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G&A: The Contest Blog

The Poetry Foundation has named the five recipients of 2010 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships. Each winner, none born earlier than 1980 this year, will receive a fifteen-thousand-dollar prize intended for poetic study and practice, no strings attached.

The winners are Brooklyn Copeland, an Indianapolis native who teaches yoga and whose chapbook Laked, Fielded, Blanked, will be released by Alice Blue Books this winter; Michener Center alumna Miriam Bird Greenberg, a current Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford University; Nate Klug, a candidate for ordained ministry and master's student at Yale Divinity School; Iowa Writers' Workshop alumna Dora Malech, author of two collections, Shore Ordered Ocean (Waywiser Press, 2010) and Say So (forthcoming from the Cleveland State University Poetry Center); and another Indiana-born poet, Christopher Shannon, who is the editor and publisher of Cellpoems, a text-message poetry magazine.

Applications for the 2011 awards, which are given annually to poets between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one, will be available in February on the Poetry Foundation Web site.

In the video below, new fellow Malech discusses poetics with poets Justin Cox and Shane McCrae.

As the release date approaches for the Allen Ginsberg biopic Howl, the poet's publisher, City Lights Books, is calling all "angelheaded hipsters" to submit their own trailers for the "notorious epic poem" that lends the film its name. The winner of the video contest will receive a movie poster, a Howl T-shirt, a "Howl if You Heart City Lights" bumper sticker, and a copy of Howl on Trial, the story of the 1957 obscenity trial that called into question the book's literary value.

Select trailers, which must be under ninety seconds long, will be posted on the City Lights YouTube page, and the winning work will also appear on Facebook. Entries are due on September 24, the major city release date for the film. More information about how to enter via e-mail is available on the City Lights Facebook page.

The trailer for the film, which stars James Franco as Ginsberg, is below.

The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland, just a few miles north of Washington, D.C., home to writing workshops and resources for area writers also offers a number of reading fellowships to poets and prose writers in the early stages of their careers. Fellows receive an honorarium and a slot to read at Story/Stereo, a fusion of live music and literature in performance that was attended by roughly seven hundred listeners in its first year, 2009.

Story/Stereo's fall season opens tonight, featuring California-based poet Allison Benis White, whose poetry collection Self-Portrait With Crayon won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize in 2008, and fiction writer Aryn Kyle of New York City, author of a short story collection, Boys and Girls Like You and Me (Scribner, 2010), and a novel, The God of Animals (Scribner, 2007). Benis White and Kyle will be accompanied by musician John Davis at the event, which begins at 8 PM.

Other fellows selected for the fall are poet Jenny Browne (The Second Reason) and memoirist Debra Gwartney (Live Through This: A Mother’s Memoir of Runaway Daughters), who will read on October 8, and poet Alison Pelegrin (Big Muddy River of Stars) and fiction writer Doreen Baingana (Tropical Fish: Stories Out of Entebbe), set to perform on November 5.

The fellows are chosen by a panel of the center's board members, community representatives, and workshop leaders. In the first two seasons of the program, the winners were seven men and five women, half of whom had published only one book, and the other half two. Five fellows were writers of color.

Kyle Semmel, the center's publications and communications manager, says the organization is looking to bring in emerging writers from across the country. (Fellows who live more than 250 miles from Bethesda receive an honorarium of five hundred dollars and local writers receive half that amount.) The deadline for writers nationwide to submit work for spring 2011 consideration is September 30.

In the video below, tonight's featured writer Aryn Kyle reads the first part of an essay at the Franklin Park Reading Series in Brooklyn, New York, about her experience on a book tour (and dating another writer at the time). Subsequent scenes from the reading are posted on YouTube.

Now in their tenth year, the ReLit Awards honor independent poetry and fiction with a focus on celebrating ideas without the offer of a prize purse. The shortlists for this year's honors in poetry, short fiction, and the novel were announced earlier this week, highlighting titles published in 2009 by a variety of Canada-based small presses such as House of Anansi Press, Oberon Press, ECW Press, and Coach House Books.

The finalists in poetry are:
The Others Raisd in Me by Gregory Betts (Pedlar Press)
A Nice Place to Visit
by Sky Gilbert (ECW Press)
Red Nest by Gillian Jerome (Nightwood Editions)
The Last House
by Michael Kenyon (Brick Books)
Lisa Robertson's Magenta Soul Whip
by Lisa Robertson (Coach House Books)
Paper Radio by Damian Rogers (ECW Press)
Always Die Before Your Mother
by Patrick Woodcock (ECW Press)

The short fiction finalists are:
Sentimental Exorcisms by David Derry (Coach House Books) 
What Boys Like by Amy Jones (Biblioasis)
Men of Salt, Men of Earth by Matt Lennox (Oberon Press)
Fatted Calf Blues
by Steven Mayoff (Turnstone Press)
Buying Cigarettes for the Dog by Stuart Ross (Freehand Books)
What We’re Made Of
by Ryan Turner (Oberon Press)
The Moon of Letting Go by Richard Van Camp (Enfield & Wizenty)

The finalists in the novel are:
Overqualified by Joey Comeau (ECW Press)
After the Red Night
by Christiane Frenette (Cormorant Books)
The Plight House
by Jason Hrivnak (Pedlar Press)
The Beautiful Children by Michael Kenyon (Thistledown Press)
Wrong Bar
by Nathaniel G. Moore (Tightrope Books)
Away From Everywhere
by Chad Pelley (Breakwater Books)
Holding Still For As Long As Possible by Zoe Whittall (House of Anansi Press)

The winners will be announced on October 20 during the opening night of the Ottawa International Writers Festival in Ontario. Each will receive the ReLit ring, composed of four dials embossed with the alphabet.

