G&A: The Contest Blog

National Book Award Longlists Announced

Last week the National Book Foundation released the longlists for the 2019 National Book Awards. The awards are presented annually for the best books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, translated literature, and young people’s literature published between December 1 of the previous year and November 30 of the current year. Ten semifinalists have been nominated in each award category; the finalists, who will each receive a $1,000 prize, will be revealed on October 8. The winning authors will each receive $10,000 and will be announced at an awards ceremony in New York City on November 20.

The semifinalists in poetry:
Dan Beachy-Quick for Variations on Dawn and Dusk (Omnidawn Publishing)
Jericho Brown for The Tradition (Copper Canyon Press)
Toi Derricotte for “I”: New and Selected Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press)
Camonghne Felix for Build Yourself a Boat (Haymarket Books)
Carmen Giménez Smith for Be Recorder (Graywolf Press)
Ilya Kaminsky for Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press)
Ariana Reines for A Sand Book (Tin House Books)
Mary Ruefle for Dunce (Wave Books)
Arthur Sze for Sight Lines (Copper Canyon Press)
Brian Teare for Doomstead Days (Nightboat Books)

The semifinalists in fiction:
Taffy Brodesser-Akner for Fleishman Is in Trouble (Random House)
Susan Choi for Trust Exercise (Henry Holt)
Kali Fajardo-Anstine for Sabrina & Corina: Stories (One World)
Marlon James for Black Leopard, Red Wolf (Riverhead Books)
Laila Lalami for The Other Americans (Pantheon Books)
Kimberly King Parsons for Black Light: Stories (Vintage)
Helen Phillips for The Need (Simon & Schuster)
Julia Phillips for Disappearing Earth (Knopf)
Ocean Vuong for On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin Press)
Colson Whitehead for The Nickel Boys (Doubleday)

The semifinalists in nonfiction:
Hanif Abdurraqib for Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest (University of Texas Press)
Sarah M. Broom for The Yellow House (Grove Press)
Tressie McMillan Cottom for Thick: And Other Essays (New Press)
Carolyn Forché for What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance (Penguin Press)
Greg Grandin for The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America (Metropolitan Books)
Patrick Radden Keefe for Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland (Doubleday)
Iliana Regan for Burn the Place: A Memoir (Agate Midway)
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor for Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership (University of North Carolina Press)
David Treuer for The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present (Riverhead Books)
Albert Woodfox with Leslie George for Solitary (Grove Press)

The semifinalists in translated literature:
Naja Marie Aidt for When Death Takes Something From You Give It Back: Carl’s Book translated by Denise Newman (Coffee House Press)
Eliane Brum for The Collector of Leftover Souls: Field Notes on Brazil’s Everyday Insurrections translated by Diane Grosklaus Whitty (Graywolf Press)
Nona Fernández for Space Invaders translated by Natasha Wimmer (Graywolf Press)
Vigdis Hjorth for Will and Testament translated by Charlotte Barslund (Verso Fiction)
Khaled Khalifa for Death Is Hard Work translated by Leri Price (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
László Krasznahorkai for Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming translated by Ottilie Mulzet (New Directions)
Scholastique Mukasonga for The Barefoot Woman translated by Jordan Stump (Archipelago Books)
Yoko Ogawa for The Memory Police translated by Stephen Snyder (Pantheon Books)
Pajtim Statovci for Crossing translated by David Hackston (Pantheon Books)
Olga Tokarczuk for Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Riverhead Books)

The semifinalists in young people’s literature:
Kwame Alexander
and Kadir Nelson for The Undefeated (Versify)
Laurie Halse Anderson for Shout (Viking Books for Young Readers)
Akwaeke Emezi for Pet (Make Me a World)
Cynthia Kadohata for A Place to Belong (Caitlyn Dlouhy Books)
Jason Reynolds for Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks (Atheneum)
Randy Ribay for Patron Saints of Nothing (Kokila)
Laura Ruby for Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All (Balzer + Bray)
Martin W. Sandler for 1919: The Year That Changed America (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
Hal Schrieve for Out of Salem (Triangle Square)
Colleen AF Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw for Kiss Number 8 (First Second Books)

Applications Open for Black Mountain Institute Shearing Fellowships

Applications are now open for the Black Mountain Institute Shearing Fellowships. Hosted at the institute’s home at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the fellowships each include a $20,000 stipend, free housing in downtown Las Vegas, work space at the institute’s campus offices, and eligibility for health care coverage. The upcoming fellowships will take place during the 2020–2021 academic year; candidates may apply for residencies of one or two semesters. While the fellowship has no formal teaching requirements, incoming fellows will be expected to maintain a regular in-office presence and to engage with the Black Mountain Institute literary community.

