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G&A: The Contest Blog

The Arvon Poetry Prize, established thirty years ago by poet and husband of Sylvia Plath Ted Hughes, is now accepting entries. Until August 16, poets from around the world are invited to submit poems (with a seven-pound fee per piece) for the seventy-five-hundred-pound prize (a little less than twelve hundred dollars) sponsored by the British writing organization the Arvon Foundation.

Second- and third-place prizes of twenty-five hundred pounds and one thousand pounds, respectively, will also be given. Winners will be individually notified by October 1, and an announcement will be made in London on November 4.

The judges will be U.K. poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who last year launched the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry won by Alice Oswald; Elaine Feinstein, poet, translator, and Hughes biographer whose first collection, The Circle (Faber Finds, 1970), was a semifinalist for the Lost Man Booker Prize; and Sudeep Sen, whose most recent collection is Letters of Glass (Wings Press, 2010).

For a list of previous winners (including former U.K. poet laureate Andrew Motion) and complete guidelines are available on the Arvon Foundation Web site.

In the video below, judge Duffy's poem "Mrs. Midas" is adapted in animation. The text of the poem is also available on the Web.

The semifinalists for the Man Booker Prize, which annually awards fifty thousand pounds (approximately seventy-eight thousand dollars) to a novelist writing in English, were announced yesterday. Thirteen writers from Australia, Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, and South Africa are included in the 2010 longlist, selected by judges Rosie Blau, Financial Times literary editor; writer and dancer Deborah Bull; former U.K. poet laureate Andrew Motion; Independent columnist Tom Sutcliffe; and biographer and book reviewer Frances Wilson.

The semifinalists, whose novels were all published in U.K. editions in 2010 are:
Peter Carey for Parrot and Olivier in America (Faber and Faber)
Emma Donoghue for Room (Picador)
Helen Dunmore for The Betrayal (Fig Tree)
Damon Galgut for In a Strange Room (Atlantic Books)
Howard Jacobson for The Finkler Question (Bloomsbury)
Andrea Levy for The Long Song 
(Headline Review)
Tom McCarthy for C (Jonathan Cape)
David Mitchell for The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet  (Sceptre)
Lisa Moore for February (House of Anansi Press)
Paul Murray for Skippy Dies (Hamish Hamilton)
Rose Tremain for Trespass (Chatto & Windus)
Christos Tsiolkas for The Slap (Tuskar Rock)
Alan Warner for The Stars in the Bright Sky 
(Jonathan Cape)

The shortlist will be announced on September 7, and the winner will be named on October 12. More information about the longlisted books is available on the prize Web site.

In the video below, semifinalist Levy introduces and reads from The Long Song.

The University of Wales has announced the semifinalists for its annual Dylan Thomas Prize, given for a literary work in English by a writer of any nationality under the age of thirty. The 2010 longlist, which for the first time features a playwright—American Johnny Meyer—includes six poets and nine novelists from the Australia, Canada, Great Britain, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Somalia, South Africa, and the United States.

The longlisted poets are:
Caroline Bird, 23, for Watering Can (Carcanet)

Adebe D.A., 23, for Ex Nihilo (Frontenac House)
Elyse Fenton, 29, for Clamor (Cleveland State University Poetry Center)
Katharine Kilalea, 28, for One Eye'd Leigh (Carcanet)

Dora Malech, 28, for Shore Ordered Ocean (The Waywiser Press)

Leanne O'Sullivan, 27, for Cailleach (Bloodaxe Books)


The longlisted fiction writers are:
Eleanor Catton, 24, for The Rehearsal (Granta)
Brian DeLeeuw, 29, for In This Way I Was Saved (John Murray Publishers)
Ciara Hegarty, 29, for The Road to the Sea (Macmillan New Writing)
Emily Mackie, 27, for And This is True (Sceptre)

Karan Mahajan, 26, for Family Planning (Harper Perennial)

Nadifa Mohamed, 28, for Black Mamba Boy (Harper Collins)

Amy Sackville, 29, for The Still Point (Portobello Books)

Ali Shaw, 28, for The Girl with Glass Feet (Atlantic Books)

Craig Silvey, 27, for Jasper Jones (Windmill Books)

The winning writer, announced in Thomas's hometown of Swansea, Wales, on December 1, will receive a prize of thirty thousand pounds (approximately $46,700). Judging this year's award are Kate Burton, Peter Florence, Kurt Heinzelman, Gwyneth Lewis, Bruno Maddox, Natalie Moody, and Peter Stead.

