video below, David Parker, executive director of the prize, announces the shortlist, and Maya Jaggi is interviewed about the final five selections.

The Minneapolis-based publisher Milkweed Editions is currently accepting submissions for the second annual Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry. The prize, open to poets who live in the upper Midwest, offers an award of $10,000 and publication for a poetry collection. The deadline is January 31.

Poets who currently reside in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, or Wisconsin are eligible to submit a previously unpublished, book-length poetry manuscript by postal mail. There is no entry fee. Five finalists will be selected by the editors of Milkweed Editions, and the winner will be chosen by this year’s judge, poet G. C. Waldrep, whose most recent book is Archicembalo (Tupelo Press, 2009). Visit the Milkweed website for complete eligibility and submissions guidelines.

Founded in 1980, Milkweed Editions is an independent press whose mission is to “identify, nurture, and publish transformative literature, and build an engaged community around it.” The partnership between Milkweed Editions and the Minneapolis-based law offices of Lindquist & Vennum “celebrates poets for their artistic contributions, and brings outstanding regional writers to a national stage.” 

The inaugural Lindquist & Vennum Prize, judged by poet Peter Campion (The Lions, University of Chicago Press, 2009), was awarded in 2012 to Patricia Kirkpatrick of St. Paul for her collection Odessa. To hear Kirkpatrick read three poems from her winning collection, published this past December by Milkweed Editions, visit our podcast page or click on the Soundcloud player below. 

Meridian, the literary journal of the University of Virginia, is currently accepting submissions for its annual Editors’ Prize. Two awards of $1,000 each and publication are given for a poem and a short story. The deadline is January 8.

Emerging writers who have published no more than one full-length book, and who are not current students, staff, faculty, or recent alumni of the University of Virginia, are eligible to enter. Using the online submission system, submit up to four poems totaling no more than ten pages or a story of up to 10,000 words with an eight-dollar entry fee. Writers may submit two entries per genre, and all entrants receive an electronic subscription to Meridian. Winners will be announced in late March. 

Founded in 1998 in conjunction with the MFA program at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Meridian is published twice yearly, and has featured such writers such as Richard Bausch, Ann Beattie, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Rita Dove, Seamus Heaney, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Charles Wright. The 2012 Editors’ Prize winners were poet Laura Davenport for “Apology for a Horse” and fiction writer Janet Hilliard-Osborn for “Easter, 1954.” Both winning works were published in the May 2012 issue of Meridian. In addition to the annual prize, the journal accepts general submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction year-round. 

For more information about Meridian, and for complete submission guidelines, visit the website

The Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts, presented the inaugural “Tell it Slant” award to poet Kay Ryan earlier this month, during a two-day celebration of Emily Dickinson’s birth.

The annual award was established this year by the Emily Dickinson Museum’s Board of Governors in order to honor an individual in any field “whose life work is imbued with the creative spirit of the Amherst poet.” The award takes its name from the well-known Dickinson poem which begins: “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—/ Success in Circuit lies / Too bright for our infirm Delight / The Truth's superb surprise.”

Ryan, the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2008 to 2010, published her first book of poetry, Strangely Marked Metal (Copper Beech Press), in 1985. She went on to receive the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2004, and her seventh book, The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, published in 2010 by Grove Press, received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She was awarded a MacArthur "Genius" Grant in 2011.

According to a recent press release from the Dickinson Museum, “Kay Ryan’s style has often been compared to Emily Dickinson’s for its originality and knotted syntax. Dickinson’s poems powerfully convey observations about the natural world, pain and suffering, ecstasy and contentment, and the nature of mortality and immortality. Ryan’s poems are likewise compact, uncluttered, and crackling with wry amusement that belies their density of meaning.” Presenting the award, Gigi Bradford, a member of the Dickinson Museum’s Board of Governors and chair of the Folger Shakespeare Library Poetry Board, said, “Unlike any other poet writing today, Kay Ryan takes Dickinson’s sense of how poetry—sometimes playfully and lightly but always from a slant—helps us to answer the central questions of what it means to be human.”

The award was presented on December 6, a day that marked the 182nd anniversary of Emily Dickinson’s birth. To find out more about the “Tell It Slant” award, and for more information about the Emily Dickinson Museum and Homestead in Amherst, visit emilydickinsonmuseum.org

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