G&A: The Contest Blog

Artist Relief Fund to Award $10 Million to Artists and Writers

To help writers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be highlighting emergency funds available to writers. For more sources of support, read our running list of resources for writers in the time of coronavirus.

Today a coalition of arts funders announced they will administer $10 million to artists and writers “facing dire financial emergencies due to the impact of COVID-19.” Eligible individuals can apply for an unrestricted grant of $5,000.

The fund is part of the larger Artist Relief initiative, organized by the Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, National YoungArts Foundation, and United States Artists. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation contributed $5 million to the fund, the other half of which was matched by various U.S. foundations.

Practicing artists who are twenty-one or older, able to receive taxable income in the United States regardless of their citizenship status, and have lived and worked primarily in the United States over the last two years are eligible. The fund is open to artists who work in the disciplines of craft, dance, design, film, media, music, theater and performance, traditional arts, visual art, and writing.

Using Submittable, submit a brief bio and description of your artistic practice and financial situation. Visit the website for complete guidelines and eligibility requirements.

The funds will be administered over the course of five application cycles during the next six months. Artist Relief coalition partners and representatives from collaborating cultural organizations across the country will review applications every week; once accepted, grantees will receive funds within two weeks. The fund organizers plan to administer at least a hundred grants every week.

In addition to the emergency relief fund, the Artist Relief initiative will serve as an informational resource, and will collaborate with Americans for the Arts to launch the “COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers” to assess and address the needs of artists.

“In hard times like these, we turn to the arts to illuminate and help us make meaning and find connection. Without immediate intervention, individual artists and the arts ecosystem of which they are the foundation could sustain irreparable damage,” says Elizabeth Alexander, the president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “As artists confront these new fiscal realities, we are proud to support this vital effort to address artists’ urgent needs. We call on others to join us in supporting artists so they may continue to be our lights, chroniclers, and connectors throughout this crisis and beyond.”

Carnegie Fund for Authors Open for Applications

To help writers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be highlighting emergency funds available to writers. For more sources of support, read our running list of resources for writers in the time of coronavirus.

The Carnegie Fund for Authors assists published fiction and nonfiction writers who are experiencing “pressing and substantial pecuniary need.” Applications are accepted from “American authors who have published at least one full-length work” of fiction or nonfiction with a mainstream publisher.

The fund typically disburses grants to writers seeking support due to “illness or injury to self, spouse, or dependent child,” but also provides assistance to writers experiencing “some other misfortune” due to an emergency such as fire, flood, or hurricane.

Prospective applicants must first provide their name, address, and e-mail in order to register for an account on the Carnegie Fund for Authors website. After the account has been approved by an administrator, writers may use the online application system or download an application to be submitted by mail. Applications must include documentation of the writer’s emergency situation, such as a letter from a doctor. Additional documentation may be required. Visit the website for complete eligibility requirements and application guidelines.

The Carnegie Fund for Authors grew out of an organization called the Authors Club, a community of literary luminaries founded in New York City in 1882, which kept aside funds for members experiencing financial distress. Over the years, Andrew Carnegie made significant donations to the club, which led the organization to establish a separate fund, the Carnegie Fund of the Author Club. By 1942, the Carnegie Fund for Authors had become its own entity and continued in its mission to serve authors in need.   

Writers Emergency Assistance Fund Open for Applications

To help writers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be highlighting emergency funds available to writers. For more sources of support, read our running list of resources for writers in the time of coronavirus.

The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) is granting emergency funds to established freelance writers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically those “who cannot work because they are currently ill or caring for someone who is ill.”

Writers who have published at least one nonfiction book with a major publishing house or published five articles in regional or national publications are eligible. There are no residency requirements, and writers do not have to be members of ASJA. Writers who have lost work because publishers and outlets are no longer assigning work, however, are not eligible at this time.

Using only the online application system, submit your publication record and documentation detailing your financial, medical, and household situation. Applications sent by e-mail or post will not be accepted. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

ASJA estimates that most applications will be processed in two to four weeks; a volunteer group of freelance writers reviews the applications.

Headquartered in New York City, the ASJA is the nation’s largest professional organization of independent nonfiction writers. The organization provides information, networking opportunities, seminars, and workshops, among other services, to its members. Since 1982 the ASJA has administered approximately $400,000 through its Writers Emergency Assistance Fund.

