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G&A: The Contest Blog

The Griffin Poetry Prize, which for the past ten years has honored a Canadian and an international poet for a recent collection, has announced the shortlist for the 2010 award. This year, the total prize purse is two hundred thousand dollars, double the amount formerly awarded. Each of the two winners will receive seventy five thousand dollars, and the finalists will be awarded ten thousand dollars apiece.

The shortlisted international titles are:
Grain
(Picador) by John Glenday of Scotland
A Village Life (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by Louise Glück of the United States
The Sun-fish (The Gallery Press) by Eilean Ni Chuilleanain of Ireland
Cold Spring in Winter (Arc Publications) translated from the French of Valerie Rouzeau by Susan Wicks of England

The shortlisted Canadian titles are:
The Certainty Dream (Coach House Books) by Kate Hall
Coal and Roses (The Porcupine's Quill ) by P. K. Page
Pigeon (House of Anansi Press) by Karen Solie

This year's judges, Anne Carson—the 2001 Canadian winner—Kathleen Jamie, and Carl Phillips selected the finalists from nearly four hundred entries from twelve countries, twelve of which were translations. The winners will be announced on June 3 after a reading in Toronto on the previous day.

In the video below, the late P. K. Page, who was also shortlisted for the 2003 award, reads from her collection Planet Earth. In 2001 this poem, also titled "Planet Earth," was read simultaneously in several locations around the globe to celebrate the United Nations International Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations.

The Seattle Times is celebrating National Poetry Month with a Twitter poetry contest. The newspaper is inviting tweets of 140-character verse—haiku, epigram, senryu, sonnet, or "what-have-you," so long as it's "suitable for a family newspaper." At the end of April, the editors will select their favorites and publish them in the Times.

Poets should post their works using their own Twitter accounts, after the tag "#STpoem." Examples are available on the Times Web site and on the contest's Twitter feed.

Do you know of a poetry contest being held in recognition of National Poetry Month? If so, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line at editor@pw.org.

In the video below, actor and writer Stephen Fry talks about the poetic appeal of the tweet as it relates to Robert Graves's "telegram test."

Hyphen magazine and the Asian American Writers' Workshop are keeping their short story contest open for two additional weeks. Asian American writers living in the United States and Canada now have until April 12 to submit stories of up to six thousand words.

The prize judges will be Alexander Chee, author of the novel Edinburgh (Picador, 2002), and Jaed Coffin, author of the memoir A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants (Da Capo, 2008). Whiting Writers' Award–winner Chee's second novel, The Queen of the Night, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Coffin, who has also spent time as a lobsterman, a sea kayak guide, and a Buddhist monk, is at work on a novel titled "Roughhouse Friday" informed by his year as a boxer in the Alaskan barroom circuit.

More information is available on the Hyphen Web site.

In the video below, Coffin reads from his memoir.

Yesterday U.K. poet and gardener Alice Oswald received the first Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for her collection Weeds and Wildflowers (Faber and Faber). Last July British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy launched the new award, which comes with a five-thousand-pound prize (approximately $7,500) funded with her laureate stipend. The prize will be given annually to a living U.K. poet throughout the remainder of Duffy's ten-year term.

On this side of the pond, a cast of literary honorees was announced earlier this week by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. New Jersey poet Gerald Stern won the academy's Award of Merit Medal for Poetry, a ten-thousand-dollar prize that honors a writer's oeuvre. Tim O'Brien, author of the story collection The Things They Carried (Houghton Mifflin, 1990), won the twenty-thousand-dollar Katherine Anne Porter Award for lifetime achievement.

Daniyal Mueenuddin, who recently won the Story Prize, was recognized for his debut collection, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (Norton), with the ten-thousand-dollar Rosenthal Family Foundation Award. Debut author Josh Weil won the five-thousand-dollar Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction for his novella collection, The New Valley (Grove Press).

The academy gave $7,500 Academy Awards in Literature to poets Peter Cole, Peter Everwine, and Bruce Smith; fiction writer Steve Erickson; and translator Natasha Wimmer, who has lately received attention for her translation of 2666 and other works by Roberto Bolaño. Playwright Jean Young Lee and biographer Blake Bailey also received the prize.

British fiction writer Dan Rhodes won the E. M. Forster Award, which offers a young writer twenty thousand dollars to fund a stay in the United States, and American writers Jay Hopler, a Salt Lake City poet, and Heather McGowan, a novelist living in New York City, each received a fellowship that offers a one-year residency at the American Academy in Rome.

Poet and art critic Peter Schjeldahl was honored by the academy for the style of his prose, which has appeared in cultural forums such as the New Yorker as well as in several books, with the ten-thousand-dollar Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award.

In the video below, Hughes Award winner Alice Oswald and shortlisted poet Paul Farley join an assembly of other poets in reciting Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky," which, incidentally, Hughes included in his poetry anthology The Rattle Bag (Faber and Faber, 1982), coedited by Seamus Heaney.

The Center for Fiction in New York City announced yesterday that Jamaica Kincaid has won the 2010 Clifton Fadiman Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Kincaid's 1985 novel Annie John (Hill and Wang), the story of a young girl growing up in the author's native Antigua, was selected by Pulitzer Prize–winner Jane Smiley, as the recipient of the five-thousand-dollar award, which honors books published at least ten years ago that are "deserving of rediscovery and a wider readership."

Previous Fadiman winners include Lore Segal for Other People's Houses, selected by Cynthia Ozick; Robert Coover for Pricksongs and Descants, selected by T. C. Boyle; and James Purdy for Eustace Chisholm and the Works, selected by Jonathan Franzen.

Smiley will present the award to Kincaid on April 14 at the Center for Fiction. Tickets for the event are fifteen dollars, and can be purchased on the center's Web site.

There are two days remaining to submit essays for a competition that will award four writers tickets to a performance by essayist David Sedaris in Chicago. Cooler by the Lake, the online magazine of StoryStudio Chicago writing and arts center, will accept entries of "funny, humorous, poignant" essays through Friday.

The winners each will receive two tickets to Sedaris's show on April 17 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, and their essays will be published in Cooler by the Lake. StoryStudio will notify winners, who will be responsible for their own travel and lodging, by April 2.

In the recording below, originally broadcast on Chicago Public Radio's This American Life, the author of essay collections Me Talk Pretty One Day (Little, Brown, 2000) and When You Are Engulfed in Flames (Little, Brown, 2008), among others, tells a story from his childhood.

Black Lawrence Press, publisher of contemporary literature and an imprint of nonprofit press Dzanc Books, is winding down its submissions period for the annual Hudson Prize. The competition is open to collections of both poetry and short stories, but no matter its genre, the work, according to executive editor Diane Goettel, should aim to rock readers on a visceral level.

Goettel responded to our question about what the editors, who will serve as judges, will be looking for in a manuscript by recalling one blurber's reaction to the book of a former prizewinner—Jason Tandon. Tandon won the press's debut book prize, the St. Lawrence Book Award, in 2006. "In his blurb for Give Over the Heckler and Everyone Gets Hurt, Todd Zuniga said that Tandon's poems caused him to ache—'an "I'm-happy-to-be-alive" ache, an "I'm-glad-writing-like-this-exists" ache.' That's what we are looking for in submissions to The Hudson Prize: writing that makes us ache."

The winning manuscript will be published by Black Lawrence Press, and the winner will receive one thousand dollars. Entries may be of any length, and should be sent via e-mail by March 31. More information about this and other competitions going on now is available in our Grants & Awards database.

To read a poem from Tandon's winning collection, visit the online archives of Opium Magazine, of which Zuniga is editor.

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