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G&A: The Contest Blog

Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature this morning, the first time in twenty-eight years that the award has been given to a South American writer. (Gabriel García Márquez received the prize in 1982.) The Swedish Academy recognized Vargas Llosa for "his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat." Following the award announcement, the Guardian named five must-read Vargas Llosa novels; the Paris Review and Christian Science Monitor also have posted interviews with the author from their archives.

In other awards news, the Forward Arts Foundation in London named Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney winner of this year's ten-thousand-pound Forward Prize (approximately $15,877). The poet was honored with the United Kingdom's most lucrative poetry award for his collection Human Chain (Faber and Faber), the first collection published after the Heaney's 2006 stroke. This is the first Forward Prize for the seventy-one-year-old poet, who has been shortlisted twice for his collections District and Circle (Faber and Faber, 2006) and The Spirit Level (Faber and Faber, 1996).

The Forward's Felix Dennis Prize for a debut collection went to Hilary Menos, an organic farmer and mother of four sons, for Berg (Seren Books). She received five thousand pounds ($7,938). Julia Copus, who is also a radio dramatist, won the one-thousand-pound prize ($1,587) for a single poem for "An Easy Passage."

In Spain, late Canary Island poet Jose Maria Millares Sall was awarded the country's national poetry prize for his final collection, Cuadernos 2000–2009 (Notebooks 2000–2009). His niece commented to the Latin American Herald Tribune that the Culture Ministry's awarding of the twenty-thousand-euro prize ($27,858) to her uncle, who died one year ago, was “a very great act of poetic justice."

In the video below, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Peter Englund, reveals the 2010 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Carve Magazine, an online outpost for fiction, returned last month from a yearlong hiatus with an announcement of its eleventh annual Raymond Carver Short Story Contest. The winning story will be published in Carve, and its author will receive one thousand dollars.

In an effort to ensure at least a forty-five day entry period (the contest opened on September 7), the deadline has recently been extended from October 15 to October 31. Stories of up to five thousand words each can be mailed (with a fifteen dollar fee) or submitted via Submishmash (for seventeen dollars). The editors say that they may deliver comments on entries made electronically, a feature enabled by the online submission system. Complete guidelines for how to enter are available on the Carve Web site.

Past prize judges include short story writers Ben Fountain and Cristina Henríquez and magazine founder Melvin Sterne. Selecting this year's winner is Carve editor Matthew Limpede. "We look for fiction that is captivating and full of emotional honesty, that speaks to the human condition," Limpede says. "We want to be left with a lasting feeling at the end of the story. This is usually achieved when the writer is in full control of the craft of the story."

For more upcoming deadlines, visit our Submission Calendar.

For the fifth year, the National Book Foundation has named its Five Under Thirty-Five honorees, a group of young novelists and short fiction writers selected for recognition by former National Book Award (NBA) winners and finalists. This year's list, dominated by women, includes expats from the former Yugoslavia and the Virgin Islands, two recipients of the Rona Jaffe Writers' Award for emerging women writers, an O. Henry Prize winner, and two small press authors.

Iowa Writers' Workshop alumna and Rona Jaffe Writers' Award–winner Sarah Braunstein was selected by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, an NBA fiction finalist for Madeleine Is Sleeping (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004). Braunstein's debut novel, The Sweet Relief of Missing Children, is forthcoming from Norton in 2011.

Grace Krilanovich, whose first novel, The Orange Eats Creeps, was published by Two Dollar Radio in September, was chosen by Scott Spencer, an NBA fiction finalist for his novels A Ship Made of Paper (Ecco, 2003) and Endless Love (Knopf, 1979).

Téa Obreht, a New York State author (by way of the former Yugoslavia, Cyprus, and Egypt) who has already seen her fiction published in the New Yorker and the Atlantic, was chosen by Colum McCann, last year's NBA winner for Let the Great World Spin (Random House, 2009). Obreht's first novel, The Tiger’s Wife, is forthcoming from Random House in 2011.

Rona Jaffe Writers' Award–winner and Drew University professor Tiphanie Yanique, born in Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands, was selected by Jayne Anne Phillips, a finalist for Lark and Termite (Knopf, 2009). Yanique's debut novella and story collection, How to Escape from a Leper Colony, was published by Graywolf Press last March.

O. Henry Prize–winner Paul Yoon was selected by Kate Walbert, an NBA finalist for Our Kind, a novel in stories (Scribner, 2004). Yoon's first story collection, Once the Shore, published by Sarabande in 2009, won the John C. Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughshares.

The five will read from their books at a party at powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, New York, on November 15. The event, hosted by Rosanne Cash and featuring Love Is a Mix Tape author Rob Sheffield as deejay, commences the National Book Awards Week celebrations leading up to the announcement of this year's prizes on November 17.

The video below is the book trailer for Krilanovich's debut, which follows a band of "vampire junkies" through a nineties-era Pacific Northwest.

