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G&A: The Contest Blog

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?

A Room of Her Own Foundation (AROHO), named after one of Virginia Woolf’s prerequisites for a life of writing—the other being money—has created a new opportunity for a woman poet to win some of the latter, plus publication. The organization, which offers the biennial fifty-thousand-dollar Gift of Freedom Award, recently announced the first To the Lighthouse Poetry Publication Prize, a one-thousand-dollar award that includes publication of the winning poetry collection by Red Hen Press.

Poets may submit a 48- to 96-page manuscript by September 30, along with an entry fee of twenty dollars and a cover sheet available on the AROHO Web site. Red Hen Press editor Kate Gale will judge, and the winner will be announced on November 15.

(For women writers looking to realize a significant project, the next Gift of Freedom Award, given in 2008 to fiction writer Barb Johnson of New Orleans, will be offered in 2010.)

Later this summer, Persea Books and Perugia Press will open their contests for poetry collections by women. Persea Books will accept submissions for its Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize from September 1 to November 2, and Perugia's Poetry Prize for a first or second book will run from August 1 to November 15.

Olivet College, the 165-year-old liberal arts school located in the southern Michigan town of the same name, is looking for a poet to participate in its tradition of hosting "the best-known writers of the time." The college is currently inviting applications for the position of Sandburg-Auden-Stein poet-in-residence for a mini-term in April and May of 2011, opening the field to "poets who are establishing a name for themselves in this new millennium."

The award is named for Carl Sandburg, W. H. Auden, and Gertrude Stein, who are among the luminaries who have passed through the campus. Sinclair Lewis, Sherwood Anderson, Katherine Anne Porter, and Ford Madox Ford also spent time at Olivet, and recent resident poets are John Rybicki and Carol V. Davis.

The 2011 resident poet, who will receive room and board and a $3,100 honorarium, will teach one poetry writing class, host a public reading, and give one talk on a subject of her choice during the three-week term.

Poets who have published at least one book of poetry are eligible to apply. Olivet is asking each applicant to submit a selection of poems from her most recent book, a statement on personal poetics and teaching, a resumé, and two references. The deadline is September 10.

For only the second time in history, an American has been named a finalist for the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection, a prestigious U.K. poetry award. Sharon Olds, nominated for One Secret Thing (Jonathan Cape), joins five other poets, each of them well established in the U.K. poetry scene, in the running for the ten-thousand-pound award, worth roughly sixteen thousand U.S. dollars.

Also nominated for best collection are:
Glyn Maxwell of England for Hide Now (Picador)
Don Paterson of Scotland, who won the Forward Prize for a first collection in 1993, for Rain (Faber and Faber)
Peter Porter of England and Australia, who won the best collection prize in 2002, for Better Than God (Picador)
Christopher Reid of England for A Scattering (Areté Books)
Hugo Williams of England for West End Final (Faber and Faber)

Representing U.S. poetry among the finalists in the two other Forward Poetry Prize categories are Meghan O’Rourke and C. K. Williams. O’Rourke, poetry editor of the Paris Review, was nominated for best debut collection for Halflife (Norton). Williams is in the running for best single poem for "Either/Or," published in the U.K. journal the Poetry Review. The first book honor carries a prize of five thousand pounds (approximately eight thousand dollars), and the single poem award is one thousand pounds (approximately sixteen hundred dollars).

The other debut collection finalists are:
Siân Hughes of England for The Missing (Salt)
Emma Jones of Australia for The Striped World (Faber and Faber)
Meirion Jordan of Wales for Moonrise (Seren)
Lorraine Mariner of England for Furniture (Picador)
J. O. Morgan of England for Natural Mechanical (CB Editions)

The finalists for best poem are:
Paul Farley of England for "Moles" from the Poetry Review
Michael Longley of Ireland for "Visiting Stanley Kunitz" from Irish Pages
Robin Robertson of Scotland for "At Roane Road" from London Review of Books
Elizabeth Speller of England for "Finistère" from the Bridport Prize Anthology
George Szirtes of Hungary and England for "Song" from the Liberal

The book awards are given annually by the Forward Arts Foundation to honor collections published in the U.K. or Ireland between October of the previous year and September of the current year. The eligibility window for poems spans from May of the previous year through April of the current year.

The Forward Prize winners will be announced in London on October 7, on the eve of U.K.’s National Poetry Day. The judges are poets Tishani Doshi, David Harsent, and Jean Sprackland, fiction writer and theatre producer Josephine Hart, and the Guardian’s poetry editor Nicholas Wroe.

For the curious, the first American finalist for best collection was August Kleinzahler, nominated for The Strange Hours Travelers Keep (Faber and Faber) in 2004.

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