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G&A: The Contest Blog

Megan Harlan and Mariko Nagai, both of them writers of poetry and fiction, have won 2009 book publication prizes from the University of Missouri's BkMk Press. Harlan, who lives in Berkeley, California, won the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry for her debut collection, Mapmaking, selected by Sidney Wade. Jonis Agee chose Nagai’s first story collection, Georgic, as winner of the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction. Each winner received one thousand dollars, and their books will be published by BkMk Press next year.

Harlan’s poems and stories have appeared in AGNI Online, Meridian, Prairie Schooner, and Sycamore Review, among other journals. She has also written essays about her travels to global destinations such as the Orkney Islands of Scotland and the oases of Tunisia for the New York Times.

Nagai, who lives in Tokyo and teaches at Temple University’s Japan campus, has previously published a poetry collection, Histories of Bodies, which won the 2005 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award and was released by Red Hen Press in 2007. She has also received Pushcart Prizes in both poetry and fiction, and translates Japanese literature.

The deadline for the 2010 book prizes is January 15. The contests are open to poetry manuscripts of 50 to 110 pages and short fiction manuscripts of 125 to 300 pages, and writers should submit an entry fee of twenty-five dollars along with each submission.

For creative nonfiction writers looking to submit work before the summer’s end, three publications have essay contests underway. Literal Latté, an online journal that publishes a yearly anthology, is accepting entries for its Ames Essay Award until September 15, and the Creative Nonfiction Prize from Hunger Mountain, a print and online arts magazine published by Vermont College of Fine Arts, is open until September 10. Each awards offers a one-thousand-dollar prize and publication of the winning work.

Real Simple magazine, whose award we covered on this blog in May, is also looking for personal essays. Its Life Lessons Essay Contest, which will award three thousand dollars and publication in the national magazine, closes on September 7.

The winner of last year’s Ames Essay Award is Margi Fox of Bellingham, Washington, for "God of Books," which is available on the Literal Latté Web site. The journal’s editors judged.

Diane Glancy of Shawnee Mission, Kansas, won Hunger Mountain’s 2008 Creative Nonfiction Prize, judged by Nick Flynn, for her essay "Discourses on Paper Dolls."  The finalists were Judy Copeland of Pomona, New Jersey, for "Louisville, 1953" and Kali Meister of Knoxville, Tennessee, for "Seven Vignettes About Rats." This year's contest will be judged by Robin Hemley.

Aldra Robinson of Los Angeles won the 2008 Life Lessons Essay Contest for "A Witness to Grace,"  which was selected by editors of Real Simple. Her piece responded to the question, "What was the most important day of your life?" This year's competition asks writers, "When did you realize that you had become a grown-up?"

Daniel Khalastchi of Milwaukee has been named the winner of Tupelo Press’s tenth annual First Book Award for his poetry collection The Maturation of Man. He will receive three thousand dollars, and his debut book, selected by editors of College of Charleston's Crazyhorse literary journal and Tupelo Press, will be published by the Massachusetts-based independent press.

Khalastchi, whose work has appeared in jubilat, Ninth Letter, and Court Green, among other journals, is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a former fellow of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Eleven finalists for the award were also announced. They are:
Ari Banias of New York City for One the Whistler, One the Dog

Laurie Capps of Austin, Texas, for Modern Recluse

Brett Foster of Wheaton, Illinois, for The Garbage Eater

Christina Hutchins of Albany, California, for World Without

Tanya Larkin of Somerville, Massachusetts, for Enemy Love Song

Dawn Lonsinger of Salt Lake City for fatal light awareness

Jynne Martin of New York City for We Mammals in Hospitable Times

Kathy Nilsson of Cambridge, Massachusetts, for Black Lemons

Addie Palin of Chicago for The Cautery

Juliet Rodeman of Columbia, Missouri, for Tropics of Petticoats

Amanda Rachelle Warren of Aiken, South Carolina, for Some Grain of Absolute Among the Trembling

The deadline to enter manuscripts for next year’s prize is April 15, 2010.

