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G&A: The Contest Blog

In the print edition of our March/April 2009 issue, we described Narrative Magazine's Story Contest as the "Third-Person Story Contest." Since we went to press, Narrative expanded the scope of the award and is now accepting entries written from any point of view.

The $3,000 award will be given three times a year for a short story, a short short story, an essay, or an excerpt from a work of fiction or creative nonfiction of no more than 10,000 words. There is a $20 entry fee, and the deadline is March 31. Visit our Deadlines section for more upcoming grants and awards or our Grants & Awards database, if you'd rather search a year's worth.

The finalists for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, given to a writer thirty-five or younger, were announced this week, and—not to toot our own horn or anything, but—two of the five, Rivka Galchen and Salvatore Scibona, were included in our July/August 2008 feature on debut fiction writers.

Galchen was nominated for her novel Atmospheric Disturbances (HarperCollins, 2008), which was also mentioned in Sarah Weinman's article, "Book Trailers: The Key to Successful Marketing" (November/December, 2008), for its especially inventive trailer

Salvatore Scibona was nominated for his novel,The End, published by Graywolf Press, the St. Paul-based indie, whose authors have been raking in the acclaim lately. Along with Scibona's, Graywolf publishes the work of inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander and recently released a special chapbook of Alexander's poem "Praise Song for the Day." Matthea Harvey recently won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, given for a book by a midcareer poet, for her collection Modern Life, which Graywolf published in 2007. (Harvey, by the way, was featured in "Why We Write Now," our special feature on inspiration included in our January/February 2009 issue.)

The three other finalists are Jon Fasman for The Unpossessed City (Penguin, 2008), Sana Krasikov for One More Year (Spiegel & Grau, 2008), and Zachary Mason for The Lost Books of the Odyssey (Starcherone, 2008).

The winner, who receives $10,000, who be announced on March 16.

Don Williams, the editor of the annual literary magazine New Millennium Writings, recently established a new contest that offers a thousand dollars for the best creative writing on the subject of president Barack Obama. 

After receiving an outpouring of response to an essay about the newly inaugurated commander in chief that he posted last month on his own Web site, Williams decided to accept online submissions "for a once-only special contest to mark this moment in our still-young millennium." The Special Contest on Obama is open to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. One winner, who will receive a thousand dollars, and at least three runners-up will be published in the next issue of New Millennium Writings and on the journal's Web site.

Writers may submit as many poems, stories, or essays as they'd like, but the entry fee for each is $17. Work that has already been published elsewhere, either online or in a magazine with a print circulation under five thousand, will be accepted. The deadline is March 1. Complete guidelines are available on the New Millennium Writings Web site.


 

Okay, so this contest doesn't offer literary fame or fortune—or much of anything, really, beyond a little fun. But if you're into poetry and movies, Entertainment Weekly is holding a contest in honor of Hollywood's biggest self-congratulatory party—the Academy Awards—that might be of interest.

After the editors of the popular culture magazine received a letter in the form of a poem celebrating Oscar season from a reader in McHenry, Illinois (who somehow manages to reference Revolutionary Road, Milk, Gran Torino, Frost/Nixon, My Bloody Valentine, Fantasia, Slumdog Millionaire, Marley and Me, Liar, Liar, Yes Man, The Wrestler, and The Dark Knight, all in thirty-four lines) they posted it on Entertainment Weekly's Web site and invited poets to submit their own Oscar-themed verse.

So go ahead, put your film critic's hat on and submit a poem before those little gold statues are handed out on February 22.

 

 

As we wrote about yesterday, this week is the submission period for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and it seems the occasion has stirred up debate about the merits of the award.

Yesterday, Mediabistro's GalleyCat posted a defense of the success of last year's winning book, Fresh Kills, in response to snarky reader comments. Another Galleycat post yesterday linked to an article published in N1BR, the new online book supplement to lit mag n+1, written by Darryl Lorenzo Wellington, one of last year's award judges. And, today, GalleyCat posted a correction to Wellington's article submitted by Jane Ciabattari, president of the National Book Critics Circle. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

 

The submission period for the second annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award began yesterday and ends on February 8, or until ten thousand entries have been received. The grand-prize winner will receive a publishing contract with Penguin Group, including a $25,000 advance.

Entries may be uploaded through a link on Amazon’s site, which also includes information about the multi-tiered judging process. Amazon readers will vote for the winner from three finalists. During the finals, an expert panel—made up of novelists Sue Monk Kidd and Sue Grafton, Penguin Press editor in chief Eamon Dolan, and literary agent Barney Karpfinger, whose client list includes Bill Loehfelm, winner of last year’s Amazon Breakthrough Award for his book Fresh Kills—will post comments for customers to consider while voting. The winner will be announced on May 22.

Also included on the site are tips for submissions, such as this one about the importance of choosing an excerpt to post on the site: “The first ten pages of your book are some of the most important that you will write. Imagine a reader looking through the first few pages of a book to decide whether or not to purchase it: Something special needs to happen at the start—whether that's a sharp plot twist, the introduction of a fascinating character, or a beautifully crafted opening scene—to make the reader want more. When you select your excerpt text, choose where to stop judiciously: It doesn't necessarily have to be at word 5,000. Quality counts. Be careful that you don't leave readers hanging mid-sentence.”

The award is given for an unpublished, English-language work of fiction, between 50,000 and 150,000 words in length; there is no entry fee.

The National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for its 2008 awards at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York City on Saturday night. The winners in each category—poetry, fiction, nonfiction, autobiography, criticism, and biography—will be named on March 12 at an awards ceremony at the New School. 

The finalists in poetry are:
August Kleinzahler for Sleeping It Off in Rapid City (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Juan Felipe Herrera for Half the World in Light (University of Arizona Press)
Devin Johnston for Sources (Turtle Point Press)
Pierre Martory for The Landscapist (Sheep Meadow Press), translated by John Ashbery
Brenda Shaughnessy for Human Dark with Sugar (Copper Canyon Press)

The finalists in fiction are:
Roberto Bolaño for 2666 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Marilynne Robinson for Home (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Aleksandar Hemon for The Lazarus Project (Riverhead)
M. Glenn Talyor for The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart (West Virginia University Press)
Elizabeth Strout for Olive Kittredge (Random House)

The finalists in autobiography are:
Rick Bass for Why I Came West (Houghton Mifflin)
Helene Cooper for The House on Sugar Beach (Simon & Schuster)
Honor Moore for The Bishop’s Daughter (Norton)
Andrew X. Pham for The Eaves of Heaven (Harmony Books)
Ariel Sabar for My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq (Algonquin)

The nonprofit organization composed of seven hundred book critics and reviewers from across the country also announced on Saturday that the winner of the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award is the PEN American Center; Ron Charles will receive the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.

Last year, Mary Jo Bang won the NBCC Award in poetry for Elegy (Graywolf), Junot Díaz won in fiction for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead), and Edwidge Danticat won in autobiography for Brother, I'm Dying (Knopf).

 

 

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