In the video below, Somali-British novelist Mohamed discusses her debut, Black Mamba Boy, based on the life of her father. The book recently won the Society of Authors Betty Trask Prize, given to an author for travel abroad.

Manchester Metropolitan University has opened its second biennial poetry competition, which carries a prize of ten thousand pounds (approximately fifteen thousand dollars). Poets writing in English, regardless of nationality, are invited to submit a portfolio of three to five poems totaling no more than 120 lines by August 6.

This year's judges are Simon Armitage (Seeing Stars, Zoom!), Lavinia Greenlaw (Minsk, Thoughs of a Night Sea), and Daljit Nagra (Look We Have Coming to Dover!), who have all been recognized by the prestigious Forward Poetry Prize as winners or finalists.

The 2008 judges, Gillian Clarke, Imtiaz Dharker, and Carol Ann Duffy, chose two winners to share the inaugural prize, Lesley Saunders and Mandy Coe, both of England. Coe is the author of two collections, most recently The Weight of Cows (Shoestring Press, 2004), and Saunders the author of four, including No Doves (Mulfran Press, 2010).

The poetry award alternates annually with an award in fiction. English fiction writer Toby Litt, author of ten novels, won the first fiction prize in 2009.

Poetry entries, which should be accompanied by a fifteen pound fee, can be made online or via postal mail. Guidelines and contact information for the university are available on the school's Web site.

In the video below, 2010 judge Armitage reads at the most recent Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.

The second annual Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize winner has been announced. Detroit-based poet and Cave Canem fellowship recipient Vievee Francis received the award for her second poetry collection, Horse in the Dark, selected by Parneshia Jones and Adrian Matejka.

Francis, a 2009 Rona Jaffe Foundation prize winner and graduate of the MFA program at the University of Michigan, is also the author of the collection Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne
State University Press, 2006). Horse in the Dark will be published by Northwestern University Press in March 2011.

The prize, established in 2008, is given for a second poetry collection by an African American writer. The inaugural winner was Indigo Moor for Through the Stonecutter's Window.

To hear a selection of recordings of Francis reading her poems, as well as her words on a humanitarian poetry project, the pleasure of writing, and poets she recommends reading, visit her archive page at From the Fishhouse.

The Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland, named five U.S. writers finalists for the most lucrative prize in short fiction, the Frank O'Connor Short Story Award. American authors Robin Black, Belle Boggs (one of Poets & Writers Magazine's featured debut fiction authors in the July/August 2010 issue), T. C. Boyle, Ron Rash, and Laura van den Berg were shortlisted for the thirty-five-thousand-euro prize (approximately $45,000) along with David Constantine of Oxford, England.

Debut authors make up half of the finalists, with Black shortlisted for If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This (Random House), Boggs for Mattaponi Queen (Graywolf Press), and van den Berg for What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books). Boyle is a finalist for Wild Child (Viking), Rash for Burning Bright (HarperCollins), and Constantine for The Shieling (Comma Press). Three of the finalists' publishers are small presses—Graywolf Press, Dzanc Books, and Comma Press.

The annual award recognizes a book of short stories written in English and published in the twelve months preceding the September award announcement, made with all finalists in attendance at the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival. Last year's winner was Simon van Booy of Wales for his second collection Love Begins in Winter (Beautiful Books).

The 2010 judges are novelist Mary Morrissy; Nadine O'Regan, books and arts editor for the Sunday Business Post; and Diana Reich, a former Orange Prize administrator and the founder of the Small Wonder short story festival in Sussex, England.

In the video below, van den Berg reads from her debut collection, the manuscript for which won the 2007 Dzanc Prize.

The annual literary journal Stone Canoe, published by the University College of Syracuse University, is offering three prizes—in poetry, fiction, and, for the first time, in creative nonfiction—to writers who have a strong connection to upstate New York. Award winners will have their work published in the 2011 issue of Stone Canoe and receive a five-hundred-dollar prize.

Poets may submit, via the online submission system, up to five poems, and prose writers may submit a single piece of up to ten thousand words. The journal also asks for a short biography of up to one hundred words that includes details about the writer's connection to upstate New York. The deadline is July 31, and there is no entry fee. Guidelines are available on the journal's Web site.

This year's winner in poetry is Juliana Gray of Alfred, New York, for her poems "Nancy Drew,
45, Posts on Match.com," "The Birds," and "Three Scenes." In fiction, Sarah Layden, who currently lives in Indianapolis, received the award for her short story "Hysterectomy." Their winning works were published in the 2010 issue of Stone Canoe.

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