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G&A: The Contest Blog

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.

Bellevue Literary Journal, named after New York City’s 275-year-old Bellevue Hospital and published by the department of medicine at New York University, is winding down its annual contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. The deadline is August 1 for submission of works that explore the realms of health, healing, illness, the body, and the mind. The prize in each genre is one thousand dollars and publication in the biannual journal.

The judges for the 2010 prize will be Tony Hoagland in poetry, Gail Godwin in fiction, and Phillip Lopate in creative nonfiction.

This year’s winner in poetry, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye, was Celeste Lipkes for "Moon-face." Honorable mentions were given to John Willson for "Patient Belongings" and Missy-Marie Montgomery for "Edges."

Katherine Ellis won in fiction for her story "Made With Metal and Constructed With Fire," and Buffy Cram received an honorable mention for "Mineral by Mineral." Rosellen Brown judged.

The creative nonfiction prize, judged by Natalie Angier, went to Amanda Leskovac for "Presence of Another," and Amy Nolan took finalist honors for "Close to the Bones."

All of their winning works appeared in the Spring 2009 issue. Selections from the issue, including Lipkes’s poem, are available on the journal’s Web site.

Shenandoah, the literary review of Washington and Lee University in Virginia, announced today that Aaron Baker of Charlottesville, Virginia, has been selected as winner of the 2009 Shenandoah/Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers. The $2,500 prize honors his first poetry collection, Mission Work (Houghton Mifflin, 2008), winner of the 2007 Bakeless Prize in poetry from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

Shenandoah/Glasgow Prize judge Alice Friman says that the book, evocative of Baker’s experiences as a child of missionaries in Papua New Guinea, illuminates "the essential mystery that underlies all things."

Prior to the release of his collection, Baker received his MFA from University of Virginia and spent time as a Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford University. He teaches at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

The Shenandoah/Glasgow Prize, given for a debut book of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction, will be given again in 2010 for a collection of stories. The deadline to submit a published book and an unpublished new story—the winning author’s piece will be published in Shenandoah—is March 31, 2010. Next year’s prize is two thousand dollars.

Past Shenandoah/Glasgow Prize winners are:

2008
Margot Singer in fiction for The Pale of Settlement (University of Georgia Press, 2007), selected by Cathryn Hankla

2007
Emily Rosko in poetry for Raw Goods Inventory (University of Iowa Press, 2006), selected by Sarah Kennedy

2006
Bret Anthony Johnston in fiction for Corpus Christi: Stories (Random House, 2004), selected by Donald Secreast

2005
Rebecca McClanahan in creative nonfiction for The Riddle Song and Other Rememberings (University of Georgia Press, 2002), selected by Jeffrey Hammond

2004
Catherine Barnett in poetry for Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced (Alice James Books, 2004), selected by Robert Wrigley

2003
Ann Pancake in fiction for Given Ground (University Press of New England, 2001), selected by David Jauss

2002
Christopher Cokinos in creative nonfiction for Hope Is a Thing With Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds (Tarcher/Putnam, 2000), selected by Kim Barnes

2001
Talvikki Ansel in Poetry for My Shining Archipelago (Yale University Press, 1997), selected by R. T. Smith

Esquire is doing it, and now fellow Hearst magazine Good Housekeeping has announced that it will be running a short story competition in the coming months. The prize is three thousand dollars and publication next May in the 124-year-old women’s journal that has published the work of writers including John Cheever, Somerset Maugham, Edwin Markham, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Evelyn Waugh, and Virginia Woolf.

The contest judge will be Jodi Picoult, best-selling author of—according to the tagline of her Web site—"novels about family, relationships, and love" such as My Sister’s Keeper (Atria Books, 2004) and Handle With Care (Atria Books, 2009).

Until September 15, U.S. writers can submit stories of no more than 3,500 words via e-mail. The magazine isn’t charging a fee for entries, but it is limiting submissions to one story per writer.

Two runners-up prizes of $750 each and publication on the Good Housekeeping Web site will also be given. The winners will be announced in mid-December.

Memoir (and), a biannual journal dedicated to creative nonfiction that challenges the boundaries of the form, is winding down its summer contest for memoir in poetry and prose. Writers working in any genre can submit their true stories until August 15 for an opportunity to win a prize of five hundred dollars and publication in the magazine.

A second-place prize of two hundred and fifty dollars and a third-place award of a hundred dollars will also be given. There’s no entry fee, and all submissions will be considered for publication.

So what does the journal consider memoir? According to the Frequently Asked Questions page on the Memoir (and) Web site, it's “any creative work that is not fictional and that observes or describes, in one way or another, the author’s personal experience. In form, it can be prose, epistolary, experimental, poetry, narrative photography, graphic, and so on.”

“When we first considered publishing a journal focused on memoir," founding editor Candida Lawrence says, "we were confident that we knew one when we read one, heard one, wrote one,” but adds that set parameters seemed elusive.

For those storytellers with visual arts inclinations, the journal is also offering a hundred-dollar prize for a graphic memoir. The deadline for that prize is also August 15.

Writers who are residents of Arizona, California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have the opportunity this summer to apply for awards specific to the states they call home.

Deadlines for grants from five states arts councils are coming up, offering awards that range from one thousand dollars to ten thousand dollars. Some funds are for specific projects, but others are no-strings grants.

Here is a list of upcoming deadlines for grants sponsored by state arts organizations:

July 31
Maryland State Arts Council (for fiction writers only)
Individual Artist Awards

August 1
Delaware Division of the Arts
Individual Artist Fellowships

September 1
Illinois Arts Council (for fiction and creative nonfiction writers only)
Artist Fellowship Awards

Ohio Arts Council
Individual Excellence Awards

September 3
Arizona Commission on the Arts
Artist Project Grants

Also this summer, California poets and fiction writers are invited to apply to the Writers Exchange Contest sponsored by Poets & Writers, Inc. The award is five hundred dollars and an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to meet with a wish list of writers, editors, and agents. The deadline is August 31.

Until September 1, women writers from Philadelphia can apply for the Leeway Foundation’s Art and Change Grants of up to $2,500 to fund a project that melds art and social progress.

Stay tuned later this summer for deadlines in October and November for New York, South Carolina, and Wyoming writers.

Kundiman, the New York City-based organization promoting Asian American poets, and Alice James Books, the Maine-based cooperative poetry press, have partnered to present a $2,000 book publication prize in 2010. The new award, the only prize of its kind, is dedicated exclusively to Asian American poets.

"We, Kundiman, are thrilled to be partnering with Alice James Books on this initiative in that it gives us an opportunity to participate in a material way the production of Asian American poetry and in the professional development of Asian American poets," said Sarah Gambito, Kundiman’s cofounder and executive board president. She went on to say that the award "fulfills our shared commitment to contributing to the diversity of voices in the poetic landscape."

Interested writers have the remainder of the summer and autumn to prepare their manuscripts, which should be forty-eight to eighty pages in length, with the deadline falling on January 15 of next year. The board members of Alice James Books and Kundiman will collectively judge the prize.

Kundiman, which has been in operation for six years, runs an annual retreat at the University of Virginia and a reading series in New York City. In 2005 and 2006, the organization awarded a prize for smaller volumes, the Vincent Chin Memorial Chapbook Prize.

More information about the award is forthcoming on the Kundiman Web site.

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