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G&A: The Contest Blog

The finalists have been announced for the inaugural Write a House residency, a new program through which a formerly vacant home in Detroit is renovated and given permanently to a creative writer.

The ten finalists are Lydia Conklin of East Sandwich, Massachusetts; Matthew Fogarty of Columbia, South Carolina; Adam Morris of San Francisco; Anne Elizabeth Moore of Chicago; Jason Reynolds and Casey Rocheteau, both of Brooklyn, New York; Aisha Sabatani Sloan of Los Angeles; Valerie Vande Panne of Detroit; Darryl Lorenzo Wellington of Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Monika Zobel of Bremen, Germany. Finalists' bios can be found on the Write a House website.

The winner will be announced on September 19, and will be invited to move into his or her new house soon thereafter.

Write a House received roughly 350 applications in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction from throughout the United States and abroad. “Many of our best applicants came from right here in Detroit,” the organizers wrote in an announcement on the Write a House blog. “There were many excellent and inspiring submissions, and if we could give a home to every talented writer who applied, we would.”

The organization plans to open applications for its next house in early 2015.

The judges were Write a House cofounder Toby Barlow, along with poets and writers Billy Collins, dream hampton, Major Jackson, Sean MacDonald, Michael Stone Richards, and Tamara Warren. Finalists were selected based on the quality of their work and for their potential to contribute to the neighborhood and the literary culture of Detroit.

For more information on Write a House, read an article on the program currently featured in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Photo: The first Write a House property, located in Detroit’s Banglatown neighborhood. Credit: Andy Kopietz.

Submissions are open for the twenty-seventh annual Oregon Book Awards, sponsored by the Portland-based nonprofit Literary Arts. The annual prizes are given for books by Oregon residents published in the previous year. The winners will receive $1,000 each and will be announced at an awards ceremony in Portland in April.

Awards are given in the following categories: poetry, short fiction, the novel, creative nonfiction, general nonfiction, children’s literature, young adult literature, drama, and readers’ choice. Submit two copies of a book published between August 1, 2013, and July 31, 2014, with the required entry form and $40 entry fee by August 29. Submissions should be mailed to Literary Arts, 925 SW Washington, Portland, OR 97205. Writers who are Oregon residents and who live in Oregon for at least six months of the year are eligible. Self-published books are eligible. The judges for each category will be announced when the finalists are announced in January; all judges are from out of state.

The 2014 winners include poet Mary Szybist for her collection Incarnadine (Graywolf), chosen by Kwame Dawes; fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin for her story collection The Unreal and the Real (Small Beer Press), chosen by Alan Cheuse; nonfiction writer Jay Ponteri for his memoir Wedlocked (Hawthorne Books), chosen by Ander Monson; and fiction writer Amanda Coplin for her novel The Orchardist (Harper Perennial), chosen by readers.

Literary Arts has administered the Oregon Book Awards for twenty-seven years. The organization also offers the Portland Arts & Lectures series, Oregon Fellowships, Writers in the Schools program, and Delve Readers Seminars.


Photo: Ursula K. Le Guin, the 2014 fiction winner. Credit: Motoya Nakamura

Submissions are open for the inaugural Gulf Coast Translation Prize. An award of $1,000 and publication in the April 2015 issue of Gulf Coast will be given for a poem or group of poems translated into English. Translator and poet Jen Hofer will judge.

Submit up to five pages of poetry translated into English with the original text with a $17 entry fee by August 31. Preference will be given to translations of work published within the last fifty years. Translators may submit using the online submission system, or by postal mail to Gulf Coast, English Department, University of Houston, Houston, TX  77204. All entries will be considered for publication; two honorable mentions will also be published in the April 2015 issue of Gulf Coast.

Judge Jen Hofer is a poet, translator, educator, bookmaker, and social justice interpreter. She has published three poetry collections, several handmade chapbooks, and four translations of poetry by Mexican women. Her most recent translation, Ivory Black (Les Figues Press, 2011)—a translation from the Spanish of Mexican poet Myriam Moscona’s collection Negro Marfil—won both the 2012 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets and the 2012 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Hofer also cofounded the language justice and language experimentation collaborative Antena with John Pluecker.

Gulf Coast is the student-run literature and arts journal of the University of Houston. Established in 1982 by Donald Barthelme and Phillip Lopate, the biannual journal was originally named Domestic Crude. The journal also offers annual prizes in poetry, short fiction, short short fiction, and creative nonfiction.

The 12th annual Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, cosponsored by Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Beer and Delaware–based newspaper the Cape Gazette, is currently open for submissions. The annual award is given for a poetry collection by a poet who resides in a Mid-Atlantic state. The winner will receive $500, publication by Broadkill River Press, ten author copies, and two cases of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Beer.

Poets over the age of 21 who reside in Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington D.C., or West Virginia are eligible. Submit a manuscript of 48 to 78 pages by e-mail to Linda Blaskey, Prize Coordinator, at dogfishheadpoetryprize@earthlink.net by September 1. There is no entry fee. The winner will be required to attend the award ceremony on December 13 at the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Delaware. Lodging for one night in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, is included; transportation expenses are not covered.

Sam Calagione, owner and CEO of Dogfish Head Brewery, established the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize in 2003. Calagione studied English in college and attended writing classes at Columbia University before leaving to apprentice at a brewery. The prize was originally given for a poetry chapbook by a poet from the Delmarva Peninsula.

Grant Clauser of Hatfield, Pennsylvania, won the 2013 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize for his poetry collection Necessary Myths.

The Academy of American Poets has announced two changes to its distinguished Walt Whitman Award, making it the most valuable first-book award for poetry in the United States. In addition to a $5,000 cash prize, the winner of the 2015 award will receive publication of his or her manuscript by Graywolf Press, and a six-week all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy.

