G&A: The Contest Blog

BOMB Fiction Contest Open for Submissions

Submissions are open for the biennial BOMB Fiction Contest. The winning writer will receive a prize of $1,000 and publication in BOMB. Novelist Ottessa Moshfegh, the author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation and Death in Her Hands, will judge.

Using only the online submission system, submit a short story of up to 5,000 words and a cover letter with an entry fee of $25 by May 3. For writers in the United States, the entry fee includes a one-year subscription to BOMB. The winner will be revealed on July 31. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Founded in 1981, BOMB is a multimedia publishing house that spotlights artists and artwork in various disciplines, including literature, film, and visual art. In addition to publishing a print quarterly—which features interviews, portfolios, as well as essays, fiction, and poetry—BOMB maintains a regular online publication. BOMB also hosts one literary contest each year, alternating between poetry and fiction. The winner of the most recent fiction contest was Alexandra Gauss for her story “Sanssouci.”

Deadline Approaches for the Backwaters Prize in Poetry

The Backwaters Prize in Poetry is accepting submissions. Established in 1998, the prize is awarded for a book-length poetry manuscript. The winning writer will receive $2,000, publication by the Backwaters Press, and 20 author copies. An honorable mention prize of $1,000 and publication by the Backwaters Press will also be given.

Using only the online submission system, submit a manuscript of 60 to 85 pages with a $30 entry fee by May 1. Huascar Medina will judge. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Founded in 1997, the Backwaters Press was acquired by the University of Nebraska Press (UNP) in 2018. Operating as a distinct imprint within UNP, Backwaters seeks to “plant its roots firmly in the Great Plains, delighting readers with literature of enduring value and consequence.” The winner of the 2020 prize was Nathaniel Perry for Long Rules: An Essay in Verse, which is forthcoming in November.

Cave Canem Poetry Prize Accepting Submissions

The deadline is approaching for the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Founded in 1999 to help discover “exceptional manuscripts by Black poets of African descent,” the prize celebrates a debut book of poetry by a Black writer. The winning writer will receive $1,000, a critique session with the prize judge, publication by Graywolf Press, fifteen author copies, and a reading event.

Using only the online submission system, submit a cover letter and a manuscript of 48 to 75 pages by April 30. Only writers who have not published a full-length book of poetry are eligible. Writers who have published chapbooks or who self-published books with limited print runs are eligible. Rachel Eliza Griffiths will judge. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The Cave Canem Foundation was established in 1996 with the ambition to “remedy the under-representation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape.” Cave Canem’s many programs include an annual writing retreat and numerous community-based workshops. The winner of the 2020 Cave Canem Poetry Prize was Aurielle Marie, whose book, Gumbo Ya Ya, is forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press in fall 2021.

 

Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize Open for Submissions

Submissions are open for the Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize. Honoring “well-crafted, boundary-pushing fiction,” the prize is designed to give winners “the most visibility possible for their writing.” Eleven stories will be shortlisted. One winner will receive €1,500 (approximately $1,777), a weeklong residency at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation’s castle in the Umbria region of Italy, and a consultation with literary agent Charlotte Seymour of Andrew Nurnberg Associates. Two runners-up will receive €750 (approximately $889) and a consultation. All shortlisted stories will be published in a collection to be distributed to agents in the U.S. and U.K., in addition to being published in one of nine partner journals. Additionally, all finalists will be invited to participate in salons—public health conditions permitting—in Madrid, London, and Edinburgh. One shortlisted writer will also receive a ten-day residency at the Writers’ House of Georgia, which includes a €400 (approximately $474) travel stipend and an invitation to read at the Tbilisi International Festival of Literature. If the festival is canceled due to the pandemic, the writer will still be able to complete the residency.

Using only the online submission system, submit a short story of up to 2,000 words with a €20 (approximately $24) entry fee by April 15. Up to four additional entries are permitted for €10 (approximately $12) per entry. Writers from underrepresented communities or who face financial hardship can apply for a sponsored or reduced fee entry until April 1. Ottessa Moshfegh, Derek Owusu, and Isabel Waidner will judge. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Desperate Literature is a bookstore and community space in Madrid, Spain. It was jointly conceived by booksellers Terry Craven, Charlotte Delattre, Corey Eastwood, and Craig Walzer. The store “strives to be a space where good literature serves as a vehicle for dynamic cultural, linguistic and social exchange between Madrilenos, extranjeros and travelers from around the world.”

