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G&A: The Contest Blog

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is currently accepting applications for its annual creative writing fellowships. The $25,000 grants, which are given in alternating years to poets and prose writers, will be given in 2015 to poets. The deadline to apply is March 12, 2014.

Poets who have published at least one full-length poetry collection, or twenty or more poems or pages of poetry in five or more literary journals, anthologies, or publications, are eligible to apply. Detailed eligibility requirements are available here.

Complete application instructions, including all required materials, can be found on the NEA website. Applications must be submitted online through the Grants.gov website. Recipients will be announced in December 2014.

The annual fellowships are given in order to provide time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement for poets and prose writers. Applications are reviewed through an anonymous process in which “the only criteria for review are artistic excellence and artistic merit.” The NEA assembles a different advisory panel each year to review applications.

This year, thirty-eight fellowships were awarded to fiction and creative nonfiction writers; forty poets received the 2013 grants. Fellowships in fiction and creative nonfiction will be offered again in 2016; guidelines will be available on the NEA website in the fall of 2014.

Questions about the fellowship program and application process can be directed to the National Endowment for the Arts by e-mail to litfellowships@arts.gov or by phone at (202) 682-5034.

The finalists were announced today for the tenth-annual Story Prize, an award given for a short story collection published in the previous year. The winner will receive $20,000.

The finalists are Archangel by Andrea Barrett (W. W. Norton), Bobcat by Rebecca Lee (Algonquin Books), and Tenth of December by George Saunders (Random House). The collections were chosen by Story Prize founder Julie Lindsey and director Larry Dark from among ninety-six submitted books, published by sixty-four different presses in 2013. The finalists will each receive $5,000.

Lindsey and Dark also announced the winner of the second annual Story Prize Spotlight Award, a $1,000 prize given for a “short story collection worthy of additional attention.” The 2014 winner is Byzantium (Graywolf Press) by Ben Stroud.

This year's final judges—author Antonya Nelson; Tin House editor Rob Spillman; and Stephen Ennis, director of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin—will select the 2014 Story Prize winner, who will be announced at the annual awards ceremony and reading on March 5 in New York City.

More about this year’s finalists and Spotlight Award winner can be found on the Story Prize website and official blog. Claire Vaye Watkins won the 2013 award for her debut collection, Battleborn.

Below, listen to finalist Rebecca Lee read an excerpt from her collection, Bobcat, as part of the Poets & Writers Author Podcast series.

Sponsored by Dzanc Books, the annual DISQUIET Literary Prize in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction is currently open for submissions. A winner in each category will receive publication in a participating literary journal, and one grand-prize winner will receive airfare, accommodations, and tuition—a prize worth approximately $5,000—to attend the fourth annual DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal, this summer.

The winner in poetry will be published in the Collagist; the winner in fiction will be published in Guernica; and the winner in nonfiction will be published in Ninth Letter. Finalists in each category will be offered partial tuition scholarships to attend the DISQUIET program. Four full scholarships to attend the retreat are also available for writers of Luso descent.

Submit up to ten poems or up to twenty pages of prose with a $15 entry fee by February 15. Entries may be submitted online via Submittable or sent by mail to Dzanc Books, the DISQUIET Prize, 610 South Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01002. Previously unpublished works in English are eligible. Writers must live or have lived in the United States or Canada, but need not be citizens or permanent residents.

Founded by Dzanc in 2011 and inspired by Lisbon poet Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet, the annual DISQUIET International Literary Program is a two-week retreat that brings together North American and Portuguese writers in the heart of Lisbon. The program offers workshops in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and writing the Luso experience; craft seminars; discussions with editors from Dzanc Books, GuernicaNinth LetterNew York Review of BooksSt. Petersburg Review, and other publishers and magazines; a series of lectures on Portuguese literature and culture; talks and readings with Portuguese writers; literary walks; film screenings; and social events and excursions in and around Lisbon.

The 2014 program will be held from June 29 through July 11. Workshop faculty includes poets Erica Dawson and David Lehman; fiction writers Denis Johnson, Alissa Nutting, and Padgett Powell; and nonfiction writer Josip Novakovich, among others. Visit the website for more information and general application guidelines.

First founded in Iowa City in 1958, December, the storied literary magazine resurrected last month after being shuttered for nearly three decades, is currently considering submissions for its first annual literary awards.

The Jeff Marks Memorial Poetry Prize and the Curt Johnson Prose Awards in Fiction and Creative Nonfiction will include three first-place prizes of $1,500 each and three honorable mention awards of $500 each for a group of poems, a short story, and an essay. The winning works will be published in the Spring 2014 issue of December. The deadline is February 1.

Poets may submit up to three poems of any length; prose writers may submit a short story or essay of up to 8,000 words. The entry fee is $20, which includes a copy of the Spring issue. Submissions will be accepted online via Submittable or can be sent by mail to Gianna Jacobson, Editor, December, P.O. Box 16130, St. Louis, MO 63105.

All entries will be considered for publication. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but writers are asked to notify the editors upon acceptance of work elsewhere. Previously published work, either in print or online, will not be considered.

