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G&A: The Contest Blog

The Strand, beloved bookstore of New York City's resident and visiting literary types, will award a trio of prizes for original poems on the theme "love of the Strand." The winner will receive a Strand gift card worth $250, and the winning work may be featured on the bookstore's Web site and merchandise. The second-place prize is a bundle of books and swag worth $175, and the third-place prize is a $50 gift card.

The "fiercely independent family business" was opened nearly eighty-three years ago in New York City's former Book Row, among forty-seven other booksellers, all of which have ceased operation. The Strand, now located on Broadway near the city's Union Square, boasts an inventory of eighteen miles of rare, used, and new books, not including the selection at their kiosks in Central Park.

There is no cost to submit to the competition, and entries may be made via e-mail, with "Poetry Contest" as the subject line. The deadline is February 11 at 6 PM.

In the video below, Strand owner Fred Bass gives a tour of the bookstore.

 

 

If you catch wind of a free writing contest in your area, please drop us an e-mail letting us know about it. And if you're interested in bidding homage to your own local bookseller, check out our Inside Indie Bookstores series and leave us a comment about your favorite literary haunt.

Black Lawrence Press is offering an "early bird" entry fee for poets and fiction writers who submit manuscripts to the Hudson Prize this month. The special fee to submit a collection of poetry or short stories for competition is the price of a title from the press's catalogue, which ranges from fourteen to eighteen dollars for full-length works of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

The winner will receive one thousand dollars and a spot among the Black Lawrence Press titles including, in poetry, Matthew Gavin Frank's Sagittarius Agitprop, Rachel Galvin's Pulleys and Locomotion, and Stefi Weisburd's The Wind-Up Gods. In fiction, the press has published Daniel Chacon's Unending Rooms, Marcel Jolley's Neither Here Nor There, Fred McGavran's The Butterfly Collector, and Jo Neace Krause's The Last Game We Played, all story collections.

In order to take advantage of the entry special, place a book order on the Black Lawrence Press Web site and then send a cover letter, noting the title purchased, and a manuscript of any length via e-mail by February 1. The deadline for all submissions (with a twenty-five-dollar entry fee) is March 31.

In the video below, Stefi Weisburd reads from The Wind-Up Gods.

The Story Prize has announced the 2009 shortlist for its annual twenty-thousand-dollar award. In the running for the honor, given for a short story collection published in the previous year, are National Book Award finalist Daniyal Mueenuddin for In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (Norton), Victoria Patterson for Drift (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), and Wells Tower for Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

The shortlisted books, all of them debut collections, were selected from seventy-eight titles submitted by fifty-three presses. The winner will be announced on March 3 at the New School in New York City after a reading by all three finalists, and two runners up will then be awarded a five thousand dollar prize.

Past winners of the prize, given since 2004, are Edwidge Danticat for The Dew Breaker (Knopf), Patrick O'Keeffe for The Hill Road (Viking), Mary Gordon for The Stories of Mary Gordon (Pantheon), Jim Shepard for Like You'd Understand, Anyway (Knopf), and Tobias Wolff for Our Story Begins (Knopf).

In the video below, the title story of Tower's collection—a tale of Viking plunderers—is excerpted in an animated short.

Artist Trust has extended the deadline for its annual Grants for Artist Projects. Poets and prose writers now have until June 25 to submit entries for grants of up to fifteen hundred dollars to support specific literary endeavors. Grant applications will be available online in May.

The recipients will be selected by a panel of Washington state writers. Last year's eleven grantees were chosen from a pool of 167 entries by poets Samuel Green, the state poet laureate, and Dennis Held and fiction writers Adrianne Harun, Philip H. Red Eagle, and Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner.

The recipients—six women and five men—included four poets, five fiction writers, and two creative nonfiction writers. Five out of the eleven were residents of Seattle, King County, less than the average of the applicant pool across disciplines, which has been comprised of over 60 percent King County residents for the past several years. Most 2009 winners in literary arts received the full fifteen-hundred-dollar award.

In the video below, 2009 grantee Oliver de la Paz, who received funds to purchase a laptop and work on his poetry manuscript "Grace Equations," reads with New Jersey poet Evie Shockley.

Choosing the contest that would be a good fit for your book manuscript is a soft science. The partialities of the first readers, the potential of competing manuscripts, and the opinion of a judge are hardly predictable, but perhaps taking a look at the titles published by a sponsoring press could offer some insight into whether your writing would mesh with a publisher's catalogue. Below, we've taken a quick look at writers published by a few of the presses that have contests taking place in the coming months.