Photo: The Civitella Ranieri Foundation’s castle in Italy

Deadline Approaches for Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing

The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing is accepting submissions. Established in 2016 to recognize and celebrate the talent of immigrant writers, the prize is awarded in alternating years for a debut book of fiction or nonfiction by a first-generation writer. The winning writer will receive $10,000 and publication by Restless Books. The 2021 award will be given in nonfiction.

Using only the online submission system, submit a complete manuscript or a sample of at least 25,000 words and a proposal by March 31. Writers who have not previously published a book of nonfiction in English are eligible. Writers Francisco Cantú and Shuchi Saraswat and Restless Books publisher Ian Stavans will judge. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

“At a time in which politicians and the media reduce immigrants to mere ciphers,” Stavans told Poets & Writers Magazine in a 2020 article about the prize, “the objective was clear-cut: to do what literature does best . . . by allowing emerging immigrant writers from anywhere and everywhere to tell their own stories.”

 

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

After a dreary winter, spring is finally on the horizon. With deadlines of March 14 or March 15, these contests include opportunities for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers alike. One awards a monthlong residency in Slovenia. All offer a cash prize of $500 or more.

Airlie Press Airlie Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Airlie Press is given annually for a poetry collection. The editors will judge. Deadline: March 15. Entry fee: $25.

Bellingham Review Literary Awards: Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Bellingham Review are given annually for works of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. The 49th Parallel Award for Poetry is given for a poem or group of poems. The Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction is given for a short story. The Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction is given for an essay. All entries are considered for publication. Jessica Jacobs will judge in poetry, Kristiana Kahakauwila will judge in fiction, and Sarah Einstein will judge in creative nonfiction. Deadline: March 15. Entry fee: $20 ($10 for each additional entry).

Colorado Review Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction: A prize of $2,000 and publication in Colorado Review is given annually for a short story. T. Geronimo Johnson will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: March 14. Entry fee: $15 ($17 for online submissions).

Fourth Genre Steinberg Essay Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Fourth Genre is given annually for an essay. Xu Xi will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: March 15. Entry fee: $20.

Hidden River Arts Eludia Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Hidden River Publishing is given annually for a debut novel or story collection by a woman age 40 or older. Deadline: March 15. Entry fee: $20.

James Jones Literary Society First Novel Fellowship: A prize of $10,000 is given annually for a novel-in-progress by a U.S. writer who has not published a novel. Two runners-up will each receive $1,000. Deadline: March 15. Entry fee: $33.

Livingston Press Tartt Fiction Award: A prize of $1,000, publication by Livingston Press, and 100 author copies is given annually for a first collection of short stories by a U.S. citizen. Deadline: March 15. Entry fee: none.

National Poetry Series Open Competition: Five prizes of $10,000 each and publication by participating trade, university, or small press publishers are given annually for poetry collections. The 2021 publishers are Beacon Press, Ecco, Milkweed Editions, Penguin Books, and University of Georgia Press. Deadline: March 15. Entry fee: $35.

Prairie Schooner Raz-Shumaker Book Prizes: Two prizes of $3,000 each and publication by University of Nebraska Press are given annually for a poetry collection and a short story collection. Kwame Dawes will judge. Deadline: March 15. Entry fee: $25.

Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a single poem. Kim Stafford will judge. Deadline: March 15. Entry fee: $10.

The Word Works Washington Prize: A prize of $1,500 and publication by the Word Works is given annually to a U.S. or Canadian poet for a poetry collection. Deadline: March 15. Entry fee: $25.

Verse Tomaž Šalamun Prize: A prize of $500 and publication by Factory Hollow Press is given annually for a poetry chapbook. The winner will also receive a monthlong residency in summer 2022 in a private apartment at the Tomaž Šalamun Center for Poetry in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Prose poetry, hybrid works, and translations of works of poetry by living writers from any language into English are also eligible. Sawako Nakayasu will judge. Deadline: March 15. Entry fee: $16 ($12 for students).

Washington College Hodson Trust–John Carter Brown Library Fellowship: A fellowship, which includes a stipend of $20,000, is given annually to a novelist or nonfiction writer working on a book relating to the literature, history, culture, or art of the Americas before 1830. The fellowship includes housing and university privileges for a two-month research period to be conducted at the John Carter Brown Library on the campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and a two-month writing term at the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. Deadline: March 15. Entry fee: none.

