G&A: The Contest Blog

June 15 Contest Roundup

Writers! Three days left to send your work to the following contests, all with a deadline of June 15. There are opportunities for poets, fiction writers, and translators. All of the contests offer a first-place prize of at least $1,000 and publication.

Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Bitter Oleander Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Entry fee: $28.

University of Akron Press Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,500 and publication by University of Akron Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Victoria Chang will judge. Entry fee: $20.

Philadelphia Stories Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction: A prize of $2,500 and publication in Philadelphia Stories is given annually for a short story. The winner will also receive travel and lodging expenses to read at Rosemont College in October. Writers currently living in the United States are eligible. Entry fee: $15.

American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Prizes: A prize of $2,500 and publication of an excerpt in Scandinavian Review is given annually for an English translation of a work of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction written in a Nordic language. A prize of $2,000 and publication is also awarded to a translator whose literary translations have not previously been published. Translations of works by Scandinavian authors born after 1900 that have not been published in English are eligible. 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.

Futurepoem Contest Open for Submissions

Submissions are currently open for The Other Futures Award, given by Futurepoem for a book-length work of poetry, prose, or multi-genre writing. The editors of Futurepoem launched the award this year to recognize “innovative, adventurous work that challenges conventions of genre and language, content and form.” The winner will receive $1,000 and will be published by Futurepoem in 2021.

Using the online submission system, submit a manuscript of any length—the suggested length is 50 to 100 pages—with a $28 entry fee by June 15. Dan Machlin, Carly Dashiell, Ariel Yelen, and Aiden Garabed Farrell—Futurepoem’s permanent editors and staff—will judge. The winning entry will be announced by September 15. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

“The Other Futures Award focuses on innovative, experimental poetry and cross-genre literature,” write the editors. “We are interested in considering work that imagines new literary possibilities, pushes the boundaries, and questions established paradigms.”

Founded in 2002, Futurepoem is a New York City–based publishing collaborative. It has a rotating editorial panel and is “dedicated to presenting innovative works of contemporary poetry and prose by both emerging and important underrepresented writers.” Dan Machlin is founder and executive editor. Recent releases include Jennifer Soong’s debut poetry collection, Near, At; Emmalea Russo’s debut poetry collection, G; and Aby Kaupang and Matthew Cooperman’s collaborative poetry collection NOS (disorder, not otherwise specified).

Deadline Approaches for Robert Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award

Submissions are currently open for the Robert Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award. The award is given for a story or essay that engages with “the joy of fly-fishing, ecology, and humor regarding piscatorial friendships and fun on the water.” The winner receives $2,500 and publication in the Spring 2020 edition of the American Fly Fisher.

Using the online submission system, submit a story or essay of up to 3,000 words with a $25 entry fee. Unpublished pieces and pieces published during the previous two years are eligible. The deadline is May 31. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines. The winner will be announced in September.

Writer Nick Lyons and the Voelker Foundation created the award in 1994 to encourage and recognize “distinguished original stories or essays that embody the implicit love of fly fishing, respect for the sport, and the natural world in which it takes place.” The Voelker Foundation is dedicated to the work and values of writer and fly-fisherman John Voelker.

Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise Accepting Submissions

Applications are currently open for the Vilcek Foundation’s Prizes for Creative Promise in Literature. Three prizes of $50,000 each are awarded to writers not born in the United States to recognize achievement early in their careers. Poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers who are thirty-eight years of age or younger and have published at least one full-length book are eligible. Winners will be notified in the fall and honored at an annual awards ceremony in New York City in Spring 2020.

Using the online submission system, submit a writing sample of up to twenty pages, a curriculum vitae, proof of your immigration status, five press clippings about your work, and contact information for two professional references by June 10. There is no application fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines and eligibility requirements.

The shortlist will be chosen by a jury of experts from the literary community who will evaluate the applicants based on their “excellence, innovation, and impact.”

Established in 2009, the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise aim to “encourage and support emerging to mid-career immigrant artists and scientists who have demonstrated exceptional achievements early in their careers.” The awards are given annually to biomedical scientists and in alternating years to writers, dancers, musicians, designers, fashion designers, theater artists, architects, visual artists, and culinary artists. The Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature was last awarded in 2011 to Dinaw Mengestu.

The Vilcek Prizes are sponsored by the Vilcek Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness of immigrant contributions to America. Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia, established the foundation in 2000.

