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Mediabistro, along with its affiliate blogs GalleyCat and eBookNewser, is inviting writers of fiction and nonfiction to send in their best book pitches for a chance at Big Apple exposure. Finalists will read their proposals (or have their pitches read by a Mediabistro staffer) at a New York City book pitch party on November 3, described as "a book club for book proposals: showcasing the work of ten talented writers and forging a community of aspiring authors."

Three winners, selected during the party by a panel of yet-unnamed judges, will receive a ticket to Mediabistro's December 15 conference on digital publishing, the eBookSummit, as well as a consultation with pitch party panelists. Winners are required to attend this main event, which promises all attendees interaction with innovative publishers, tips on building a digital audience, and information on writing for the handheld screen.

Book proposals, which should be one page long and single spaced, must be submitted via e-mail by October 15. Full guidelines are available on the eBookNewser Web site.

Cave Canem, the national organization known as a "major watering hole and air pocket for Black poetry" in North America, has named its eleventh annual poetry book prize winner. Judge Elizabeth Alexander selected Philadelphia poet Iain Haley Pollock's collection Spit Back a Boy for the award, which includes one thousand dollars and publication of the book by University of Georgia Press.

Among the poets whose debuts were published through the award in the past are Pulitzer Prize–winner Natasha Trethewey; Major Jackson, a Pew Fellow and Whiting Writers' Award–winner; and the recipient of this year's Rolex Mentor and 
Protégé Arts Initiative fellowship, Tracy K. Smith, who also won a Whiting Writers' Award. Also recognized this year is Vida Cross, who received an honorable mention for her manuscript "Bronzeville at Night: 1949."

For those looking to sample of Pollock's poetry before his book's release in spring 2011, several of his poems can be read online in journals such as Agni Online, Boston Review, and the Drunken Boat.

Cave Canem's next deadline for first-book manuscript submissions from African American poets is April 30, 2011.

The Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, a National Trust Historic Hotel of America established in 1893, is looking for a writer to tell the stories of the "many interesting people who pass through" each day. The Pfister Narrator, who will spend ten hours each week in the hotel lobby interviewing guests and collecting tales for the Pfister blog, will receive a stipend of one thousand dollars a month for a six-month tenure, as well as meals and parking (not lodging, however).

Among the hotel's notable guests, about whom the writer-in-residence would write two posts a week, is rumored to be one spectral presence: the ghost of founder Charles Pfister. "A 'visitor' has been spotted surveying the lobby from the grand staircase, strolling the minstrel's gallery above the ballroom, and passing through the ninth floor storage area," says a statement under Ghost Stories on the hotel Web site. "He is always described in roughly the same terms: older, portly, smiling, and well-dressed. Upon seeing a portrait of Pfister, witnesses swore that it was the man they had seen."

Also regularly occupying the hotel—in physical form—is painter Katie Musoloff, the second of the hotel's artists-in-residence. In the video below, Musoloff describes her process for creating portraits, and her plan to generate work inspired by the Pfister building and its inhabitants.

To apply for the writer-in-residence opportunity, writers should submit via e-mail two to three writing samples, a resumé and cover letter, a two-hundred-word proposal, and two letters of reference. The deadline for submissions is this Friday, October 1. Complete guidelines are available on the hotel Web site.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced yesterday the winners of its 2010 "Genius" Fellowships, among them one author. Lauded Chinese American fiction writer Yiyun Li, who struggled for several year with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to prove herself of the "extraordinary ability" required for citizenship, received the five-hundred-thousand-dollar award, given out-of-the-blue to innovators in all fields and "designed to provide an extra measure of freedom, visibility, and opportunity."

Li, an alumna of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and author of the story collections Gold Boy, Emerald Girl (Random House, 2010) and A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (Random House, 2005) and the novel The Vagrants (Random House, 2009), has previously won a Whiting Writers Award, the Plimpton Prize from the Paris Review, the Frank O'Hara International Short Story Award, and the Guardian First Book Award, among other honors. The mother of two and assistant professor at University of California in Davis told the Los Angeles Times that she anticipated the fellowship funds will allow her to focus more on writing and a little less on teaching.

Joining Li in this year's honor roll are twenty-two other "explorers and risk takers" including sign language linguist Carol Padden, type designer Matthew Carter, historian Annette Gordon-Reed, jazz pianist Jason Moran, and journalist and screenwriter David Simon, known for his work on the television series Homicide: Life on the Streets and The Wire. The complete list is posted on the MacArthur Foundation Web site.

Among the writers to have won the award in the past are John Ashbery, Edwidge Danticat, Ann Lauterbach, Jonathan Lethem, Heather McHugh, and David Foster Wallace.

