Poets & Writers Blogs

Upcoming Short Prose Deadlines

Prose writers, are you sitting on a short story, essay, or piece of flash fiction? With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, take some time before you fill up on turkey to fill out applications to the following contests with upcoming deadlines—each offering prizes from $1,000 to $20,000 and publication. Now that’s something to be thankful for!

Deadline: Tuesday, November 21

Literary Death Match 250-Word Bookmark Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication will be given annually for a short short story of up to 250 words. The winning story will be published on Literary Death Match bookmarks and distributed to events around the world. The winner and finalists will also be invited to read at Literary Death Match events. Roxane Gay will judge. Entry fee: $15

Deadline: Thursday, November 23

Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival Brooklyn Nonfiction Prize: A prize of $500 and publication on the Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival website is given annually for a work of nonfiction that is set in Brooklyn, New York, and renders the borough's “rich soul and intangible qualities through the writer's actual experiences of Brooklyn.” There is no entry fee.

César Egido Serrano Foundation International Flash Fiction Competition: A prize of $20,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to attend an award ceremony in Madrid will be given annually for a work of flash fiction written in English, Spanish, Hebrew, or Arabic. Three runner-up prizes of $1,000 each and an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the award ceremony will be given to stories in each of the remaining languages. The winning works will be published in a prize anthology. There is no entry fee.

Deadline: Thursday, November 30

Fish Publishing Fish Short Story Prize: A prize of €3,000 (approximately $3,400) and publication in the annual Fish Publishing anthology is given annually for a short story. The winner will also receive a five-day short story workshop at the West Cork Literary Festival in July 2018. Entry fee: $26

Lascaux Review Prize in Short Fiction: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Lascaux Review is given annually for a short story. The winner and finalists will also be published in the 2018 Lascaux Prize Anthology. Entry fee: $10

Quarter After Eight Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest: A prize of $1,008.15 and publication in Quarter After Eight is given annually for a prose poem, a short short story, or a micro-essay. Stuart Dybek will judge. Entry fee: $15

Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Fiction Contest: A prize of $1,500 and publication in Louisiana Literature is given annually for a short story by a writer who has not published a full-length book of fiction. The winner also receives domestic airfare of up to $500, private lodging, and a VIP pass to the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival in March 2018 to give a reading. Jennifer Haigh will judge. Entry fee: $25

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out our Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more upcoming contests in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Happy Thanksgiving, and happy writing!

A Street in Brooklyn: Writing Into the Urban Landscape

DéLana R.A. Dameron is the author of Weary Kingdom (University of South Carolina Press, 2017), which is part of the University of South Carolina Press’s Palmetto Poetry Series, edited by Nikky Finney. Her debut collection, How God Ends Us (University of South Carolina Press, 2009), was selected by Elizabeth Alexander for the 2008 South Carolina Poetry Book Prize. Dameron holds an MFA in poetry from New York University where she was a Goldwater Hospital Writing Workshop Fellow. She has conducted readings, workshops, and lectures all across the United States, Central America, and Europe.

I have been an alumna of the Cave Canem summer retreat since 2008, and had the opportunity to participate in smaller New York City workshops in 2008 and 2009. While the summer retreat is life-changing and affirming, and provided me with a long roster of lifelong friends in the poetry world, the prolonged space(s) with Myronn Hardy and Tracy K. Smith as facilitators provided me with a framework of what a community workshop could look like, how to be rigorous readers and writers in an after-work, weekly setting, while also building community. Cave Canem, for me, is about building a community of people who will sharpen your poeming pen.

I did all of this before I entered an “official” MFA workshop table at New York University. I say that to say, when I exited the MFA workshop table, I did not choose a life of teaching poetry in academia (though I would love to teach a class here or there!), but found other ways to pay my bills, and searched for opportunities to teach workshops to folks who went to work from 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM and came and sat down and still endeavored to read and write poetry in a supportive and educational space.

When Cave Canem asked me to teach the Poetry Conversations workshop, billed especially for beginning and intermediate poets, I jumped at the opportunity and said yes. Here, I was able to come home, to open up space for the many levels of poets that would hopefully sign up for the course.

It became very clear to me that I wanted to teach what I live: writing the everyday/the landscape(s) I inhabit into poetry, making it sing.

