G&A: The Contest Blog

Hisham Matar Wins £20,000 Rathbones Folio Prize

Hisham Matar has won the 2017 Rathbones Folio Prize for his memoir, The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between (Random House, 2016). Formerly known as the Folio Prize and given exclusively to fiction books, the annual £20,000 prize is now given for a book in any genre written in English and published in the United Kingdom in the previous year.

The Return, which also won a 2017 Pulitzer Prize, follows Matar’s return to his native home of Libya in search of answers to his father’s disappearance. About the book, Folio judges Ahdaf Soueif, Rachel Holmes, and Lucy Hughes-Hallett said, “The Return shows what a novelist at the top of his game can do with nonfiction. It gives the reader the same aesthetic, the same satisfaction of the great literary works that enter our lives and stay with us forever.” In addition to The Return, Matar is the author of two acclaimed novels, In the Country of Men (2008) and Anatomy of a Disappearance (2012).

The seven finalists were The Vanishing Man: In Pursuit of Velázquez by Laura Cumming; This Census-Taker by China Miéville; The Sport of Kings by C. E. Morgan; The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson; Golden Hill by Francis Spufford; Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien; and Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution & War by Leila Al-Shami and Robin Yassin-Kassab. The finalists were chosen from sixty-two books nominated by the Folio Prize Academy, an international group of writers and critics.

Upcoming Poetry Contest Deadlines

Poets—if you’re ready to submit a poem or two to writing contests, look no further! The following contests, open to poems or groups of poems, are considering entries until June 1. Each award includes a prize of at least $1,000 and publication.

Boston Review Poetry Contest: A prize of $1,500 and publication in Boston Review is given annually for a poem or group of poems. Mónica de la Torre will judge. Entry Fee: $20

Boulevard Emerging Poets Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Boulevard is given annually for a group of poems by a poet who has not published a poetry collection with a nationally distributed press. The Boulevard editors will judge. Entry Fee: $16

Southern Humanities Review Auburn Witness Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Southern Humanities Review is given annually for a poem of witness in honor of the late poet Jake Adam York. The winner also receives travel expenses to give a reading at Auburn University in Alabama in October. Naomi Shihab Nye will judge. Entry Fee: $15

Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition: A prize of $5,000, publication in the 86th annual Writer’s Digest Competition Collection, and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference in August in New York City to meet one-on-one with four agents or editors is given annually for a poem, a short story, or an essay. The winner will also be interviewed in Writer’s Digest, and will receive a subscription to the Writer’s Digest Tutorials video series. A second-place prize of $1,000 and publication is also given in each genre, including rhyming poetry and non-rhyming poetry. Entry Fee: $20

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

End of May Prose Contest Deadlines

Attention fiction and creative nonfiction writers! You have until May 31 to submit your essays, short stories, and novels to the following contests, which offer prizes of at least $1,000 and publication:

Crab Orchard Literary Prizes: Two prizes of $1,250 each and publication in Crab Orchard Review are given annually for a short story and an essay. Entry fee: $12

Bridport Arts Centre Bridport Prize: A prize of £5,000 (approximately $6,250) each and publication in the Bridport Prize anthology is given annually for a short story. A prize of £1,000 (approximately $1,250) and publication is also given for a work of flash fiction. Peter Hobbs will judge in fiction; and Kit de Waal will judge in flash fiction. Entry fees: £10 (approximately $13) for fiction and £8 (approximately $10) for flash fiction.

BOA Editions Short Fiction Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by BOA Editions is given annually for a short story collection. Peter Conners will judge. Entry fee: $25

University of Georgia Press Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by University of Georgia Press is given annually for a collection of short fiction. Entry fee: $30

Elixir Press Fiction Award: A prize of $2,000, publication by Elixir Press, and 25 author copies is given annually for a short story collection or a novel. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $40

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

End of May Poetry Contest Roundup

Poets! The end of May will arrive before we know it, so it’s time to get those poems, chapbooks, and full-length manuscripts ready to submit. The following contests are open for submissions until May 31, and offer prizes of at least $1,000 and publication.

Crab Orchard Literary Prize: A prize of $1,250 and publication in Crab Orchard Review is given annually for a poem. Entry fee: $12

Southern Poetry Review Guy Owen Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Southern Poetry Review is given annually for a poem. Entry fee: $20, which includes a subscription to Southern Poetry Review.

