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Poets & Writers Magazine

    As the month of May winds down, the deadlines for several book contests in poetry and fiction are quickly approaching. Each prize compiled below offers at least $1,000 and publication of the winning manuscript.

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Your trusted source for information on writing contests, grants for writers, and more.

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    "The promise and the danger of a short story is that it can be perfect." At the 2013 New Yorker Festival, Junot Díaz and Karen Russell speak about the unique challenges of writing short stories.


    “Whether it's prose you want to write or poetry, if you're feeling blocked, simply open up Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian..."


    “My approach to short stories is to think of each as its own world, with its own parameters, and even its own aesthetics. The tradeoff for the fun and satisfaction this brings..."

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    by Jen Michalski

    Author Jen Michalski takes us on a tour of the many literary sites writers should visit while strolling the gritty streets of Baltimore.

    by Oscar Casares

    From the long-standing tradition of the Texas Book Festival to the offbeat O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, acclaimed author Oscar Casares highlights a range of literary happenings and haunts in Austin, a city that pledges to keep it weird.

    by Edie Rhoads

    Join indie author Edie Rhoads as she showcases the local literary treasures of one of America’s most picturesque cities.

    by Adam Ross

    Adam Ross, author of the New York Times Notable Book Mr. Peanut, takes us on a tour of his beloved Nashville, "a great secret, cool as all get-out but never self-consciously hip or competitive," with a literary life as vibrant as its musical one.

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Our Writing Contests Issue features arts organizations offering prizes more valuable than cash, twenty-five first-book contests, and the Anatomy of Awards; a profile of novelist Adam Haslett; an interview with New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul; articles about trauma and storytelling, writers and imposter syndrome, and selling your story collection; plus writing prompts, over 100 contests with upcoming deadlines, and more.

May/Jun 2016

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Ampersand Episode

The seventh episode of Ampersand features a preview of the new issue of the magazine; interviews with Adam Haslett and Leigh Stein; poets Brenda Shaughnessy and Tyehimba Jess reading from their new books; and more.

Listen to Ampersand

Anatomy of Awards: The Numbers Behind Grants & Awards

As part of a continuing series, we offer a breakdown of the numbers behind our Grants & Awards listings, highlighting the total amount of prize money given each year, the average cost of entry, types of sponsoring organizations, and more.

Reviewers & Critics: Pamela Paul of the New York Times Book Review

New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul shares her insights on the ethical and practical challenges of being the head of the last of the stand-alone newspaper book review sections.

Recovering the Classics

A new project crowdsources redesigned covers for classic works of literature, with the goal of “reviving the canon for a new generation of readers.”

Poet, Writer, Imposter: Learning to Believe in Myself

A poet, novelist, and memoirist investigates the experience of imposter syndrome—that insidious feeling of being a fraud—and poses the question, What would happen if writers stopped viewing their careers as a series of happy accidents?

Q&A: ALTA’s Erica Mena Talks Translation

The American Literary Translators Association’s executive director discusses the organization’s new administration of the Cliff Becker Book Prize—the only U.S. award that offers publication to a full-length book of poetry translated into English—and the importance of awarding fellowships to emerging translators.

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An Open Door: A Profile of Richard Russo


For the past thirty years, from the publication of his first novel, Mohawk, to his latest, Everybody’s Fool, a sequel to his beloved 1993 novel, Nobody’s Fool, Richard Russo, the Pulitzer Prize–winning “patron saint of small-town fiction,” has remained the same generous, optimistic, hardworking writer he’s always been, welcoming readers into his books and his heart.

Pushcart Prize Turns Forty


The Pushcart Prize, a venerable nonprofit award series and press, released its fortieth-anniversary prize anthology this month. On the eve of its release party, Poets & Writers staff looked into the history of the prize, and what has kept "one of the last bastions of non-corporate writing" alive and well over the years.

MFA Nation 2016: A Compendium of Graduate Programs in Creative Writing


Start your MFA research with this comprehensive guide to more than 170 full- and low-residency programs in creative writing, expanded and updated for 2016. Each listing includes detailed information such as core faculty, special features, funding, tuition, application fees, and deadlines. The free PDF also includes a regional index, a cost-of-living comparision, and a handy Application Tracker to keep track of your applications.

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Gallery Adam Haslett
Credit: Tony Gale

In his brilliant and devasting new novel, Imagine Me Gone (Little, Brown), Adam Haslett allows his readers to bear witness to the persistence of love in the face of mental illness.

Gallery Uni Project
Credit: The Uni Project

The New York City–based Uni Project installs pop-up reading rooms in public spaces, bringing books to underserved communities throughout the city.

Gallery More Than Just Money
Credit: Linus Kutumbu

In our special section on writing contests, writers like Jeffery Renard Allen have benefited from prizes that offer time and space to write, networking, and career development.                              

Gallery Anatomy of Awards

As part of a continuing series, the Anatomy of Awards breaks down of a year's worth of Grants & Awards listings, including total prize money given, average entry fees, and more.