The “A Street in Brooklyn: Writing Into the Urban Landscape” workshop was at once a survey of Gwendolyn Brooks’s work as a poet. Weekly we read chronological selections from A Street in Bronzeville (Harper, 1945), Annie Allen (Harper, 1949), The Bean Eaters (Harper, 1960), In the Mecca (Harper, 1968), and single poems from her collected works in Blacks (David Co., 1987).

Of her own work and inspiration, Brooks said: “I wrote about what I saw and heard in the street. I lived in a small second-floor apartment at the corner, and I could look first on one side and then the other. There was my material.”

Reading Brooks is not only an exercise in understanding the mastery of writing the ordinary (Black folks in Chicago, the urban landscape writ large, etc.) into extraordinary poetry, but quickly I found that to teach Brooks over the span of her career, as documented in Blacks, is to also teach a Black history course, a Chicago history course.

Then, to charge the poets to do as Brooks did, and look out of their own windows for the poetry of their everyday lives, they included their own poetic historical markers of where and who they are now, especially in the context of gentrification, “urban renewal,” and the general displacement of Black cultural markers, people, histories, and stories.

At the last class there was an overwhelming sadness, but also a triumph. We had been through a literal journey together. At my urging, I asked poets to write about their neighborhood, a place that no longer existed, a place that showed NYC Black History—a mural, a statue, a hanging tree—and to write those things into sonnets, in rhyme, as ballads, as Brooks did in her early years. Together we coined the term “Brooksonian” and looked for moments when she shined the best, and then applied it to our poems that we brought to the table for workshop.

As the weeks progressed, and we marched along the historical timeline from 1945 (A Street in Bronzeville) to 1968 (In the Mecca) and beyond, we watched Brooks’s work open up, and we talked about what it meant to be a poet moved by a historic moment, and what it meant for Brooks to break open, even more, the poetic form. We talked about the uses of poetry, the politics of it, the immediacy and need. That same day a participant brought in a poem that referenced, as Brooks might have (and did for her Chicago Black people), Eleanor Bumpers, who was shot and killed by police in 1984 in the Bronx, as well as the now no longer existing Slave #1 Theater in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and all I could do was shake my head in awe: We had arrived.

Support for the Readings & Workshops Program in New York City is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Frances Abbey Endowment, the Cowles Charitable Trust, and the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photo: (top) DéLana R.A. Dameron (Credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths). (bottom) Workshop participants (Credit: DéLana R.A. Dameron).
 

Frontier Poetry Award: One Poem, $5,000

Submissions are currently open for the inaugural Frontier Poetry Award, a new prize of $5,000 and publication in Frontier Poetry given annually for a single poem. Ten finalists will each receive $100 and publication. The editors will judge.

Using the online submission system, submit up to four poems of any length with a $20 entry fee by Thursday, November 30. Multiple submissions are allowed. The winners will be announced in February 2018.

Established as an arm of the Masters Review, Frontier Poetry is now its own online publication that aims to provide a quality platform for emerging poets. Tyehimba Jess, winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in poetry, recently judged Frontier's inaugural Award for New Poets. Visit the website for more information, including recent publications and what the editors look for in submissions.

Visit our Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more upcoming contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Jesmyn Ward, Frank Bidart Win National Book Awards

The winners of the 2017 National Book Awards were announced this evening in New York City. Jesmyn Ward took home the award in fiction for her novel Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner), and Frank Bidart won the award in poetry for Half-light: Collected Poems 1965–2016 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Masha Gessen won in nonfiction for The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia (Riverhead Books), and Robin Benway won in young people’s literature for her novel Far From the Tree (HarperCollins). Each of the winners will receive $10,000.

Actress Cynthia Nixon emceed the ceremony and opened the evening by emphasizing the importance of books. “Books are among the most powerful weapons we have against what has lately felt like a hostile world,” she said. “For some of us books provide a welcome escape or a valuable resource for arming us with indispensable knowledge of history. But it also offers something we so desperately need: broadened perspective…. They cultivate empathy, they inspire action, they make us feel less alone, and they expose us to an experience we couldn’t imagine on our own.”