Anhinga Press Anhinga–Robert Dana Prize for Poetry: A prize of $2,000, publication by Anhinga Press, and 25 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. The winner is also invited to participate in a reading tour at select colleges in Florida. Eduardo C. Corral will judge. Entry fee $25 ($28 for electronic submissions)

Backwaters Press Backwaters Prize: A prize of $2,500 and publication by Backwaters Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Bob Hicok will judge. Entry fee: $30

Oberlin College Press FIELD Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Oberlin College Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Entry fee: $28, which includes a subscription to FIELD: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics.

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

Joy Harjo Wins Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize

The Poetry Foundation has announced Joy Harjo as the recipient of its 2017 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. The $100,000 award is given annually to a U.S. poet for lifetime achievement.

Poetry editor Don Share says of Harjo’s poetry, “Her work is a thrilling and necessary antidote to false news, the ephemera of digital celebrity, and other derelictions. It pushes vigorously back against forgetfulness, injustice, and negligence at every level of contemporary life. Her work moves us because it is in the continual motion of bringing forward, with grace but also acuity, our collective story, always in progress.”

The author of ten poetry collections and a memoir, Harjo was born in Tulsa and is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Her poetry draws on Native American history and storytelling, as well as feminist and social justice issues. “In a strange sense,” Harjo once commented, “[writing] frees me to believe in myself, to be able to speak, to have voice, because I have to; it is my survival.” Her most recent poetry collection is Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (Norton, 2015). 

Harjo’s accolades include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). (Read Harjo’s comments about the life-changing support of an NEA fellowship in the May/June 2017 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.)

Established in 1986, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize is one of the most prestigious awards given to American poets, and is also one of the nation’s richest literary prizes. Recent winners include Ed Roberson, Alice Notley, and Nathaniel Mackey. Visit the Poetry Foundation website for more information.

Fiction and Nonfiction Contest Deadlines

The following contests for fiction and creative nonfiction writers are open for submissions until May 15. Whether you have a short story, an essay, or a novel or memoir manuscript ready to submit, these contests offer prizes of $1,000 to $50,000 and publication.

Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest: Two prizes of $2,000 each and publication in Ploughshares are given annually for a short story and an essay of up to 6,000 words. Writers who have not published or self-published a book or chapbook are eligible. Entry Fee: $24 (no entry fee for current subscribers)

Carve Magazine Raymond Carver Short Story Contest: A prize of $1,500 and publication in Carve Magazine is given annually for a short story of up to 10,000 words. Entry Fee: $15 ($17 for electronic submissions)

Zone 3 Press Creative Nonfiction Book Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Zone 3 Press is given biennially for a memoir or essay collection of 150 to 300 pages. Janisse Ray will judge. Entry Fee: $25

Del Sol Press First Novel Competition: A prize of $1,500, publication by Del Sol Press, and 20 author copies is given annually for a debut novel of 200 to 450 pages. Hallie Ephron will judge. Entry Fee: $30

St. Francis College Literary Prize: A prize of $50,000 is given biennially for a third, fourth, or fifth published book of fiction. Story collections and novels (including self-published books and English translations) published between June 2015 and May 2017 are eligible. Jeffery Renard Allen, Ellen Litman, and Rene Steinke will judge. There is no entry fee.

Leeway Foundation Transformation Awards: Awards of $15,000 each are given annually to women and transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, or otherwise gender-nonconforming fiction writers and creative nonfiction writers in the Philadelphia area who have been creating art for social change for five or more years. Writers who have lived for at least two years in Bucks, Camden, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Philadelphia counties, who are at least 18 years old, and who are not full-time students in a degree-granting arts program are eligible. There is no entry fee. 

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

Submissions Open for BOMB Fiction Contest

Submissions are currently open for BOMB Magazine’s 2017 fiction contest. A prize of $1,000 and publication in BOMB’s literary supplement, First Proof, is given in alternating years for a group of poems and a short story. This year’s contest will be given for a short story. Novelist and essayist Paul La Farge will judge.

Using the online submission system, submit a story of up to 5,000 words with a $20 entry fee, which includes a one-year subscription to BOMB (for U.S. entrants), by May 31.

Previous winners of the fiction contest, whose winning work you can read on the BOMB website, include Jen George, Michael Baptist, Karen Walker Thompson, and Sean Madigan Hoen.