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

PEN America Emerging Voices Fellowship Open for Applications

The deadline is approaching for the PEN America Emerging Voices Fellowship. While previously designated for Los Angeles writers, the fellowship is now open to poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers from across the United States. Twelves fellows will receive $1,000 and participate in a five-month mentorship program, which includes one-on-one mentorship, introductions to various industry leaders, professional development workshops, and more. Designed for “early-career writers from communities that are traditionally underrepresented in the publishing world,” the program is open to writers who have not yet published a book and who do not hold an advanced degree in creative writing.

Using only the online submission system, submit a series of personal statements, a writing sample, a curriculum vitae, and the contact information for two references with a $25 entry fee by March 17. A committee of established writers, former fellows, and PEN America staff will judge. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The Emerging Voices Fellowship was first established by PEN America Los Angeles in 1996, with the aim to serve “writers seeking financial and creative support to pursue their craft professionally.” Last year the program was disrupted as the pandemic swept the country, and in August 2020, PEN America indicated it would not open the 2021 fellowship application. The following month, however, the organization announced it would be able to redirect funding to the program and reenvision it on a national scale.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

It’s hard to believe, but the end of February is almost here! With deadlines of either February 28 or March 1, these awards include opportunities earmarked for writers in Alabama and Mississippi, as well as two prizes for Black writers who self-published books last year. All feature a cash prize of $500 or more.

Alabama State Council on the Arts Literary Arts Fellowships: Fellowships of $5,000 each are given annually to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers who have lived in the state of Alabama for at least two years. Deadline: March 1. Entry fee: none.

Association of Writers & Writing Programs Award Series: Two prizes of $5,500 each and publication by a participating press are given annually for a poetry collection and a short story collection. In addition, two prizes of $2,500 each and publication by a participating press are given annually for a novel and a book of creative nonfiction. Ilya Kaminsky will judge in poetry, Rebecca Makkai will judge in short fiction, Sabina Murray will judge in the novel, and Aimee Nezhukumatathil will judge in nonfiction. Deadline: February 28. Entry fee: $30 ($20 for AWP members).

Biographers International Organization Hazel Rowley Prize: A prize of $2,000 will be given annually for a work-in-progress by a writer who has not published a biography. The winner will also receive review of their manuscript by an agent, publicity through the Biographers International Organization (BIO) website, and a one-year membership in BIO. Writers who have not previously published, or who are not under contract to write, a book of biography, history, or other work of narrative nonfiction are eligible. Deadline: March 1. Entry fee: $25.

Black Caucus of the American Library Association Self-Publishing Literary Awards: Two prizes of $500 each are given annually for a poetry e-book and a fiction e-book by an African American writer self-published in the United States during the previous year. The awards honor books that depict the “cultural, historical, and sociopolitical aspects of the Black Diaspora.” Deadline: February 28. Entry fee: none.

Fish Publishing Flash Fiction Prize: A prize of €1,000 (approximately $1,170) and publication in the Fish Publishing anthology is given annually for a short short story. The winner is also invited to give a reading at the West Cork Literary Festival in July 2021. Kathy Fish will judge. Deadline: February 28. Entry fee: €14 (approximately $16) for online entries or €16 (approximately $18) for postal entries.

Hunger Mountain Literary Prizes: Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication on the Hunger Mountain website are given annually for a poem, a short story, and an essay. Tomás Q. Morín will judge in poetry, Trinie Dalton will judge in fiction, and Terese Marie Mailhot will judge in nonfiction. Deadline: March 1. Entry fee: $20.

Little Tokyo Historical Society Short Story Contest: A prize of $500 and publication in the Rafu Shimpo and on the Discover Nikkei and Little Tokyo Historical Society websites is given annually for a short story that takes place in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles. Deadline: February 28. Entry fee: none.

Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Artist Fellowships: Grants of up to $5,000 each are given in alternating years to Mississippi poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. This year the fellowships will be offered in categories including creative nonfiction. Applicants must be permanent residents of Mississippi. Deadline: March 1. Entry fee: none.

Omnidawn Publishing First/Second Poetry Book Contest: A prize of $3,000, publication by Omnidawn Publishing, and 100 author copies is given annually for a first or second poetry collection. Kazim Ali will judge. Deadline: February 28. Entry fee: $27 ($30 to receive a book from the Omnidawn catalogue).