In the video below, Li discusses her connection to Winnie the Pooh (which she read first as Willie Ille Pu—the Latin translation), happiness, and what authors she'd like to meet one-on-one.

The fifteen-year-old literary journal Alligator Juniper, published by Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona, is holding its annual writing contest until October 1. One winner in each genre—poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction—will receive one thousand dollars and publication in the magazine, which has a circulation of fifteen hundred.

The 2010 winners are Lillian-Yvonne Bertram for her poem "In Leaving My Lover Teaches Me Half a Bible Story," Laurie Anne Doyle for her story "Wings Raised Up," and Miles Fuller for his essay "The Mormon Martyr’s Guide to Chemical Reactions."

Former managing editor Jeff Fearnside, who recently left the post to work on his own writing, let us in on a few details about the journal and the competition.

What makes this competition unique?
It is judged almost entirely by undergraduate students enrolled in the Literary Journal Practicum course at Prescott College, under the guidance of published writers and teachers. I worked as an editor in graduate school for the national journal Willow Springs, and I can attest that what these students do at Prescott College is comparable to graduate-level work. The results speak for themselves: Alligator Juniper has won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs National Program Directors’ Prize for Undergraduate Literary Magazines in content for its 2000, 2003, and 2008 issues. No other journal has won this prestigious award more than once.

What are the judges looking for in a submission?
Quite simply, the very best writing. Naturally, how that is defined varies from year to year, depending on the individual tastes of the student editors. Prescott College’s mission focuses on the environment and social justice, and our editorial tastes may occasionally and incidentally reflect this, though by no means are we limited to any aesthetic or literary school; we’ve published work in styles ranging from traditional to experimental, and reflecting a wide range of themes.

How many finalists are offered publication?
It varies, as we select work based on quality, not a particular quota, but typically we publish fifteen to twenty finalists total in addition to the three winners.

An entry fee of fifteen dollars, which includes a copy of the prize issue, is required with each submission, and all entries must be made via postal mail. Complete guidelines are available on the Alligator Juniper Web site.

This week two literary organizations with an interest in writing and social justice honored authors with an array of awards. The Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the PEN American Center's Literary Awards recognized the work of writers including Anne Carson, Don DeLillo, Dave Eggers, Marilyn Hacker, and Marlon James.

James won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in fiction, given in recognition of a work that promotes global understanding, for his novel The Book of Night Women (Riverhead Books), and Eggers was awarded the prize in nonfiction for Zeitoun (McSweeney's Books). Each received ten thousand dollars. The runners up, who each received one thousand dollars, are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for her story collection The Thing Around Your Neck (Knopf) and, in nonfiction, Justine Hardy for In the Valley of Mist (Free Press).

"From religious discrimination and immigration to racism and xenophobia, this year’s winners tackle challenging issues which are too often debated with sound bites and rhetoric only,” said Sharon Rab, chair of the prize, which will be presented on November 7 in Dayton, Ohio. “With wisdom, grace, and humanity, these books deliver much-needed relief from the political discourse, offering light instead of heat, and hope rather than despair.”

Over on the east coast, PEN American Center awarded Pulitzer Prize–winner Paul Harding received the thirty-five-thousand-dollar PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers for his debut novel, Tinkers (Bellevue Literary Press). The twenty-five-thousand-dollar PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction went to Don DeLillo, and Susan Choi won the ten-thousand-dollar award for a midcareer fiction writer, the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award. Marilyn Hacker won the five-thousand-dollar PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, given to recognize a distinguished body of work.

Receiving three thousand dollars each are Anne Carson, who won the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation for her translation from the Greek of An Oresteia (Faber and Faber), and Michael Henry Heim, who won the PEN Translation Prize for his translation from the Dutch of Wonder by Hugo Claus (Archipelago Books). The one-thousand-dollar Open Book Award (formerly the Beyond Margins Award) in poetry went to Sherwin Bitsui for his collection Flood Song (Copper Canyon Press).

The PEN Literary Award winners will be feted on October 13 in New York City.

In the video below, Eggers discusses the experience of the New Orleans man and his family whose story he adapted in his winning book.

On Sunday night the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland, announced the winner of this year's Frank O'Connor Short Story Award. North Carolina fiction writer and poet Ron Rash won the thirty-five-thousand-euro prize—the richest purse given for the short story form—for his collection Burning Bright (HarperCollins), set in the landscape of Appalachia spanning time from the Civil War to the present. In American currency, the prize is worth nearly forty-six thousand dollars.

