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Poets & Writers Magazine

    PEN American Center announced this morning the shortlist for its annual literary awards. PEN will award over $150,000 in prize money to emerging and established writers and translators. The winners will be announced on May 13 and honored in a ceremony at the New School in New York City on June 8.

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

4.17.15

Elegy for a Dead World is a creative-writing video game that explores abandoned worlds inspired by English Romantic poets Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Keats. Read more about the game's creation in "Writing an Elegy for a Dead World" by Dana Isokawa in the May/June issue of Poets & Writers Magazine. The editors discuss the game in the first episode of Ampersand: The Poets & Writers Podcast.

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    4.15.15

    “I’ve told my students in the past that writing is 90 percent procrastination. Very little of it involves actually sitting at a computer or scratching letters into a notebook; the thinking part comprises..."

    4.09.15

    “Temperamentally, I set great store by orderliness for inspiration. I like a clean kitchen, a well-made bed, and a tidy desk before I start writing. Sometimes the orderliness gets sinister—not only because..."

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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 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.

    by Michelle Wildgen

    Author and Tin House Magazine editor Michelle Wildgen serves as our guide to the literary locales of Madison, Wisconsin, a city whose lofty earnestness in everything from food to literature inspired her two novels.

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Our sixth annual Writing Contests Issue offers advice from authors who judge literary competitions as well as the writers who win them; a look at shifting entry fees and prize amounts over the past decade of contests; interviews with poet Mark Doty, creative nonfiction writer Maggie Nelson, and Washington Post book critic Ron Charles; the anxiety surrounding prepublication praise; self-publishing tips; writing prompts; agent advice; and more. 

 

May/Jun 2015

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Ampersand Episode

Listen to a preview of the new issue of the magazine, interviews with Mark Doty and Elizabeth McCracken, a poetry reading by Matthew Rohrer, and a literary rendition of a Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson classic by Benjamin Percy.

Listen to Ampersand

Miwa Messer’s Great New Writers

The director of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program talks about the process of searching for the “extraordinary storytelling” that makes a great new book.

Reviewers & Critics: Ron Charles of the Washington Post

Ron Charles of the Washington Post and the Totally Hip Video Book Review series gives his insights on the ethical and practical challenges of being a book critic for a major newspaper.

Writing an Elegy for a Dead World

Inspired by the works of Shelley, Keats, and Byron, a new video game challenges its players to get creative with writing-based gameplay.

Anatomy of Awards: A Decade of Writing Contests

A breakdown of the numbers behind our Grants & Awards section, including the total amount of prize money given each year, the cost of entry, and how writing contests have changed over the past ten years.

The Written Image: Home for an Hour

In Home for an Hour, an interdisciplinary collaboration between artist Adam Moser, writer Jacob Paul, and photographer Sarah Martin, seven couples are given free rein inside Moser’s apartment, while Paul composes stories about how the guests spend their time there.

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Piazze and Pasquinades: Report From Literary Rome

4.15.15

In a continuing series examining the lives of writers in the international writing community, contributing editor Stephen Morison Jr. spends time with three authors in Rome who share a common desire "to shake free from a past so impressive it's suffocating."

Stories That Sing: A Profile of Michael Williams

12.16.14

It’s still early morning as I make my way by taxi across Cape Town, traveling from our ship in the harbor to the Artscape Theatre Center on the Foreshore. It’s a sharp, blue-sky day in late March.

Ten Years of Debut Poets

12.16.14

Since appearing in our annual Debut Poets roundup, a number of the one hundred and twelve poets we’ve highlighted have gone on to create a wealth of interesting and important work. The following list includes each poet we’ve featured in the past ten years, his or her debut collection, and the many full-length books that followed. 

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Mark Doty Gallery
Credit: Tony Gale

With his new poetry collection, Deep Lane, award-winning poet Mark Doty applies a passionate intellect that drives his readers deep into uncharted territory.

Maggie Nelson Gallery
Credit: Melissa Barnes

In her ninth book, The Argonauts (Graywolf Press, April), Maggie Nelson adds to an already stunning body of work unconstrained by labels of form or genre.

Elegy Gallery
Credit: Dejobaan Games

Inspired by the works of Shelley, Keats, and Byron, a new video game called Elegy for a Dead World challenges its players to get creative with writing-based gameplay.

Kimiko Hahn Gallery
Credit: Nancy Bareis

Nine frequent contest judges, including poet Kimiko Hahn, offer advice and insight about what they look for in entries, how they winnow the piles, and what it takes to win.