Established in 1981 as a quarterly magazine of conversations and interviews between interdisciplinary artists, BOMB is now a “multi-media publishing house that creates, disseminates, and preserves artist-generated content from interviews to artists’ essays to new literature." E-mail firstproof@bombsite.com or visit the BOMB website for more information. 

Photo: Paul La Farge. Credit: Carol Shadford

T. Geronimo Johnson Wins New $50,000 Literary Prize

Fiction writer T. Geronimo Johnson has won the Simpson Family Literary Project’s inaugural literary prize. He will receive $50,000 and a brief residency at the Lafayette Library and the University of California in Berkeley. He will also make a number of public appearances and give a public reading in the San Francisco Bay Area. The annual award is given to a midcareer fiction writer to encourage and support forthcoming work.

Johnson, whose 2015 novel, Welcome to Braggsville, was longlisted for the National Book Award, plans to use the $50,000 prize to support his forthcoming novel,which the author says “explores the convergence of Afro-futurism; global AI; the economic imperatives that amplify cultural differences; corporate religion (in all manifestations); and tech inequity. The question behind this novel is the same question that animates my previous work: How do we learn to care about people who are not like us?  I’m thrilled by the opportunity to complete this journey without interruption.”The Simpson Family Literary Prize is cosponsored by the Lafayette Library & Learning Center Foundation in Lafayette, California, and the English Department at the University of California in Berkeley. An anonymous jury selects the winner; there is no application process.

Joe Di Prisco, the Literary Project’s founder and prize chair, established the foundation in 2012 with a mission to foster and build creative writing communities in the Bay Area through collaboration between libraries and university-affiliated creative writing programs. In addition to the literary prize, the Simpson Family Literary Project sponsors community outreach programs, including creative writing classes for high school students and incarcerated youth in diverse communities in California, as well as an annual writer-in-residence program at the Lafayette Library & Learning Center.

Di Prisco says he is excited about the continued growth of the project and selecting Johnson as the winner of its inaugural prize: “The Simpson Family Literary Project is thrilled to share Johnson and his brilliant work with students, readers, writers, teachers, professors, and librarians across generations.”

(Photo: T. Geronimo Johnson; Credit: Sandra Dyas)

End of April Poetry Deadlines

With just a few days left in April, end National Poetry Month on a high note by submitting to the following poetry contests and fellowships—offering prizes of $1,000 to $25,800—all with a deadline of April 30.

Arcadia Dead Bison Editors’ Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Arcadia is given annually for a group of poems. Entry Fee: $25

Ashland Poetry Press Richard Snyder Publication Prize: A prize of $1,000, publication by Ashland Poetry Press, and 50 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Entry fee: $25 ($27 for electronic submissions)

Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Marsh Hawk Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Meena Alexander will judge. Entry fee: $25

Poetry Foundation Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships: Five fellowships of $25,800 each are given annually to young poets. Writers who are U.S. residents or citizens between the ages of 21 and 31 as of April 30 are eligible. No entry fee.

Redivider Beacon Street Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Redivider is given annually for a poem. Entry fee: $20

Tupelo Press Berkshire Prize: A prize of $3,000 and publication by Tupelo Press is given annually for a first or second poetry collection. Entry fee: $28

University of Pittsburgh Press Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize: A prize of $5,000 and publication by University of Pittsburgh Press is given annually for a debut poetry collection. Entry fee: $25

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

Caitlin Bailey Wins $10,000 Lindquist & Vennum Poetry Prize

Milkweed Editions has announced Caitlin Bailey of Saint Paul as the winner of the 2017 Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry for her poetry collection, Solve for Desire. She received $10,000, and her book will be published by Milkweed Editions in November.

Judge Srikanth Reddy selected Bailey’s collection from a pool of more than two hundred manuscripts. Of the winning book Reddy said, “Solve for Desire is the work of a poet who sings, boldly, across the distances between us. ‘I am not afraid of any edge.’”

The finalists were Soham Patel, Patrick Johnson, Paige Riehl, Michael Torres, and Angela Voras-Hills. The winner and finalists were honored at Milkweed Editions’ second annual Poetry Month Party on April 13.

Given annually since 2011 by the Minneapolis-based independent press Milkweed Editions, the Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry is open to poets living in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, or Wisconsin. The prize aims to celebrate the work and advance the careers of American poets living and working in the Upper Midwest. Previous winners include Chris Santiago, Jennifer Willoughby, and Rebecca Dunham. Visit the Milkweed Editions website for more information.

Photo: Caitlin Bailey

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