This is not the first time Rash, professor of Appalachian studies at Western Carolina University, has seen his fiction contending for a major honor. His novel Serena (Ecco, 2008), the story of a powerful couple's unraveling relationship in the North Carolina mountains where they'd built a logging empire, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

The shortlisted authors for this year's Frank O'Connor Award are Robin Black for If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This (Random House), Belle Boggs for Mattaponi Queen (Graywolf Press), T. C. Boyle for Wild Child (Viking), David Constantine for The Shieling (Comma Press), and Laura van den Berg for What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books).

To have a title considered for the 2011 award, authors, publishers, and agents may submit books by March 31, 2011. Eligibility rules and guidelines for entry are available on the Munster Literature Centre Web site.

From Françoise Sagan's Bonjour Tristesse to Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, James Joyce's The Dead to Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain—Shakespeare and Company says the novella, a "small but perfectly-formed" literary object, "holds an important place in literature." The Paris bookstore known for its support of aspiring writers recently launched its first Paris Literary Prize to promote the form in contemporary practice.

One writer who has not published a novel, novella, or short story collection will receive an award of ten thousand euros, cosponsored by the recently established de Groot Foundation, and a weekend stay in Paris next June, during which the award will be presented. Two runners-up will also receive a weekend trip to the city of lights.

The deadline for the first three thousand words of a manuscript is December 1, and submissions must be accompanied by an entry fee of fifty euros (approximately sixty-five dollars). Finalists, announced next February, will be asked to submit their complete manuscripts (of twenty- to thirty-thousand words) by March 20, 2011.

Guidelines and more information about how to enter are available on the Paris Literary Prize Web site.

In the video below, the luminous Jean Seberg dances with melancholy in Otto Preminger's film adaptation of Bonjour Tristesse (Hello Sadness), accompanied by the English version of the film's eponymous song.

The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture has named an author the 2010 recipient of the Hiett Prize in Humanities. The fifty-thousand-dollar prize, given to honor a person "whose work in the humanities shows extraordinary promise and has a significant public component related to contemporary culture," goes this year to memoirist, literary journalist, and former whiz kid Mark Oppenheimer.

Currently a visiting professor of creative writing at Wellesley College near Boston, Oppenheimer is the author of the memoir Wisenheimer: A Childhood Subject to Debate, in part a story of his precocious youth in words, published by Free Press in April. He is also the Beliefs columnist for the New York Times, and his essays have appeared in Slate, the New York Times Magazine, the Forward, Details, among other magazines and newspapers. He is preceded as a Hiett Prize recipient by educators and writers in the fields of history, journalism, and ethnic studies.

Application information for the 2011 award will be posted in January. In the meantime, information about the prize and its recipients is available on the Dallas Institute Web site.

In the video below, Oppenheimer talks about one of the themes of his memoir: his early years as a competitive debater.

The National Book Foundation (NBF), sponsors of the National Book Awards, announced yesterday their plans to celebrate Tom Wolfe at this year's awards ceremony. The innovative journalist and novelist who also holds a doctorate in American studies from Yale University will receive the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters alongside the 2010 National Book Award winners.

Wolfe, responsible for coining popular phrases such as "good ol' boy," "the right stuff," and "the Me Decade," is the author of culturally-keen nonfiction works including The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test  and The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, and three novels, I Am Charlotte SimmonsA Man in Full, and The Bonfire of the Vanities. According to NBF executive director Harold Augenbraum, Wolfe's work, along with that of the NBF's 2010 Literarian Award recipient, Sesame Street cocreator Joan Ganz Cooney, "led to enormous changes in our view of the world and took established media in new directions."

The author, who joins a list of past recipients that includes Joan Didion, Maxine Hong Kingston, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, and John Updike, will receive the award on November 17.

In the short video below, Wolfe (sans white suit, circa 1970) talks about the expression of language in his native American South with media maven Marshall McLuhan.

The fifth incarnation of National Public Radio's Three-Minute Fiction contest promises to be a supernatural one. The free competition, which will be judged by Michael Cunningham, is open only to stories that begin with the line, "Some people swore that the house was haunted" and end with, "Nothing was ever the same again after that."

Cunningham, the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel of visitations, voices, and convergences, The Hours, will select one winner to be interviewed on NPR and have his or her winning story read on the air. The winner will also receive autographed copies of The Hours and the author's forthcoming novel, By Nightfall, due to arrive in stores on October 5.

Stories must be under six hundred words and capable of being read in under, you guessed it, three minutes. The deadline for entries is September 26. Full guidelines, an entry form, and more on the history of the competition are available on the NPR Web site.

In the video below, some music to write by—a performance of Phillip Glass's score for the film adaptation of The Hours.