The fellowship is open to emerging and distinguished writers who have published at least one critically-acclaimed book of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. Recent fellows include Hanif Abdurraqib, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Tayari Jones, Ahmed Naji, and Claire Vaye Watkins.

Using only the online application system, submit a one- to two-page cover letter, a ten-page writing sample, and a résumé or curriculum vitae by November 1. Finalists will be asked to submit copies of their books. There is no application fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute is “an international literary center dedicated to bringing writers and the literary imagination into the heart of public life.” Located within the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the institute is home to the Believer, a bimonthly magazine of literature, arts, and culture.

Photo: 2018–2019 fellow Claire Vaye Watkins

Submissions Open for Whiting Literary Magazine Prizes

Submissions are open for the third annual Whiting Literary Magazine Prizes. Launched in 2017, the prizes recognize publications that “actively nurture the writers who tell us, through their art, what is important.”. Three prizes will be given to print magazines and two to magazines publishing primarily online. Print publications can win up to $60,000, $30,000, and $15,000; digital publications can win up to $30,000 and $9,000. 

Across all categories, the award is dispensed over three years. Each magazine will receive an outright grant in the first year, followed by matching grants in the second and third years. The Whiting Foundation will also connect all recipients to expert advisors for consultation in matters such as fund-raising and marketing, and help organize meetings throughout the year for the winners to discuss shared challenges. 

This year the application for the prizes will include two rounds of review. Magazines are invited to submit a short-form application using the online portal by December 2. In February 2020 a limited number of applicants will be invited to complete an expanded application due in early April. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines and eligibility requirements

The Whiting Foundation hopes the financial and professional support offered by the grants will help the winners develop and achieve ambitious goals. Courtney Hodell, the foundation’s director of literary programs, notes the long-term results: “As the prize continues to mature, we see more clearly how critical these intrepid magazines are to developing and building healthy careers,” she says. “Supporting magazines benefits the entire literary landscape.” 

The 2019 print prizes went to the Common, American Short Fiction, and Black Warrior Review. The Margins and the Offing received the digital prizes. 

Founded in 1971, the Whiting Foundation believes in “identifying and empowering talented people as early as possible in their creative and intellectual development.” In addition to the Literary Magazine Prizes, every year the organization honors emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama with the Whiting Awards, and supports nonfiction writers completing works-in-progress with the Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grants. 

Treehouse Climate Action Poem Prize Open for Submissions

Submissions are open for the inaugural Treehouse Climate Action Poem Prize. Sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, with support from Treehouse Investments, the award will honor “exceptional poems that help make real for readers the gravity of the vulnerable state of our environment at present.” The award for first place is $1,000; a second-place prize of $750 and a third-place prize of $500 will also be awarded. The winners will all be published in the Academy of American Poet’s Poem-a-Day series.

Using only the online submission system, submit a poem of any length by November 1. Submissions in Spanish will be allowed if they are accompanied by an English translation. Performance or spoken word poets may submit video of their work. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

This year’s contest will be judged by environmentalist Bill McKibben and poet Julia Alvarez. “We’re grateful to have the opportunity to address the climate crisis through poetry and hope the poets’ poems we’ll publish might inspire people to learn more about the issue and how they can help,” says Jennifer Benka, executive director of the Academy of American Poets. 

Established in 1934, the Academy of American Poets is one of the largest nonprofits in the United States dedicated to supporting contemporary poetry. In addition to the Treehouse Climate Action Poem Prize, the organization annually awards more than $1 million to poets through its American Poets Prizes.

Submissions Open for Peter Porter Poetry Prize

One of Australia’s most prestigious literary awards, the Peter Porter Poetry Prize, is open for submissions. The annual award, which is given for a single poem, honors Australian poet Peter Porter, who wrote more than fifteen collections of poetry and was celebrated with the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry and the Whitbread Prize for Poetry. Porter was also a longtime contributor to the Australian Book Review, which sponsors the eponymous prize. This year’s winner will receive $7,000 AUD (approximately $ 4,713) and will be published in an issue of the review.