The video below is a trailer for novel award finalist Zoe Whittall's shortlisted book.

Moon Milk Review, a free literary (and art and music) magazine whose aesthetic tends toward the "'otherlands' or 'slipstream' in literary style, including an appreciation for magical realist, surrealist, metarealist, and realist works with an offbeat spin," is holding a no-fee "prosetry" writing contest—but only through today. The journal is asking for a work of micro fiction, strictly under five hundred words, that responds to Salvador Dalí's painting Three Young Surrealist Women Holding in Their Arms the Skins of an Orchestra (1936), which is displayed on their Web site.

There is no cash prize, but the winning work will be published by Moon Milk Review, which offers a new issue monthly online.

Entries can take any form, as long as they relate to the painting and honor the length constraint. The online submission form and more about what the journal is looking for are available on the Moon Milk Review Web site

For a bit more Dalí inspiration, check out the video below, the dream sequence scene from the 1945 film Spellbound designed by the artist.

New Orleans Review, published by Loyola University in New Orleans, is currently holding its Walker Percy Short Fiction Contest, named in honor of the late physician novelist whose novels were often set in the Big Easy. The city has also been a realm of interest for this year's judge and NOLA native, Nancy Lemann, who called Percy her "hero" in a 1988 interview in BOMB magazine.

Lemann authored her first book, Lives of the Saints (Knopf, 1985), at age twenty, and has since published four additional works: the novels Sportsman's Paradise (Knopf, 1992), The Fiery Pantheon (Scribner, 1998), and Malaise (Scribner, 2002), and the nonfiction book Ritz of the Bayou (Knopf, 1987). Lemann's recent projects include, according to her bio on the Johns Hopkins
University
Web site, "an intergenerational saga of New Orleans
culminating in the hurricane."

The prize is one thousand dollars and publication in New Orleans Review. The journal will also consider the stories of twenty-five finalists for publication.

Story submissions of up to 7,500 words can be sent online or via postal mail until October 1, along with a fifteen-dollar fee per entry. Contest details and select content from the magazine's archive are available on the New Orleans Review Web site.

With a new batch of deadlines listings just posted in our Grants & Awards database, over the next few days we'll be highlighting select prizes with details about what winners can expect, judge profiles, winner stats, and more.

Fiction Collective Two (FC2), an imprint of the University of Alabama Press, is now accepting short story collections, novellas, and novels of any length for its two prizes, the Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize, which offers fifteen thousand dollars, and the one-thousand-dollar Ronald Sukenick American Book Review Innovative Fiction Prize. Both awards include publication by FC2.

We asked FC2 how the winners’ books are promoted, how the authors are publicized, and if finalists are typically awarded publication. Here’s what managing editor Carmen Edington had to say:

"Both contests' winners benefit from FC2's imprint-of-the-University-of-Alabama-Press (UAP) status. Together with UAP, FC2 promotes our authors in several national literary magazines, on our Web site and blog, and at the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference.

"FC2 aims to publish books of high quality whose style, subject matter, and form push the limits of American publishing. Our contests help us discover writers who are doing this and who have been doing this for years but haven't yet found a home for their writing."

The number of finalists published typically varies from none to two, according to Edington.

In 2009 Tricia Bauer received the first annual Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize for Father Flashes, which will be released in March 2011. Bauer, who works as vice president of special markets for Rosen Publishing in Manhattan, has previously published four books: Working Women and Other Stories (Bridge Works, 1995), Boondocking (St. Martin’s Press, 1999), Hollywood & Hardwood (St. Martin’s Press, 2000), and Shelterbelt (St. Martin’s Press, 2000). The Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize accepts submissions from any U.S. writer who has published a minimum of three books. Entries will be accepted until November 1.

The judge for this year’s contest is Ben Marcus, the author of The Age of Wire and String (Dalkey Archive Press, 1998), Notable American Women (Vintage Contemporaries, 2002), and The Father Costume (Artspace Books, 2002), who will also pen the foreword to the winning book. Known for his surrealist fiction, Marcus is the 2009 recipient of the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in fiction, and many other fellowships and prizes.

Sara Greenslit, a veterinarian at Healthy Pet Veterinary Clinic in Wisconsin, won the 2009 Ronald Sukenick American Book Review Innovative Fiction Prize for her novel As If a Bird Flew by Me which will also be released in 2011. She is also the author of The Blue of Her Body, which won the Starcherone Fiction Prize in 2005. The Sukenick Prize is open to any U.S. writer who has no history of publication with FC2. The deadline for submissions is November 1.

Kate Bernheimer, a member of FC2’s board of directors and editor of Fairy Tale Review, is slated to select this year’s winning manuscript. Members of the FC2 board of directors will also select finalists for both prizes.

Manuscripts will be judged on how well they fulfill FC2’s mission to publish “fiction considered by America’s largest publishers too challenging, innovative, or heterodox for the commercial milieu.” According to FC2’s website, these are works of “high quality and exceptional ambition whose styles, subject matter, or forms push the limits of American publishing and reshape our literary culture.”

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