Tupelo Press Snowbound Chapbook Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Tupelo Press is given annually for a poetry chapbook. Denise Duhamel will judge. Deadline: February 28. Entry fee: $25.

University of Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellowships: An academic year in residence, which includes a stipend of at least $39,000, at the University of Wisconsin in Madison is given annually to at least five writers working on a first or second book of poetry or fiction. Writers with an MFA or PhD in creative writing who have not published more than one book are eligible. Deadline: March 1. Entry fee: $50.

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

Furious Flower Poetry Prize Accepting Submissions

Submissions are open for the Furious Flower Poetry Prize. Presented by the Furious Flower Poetry Center, the nation’s first academic center for Black poetry, the annual award seeks to ensure the “visibility, inclusion, and critical consideration of Black poets in American letters.” The winning poet will receive a prize of $1,000, as well as an honorarium of $500 for their participation in a reading with Furious Flower in fall 2021.

Submit up to three poems totaling no more than six pages with a $15 entry fee by February 28. Erica Hunt will judge. Poets who have published no more than one poetry collection are eligible. Visit the website for complete guidelines and directions on how to submit.

Based at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Furious Flower emerged from a watershed 1994 conference honoring the work of poet Gwendolyn Brooks. Today, the center offers year-round programming and is home to archives for the study of Black poetry and culture. Previous winners of the Furious Flower Poetry Prize include Diamond Forde and Rachelle Parker.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

It is fitting that during the most romantic month of the year, contest opportunities abound for poets! With deadlines of either February 14 or February 15, these awards include opportunities for both English language poetry and poetry in translation. There are also two contests for prose writers. All offer a cash prize of $1,000 or more.

Academy of American Poets Ambroggio Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by University of Arizona Press is given annually for a book of poetry originally written in Spanish by a living writer and translated into English. The poet and translator will split the prize. Rigoberto González will judge. Deadline: February 15. Entry fee: none.

Academy of American Poets Harold Morton Landon Translation Award: A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a book of poetry translated from any language into English and published in the United States during the previous year. Indran Amirthanayagam will judge. Deadline: February 15. Entry fee: none.

Academy of American Poets Raiziss/De Palchi Fellowship: A fellowship of $25,000 is given biennially for the translation into English of a work of modern Italian poetry. Moira Egan, Rebecca Falkoff, and Graziella Sidoli will judge. Deadline: February 15. Entry fee: none.

Arrowsmith Press Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry: A prize of $1,000 will be given annually for a poetry collection published in English by a writer who is not a resident of the United States. The winner will also receive an invitation to read at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre in Boston; a one-week residency at poet Derek Walcott’s home in St. Lucia or in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, in conjunction with the annual Walcott Festival; and the publication of a limited-edition broadside of their work by Arrowsmith Press. Poets who are living in the United States as green card holders are eligible. Poets whose work appears in translation into English are also eligible. Major Jackson will judge. Deadline: February 15. Entry fee: $20.

Hippocrates Prizes for Poetry and Medicine: A prize of £1,000 (approximately $1,260) and publication in the Hippocrates Prize anthology and on the Hippocrates website is given annually for a single poem on a medical theme. A prize of £1,000 (approximately $1,260) and publication in the Hippocrates Prize anthology and on the website is also given for a single poem on a medical theme written by a health professional. Anne Barnard, Keki N. Daruwalla, Anna Jackson, and Neena Modi will judge. Deadline: February 14. Entry fee: $10 ($15 for postal submissions).

Milkweed Editions Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry: A prize of $10,000 and publication by Milkweed Editions is given annually for a poetry collection by a poet currently residing in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, or Wisconsin. Deadline: February 15. Entry fee: none.

Sarabande Books Morton and McCarthy Prizes: Two prizes of $2,000 each and publication by Sarabande Books are given annually for collections of poetry and fiction. Victoria Chang will judge in poetry and Danielle Evans will judge in fiction. Deadline: February 15. Entry fee: $29.

Salem State University Claire Keyes Poetry Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Soundings East is given annually for a group of poems. Afaa Michael Weaver will judge. Deadline: February 15. Entry fee: $10 (or $15 to receive a copy of the magazine).

Syracuse University Press Veterans Writing Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Syracuse University Press is given biennially for a novel or short story collection by a U.S. veteran, active duty personnel in any branch of the U.S. military, or the immediate family member of a veteran or active duty personnel. Phil Klay will judge. Deadline: February 15. Entry fee: none.

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

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