Using only the online submission system, submit a poem of up to 70 lines with an entry fee of $25 AUD (approximately $17) by October 1. All poets writing in English are eligible. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

John Hawke, Bronwyn Lea, and Philip Mead will judge this year’s prize. Its most recent winners are Belle Ling and Andy Kissane, who jointly received the 2019 prize. Ling won for “63 Temple Street, Mong Kok” and Andy Kissane won for “Searching the Dead.”

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Summer’s final deadlines are upon us! Contests with a deadline of August 31 span poetry and prose, and include awards celebrating queer writers, writers over the age of 60, and writers living in upstate New York. Each offers a prize of at least $1,000.

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award: Two prizes of £1,000 (approximately $1,225) each and publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual are given annually for a poem and a short story. The winner in poetry also receives a membership to the Poetry Society in London, and the winner in short fiction receives a consultation with the literary agency Redhammer Management. Both winners receive a subscription to Granta and a selection of books from Bloodaxe Books and Vintage Books. Katy Guest, Oz Hardwick, Liz Jones, Teresa Palmiero, Martine Pierquin, and Steve Toase will judge. Entry fee: £12 (approximately $15) for a poem of up to 40 lines, or £18 (approximately $22) for a short story of up to 2,000 words.

Black Lawrence Press St. Lawrence Book Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Black Lawrence Press is given annually for a debut collection of poems or short stories. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $25.

Ex Ophidia Press Poetry Book Contest: A prize of $1,000, publication by Ex Ophidia Press, and 15 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Richard-Gabriel Rummonds will judge. Entry fee: $25.

Gemini Magazine Flash Fiction Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gemini Magazine is given annually for a short short story. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $6.

Grid Books Off the Grid Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Grid Books is given annually for a poetry collection by a writer over the age of 60. Jon Davis will judge. Entry fee: $25.

Masters Review Short Story Award for New Writers: A prize of $3,000 and publication in Masters Review is given twice yearly for a short story by a writer who has not published a novel (writers who have published story collections are eligible). The winning story will also be sent to agents Victoria Cappello from the Bent Agency, Sarah Fuentes from Fletcher & Company, Andrea Morrison from Writers House, and Nat Sobel from Sobel Weber Associates. Tope Folarin will judge. Entry fee: $20.

Omnidawn Publishing Open Book Prize: A prize of $3,000, publication by Omnidawn Publishing, and 100 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Rachel Zucker will judge. Entry fee: $27.

Red Hen Press Quill Prose Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Red Hen Press is given annually for a short story collection, a novel, or an essay collection by a queer writer. Uzodinma Iweala will judge. Entry fee: $10.

University of New Orleans Press Publishing Lab Prize: A prize of $10,000 and publication by University of New Orleans Press is given annually for a short story collection or a novel. Entry fee: $28.

Utica College Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize: A prize of $2,000 is given annually for a poetry collection published in the previous year by a resident of upstate New York. The winner will also give a reading and teach a master class at Utica College in April 2020. 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.

Westival Poetry Competition Open for Submissions

As part of its perennial celebration of literature, the Westival Music and Arts Festival invites poets to submit to the Westival Poetry Competition. Semifinalists will be invited to read onstage at this year’s festival in Co. Mayo, Ireland, where a winner will be announced live. First prize is €1,000 (approximately $1,110). 

Using the online submission system, submit up to three poems with a €15 entry fee (approximately $17) by August 30. Each poem should consist of no more than forty lines. Visit the website for complete guidelines. 

This year’s competition will be judged by Geraldine Mitchell, John McAuliffe, and Ger Reidy. The festival aims for emerging and established talent to share its stage; recent guests include Edna O’Brien, Dermot Healy, and Kevin Barry, as well as musicians, visual artists, and performers. The festival will be held from October 23 to October 28.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Submissions are open for a wealth of opportunities with a deadline of August 15 or August 16. Each contest offers a prize of $1,000 or more, or a prize of $500 with no entry fee—and one also awards two cases of beer. Cheers, writers!

Baton Rouge Area Foundation Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence: A prize of $10,000 is given annually to an emerging African American writer for a book of fiction published in the current year. The winner also receives travel and lodging expenses to attend an awards ceremony and participate in educational outreach events in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in January 2020. Anthony Grooms, Edward P. Jones, Elizabeth Nunez, Francine Prose, and Patricia Towers will judge. Deadline: August 15. Entry fee: none.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales Poetry Prize: A prize of $500, publication by Broadkill River Press, ten author copies, and two cases of Dogfish Head craft beer are given annually for a poetry collection written by a poet living in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., or West Virginia. The winner is expected to attend a reading and award ceremony at the Dogfish Inn in Lewes, Delaware, on December 14. Lodging is provided, but travel expenses are not included. Joseph Millar will judge. Deadline: August 15. Entry fee: none.