The winners of the 2017 awards echoed this sentiment. “Writing the poems was how I survived,” said Bidart upon winning the poetry prize. “I hope that the journeys these poems go on will help others survive as well.” In her acceptance speech, Ward addressed the crowd and said, “You looked at me and the people I love and the people I write about…. and you saw your grief, your love, your losses, your regret, your joy, your hope. I am deeply grateful, and I hope to continue this conversation with all of you for all of our days.”

Earlier in the evening, Bill Clinton presented the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community to Richard Robinson, the chairman, president, and CEO of Scholastic. “All over this country there are people who are forming new neural networks at the speed of light, stimulated by books that wouldn’t be here if not for [Robinson’s] day job at Scholastic and his commitment to this kind of philanthropic work,” said Clinton.

The foundation also honored Annie Proulx with the 2017 Medal for Distinguished Contribution  to American Letters. Actress Anne Hathaway, who starred in the 2005 film adaptation of Proulx’s story “Brokeback Mountain,” presented the award to the writer, who is the author of several story collections and novels, most recently Barkskins (Scribner, 2016). The annual $10,000 award is given for lifetime achievement, which Proulx wryly noted in her acceptance speech. “Although this is award is given for lifetime achievement,” she said, “I didn’t start writing until I was fifty-eight.”

Established in 1950, the National Book Awards are among the literary world’s most prestigious prizes. The 2016 winners included poet Daniel Borzutzky, fiction writer Colson Whitehead, and nonfiction writer Ibram X. Kendi.

 

Access for All

Kenny Fries is the author most recently of In the Province of the Gods (University of Wisconsin Press, 2017), which received the Creative Capital literature grant. His other memoirs include The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin’s Theory and Body, Remember: A Memoir. His books of poems include In the Gardens of Japan, Desert Walking, and Anesthesia. He is the editor of Staring Back: The Disability Experience From the Inside Out, and was a Creative Arts Fellow of the Japan/U.S. Friendship Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, and twice a Fulbright Scholar (Japan and Germany). Fries teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Goddard College.

For those of us who live with disabilities, when we think of access we mostly think of physical access: ramps, lifts, and technological aides. But cultural access is just as essential as physical access to an inclusive society.

Cultural access is a two-way street. People with disabilities need to see themselves represented—not stereotypically and as fully human—in our culture. But disabled and nondisabled alike benefit from access to disability culture because the experience enriches all of us.

I recently completed a fifteen-city tour for In the Province of the Gods, a memoir about my time as a disabled foreigner in Japan. Immersing myself in Japanese culture and meeting with artists, disability studies scholars, and atomic bomb survivors, while at the same time coming to terms with my HIV diagnosis, I learn about how Japan views impermanence and mortality.

Poets & Writers’ Readings & Workshops program supported three tour events that increased access to disability culture. I read and was in conversation with writer Susan R. Nussbaum at Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago, which is committed to making our society more inclusive of people with disabilities by “removing barriers so people with disabilities can live the future they envision.” Access Living’s Disability Arts & Culture Project is exemplary of the centrality of disability arts and culture to such inclusion.

The audience at Access Living included people with disabilities of different ethnicities and sexualities, Chicago-based artists, as well as students from the Program on Disability Art, Culture, and Humanities at the University of Illinois, Chicago. A wide-ranging discussion about my writing process for In the Province of the Gods; my intersecting identities of being disabled, gay, and Jewish; and what it means to be considered “other” both in Japan and the United States ended the evening.

At Georgetown University I helped inaugurate a disability studies minor, which draws on course offerings ranging from anthropology to English, to nursing to theology. I read from and talked about In the Province of the Gods both at a packed event open to the public, as well as in the more intimate setting of a freshman seminar titled “Disability, Culture, and the Question of Care.”

I read at the University of Houston’s Medicine and the Arts Series, part of the Honors College’s Medicine & Society Program, which gives pre-health professionals, other students, and the public an opportunity to connect the arts to “the meanings of illness and caregiving.” Programs in narrative medicine and medical humanities are growing across the United States, and it is important that the stories of and by people with disabilities are included to counteract the dominant medical model of disability, which is predicated on eradicating disability either by killing it or curing it. One of the highlights was visiting their Literature and Medicine class, where a student shared his e-mail dialogue with a Buddhist professor about my book’s relationship to the process of shedding the self. 