Recently-born literary journal the New Guard has received such a swell surge of entries to its two contests that it's jonesing for more. The editors are "thrilled" with the "overwhelming response" they've received to their competitions, reports publisher and editor Shanna Miller McNair, and want to keep each of the staggered contests open for three weeks longer than their initial deadline dates.

The journal, which is looking for both traditional and experimental work, will accept entries for the Machigonne Fiction Contest until October 1 (the initial deadline had been September 13), and the Knightville Poetry Contest will run until November 1 (drawn out from October 4). Former U.S. poet laureate Donald Hall, whose most recent collection is White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems 1946–2006 (Houghton Mifflin) will select the winner of the poetry competition. Debra Spark, author of three novels, most recently Good for the Jews (University of Michigan Press, 2006), will judge the fiction contest. Winners will receive one thousand dollars each, and their works will be published in the New Guard.

More information about the new lit mag and how to enter the contests is available on the New Guard's Web site.

In the video below, Hall and fellow poet Alicia Ostriker discuss why people sometimes reject poetry.

The Poetry Foundation has named the five recipients of 2010 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships. Each winner, none born earlier than 1980 this year, will receive a fifteen-thousand-dollar prize intended for poetic study and practice, no strings attached.

The winners are Brooklyn Copeland, an Indianapolis native who teaches yoga and whose chapbook Laked, Fielded, Blanked, will be released by Alice Blue Books this winter; Michener Center alumna Miriam Bird Greenberg, a current Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford University; Nate Klug, a candidate for ordained ministry and master's student at Yale Divinity School; Iowa Writers' Workshop alumna Dora Malech, author of two collections, Shore Ordered Ocean (Waywiser Press, 2010) and Say So (forthcoming from the Cleveland State University Poetry Center); and another Indiana-born poet, Christopher Shannon, who is the editor and publisher of Cellpoems, a text-message poetry magazine.

Applications for the 2011 awards, which are given annually to poets between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one, will be available in February on the Poetry Foundation Web site.

In the video below, new fellow Malech discusses poetics with poets Justin Cox and Shane McCrae.

As the release date approaches for the Allen Ginsberg biopic Howl, the poet's publisher, City Lights Books, is calling all "angelheaded hipsters" to submit their own trailers for the "notorious epic poem" that lends the film its name. The winner of the video contest will receive a movie poster, a Howl T-shirt, a "Howl if You Heart City Lights" bumper sticker, and a copy of Howl on Trial, the story of the 1957 obscenity trial that called into question the book's literary value.

Select trailers, which must be under ninety seconds long, will be posted on the City Lights YouTube page, and the winning work will also appear on Facebook. Entries are due on September 24, the major city release date for the film. More information about how to enter via e-mail is available on the City Lights Facebook page.

The trailer for the film, which stars James Franco as Ginsberg, is below.

The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland, just a few miles north of Washington, D.C., home to writing workshops and resources for area writers also offers a number of reading fellowships to poets and prose writers in the early stages of their careers. Fellows receive an honorarium and a slot to read at Story/Stereo, a fusion of live music and literature in performance that was attended by roughly seven hundred listeners in its first year, 2009.

Story/Stereo's fall season opens tonight, featuring California-based poet Allison Benis White, whose poetry collection Self-Portrait With Crayon won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize in 2008, and fiction writer Aryn Kyle of New York City, author of a short story collection, Boys and Girls Like You and Me (Scribner, 2010), and a novel, The God of Animals (Scribner, 2007). Benis White and Kyle will be accompanied by musician John Davis at the event, which begins at 8 PM.

Other fellows selected for the fall are poet Jenny Browne (The Second Reason) and memoirist Debra Gwartney (Live Through This: A Mother’s Memoir of Runaway Daughters), who will read on October 8, and poet Alison Pelegrin (Big Muddy River of Stars) and fiction writer Doreen Baingana (Tropical Fish: Stories Out of Entebbe), set to perform on November 5.

The fellows are chosen by a panel of the center's board members, community representatives, and workshop leaders. In the first two seasons of the program, the winners were seven men and five women, half of whom had published only one book, and the other half two. Five fellows were writers of color.

Kyle Semmel, the center's publications and communications manager, says the organization is looking to bring in emerging writers from across the country. (Fellows who live more than 250 miles from Bethesda receive an honorarium of five hundred dollars and local writers receive half that amount.) The deadline for writers nationwide to submit work for spring 2011 consideration is September 30.

In the video below, tonight's featured writer Aryn Kyle reads the first part of an essay at the Franklin Park Reading Series in Brooklyn, New York, about her experience on a book tour (and dating another writer at the time). Subsequent scenes from the reading are posted on YouTube.

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