[Correction: Due to inaccurate information provided by the sponsoring organization, the cash value of the First Book Award was incorrectly stated in the August 3, 2009 blog post. The First Book Award is worth three thousand dollars.]

Both fiction writers and poets have the opportunity to submit their first book manuscripts to the St. Lawrence Book Award competition, which will close on August 31. The winning collection will be published by Black Lawrence Press, an imprint of Dzanc Books, and the winner will receive one thousand dollars.

The contest is unique in that its field of competition is open to both poetry and fiction—and the press asserts that no bias favors one genre over the other. “We consider this a natural extension of the literary magazine, which traditionally publishes both fiction and poetry,” the press says on its Web site. “Having a less limited focus than most other…literary contests affords Black Lawrence Press the opportunity to receive—and publish—the best writing today, period, regardless of genre.”

Poets should submit—via e-mail—manuscripts of 60 to 100 pages, and fiction writers should submit collections of 110 to 200 pages. The entry fee is twenty-five dollars.

Last year’s winner was Yelizaveta Renfro of Sidney, Nebraska, for her story collection A Catalogue of Everything in the World. Other winners have included Fred McGavran for his story collection The Butterfly Collector, Jason Tandon for his poetry collection Give Over the Heckler and Everyone Gets Hurt, Stefi Weisburf for her poetry collection The Wind-Up Gods, and Marcel Jolley for his story collection Neither Here Nor There.

Editors of Black Lawrence Press will judge the contest. The finalists, all of whom will be considered for publication, will be announced in October, and a winner will be named shortly thereafter.

The Man Group, sponsors of the Man Booker Prize, whose longlist of finalists was announced on Tuesday, has also recently released the names of twenty-four authors who will be considered for another of the literary awards financed by the company: the Man Asian Literary Prize. The prize, established in 2007, recognizes a novel by an Asian writer that has not yet been published in English, regardless of whether it has been released in another language. The winner will receive ten thousand dollars, and an additional three thousand dollars will go to the book's translator.

One hundred and fifty writers, ranging from emerging to established, submitted works for consideration. The nation most represented in the entry pool was India, followed by the Philippines and Hong Kong. Submissions were also made by writers hailing from China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan.

The longlisted finalists are:
Gopilal Acharya for With a Stone in My Heart
Omair Ahmad for Jimmy the Terrorist
Siddharth Chowdhury for Day Scholar
Kishwar Desai for Witness the Night
Samuel Ferrer for The Last Gods of Indochine
Eric Gamalinda for The Descartes Highlands
Ram Govardhan for Rough With the Smooth
Kanishka Gupta for History of Hate
Kameroon Rasheed Ismeer for Memoirs of a Terrorist
Ratika Kapur for Overwinter
Mariam Karim for The Bereavement of Agnes Desmoulins
Sriram Karri for The Autobiography of a Mad Nation
Nitasha Kaul for Residue
R. Zamora Linmark for Leche
Mario I. Miclat for Secrets of the Eighteen Mansions
Clarissa V. Militante for Different Countries
Varuna Mohite for Omigod
Dipika Mukherjee for Thunder Demons
Hena Pillai for Blackland
Roan Ching-Yueh for Lin Xiu-Tzi and her Family
Edgar Calabia Samar for Eight Muses of the Fall
K. Srilata for Table for Four
Su Tong for The Boat to Redemption
Oyungerel Tsedevdamba for Shadow of the Red Star

A shortlist of finalists will be released in October, and the winner, selected by novelists Pankaj Mishra, Colm Tóibín, and Gish Jen, will be announced on November 16 in Hong Kong.

Yesterday the Poetry Foundation announced the five recipients of its 2009 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships. U.S. poets Malachi Black, Eric Ekstrand, Chloë Honum, Jeffrey Schultz, and Joseph Spece, all under the age of thirty-one, received awards of fifteen thousand dollars each to "to use as they wish in continued study and writing of poetry."

The editors of Poetry magazine—including former Ruth Lilly fellow Christian Wiman, who now heads the journal—selected the winners from a pool of more than five hundred and fifty applications. Poems by each of the fellows will appear in the November issue.