Ahsahta Press
Sawtooth Poetry Prize, judged by Terrance Hayes
Representative Poets: Sandra Alcosser, Dan Beachy-Quick, Brian Henry, Brenda Iijima, Rusty Morrison, Susan Tichy

Dream Horse Press
American Poetry Journal Book Prize, judged by J. P. Dancing Bear
Representative Poets: Amy Holman, Judith Skillman, Theodore Worozbyt

Ohio State University Press
Prize in Short Fiction
Representative Fiction Writers: Paul Eggers, Trudy Lewis, Gerald Shapiro, J. David Stevens

Omnidawn Publishing
Chapbook Competition, judged by Elizabeth Robinson
Representative Poets: Lyn Hejinian, Bin Ramke, Martha Ronk, Keith Waldrop, Rosmarie Waldrop

Sarabande Books
Morton and McCarthy Prizes, judged by Amy Gerstler in poetry and Francine Prose in fiction
Representative Poets: Monica Ferrell, Kiki Petrosino, Jean Valentine
Representative Fiction Writers: David Crouse, Alyce Miller, Paul Yoon

Starcherone Books
Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction, judged by Stacey Levine
Representative Fiction Writers: Peter Conners, Raymond Federman, Joshua Harmon, Janet Mitchell, Leslie Scalapino

Tupelo Press
Snowbound Series Chapbook Award, judged by Patricia Fargnoli
Representative Poets: Theodore Deppe, Jennifer Militello, G. C. Waldrep, Joshua Marie Wilkinson

In the video below (accompanied by eight others on YouTube), Omnidawn Publishing's Ken Keegan opens a reading of four more of the press's poets: Gillian Conoley, Richard Greenfield, Donald Revell, and Michelle Taransky.

The 2009 winners of the United Kingdom's Costa Book Awards, formerly the Whitbread Literary Awards, were revealed last night. In poetry, three-time Costa nominee Christopher Reid won for his collection A Scattering (Arete Books), also shortlisted for the soon-to-be-announced Forward Prize. Colm Tóibín won for his novel Brooklyn (Viking) and Raphael Selbourne received the first novel award for Beauty (Tindal Street Press). Each received five thousand pounds (approximately eight thousand dollars).

From among the genre honorees, this year's judges, Tom Bradby, Josephine Hart, Marie Helvin, Gary Kemp, Dervla Kirwan, and Caroline Quentin, will select an overall winner, to be announced on January 26. Competing against the poetry and fiction winners are children's book prize recipient Patrick Ness, honored for The Ask and the Answer (Walker Books), and biographer Graham Farmelo, who won for The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius (Faber and Faber). The author of the "Book of the Year" will receive twenty-five thousand pounds (approximately forty thousand dollars).

In the video below, Tóibín reads from his winning novel at the 2009 PEN World Voices Festival.

Make 2010 the year of submitting your debut book manuscript. While first book prizes aren't the only option for emerging writers—there are plenty of opportunities out there that welcome published and unpublished writers—we've compiled a list of prizes to check out in the new year that include publication specifically of first books of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Debut poetry book publication prizes are offered by:
ABZ Press
American Poetry Review
BOA Editions
Bread Loaf Writers' Conference 
Cave Canem Foundation

Carolina Wren Press
(This press's contest also accepts second book manuscripts.)
Cleveland State University
Crab Orchard Series in Poetry
Elixir Press (This press's contest also accepts second book manuscripts.)
Fence Books (Open to women poets only; this press's contest also accepts second book manuscripts.)
Four Way Books

Kore Press
(Open to women poets only.)
New Issues Poetry & Prose
Omnidawn Publishing (This press's contest also accepts second book manuscripts.)
Pavement Saw Press
Persea Books (Open to women poets only.)
Perugia Press (Open to women poets only; this press's contest also accepts second book manuscripts.)
Silverfish Review Press
Tupelo Press
University of Iowa Press
University of Pittsburgh Press
Wick Poetry Center

Yale University Press

Zone 3 Press

Debut fiction prizes are offered by:
Bread Loaf Writers' Conference
James Jones Literary Society

Livingston Press
University of Iowa Press

A debut creative nonfiction book prize is offered by the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

If your manuscript is still in progress, check out the Milton Center, which offers a fellowship to Christian writers to finish a first book of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction, and the University of Wisconsin's Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellowships, which award three poets and three fiction writers a stipend and an academic year in residence to work on first collections or novels.

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