Deadline Approaches for St. Francis College Literary Prize

Submissions are open for the biennial St. Francis College Literary Prize. The $50,000 award is given to a midcareer author for their third, fourth, or fifth book of fiction. Chris Abani, Ron Currie, and Kate Christensen will judge. The shortlist will be announced on August 15, and the winner will be announced at the Brooklyn Book Festival in September.

To submit, mail five copies of a book of fiction published between June 2017 and May 2019 to St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Self-published books and English translations are also eligible. The deadline is May 15. There is no entry fee.

First awarded in 2009, the prize is designed to recognize “authors at this crucial stage in their careers” and give them more opportunities to focus on their craft. Past winners include Dana Spiotta for Innocents and Others, Maud Casey for The Man Who Walked Away, and David Vann for Dirt.

Marilyn Nelson Wins Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize

Today the Poetry Foundation named Marilyn Nelson the winner of the 2019 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. The annual award for outstanding lifetime achievement is one of the most prestigious awards given to American poets and includes a $100,000 prize. The Poetry Foundation also named Terrance Hayes the recipient of the 2019 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism and Naomi Shihab Nye the 2019–2021 Young People’s Poet Laureate. The three awards will be presented at the Pegasus Awards Ceremony at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago on June 10.

Poet and translator Marilyn Nelson has published several books, including three poetry collections that were finalists for the National Book Award: Carver: A Life in Poems (Front Street Press, 2001), The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 1997), and The Homeplace (Louisiana State University Press, 1990). Nelson won the Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America in 2012 and is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut at Storrs and was the state’s poet laureate from 2001 to 2006.

“Marilyn Nelson has been committed throughout her career to meticulously chronicling the contemporary and historical experience—and contributions—of Black people in America,” said Don Share, editor of the foundation’s magazine, Poetry. “Everyone who cares about how life is lived and felt in this country should read her vivid and deeply considered work.”

The inaugural Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize was awarded to Adrienne Rich in 1986. The prize has since been awarded to Gary Snyder, C. K. Williams, W. S. Merwin, Joy Harjo, and Martín Espada, among others.

The Young People’s Poet Laureate title, which includes a $25,000 prize, celebrates a living writer’s devotion to writing exceptional poetry for young readers. As the 2019–2021 laureate, Nye plans to bring poetry to geographically underserved areas. Nye, who is a professor of creative writing at Texas State University, has published several poetry collections for both young readers and adults. BOA Editions published her most recent collection for adults, The Tiny Journalist, last month.

The $7,500 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism, which honors a book of poetry criticism published in the previous year, was awarded to Terrance Hayes for his book To Float in the Space Between: A Life and Work in Conversation with the Life and Work of Etheridge Knight (Wave Books, 2018). A professor at New York University, Hayes has been recognized with numerous awards, including a 2010 National Book Award for his poetry collection Lighthead (Penguin Books, 2010).

Dante Micheaux Wins Four Quartets Prize

At a ceremony in New York City this afternoon, Dante Micheaux was named the winner of the second annual Four Quartets Prize. Micheaux, who won for his book-length poem, Circus (Indolent Books), will receive $20,000. The annual award is given for a unified and complete sequence of poems published during the previous year. Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Carmen Giménez Smith, and Rosanna Warren judged.

“How right that this poet’s first name should be Dante,” wrote the judges in their citation. “For his Circus is a Comedy: a savage comedy, lacerating dialects, fingering wounds, looking for loves right and wrong in the crevices of history and of humiliated bodies. And yet, and yet. His language exults, triumphs, and freely rummages in the treasuries of the Bible, Baudelaire, Whitman, Eliot, Baraka, and Mahalia Jackson, taking what it needs, making it his sovereign own, a wrested blessing.”

Upon accepting the award, Micheaux thanked his grandmother, saying she “put the pen in my hand, put my hand in her hand, and taught me how to write.” Micheaux also thanked Michael Broder, his publisher at Indolent Books, a small press based in Brooklyn devoted to poetry that is “innovative, provocative, risky, and relevant.” Micheaux is the author of one previous collection, Amorous Shepherd (Sheep Meadow Press, 2010), and has published poems in the American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Poetry, PN Review, and Tongue, among others.

The finalists for the prize were Catherine Barnett for her poem sequence “Accursed Questions” from Human Hours (Graywolf Press) and Meredith Stricker for her chapbook anemochore (Newfound Press).