The dialogues in Chicago, Washington D.C., and Houston are examples of what historian Paul K. Longmore calls our quest for “collective identity.” Longmore writes, “whereas the society-at-large prizes self-sufficiency, independence, functional separateness, and physical autonomy, the disability experience puts forth the values of self-determination, interdependence, personal connection, and human community.” On a month-long book tour, these events stood out as they not only increased access to disability culture, but also the importance of such values during the turbulent times in which we live.

Support for Readings & Workshops in Chicago, Houston, and Washington D.C. is provided by an endowment established with generous contributions from the Poets & Writers Board of Directors, and others. Additional support comes from the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photos: (top) Kenny Fries (Credit: Micheal R. Dekker). (bottom) Libbie Rifkin, Teaching Professor at Georgetown University, and audience (Credit: Kenny Fries).

PEN/Dau Short Story Prize Deadline Approaches

Submissions are currently open for the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. Twelve prizes of $2,000 each and publication in PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2018 (Catapult) are given annually for debut short stories published in the current year.

Using the online submissions manager, editors may submit up to four debut stories published in 2017 of up to 12,000 words each by Friday, November 10. There is no entry fee. Authors may not submit their own stories. Eligible publications include print magazines distributed in the United States, online magazines, and cultural websites.

The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers aims to help launch the careers of emerging fiction writers. Visit the website for complete guidelines, or e-mail awards@pen.org.

Visit our Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more upcoming contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Perugia Press Prize for Women Poets

Submissions are currently open for the 2018 Perugia Press Prize, an award of $1,000 and publication by Perugia Press given annually for a first or second poetry collection by a woman.

Women poets, including transgender women and female-identified individuals, who have published no more than one full-length poetry collection in English are eligible. Hybrid forms, including collaborations and manuscripts incorporating visuals, will also be considered. Using the online submission manager, submit a manuscript of 45 to 85 pages along with a $27 entry fee by November 15. Submissions are also accepted via postal mail, at Perugia Press Prize, P.O. Box 60364, Florence, MA 01062.

Established in 1997, Perugia Press seeks to support and promote women’s voices in print. Visit the website to learn more about the press, and for complete contest guidelines.

Visit our Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more upcoming contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

November 1 Contest Deadlines: Fiction and Nonfiction

Have a short story, essay, or fiction manuscript ready to submit? Don’t miss out on these prose contests offering prizes of at least $1,000 and publication—all with a deadline of November 1.

Reed Magazine Gabriele Rico Challenge in Creative Nonfiction: A prize of $1,333 and publication in Reed Magazine is given annually for an essay. Entry fee: $15

Reed Magazine John Steinbeck Fiction Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Reed Magazine is given annually for a short story. Entry fee: $15

Briar Cliff Review Writing Contests: Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Briar Cliff Review are given annually for a short story and an essay. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $20

Madison Review Fiction Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Madison Review is given annually for a short story. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $10

Fiction Collective Two Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest: A prize of $1,500 and publication by Fiction Collective Two is given annually for a short story collection, novella, novella collection, or novel. U.S. writers who have not previously published a book with Fiction Collective Two are eligible. Noy Holland will judge. Entry fee: $25

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out our Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more upcoming contests in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

John Fox and Project Avary: Helping Teens Heal Through Poetry

John Fox is the author of Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making (TarcherPerigee, 1997) and Finding What You Didn’t Lose: Expressing Your Truth and Creativity Through Poem-Making (TarcherPerigee, 1995), and his work is featured in the PBS documentary Healing Words: Poetry and Medicine. In 2005, he founded the Institute for Poetic Medicine and his chapbook, The Only Gift to Bring (Seasonings Press, 2015), is available through the institute. Fox blogs about his experience leading writing workshops for Project Avary, an organization in San Rafael, California offering long-term support, resources, guidance, and training for children with incarcerated parents.  

In the spring of 2016, Zach Whelan of Project Avary called the office of the Institute for Poetic Medicine to ask if I was available to bring poetry to the teens they served. This residency would occur during a mid-June, two-week summer camp.

Zach and I spoke for over an hour. I was impressed with three things: 1. The seasoned care the Project Avary staff holds for teens with a parent or parents in prison. 2. The solid and proven program Project Avary has built, which includes a commitment of ten years to a child from the age of eight through their teen years. 3. Zach’s openness to not only poetry writing, but my focus on poetry-as-healer.