The fellowship program, now in its twentieth year, once gave a single award annually to a poet nominated by a university writing program. It has since expanded to offer five awards, and has opened its doors to entries from all U.S. poets between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one. Guidelines for entry into next year’s fellowship competition will be available on the Poetry Foundation’s Web site in February 2010.

The fellows since the award's inception, many of whom have gone on to publish, teach, and edit literary magazines and small press publications, are:

1989 Saskia Hamilton

1990 Cathy Wagner

1991 Gregory A. Sellers

1992 James Kimbrell

1993 Davis McCombs

1994 Christian Wiman

1995 Matt D. Collinsworth

1996 Erin G. Brooks, Zarina Mullan Plath

1997 Delisa Mulkey, W. Morri Creech

1998 Christine Stewart, Robin Cooper-Stone

1999 Kevin Meaux, Maudelle Driskell

2000 Christina Pugh, Wayne Miller

2001 Ilya Kaminsky, Alissa Leigh

2002 Emily Rosko, Marc Bittner

2003 Katherine Larson, Kathleen Rooney

2004 Nathan Bartel, Emily Moore

2005 Michael McGriff, Miller Oberman

2006 Colin Cheney, David Krump

2007 Sean Brian Bishop, Megan Grumbling

2008 Nicky Beer, Roger Reeves, Michael Rutherglen, Alison Stine, Caki Wilkinson

The judges of the Man Booker Prize announced today their first wave of selections for the 2009 award, given to honor a novel by a citizen of the British Commonwealth, Ireland, or Zimbabwe. The longlist, which will be winnowed to six finalists announced on September 8, includes three debut novelists, two former winners, and a handful of authors previously nominated for the honor. The recipient of this year's fifty-thousand-pound prize will be announced on October 6 in London.

The longlisted authors are:
A. S. Byatt for The Children's Book (Chatto and Windus)
Winner in 1990 for Possession (Chatto and Windus)

J. M. Coetzee
for Summertime (Harvill Secker)
Winner in 1983 for Life & Times of Michael K (Secker & Warburg) and in 1999 for Disgrace (Secker & Warburg); previously longlisted for Elizabeth Costello (Secker & Warburg, 2003) and Slow Man (Secker & Warburg, 2005)

Adam Foulds for The Quickening Maze (Jonathan Cape)

Sarah Hall for How to Paint a Dead Man (Faber and Faber)
Previously shortlisted for The Electric Michelangelo (Faber and Faber, 2004)

Samantha Harvey for her debut The Wilderness (Jonathan Cape)

James Lever for his debut Me Cheeta (Fourth Estate)

Hilary Mantel for Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate)
Previously longlisted for Beyond Black (Fourth Estate, 2005)

Simon Mawer for The Glass Room (Little, Brown)

Ed O'Loughlin for his debut Not Untrue & Not Unkind (Penguin)

James Scudamore for Heliopolis (Harvill Secker)

Colm Toibin for Brooklyn (Viking)
Previously shortlisted for The Master (Picador, 2004) and The Blackwater Lightship (Picador, 1999)

William Trevor for Love and Summer (Viking)
Previously shortlisted for The Story of Lucy Gault (Viking, 2002), Reading Turgenev (from Two Lives) (Viking, 1991), The Children of Dynmouth (Bodley Head, 1976), and Mrs. Eckdorf in O’Neill’s Hotel (Bodley Head, 1970)

Sarah Waters for The Little Stranger (Virago)
Previously shortlisted for The Night Watch (Virago, 2006) and Fingersmith (Virago, 2002)

The "Man Booker Dozen" was selected from a pool of 132 entries by judges Lucasta Miller, John Mullan, James Naughtie, Sue Perkins, and Michael Prodger.

Debut novelist Aravind Adiga won the 2008 prize for The White Tiger (Atlantic), which is being translated into thirty-nine languages and whose U.K. edition has sold more than a half-million copies. Other winners of the forty-year-old prize have gone on to tour the world and see their novels climb the bestseller lists. Who do you think should take this year’s influential honor–an established master, a midcareer author, or an emerging voice?

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