Finalists will be selected by December’s editorial staff; final judges will be Stephen Berg in poetry, Mary Helen Stefaniak in fiction, and William Kittredge in creative nonfiction.

The biannual December’s Revival Issue was published last month and is currently available for individual purchase and by subscription. Visit the December website for more information and complete submission guidelines. 

The Sonora Review is currently accepting submissions to its annual poetry contest, given for a poem or group of poems. The winner will receive a prize of $1,000 and publication in Sonora Review. The deadline is February 14.

Eduardo C. Corral, the winner of the 2011 Yale Younger Poets Prize and author of the collection Slow Lightning (Yale University Press, 2012), will judge.

Poets may submit three to five pages of poetry and a $15 entry fee using the online submission system or by postal mail to Mike Coakley and Laura Miller, Editors in Chief, c/o Poetry Editorial Board, Sonora Review, English Deptartment, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85719. A cover letter with a brief biography and contact information should be included with submissions, but names should be removed from all manuscript pages. The winner will be published in Issue 66 of Sonora Review; finalists will also be considered for publication.

The winner of the 2013 prize, judged by Dawn Lundy Martin, was Shawn Fawson. Kenzie Allen won the second-place prize, and Cat Richardson received the third-place prize. The winning works can be read in Issue 63.

Founded in 1980, Sonora Review is one of the oldest student-run literary journals in the country. Each issue is edited and assembled by an all-volunteer staff of graduate students in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Arizona. Former staff members include Robert Boswell, Antonya Nelson, Tony Hoagland, Richard Russo, Richard Siken, and David Foster Wallace. Work originally published in the Sonora Review has appeared in the Best American Poetry and Best of the West anthologies, and has won O. Henry Awards and Pushcart Prizes. Visit the website for more information.

PEN American Center has extended the deadline for the 2014 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, a biennial award of $25,000 given for an unpublished novel that “addresses issues of social justice and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships.” The new deadline is January 15.

U.S. writers who have had at least four publications (including single short stories or essays) are eligible. If a writer has previously published a book, it must not have sold more than 10,000 copies. Using the online submission system, writers may submit a manuscript of at least 80,000 words with a résumé or curriculum vitae and a $25 entry fee. Eligible manuscripts may not be under consideration by a publisher.

Sponsored by the New York City–based literary advocacy and social justice organization PEN American Center, the Bellwether Prize was established in 2000 by novelist, essayist, and poet Barbara Kingsolver, who also funds the prize. Kingsolver is the author of fourteen books, including The Poisonwood Bible (Harper, 1998) and most recently, Flight Behavior (HarperCollins, 2012). In addition to the cash prize, the winner of the Bellwether Prize also receives a publishing contract with Algonquin Books. The winning manuscript will be chosen by a panel of three judges, including one editor representing Algonquin and two distinguished literary authors selected by PEN’s Literary Awards Committee in consultation with Barbara Kingsolver. The prize will be presented at PEN’s annual Literary Awards Ceremony in New York City in the fall of 2014.

Past Winners of the prize include Donna Gershten in 2000 for Kissing the Virgin’s Mouth (HarperCollins), Gayle Brandeis in 2002 for The Book of Dead Birds (HarperCollins), Marjorie Kowalski Cole in 2004 for Correcting the Landscape (HarperCollins), Hillary Jordan in 2006 for Mudbound (Algonquin Books), Heidi W. Durrow in 2008 for The Girl Who Fell From the Sky (Algonquin Books), Naomi Benaron in 2010 for Running the Rift (Algonquin Books), and Susan Nussbaum in 2012 for Good Kings Bad Kings (Algonquin Books).

Visit the PEN American Center website for complete guidelines.

Photo credit: David Wood

The Chicago–based Poetry Foundation has established a new annual award for poetry criticism. The $7,500 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism will honor book-length works of criticism published in the previous year, including biographies, essay collections, and critical works that consider the subject of poetry or poets.

Submissions are currently open for the 2014 prize, which will be given for a work published in 2013. Publishers may submit books for consideration by February 1. There is no entry fee.

“This must be one of the great historical moments for poetry, as there are so many thriving poetry presses, reading series, and astonishing new poems,” said Poetry Foundation president Robert Polito in a press release. “The Poetry Foundation supports poets through Poetry magazine, our website, and a Chicago reading series, among numerous other ways, both public and behind-the-scenes. But we also are deeply engaged by conversations about poetry, and this award for an outstanding critical book is an exciting addition to our roster of poetry prizes.”  

Books may be submitted for consideration using the online submission form, and must include the author name, title, publisher, and publication date. Two copies of the final book should be mailed to the Poetry Foundation, Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism, 61 West Superior Street, Chicago, IL 60654.

The winner of the inaugural prize will be celebrated at an awards ceremony on June 9, 2014, in Chicago.

The Poetry Foundation’s annual poetry awards include the $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which is given to honor a living U.S. poet for lifetime achievement; and the newly expanded Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowships, which recognize the work of five young poets.

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