Deadline Extended for the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing

The deadline for the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing has been extended from March 31 to May 1 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This prize is given annually for a debut work of prose written by a first-generation immigrant that speaks to “some combination of identity, the meeting of cultures and communities, immigration and migration, and today’s globalized society.” The winner is awarded $10,000 and publication by Restless Books. Presented in alternating years for fiction and nonfiction works, the 2020 prize will be given to a fiction writer.

Using only the online submission system, submit a CV, cover letter, and novel or collection of short stories of at least 45,000 words by May 1. The manuscript must be written in or translated into English. There is no entry fee. Dinaw Mengestu, Achy Obejas, and Ilan Stavans will judge. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Past fiction winners of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing are Priyanka A. Champaneri and Deepak Unnikrishnan. Established in 2016, the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing is founded on the understanding that “the ethos of the modern world is defined by immigrants.”

Upcoming Contests with No Entry Fees

Submissions are open for a number of contests with no entry fee. With deadlines ranging from March 31 to May 15, all offer a cash prize of $1,000 or more.

Academy of American Poets James Laughlin Award: A prize of $5,000 is given annually for a second book of poetry by a living poet to be published in the coming calendar year. The winner also receives an all-expenses paid weeklong residency at the Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Copies of the winning book are purchased and distributed to members of the Academy of American Poets. Rick Barot, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, and Honorée Jeffers will judge. Deadline: May 15.

American Literary Translators Association Italian Prose in Translation Award: A prize of $5,000 is given annually for a book of fiction or nonfiction translated from Italian into English and published in the previous calendar year. Submissions may be made by publishers or translators. Deadline: April 20.

American Literary Translators Association Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize: A prize of $5,000 is given annually for a book of poetry or a text from Zen Buddhism translated from an Asian language into English and published in the previous calendar year. Books translated from Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Sanskrit, Tamil, Thai, or Vietnamese into English are eligible. Submissions may be made by publishers or translators. Deadline: April 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. Deadline: April 30.

Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing: A prize of $10,000 and publication by Restless Books is given in alternating years for a debut book of fiction or nonfiction by a first-generation immigrant. The 2020 prize will be given in fiction. Writers who have not published a book of fiction in English are eligible. Dinaw Mengestu, Achy Obejas, and Ilan Stavans will judge. Deadline: May 1.

Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation: A prize of £3,000 (approximately $3,945) is given annually for a book of poetry or fiction translated from Arabic into English and published for the first time in English during the previous year. Translations of Arabic works of poetry or fiction originally published in 1967 or later and published between April 1, 2019, and March 31, 2020, are eligible. Deadline: March 31.

Waterston Desert Writing Prize: A prize of $2,500 and a two-week residency at the PLAYA artists and scientists' retreat in Summer Lake, Oregon, is given annually for a nonfiction work-in-progress that “recognizes the vital role deserts play worldwide in the ecosystem and the human narrative, with the desert as both subject and setting.” The winner will also be provided with travel and lodging to attend a reception and awards ceremony at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon, in June. Deadline: April 1.

Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction Grants: Up to eight grants of $40,000 each are given annually for creative nonfiction works-in-progress to enable writers to complete their books. Creative nonfiction writers under contract with a publisher are eligible. Deadline: May 4.

Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction: A prize of $10,000 is given annually for a novel published during the previous calendar year that is set in the South and reflects Willie Morris’s “hope for belonging, for belief in a people’s better nature, for steadfastness against all that is hollow or crass or rootless or destructive.” The winner will also receive an all-expenses paid trip to Oxford, Mississippi, in fall 2020 for an award ceremony. Deadline: May 1.

Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry: A prize of $2,500 is given annually for a single poem that evokes the American South. Susan Kinsolving will judge. Deadline: May 1.

Winning Writers Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication on the Winning Writers website is given annually for a humorous poem. Jendi Reiter will judge. Deadline: April 1.

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 Writers’ Emergency Fund Open for Applications

To help writers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be highlighting emergency funds available to writers. For more sources of support, read our running list of resources for writers in the time of coronavirus.

The PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund is currently administering grants of $500 to $1,000 to writers who “demonstrate an inability to meet an acute financial need, especially one resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.” In response to the public health crisis, PEN America has streamlined its typical application process for support through the fund. Applicants will receive a response within ten days.

The grants are made to poets, fiction writers, nonfiction writers, translators, journalists, playwrights, and screenwriters. Professional writers who have a demonstrated record of publication and who are based in the United States are eligible. Qualifying professional credentials include the publication of one or more books; publication of multiple pieces in literary magazines within the last two years; full-time employment as a journalist, columnist, or critic; consistent publication on a freelance basis in a range of outlets; the authorship of a full-length play, performed by a professional theater company in a theatre seating 250 or more people; or contracted work as a writer. Other credentials may also be considered. Writers do not need to be members of PEN America in order to be eligible.

Using only the online application system, submit a statement of need, a recent tax return, information about personal finances, and contact information for three references. Writing samples are not required. Visit the website for complete guidelines and eligibility. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Since 1922, PEN America has worked “at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide.” Headquartered in New York City, with additional offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., the nonprofit works in conjunction with PEN International to advance causes including freedom of the press and artistic freedom from censorship.

Winners of 2020 Whiting Awards Announced

This evening ten poets, fiction writers, nonfiction writers, and dramatists were named the winners of the 2020 Whiting Awards. Administered by the Whiting Foundation, the annual $50,000 awards honor emerging writers and are designed to give them “their first chance to devote themselves full-time to their own writing, or to take bold new risks in their work.”

The winners are poets Aria Aber, Diannely Antigua, Jake Skeets, and Genya Turovskaya; fiction writers Genevieve Sly Crane, Andrea Lawlor, and Ling Ma; nonfiction writers Jaquira Díaz and Jia Tolentino; and playwright Will Arbery.

The winners were announced online; the foundation’s annual ceremony in New York City was canceled due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. “We wish to celebrate extraordinary writers, but we find ourselves in extraordinary times, ones where we are all reinventing how to gather, exchange ideas, and deepen our connections with each other across a necessary distance,” said Courtney Hodell, the foundation’s director of literary programs. “As long as literature has existed, it has served this purpose, and we look to writers for their uncanny ability to sift raw experience for its poetry and truth. What we are living now, Whiting writers will reflect back to us in time, with depth and clarity and heart.”

The Whiting Awards were first administered in 1985, and have since honored dozens of writers including poets Jericho Brown and Tracy K. Smith, fiction writers Sigrid Nunez and Colson Whitehead, nonfiction writers Mary Karr and John Jeremiah Sullivan, and playwrights Tony Kushner and Suzan-Lori Parks.

Photo (clockwise from upper left): Aria Aber, Diannely Antigua, Jake Skeets, Genya Turovskaya, Genevieve Sly Crane, Will Arbery, Jia Tolentino, Jaquira Díaz, Ling Ma, and Andrea Lawlor.

Authors League Fund Open for Applications

To help writers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be highlighting emergency funds available to writers. For more sources of support, read our running list of resources for writers in the time of coronavirus.

The Authors League Fund assists poets, writers, dramatists, and journalists who are “experiencing unexpected hardship.” Writers with an established record of publication that live in the United States or who are American writers abroad are eligible to apply for a no-strings-attached, interest-free loan. The loan amount is based on the fund’s budget as well as the writer’s professional background and financial need; the fund requests the writer pay back the loan “when and as one is able.”

Writers with a demonstrated record of success are eligible. Eligible writers include authors who have published at least one book with a traditional publisher, dramatists whose full-length plays have been produced in mid-size or large theaters or published by an established press, and poets, fiction writers, nonfiction writers, and journalists who have published “a substantial body of work in periodicals with a national or broad circulation.”

The fund typically disburses funds to writers who are ill or supporting someone who is in poor health; writers facing overwhelming medical or dental expenses; writers struggling after a natural disaster; and writers suffering financial crises unrelated to health, such as unexpected loss of income or temporary unemployment.

Using only the online application system, fill out the required entry form. Writers are asked to describe the nature of their emergency, detail their publication record and writing projects, and provide personal information regarding income, employment, rent, assets, and health insurance. Writing samples are not required. Visit the website for complete guidelines and eligibility requirements.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and are typically processed in ten to fourteen days.