Mediabistro, along with its affiliate blogs GalleyCat and eBookNewser, is inviting writers of fiction and nonfiction to send in their best book pitches for a chance at Big Apple exposure. Finalists will read their proposals (or have their pitches read by a Mediabistro staffer) at a New York City book pitch party on November 3, described as "a book club for book proposals: showcasing the work of ten talented writers and forging a community of aspiring authors."

Three winners, selected during the party by a panel of yet-unnamed judges, will receive a ticket to Mediabistro's December 15 conference on digital publishing, the eBookSummit, as well as a consultation with pitch party panelists. Winners are required to attend this main event, which promises all attendees interaction with innovative publishers, tips on building a digital audience, and information on writing for the handheld screen.

Book proposals, which should be one page long and single spaced, must be submitted via e-mail by October 15. Full guidelines are available on the eBookNewser Web site.

Cave Canem, the national organization known as a "major watering hole and air pocket for Black poetry" in North America, has named its eleventh annual poetry book prize winner. Judge Elizabeth Alexander selected Philadelphia poet Iain Haley Pollock's collection Spit Back a Boy for the award, which includes one thousand dollars and publication of the book by University of Georgia Press.

Among the poets whose debuts were published through the award in the past are Pulitzer Prize–winner Natasha Trethewey; Major Jackson, a Pew Fellow and Whiting Writers' Award–winner; and the recipient of this year's Rolex Mentor and 
Protégé Arts Initiative fellowship, Tracy K. Smith, who also won a Whiting Writers' Award. Also recognized this year is Vida Cross, who received an honorable mention for her manuscript "Bronzeville at Night: 1949."

For those looking to sample of Pollock's poetry before his book's release in spring 2011, several of his poems can be read online in journals such as Agni Online, Boston Review, and the Drunken Boat.

Cave Canem's next deadline for first-book manuscript submissions from African American poets is April 30, 2011.

The Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, a National Trust Historic Hotel of America established in 1893, is looking for a writer to tell the stories of the "many interesting people who pass through" each day. The Pfister Narrator, who will spend ten hours each week in the hotel lobby interviewing guests and collecting tales for the Pfister blog, will receive a stipend of one thousand dollars a month for a six-month tenure, as well as meals and parking (not lodging, however).

Among the hotel's notable guests, about whom the writer-in-residence would write two posts a week, is rumored to be one spectral presence: the ghost of founder Charles Pfister. "A 'visitor' has been spotted surveying the lobby from the grand staircase, strolling the minstrel's gallery above the ballroom, and passing through the ninth floor storage area," says a statement under Ghost Stories on the hotel Web site. "He is always described in roughly the same terms: older, portly, smiling, and well-dressed. Upon seeing a portrait of Pfister, witnesses swore that it was the man they had seen."

Also regularly occupying the hotel—in physical form—is painter Katie Musoloff, the second of the hotel's artists-in-residence. In the video below, Musoloff describes her process for creating portraits, and her plan to generate work inspired by the Pfister building and its inhabitants.

To apply for the writer-in-residence opportunity, writers should submit via e-mail two to three writing samples, a resumé and cover letter, a two-hundred-word proposal, and two letters of reference. The deadline for submissions is this Friday, October 1. Complete guidelines are available on the hotel Web site.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced yesterday the winners of its 2010 "Genius" Fellowships, among them one author. Lauded Chinese American fiction writer Yiyun Li, who struggled for several year with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to prove herself of the "extraordinary ability" required for citizenship, received the five-hundred-thousand-dollar award, given out-of-the-blue to innovators in all fields and "designed to provide an extra measure of freedom, visibility, and opportunity."

Li, an alumna of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and author of the story collections Gold Boy, Emerald Girl (Random House, 2010) and A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (Random House, 2005) and the novel The Vagrants (Random House, 2009), has previously won a Whiting Writers Award, the Plimpton Prize from the Paris Review, the Frank O'Hara International Short Story Award, and the Guardian First Book Award, among other honors. The mother of two and assistant professor at University of California in Davis told the Los Angeles Times that she anticipated the fellowship funds will allow her to focus more on writing and a little less on teaching.

Joining Li in this year's honor roll are twenty-two other "explorers and risk takers" including sign language linguist Carol Padden, type designer Matthew Carter, historian Annette Gordon-Reed, jazz pianist Jason Moran, and journalist and screenwriter David Simon, known for his work on the television series Homicide: Life on the Streets and The Wire. The complete list is posted on the MacArthur Foundation Web site.

Among the writers to have won the award in the past are John Ashbery, Edwidge Danticat, Ann Lauterbach, Jonathan Lethem, Heather McHugh, and David Foster Wallace.

In the video below, Li discusses her connection to Winnie the Pooh (which she read first as Willie Ille Pu—the Latin translation), happiness, and what authors she'd like to meet one-on-one.

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