Grayson Books Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Grayson Books is given annually for a poetry collection. Robert Cording will judge. Deadline: August 15. Entry fee: $25.

Gulf Coast Barthelme Prize for Short Prose: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gulf Coast is given annually for a work of short prose. Deadline: August 16. Entry fee: $20, which includes a subscription to Gulf Coast.

Indiana Review “1/2 K” Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Indiana Review is given annually for a poem or a work of flash fiction or creative nonfiction. Megan Giddings will judge. Deadline: August 15. Entry fee: $20, which includes a subscription to Indiana Review

Kore Press Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,500, publication by Kore Press, and 20 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection by a woman, trans, or gender-nonconforming poet. Erica Hunt will judge. Deadline: August 15. Entry fee: $28, with some entry fee scholarships available.

Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Red Wheelbarrow will be given annually for a poem. The winner will also receive 20 copies of a letterpress broadside of the winning poem. Marilyn Chin will judge. Deadline: August 15. Entry fee: $15.

TulipTree Publishing Stories That Need to Be Told Contest: A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a poem, a short story, or an essay that “tells a story.” The winner will also receive a two-year subscription to Duotrope and publication in the contest anthology, Stories That Need to Be Told. Deadline: August 15. Entry fee: $20.

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.

Deadline Approaches for Emerging Poet Prize

Palette Poetry’s Emerging Poet Prize is currently open for submissions. In the spirit of the journal’s mission to “uplift and engage emerging and established poets in our larger community,” the award honors poets who have published no more than two full-length collections. The winner will receive $3,000 and publication on Palette Poetry.

Using the online submission system, submit one document of up to three poems with a $20 entry fee by August 15. Eligibility extends to international poets writing in English. Visit the website for complete guidelines. 

This year’s contest will be judged by Kim Addonizio, whose books include the memoir Bukowski in a Sundress: Confessions From a Writing Life (Penguin, 2016) and the poetry collection Mortal Trash (Norton, 2017). The contest’s most recent winner is Victoria C. Flanagan, who won for her poem “In Response to My Mother When She Says Hearing Me Read My Writing’s like Hearing God.”

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Writers of all stripes will find opportunities in approaching July and August deadlines. These include valuable fellowships, as well as novella, chapbook, and book contests, and all offer an award of at least $1,000.

Delaware Division of the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship: Established Professional Fellowships of $6,000 each and Emerging Artist Fellowships of $3,000 each are given annually to Delaware poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers who have lived in Delaware for at least one year prior to application and who are not enrolled in a degree-granting program. Entry fee: none. Deadline: August 1.

Emrys Press Poetry Chapbook Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Emrys Press is given annually for a poetry chapbook. The winner will also receive a weeklong residency at the Rensing Center near Greenville, South Carolina. Joseph Millar will judge. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: July 30. 

Howling Bird Press Book Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Howling Bird Press will be given in alternating years for a book of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. The 2019 prize will be awarded in nonfiction. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: July 31.

Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grants: Project grants of up to $2,500 each are given twice yearly to women and transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, or otherwise gender-nonconforming poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers in the Delaware Valley region to fund art for social change projects. Writers living in Bucks, Camden, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Philadelphia counties who are 18 years of age or older and who are not full-time students in a degree-granting arts program are eligible. Applicants must identify a person, an organization, or a business as a partner for their project. Entry fee: none. Deadline: August 1.

PEN America Emerging Voices Fellowships: Five seven-month fellowships, which include a stipend of $1,000 each, are given annually to emerging poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers who lack access to financial and creative support. Each fellow receives professional mentorship with an established writer, attends courses at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, and takes part in genre-specific master classes, three public readings, gatherings with writers and publishing professionals, and other programming throughout the fellowship period. Travel and lodging are not provided. Writers who do not have significant publication credits, are not enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate writing program, and do not hold an undergraduate or graduate writing degree are eligible. Entry fee: $10. Deadline August 1.

Press 53 Award for Poetry: A prize of $1,000, publication by Press 53, and 50 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Tom Lombardo will judge. Entry fee: $30. Deadline: July 31.

Red Hen Press Novella Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Red Hen Press is given annually for a novella. Doug Lawson will judge. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: July 31.

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the most recent post on the Grants & Award Blog for info about more contests with deadlines of July 31 or August 1.  

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