By the end of our talk and in subsequent meetings, we agreed to collaborate in an ongoing, mutual process that would bring poetry into the lives of Avary participants.

I would learn about the acute challenges faced by these teens—their sense of loss and abandonment, the societal stigma attached to having a parent in prison, as well as their capacity for resilience and how much they could teach us. I needed to learn and understand that reality to better know what my optimum role could be in joining this team. This process helped me in the selection of relevant poems that could serve as catalysts for writing.

In turn, Avary would learn from me how poetry can make a direct impact on the teens and their ability to dive into their issues of concern. Through the durable capacity of a poem, using the tools of poem-making, and by the natural strength of a supportive community, we could create a safe and generative way to explore and express. This mutual, encompassing collaboration becomes particularly important because the time to nurture and tend to their creative voices does not end with our limited time together—it actually begins!

What I can report to you is that Project Avary has incorporated poetry writing workshops into the core of their curriculum.

The conclusion of my two-year summer camp residency (with forty new campers joining each year) included a two-hour evening program where all participants shared their poems (also songs, skits, magic tricks, etc.) with the entire community. Avary calls this “The Untalent Show” with the emphasis on making it an open invitation to everyone—especially those who might feel they have nothing worthy to offer.

When a poem was read, there was a palpable quieting of a mostly young and happily raucous group at summer camp, which included dozens of young counselors and other staff. The people listening were less “audience” and more like family member, sensitive to their brothers and sisters, and cheering them on.

But what about the poetry? With their permission, I’m able to share some of the poetry by these young Project Avary participants.

LOVE

I didn’t want love.
Love is like dead tissue that won’t fall off.
I thought i didn’t need Love
but everyone wanted Love.
Did i need love.
What was the point of Love.
Did i want Love, did i need Love.
Would love make me happy.
The truth was i wanted love.
But would love want me.

—Monique Cook, age 13

UNTITLED

She was pure in a world not ready for her.
A rose born without thorns.
A body of water with no ripples.
A mirror with no cracks.
She was content in every sense of the word.
But she was born in a world with no intention
of keeping her that way.

—Malayah, age 16

TO ANGER

As you grip my mind
& sway my heart
spark dark flames
in the night of day
you keep notorious thoughts
tenaciously raising
barriers, levels
depleting every second
every month, every hour
contemplating my next act,
my next task & past actions;
forgetting present endeavors,
forgetting my loving nature,
forgetting the roots of my life,
forgetting me.

—Joseph Gladney, age 18

Support for this event was provided, in part, by Poets & Writers, thanks to a gift from Diana Raab. Additional support for Readings & Workshops in California is provided by the California Arts Council, a state agency, the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and by the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photo: John Fox (Credit: Valerie Knight).

Poetry Contests Open Through Halloween

Poets, Halloween is a week from today, so between costume shopping and pumpkin carving, consider making some time to submit to the following contests with an October 31 deadline. Whether you’re sitting on a single poem, a chapbook, or a full-length collection, these contests each offer a prize of at least $1,000 and publication. Don’t be scared…

Single Poem:

North American Review James Hearst Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in North American Review is given annually for a poem. Eduardo C. Corral will judge. Entry fee: $20

Poetry Society of the United Kingdom National Poetry Competition: A prize of £5,000 (approximately $6,500) and publication on the Poetry Society of the United Kingdom website is given annually for a poem. A second-place prize of £2,000 (approximately $2,600) and a third-place prize of £1,000 (approximately $1,300) are also given. The winners will also be published in the Poetry Review and invited to read at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in Ledbury, England, in Spring 2018. Poets from any country are eligible. Hannah Lowe, Andrew McMillan, and Pascale Petit will judge. Entry fee: £6.50

Chapbook Contests:

Comstock Review Jessie Bryce Niles Poetry Chapbook Contest: A prize of $1,000, publication by the Comstock Writers Group, and 50 author copies is given biennially for a poetry chapbook. Kathleen Bryce Niles-Overton will judge. Entry fee: $30

Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Tupelo Press is given annually for a poetry chapbook. Major Jackson will judge. Entry fee: $25

Full-Length Contests:

American Poetry Review Honickman First Book Prize: A prize of $3,000 and publication by American Poetry Review is given annually for a debut poetry collection. The winning book will be distributed by Copper Canyon Press through Consortium. Gregory Pardlo will judge. Entry fee: $25

Elixir Press Poetry Awards: A prize of $2,000 and publication by Elixir Press is given annually for a poetry collection. A second-place prize of $1,000 and publication is also awarded. Kathleen Winter will judge. Entry fee: $30

Persea Books Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Persea Books is given annually for a debut poetry collection by a woman who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The winner also receives a six-week, all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy. Entry fee: $30

Truman State University Press T. S. Eliot Prize: A prize of $2,000 and publication by Truman State University Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Entry fee: $25

University of North Texas Press Vassar Miller Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by University of North Texas Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Rosanna Warren will judge. Entry fee: $25

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out our Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more upcoming contests in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Spooky submitting!

Urban Word NYC’s Youth Board Meets Poets & Writers

Dora Palacios, a Latina poet born in Queens, New York, in 1999, has been writing since the seventh grade. Her drive to keep writing was inspired by her English teachers throughout high school. After graduating high school, Dora joined the Youth Leadership Board at Urban Word NYC. She aspires to become a better writer with the help of her mentors and people who surround her.

The Youth Leadership Board (YB) at Urban Word NYC focuses on bringing together young creative artists to express themselves and, through their work, send social, political, and personal messages into New York City’s communities. Urban Word NYC has received funding from the Readings & Workshops program since 2005, and our program director Shanelle Gabriel was interested in exposing the youth board to literary organizations in New York City. On August 15, the youth board met with some of the staff at Poets & Writers, including Readings & Workshops (East) director Bonnie Rose Marcus, Readings & Workshops (East) program assistant Ricardo Hernandez, Poets & Writers Magazine senior editor Melissa Faliveno, and senior online editor Jessica Kashiwabara.

The youth board had many questions that probably every writer has, but in particular we wanted to know: “How can I get my work published?” We learned that Poets & Writers, in addition to funding writers who participate in literary readings and conduct workshops through its Readings & Workshops program, has many resources for writers who are just beginning, as well seasoned and professional writers. The magazine’s July/August 2017 issue includes a special section on literary agents who are seeking writers and eager to read new work. Included in every issue, and on the website, is information about contests and awards with upcoming deadlines. Poets & Writers Magazine and pw.org will be your best friend when looking for resources!

After meeting with the staff at Poets & Writers, a few of us YB members were talking about publishers and publishing. We came to the conclusion that it is really worthwhile to submit your work to journals and contests. It can boost your mood, whether you receive feedback or not, and will get your work out to the public. It also motivates you to keep writing and attend workshops. If you ask me, trying to get your poem published in a magazine is just a step closer to winning first place!

As a young poet, I often lose focus and it becomes arduous to gain that drive back. Seeking motivation in the wrong places, I force myself to come up with a poem that I am not really satisfied with. In reality, the motivation I need is found in my everyday routine—waking up, waiting for the F train to arrive—or how I feel that day. For me, taking one simple action and trying to connect it to the other images around me helps to create a poem, like comparing a melancholy day to the flourishing blue sky.

Poets & Writers has inspired me to keep trying to get my poetry published, no matter how many times I lose my way on the path. Now that I have met with the encouraging staff at Poets & Writers, I don’t think it’ll be as difficult to stay motivated.

Thank you to our youth engagement coordinator Shannon Matesky, and our program director Shanelle Gabriel for reaching out to Poets & Writers. The youth board looks forward to working more with the organization! Thank you for having us!

Support for the Readings & Workshops Program in New York City is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Frances Abbey Endowment, the Cowles Charitable Trust, and the Friends of Poets & Writers. 

Photos: (top) Dora Palacios (Credit: Shannon Matesky). (bottom) Urban NYC Youth Leadership Board members with Poets & Writers staff.

George Saunders Wins Man Booker Prize

George Saunders has won the 2017 Man Booker Prize for his novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. He will receive £50,000 (approximately $66,000). The annual award is given for a novel published in the previous year in the United Kingdom.

