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G&A: The Contest Blog

Chautauqua, the journal of the Chautauqua Institution in western New York, is seeking entries for its annual contest, open each year to writers working in different genres. This year's competition is open to fiction writers whose stories touch on the "broadly conceived" theme of music and words. The winner will receive a prize of one thousand dollars and publication in the journal.

The judge will be David Crouse, short story writer and "fringe art" enthusiast—among Crouse's interests, according to the journal, are "punk rock, 'outsider' music, neo-psychedlia, found art, Italian zombie movies, and other odd cultural artifacts." His stories have been collected in two books, Copy Cats, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction from University of Georgia Press, and The Man Back There, which won the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction from Sarabande Books, and published in journals such as the Greensboro Review and Quarterly West. Crouse's comic book writing has also appeared in the anthology The Dark Horse Book of the Dead (Dark Horse Comics, 2005).

Chautauqua is accepting story entries of up to five thousand words, sent along with a twenty dollar entry fee, until November 15.

Marick Press, the publisher of poets such as Franz Wright, G. C. Waldrep, and Katie Ford, has launched a new poetry book contest. Accepting entries now, the competition is open to manuscripts of forty-eight to eighty pages until October 15.

Alicia Suskin Ostriker, whose chapbook At the Revelation Restaurant and Other Poems was published by Marick Press this year, will judge the inaugural prize. The winner, announced on March 15, 2010, will receive one thousand dollars and publication of his or her collection by the nonprofit press.

Ostriker is the author of twelve poetry collections, including the forthcoming work The Book of Seventy, which will be published by University of Pittsburgh Press in October. Her previous books include The Mother/Child Papers (Momentum Press, 1980), the volcano sequence (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2002), and No Heaven (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005). Twice a finalist for the National Book Award, Ostriker is Professor Emerita of English at Rutgers University and teaches at the low-residency program at Drew University.

The National Poetry Series announced yesterday the five winners of the 2009 Open Competition. The prize, established in 1978, is given annually to "ensure the publication of five books of poetry a year" through trade, university, and small press publishers, with winning manuscripts selected by established poets.

This year's winners are:
Julie Carr of Denver for Sarah—Of Fragments and Lines, selected by Eileen Myles and to be published by Coffee House Press

Colin Cheney of New York City for Here Be Monsters, selected by David Wojahn, and to be published by University of Georgia Press

Carrie Fountain of Austin, Texas, for Burn Lake, selected by Natasha Trethewey and to be published by Penguin Books

Erika Meitner of Blacksburg, Virginia, for Ideal Cities, selected by Paul Guest and to be published by HarperCollins

Jena Osman of Philadelphia for The Network, selected by Prageeta Sharma, and to be published by Fence Books

Each winner received one thousand dollars, and their winning books will be published during the summer of 2010.

The Man Booker Prize judges announced today the finalists for the 2009 award, selected from a longlist of thirteen. Six writers now have less than a month to wait to see who of them will receive the fifty-thousand-pound prize (a little over eighty thousand dollars), given for a novel written by a citizen of the British Commonwealth or Ireland.

The shortlisted titles are:

The Children's Book (Chatto and Windus) by A. S. Byatt

Summertime (Harvill Secker) by J. M. Coetzee

The Quickening Maze (Jonathan Cape) by Adam Fould

Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate) by Hilary Mantel

The Glass Room (Little, Brown) by Simon Mawer

The Little Stranger (Virago) by Sarah Waters 

For readers interested in sampling the selected texts, audio excerpts from the finalists' books, as well as interviews with the writers, are available on the prize Web site. The site is also hosting a virtual debate about the shortlisted books.

This year's judges are critic Lucasta Miller, journalist John Mullan, broadcaster James Naughtie, comedian Sue Perkins, and Sunday Telegraph literary editor Michael Prodger. They will reveal the winner on October 6.

Use the holiday weekend now upon us to prepare your manuscript for entry into one of this autumn's upcoming first book awards. Unpublished poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers all have an opportunity to submit debut works to competitions running from now through November 15, listed below.

For poets:
Academy of American Poets
Walt Whitman Award
open from September 15 through November 15

American Poetry Review
Honickman First Book Prize
open through October 31

Persea Books
Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize
open through November 2

Perugia Press
Poetry Prize
open through November 15

Silverfish Review Press
Gerald Cable Book Award
open through October 15

Yale University Press
Yale Series of Younger Poets
open from October 1 through November 15

(N.B. Poets, check out Katrina Vandenberg's article "Putting Your Poetry in Order, the Mix-Tape Strategy" for one writer's advice on how to organize a manuscript.)

For fiction writers:
University of Iowa Press
Short Fiction Awards
September 30

For writers in all genres:
Bread Loaf Writers' Conference
Bakeless Literary Publication Prizes
open from September 30 through November 1

Three writers have received 2009 Beyond Margins Awards from PEN American Center, the literary and human rights organization announced today. The winners are Uwem Akpan, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Lily Hoang.

Akpan, of Lagos, Nigeria, won for his debut short story collection Say You're One of Them (Little, Brown and Company). Herrera, who lives in Redlands, California, received the award for his poetry collection Half of the World in Light (University of Arizona Press), which also won the International Latino Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award this year. Hoang, of South Bend, Indiana, is honored for her novel Changing (Fairy Tale Review Press).

The writers join award alumni including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Alberto Ríos, Chris Abani, and Joy Harjo, to name four of the twenty-nine previous winners.

The Beyond Margins Awards are given by PEN each year to recognize works by writers of color published in the previous year. The prize is sponsored by PEN's Open Book Program, which promotes diversity within the American literary community and publishing industry. Then next deadline for publishers and agents to submit books for prize consideration is December 14.

The Rona Jaffe Foundation announced the winners of the organization's fifteenth annual Writers' Awards, devoted to the support of emerging women poets and prose writers. The recipients of the twenty-five-thousand-dollar grants are poets Vievee Francis, Janice N. Harrington, and Heidy Steidlmayer, fiction writers Lori Ostlund and Helen Phillips, and creative nonfiction writer Krista Bremer.

The winners were selected from a pool of nominations made by select writers, editors, and critics who remain anonymous. In September, the six writers will be honored at a reception in New York City, where the foundation says the honorees will be introduced to an array of industry professionals, including agents, publishers, and fellow writers, among them inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander.

Rona Jaffe, author of the best-selling novel The Best of Everything (Simon & Schuster, 1958) and other works of fiction, established the annual awards in 1995. Ninety-eight women have since received the grants, among them Lan Samantha Chang, ZZ Packer, Tracy K. Smith, and Rivka Galchen.

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