Established in 1975, the annual prize is given to an emerging poet who has not yet published a book. The 2015 judge will be Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Tracy K. Smith.

“The partnership with the Academy affirms Graywolf Press’s forty-year commitment to publish the work of important new poets,” said Graywolf Executive Editor Jeffrey Shotts in a press release. “It seems fitting to announce this collaboration thirty years after Graywolf published Christopher Gilbert’s Walt Whitman Award–winning Across the Mutual Landscape in 1984. We simply cannot wait to see what new marvels are ahead through the award and through our work with the Academy of American Poets."

The Civitella Ranieri Center has hosted creative writers, composers, and visual artists since 1995. Residents are provided with room, board, and studio or work space in a fifteenth-century castle in rural Umbria. “This new affiliation will add to our history of outstanding poetry Fellows,” said director Dana Prescott. “We look forward to welcoming future recipients of the Walt Whitman Award to our particularly magical corner of Italy.”

Using the online submission system, poets who have not yet published a full-length book of poetry may submit a manuscript of 48 to 100 pages with a $35 entry fee between September 1 and November 1. Visit the website for complete submission guidelines.

The Academy will also purchase copies of the winning book for distribution to five thousand of its members, and will feature the poet and his or her work in its magazine, American Poets, and on its website. The winner will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to attend the Academy's awards ceremony.

The 2014 winner was Hannah Sanghee Park for her collection The Same-Different, which will be published by Louisiana State University Press next year.

Photo: Civitella Ranieri Center

The New York City–based PEN American Center has announced the winners of the 2014 PEN Literary Awards. The annual awards honor emerging and established writers in a range of genres, including poetry, fiction, biography, children’s literature, sports writing, science writing, translation, and drama. This year PEN will award nearly $150,000 in prize money.

“Celebrating the written word is an essential part of defending it,” said PEN President Peter Goodwin, “and it is through PEN’s literary awards that we continue to honor some of the most exceptional books and bodies of work that free expression makes possible.” PEN has awarded its literary awards for over 50 years.

James Wolcott won the $10,000 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay for his essay collection Critical Mass (Doubleday). Geoff Dyer, Stanley Fish, Ariel Levy, and Cheryl Strayed judged. The annual award is given for an essay collection published in the previous year that exemplifies the dignity and esteem the essay form imparts to literature.

Dr. Carl Hart won the $10,000 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award for High Price (Harper). Akiko Busch, Rivka Galchen, and Eileen Pollack judged. The annual award is given for a book of literary nonfiction published in the previous year on the subject of the physical or biological sciences.

Ruth Ellen Kocher and Nina McConigley both won the $5,000 PEN Open Book Award, given for an exceptional book published in the previous year and written by an author of color. Kocher won for her poetry collection domina Un/blued (Tupelo Press); McConigley won for her short story collection Cowboys and East Indians (FiveChapters Books). Catherine Chung, Randa Jarrar, and Monica Youn judged.

Frank Bidart won the $5,000 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, which is given biennially to a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work to date represents a notable and accomplished presence in American literature. Peg Boyers, Toi Derricotte, and Rowan Ricardo Phillips judged.

Karen Emmerich and Edmund Keeley won the $3,000 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation for Diaries of Exile (Archipelago Books), a poetry collection by the Greek poet, Yannis Ritsos. Kimiko Hahn judged. The annual award is given for a book-length translation of poetry into English published in the previous year.

Joanne Turnbull and Nikolai Formozov won the $3,000 PEN Translation Prize for their translation from the Russian of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s short story collection Autobiography of a Corpse (New York Review of Books). Ann Goldstein, Becka McKay, and Katherine Silver judged. The annual award is given for a book-length translation of prose into English published in the previous year.

The winners will be honored at PEN’s annual literary awards ceremony, held this year on September 29 at the New School in New York City. At the ceremony, PEN will announce the winners of the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the $25,000 PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. Ron Childress, who won the $25,000 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction for his unpublished novel And West is West, will also be honored at the ceremony.

The shortlist and the longlist, issued for the first time this year, for each prize can be found on PEN’s website.

The Man Booker Prize Foundation announced the longlist today for the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. This year marks the first time in the prize's history that any author, irrespective of nationality, with work written originally in English and published in the United Kingdom, is eligible to win.

The longlist includes Howard Jacobson, a former Man Booker winner, for J (Jonathan Cape); two previously shortlisted authors, Ali Smith for How to Be Both (Hamish Hamilton) and David Mitchell for The Bone Clocks (Sceptre); and the Anglo-Indian writer Neel Mukherjee for The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus). The American writers making the longlist are Richard Powers for Orfeo (Atlantic Books), Siri Hustvedt for The Blazing World (Sceptre), Joshua Ferris for To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking), and Karen Joy Fowler for We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent’s Tail). British writers Paul Kingsnorth for The Wake (Unbound) and David Nicholls for Us (Hodder & Stoughton); Tasmanian writer Richard Flanagan for The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus); and Irish writers Joseph O’Neill for The Dog (Fourth Estate) and Niall Williams for History of the Rain (Bloomsbury) round out the list.


The panel of six judges is chaired by British philosopher A. C. Grayling. The decision to expand the prize this year has been controversial; previously the prize was restricted to authors from Britain and other countries in the Commonwealth, as well as Ireland and Zimbabwe. Last year, Eleanor Catton, a novelist from New Zealand, won the prize for her 832-page novel The Luminaries. At 28, Catton was the youngest recipient of the award in its forty-five-year history. 

The shortlist will be announced on September 9, and the winner—who will receive a £50,000 (approximately $85,177) purse—will be announced on October 14.

Photos: Fowler (left), Ferris (right)

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