‘The form and style of this utterly original novel, reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative,” says Lola Young, who chaired the judging panel. “This tale of the haunting and haunted souls in the afterlife of Abraham Lincoln’s young son paradoxically creates a vivid and lively evocation of the characters that populate this other world. Lincoln in the Bardo is both rooted in and plays with history, and explores the meaning and experience of empathy.” The 2017 judges were Lola Young, Lila Azam Zanganeh, Sarah Hall, Tom Phillips, and Colin Thubron.

The judges considered 144 submissions for this year’s prize. The finalists, who each received £2,500, were Paul Auster, Emily Fridlund, Mohsin Hamid, Fiona Mozley, and Ali Smith.

Saunders is the second American in a row to win the Man Booker Prize, an award once limited to books by authors from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Paul Beatty took the 2016 prize for his novel The Sellout.

Saunders is the author of four story collections, including his critically acclaimed 2013 collection, Tenth of December. Published by Random House last March, Lincoln in the Bardo is Saunders’s first novel.

To learn more about Saunders and his novel, read “The Emotional Realist Talks to Ghosts,” the cover story of the March/April 2017 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

 

2 Elizabeths Love & Romance Contest

Feeling amorous? Submissions are currently open for the 2017 2 Elizabeths Love & Romance Contest. An award of $1,000 and publication in the inaugural 2 Elizabeths Anthology will be given annually for a group of poems or a work of short fiction with romantic themes.

Using the online submission system, submit 3 to 10 pages of poetry or 1,000 to 6,000 words of short fiction with a $22.50 entry fee by November 1. All entries are considered for publication. The editors will judge.

2 Elizabeths is a mother-daughter-run online literary magazine that publishes short stories, flash fiction, and poetry, as well as interviews, writing prompts, and other practical writing resources for writers.

Visit the contest website for more information, and check out our Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more upcoming contests in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

Whiting Foundation Announces Creative Nonfiction Grant Recipients

The Whiting Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2017 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grants, given annually to up to eight writers in the process of completing a book of creative nonfiction. The writers will each receive $40,000.

The grantees are:

Michael Brenson for David Smith and the Transformation of American Sculpture, forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Philip Gourevitch for You Hide That You Hate Me and I Hide That I Know, forthcoming from Penguin Press

Pacifique Irankunda for The Time of Stories, forthcoming from Random House

Seth Kantner for A Thousand Trails Home, forthcoming from Mountaineers Books

Jay Kirk for Avoid the Day, forthcoming from Harper Perennial

Meghan O’Rourke for What’s Wrong With Me? The Mysteries of Chronic Illness, forthcoming from Riverhead Books

George Packer for Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century, forthcoming from Knopf

Julie Phillips for The Baby on the Fire Escape, forthcoming from Norton

The winners were selected from a list of fifteen finalists by an anonymous judging panel. Now in its second year, the Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant “fosters original, ambitious projects that bring writing to the highest possible standard.” The applicants must have a publishing contract and be at least two years into their project. The next round of applications will open in Spring 2018.

For more than forty years, the Whiting Foundation has supported literature and the humanities through its various programs, including its annual awards for emerging writers and the new Whiting Literary Magazines Prizes, which honor literary journals. Visit the website for more information.

(Photos: Top row, from left: Michael Brenson, Philip Gourevitch, Pacifique Irankunda, Seth Kantner; Bottom row, from left: Jay Kirk, Meghan O'Rourke, George Packer, Julie Phillips)

New $10,000 Story Collection Prize

Spartanburg, South Carolina–based Hub City Press has announced the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize, a new award of $10,000 and publication for a debut story collection by a writer residing in the American South. Acclaimed short story writer Lee K. Abbott will judge the inaugural contest.

Fiction writers living in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, or West Virginia who have not yet published a book are eligible to apply. Submit a manuscript of 140 to 220 pages with a $25 entry fee by January 1, 2018. The winning book will be published in Spring 2019.

Betsy Teter, Hub City’s founder and publisher, notes that the new prize is “one of the most substantial short story prizes in North America,” and is named to honor fiction editor C. Michael Curtis, who “has been a great friend to Hub City Press over the years.” Curtis has edited notable American short story writers including Tobias Wolff, Joyce Carol Oates, and Anne Beattie.

Established in 1995, Hub City Press is dedicated to publishing works by emerging and established authors from the American South. Visit the website for more information.