The Poetry Society of America and the T. S. Eliot Foundation established the Four Quartets Prize two years ago to celebrate the poetic sequence and honor T. S. Eliot’s legacy. Danez Smith won the inaugural prize for their lyric sequence “summer, somewhere” from Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press).

Submissions Open for the Miami Book Fair/de Groot Prize

Submissions are currently open for the Miami Book Fair/de Groot Prize for an unpublished novella. The winner will receive $6,000 and publication by Melville House; two runners-up will each receive $3,000. The winner and runners-up will each receive travel and lodging expenses to read and participate at the Miami Book Fair in 2020.

Writers who have not published a book of fiction are eligible. Using Submittable, submit a manuscript of 17,000 to 40,000 words by May 10. The entry fee is $50 until April 30 and $70 thereafter. Visit the prize’s Terms & Conditions page for complete guidelines.

Justin Torres will judge this year’s competition. Torres is an assistant professor of English at the University of California in Los Angeles and author of the novel We the Animals. The winner will be announced on or before November 1.

Marci Vogel won the 2017 award for her novella, Death & Other Holidays. Jim Shepard judged.

Photo: Miami Book Fair

April 30 Contest Roundup for Poets

Poets! Consider submitting your manuscripts and poems to the following contests, all with a deadline of April 30. Each contest offers publication or a prize of at least $1,000:

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: $27.

Beloit Poetry Journal Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry: A prize of $1,500 and publication in Beloit Poetry Journal is given annually for a single poem. Patricia Smith will judge. Entry fee: $15.

Finishing Line Press New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Finishing Line Press is given annually for a poetry chapbook by a woman who has not yet published a full-length collection. Leah Maines will judge. Entry fee: $16.

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

Mudfish Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,200 and publication in Mudfish is given annually for a single poem. John Yau will judge. Entry fee: $20.

Poetry Foundation Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships: Five fellowships of $25,800 each are given annually to U.S. poets between the ages of 21 and 31. Entry fee: None.

Trio House Press Louise Bogan Award: A prize of $1,000, publication by Trio House Press, and 20 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. The winner is also asked to serve as a part-time volunteer for Trio House Press for two years after publication. Sandy Longhorn will judge Entry fee: $25.

Trio House Press Trio Award for First or Second Book: A prize of $1,000, publication by Trio House Press, and 20 author copies is given annually for a first or second poetry collection. The winner is also asked to serve as a part-time volunteer for Trio House Press for two years after publication. Malena Mörling will judge. Entry fee: $25.

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: $30.

University of Iowa Press Iowa Poetry Prize: Publication by University of Iowa Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Entry fee: $20.

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. Ed Ochester will judge. Entry fee: $25.

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.

Powers, Gander Win 2019 Pulitzer Prizes

This afternoon the winners of the 2019 Pulitzer Prizes were announced at Columbia University in New York City. The annual $15,000 prizes are given for works of journalism and literature published during the previous year. First awarded in 1917, the Pulitzer Prizes are considered among the most prestigious prizes in American letters.

The award in fiction went to Richard Powers for his novel The Overstory (Norton). The finalists were Rebecca Makkai for The Great Believers (Viking) and Tommy Orange for There There (Knopf).

Forrest Gander won the award in poetry for Be With (New Directions). The finalists were Jos Charles for feeld (Milkweed Editions) and A. E. Stallings for Like (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

Jeffrey C. Stewart won the award in biography for The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke (Oxford University Press). The finalists were Max Boot for The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam (Norton) and Caroline Weber for Proust’s Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-de-Siècle Paris (Knopf).

The nonfiction award went to Eliza Griswold for Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The finalists were Elizabeth Rush for Rising: Dispatches From the New American Shore (Milkweed Editions) and Bernice Yeung for In a Day’s Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers (New Press).

David W. Blight won the award in history of the United States for Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (Simon & Schuster). The finalists were W. Fitzhugh Brundage for Civilizing Torture: An American Tradition (Belknap) and Victoria Johnson for American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic (Norton).

Each year the Pulitzer Prizes receive nearly 1,400 submissions for its five book categories. The 2018 winners included poet Frank Bidart, fiction writer Andrew Sean Greer, and nonfiction writer Caroline Fraser.

Read more about Powers’s winning book in “A Talk in the Woods: Barbara Kingsolver and Richard Powers” from the November/December 2018 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Photo: Richard Powers

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