Novelist Ellis Parker Butler established the Authors League Fund in 1917; the fund has since disbursed millions of dollars to writers in need. Major donors to the fund include Suzanne Collins, James A. Michener, Kenneth Patchen, the Haven Foundation, and the Amazon Literary Partnership.

Winners of the 2020 Windham-Campbell Prizes Announced

Eight writers have been named winners of the 2020 Windham-Campbell Prizes. The unrestricted grants of $165,000 are awarded annually to poets, fiction writers, nonfiction writers, and playwrights, and are intended to provide their recipients a life-changing opportunity “to focus on their work independent of financial concerns.”

This year’s winners are poets Bhanu Kapil and Jonah Mixon-Webster, fiction writers Yiyun Li and Namwali Serpell, nonfiction writers Anne Boyer and Maria Tumarkin, and playwrights Julia Cho and Aleshea Harris.

The winners were announced via a livestream video hosted by fiction writer and journalist Damian Barr. Mike Kelleher, director of the Windham-Campbell Prizes, has remarked on the ambition and prescience of their collective work, which “digs deeply into everything from the poisoned water crisis in present-day Flint, Michigan, to the vicissitudes of the surveillance state in an Afro-Futurist Zambia.”

The Windham-Campbell Prizes were established at Yale University in 2013 by novelist and memoirist Donald Windham. The prizes honor Windham’s lifelong partner, Sandy M. Campbell, and their shared wish to provide others with the kind of security that allowed Windham’s writing to flourish. Previous recipients of the award include poets Kwame Dawes and Cathy Park Hong, fiction writer John Keene, and essayist Rebecca Solnit. Winners are selected through a confidential nomination process; there are no applications for the award.

Photos (clockwise from upper left): Bhanu Kapil, Julia Cho, Yiyun Li, Maria Tumarkin, Anne Boyer, Namwali Serpell, Aleshea Harris, and Jonah Mixon-Webster

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

The first contest deadlines of spring are upon us. These poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and translation awards include a prize for fiction by a first-generation immigrant and opportunities to give readings in Ireland and New York City. All offer a cash prize of $1,000 or more, and all have deadlines of either March 30 or March 31.

Arts & Letters Prizes: Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Arts & Letters are given annually for a group of poems, a short story, and an essay. Cate Marvin will judge in poetry, Devi S. Laskar will judge in fiction, and Jason Allen will judge in nonfiction. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $20.

Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation: A prize of £3,000 (approximately $3,945) is given annually for a book of poetry or fiction translated from Arabic into English and published for the first time in English during the previous year. Translations of Arabic works of poetry or fiction originally published in 1967 or later are eligible. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: none.

Black Lawrence Press Hudson Prize: A prize of $1,000, publication by Black Lawrence Press, and 10 author copies is given annually for a collection of poems or short stories. The editors will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $25.

Chautauqua Institution Janus Prize: A prize of $5,000 and publication in Chautauqua will be given annually to an emerging prose writer. The winner will also receive lodging and travel expenses to give a lecture during the Summer 2020 season of the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York. Writers who have not published a book of up to 15,000 words totaling no more than 100 pages in any prose genre are eligible. Hilary Plum will judge. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $20.

Cleveland State University Poetry Center Lighthouse Poetry Series: A prize of $1,000 and publication by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center is given annually for a poetry collection. Randall Mann will judge. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $28 (includes a recent book from the poetry center’s catalogue).

Elixir Press Antivenom Poetry Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Elixir Press is given annually for a first or second poetry collection. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $30.

Fish Publishing Poetry Prize: A prize of €1,000 (approximately $1,100) and publication in the 2020 Fish Publishing anthology is given annually for a single poem. The winner is also invited to read at the anthology launch event at the West Cork Literary Festival in July. Billy Collins will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: €14 (approximately $15).

Four Way Books Levis Prize in Poetry: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Four Way Books is given annually to a U.S. poet for a poetry collection. The winner will also be invited to participate in a reading in New York City. Diane Seuss will judge. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $30.

Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gemini Magazine is given annually for a short story. The editors will judge. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $8.

Indiana Review Poetry and Fiction Prizes: Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Indiana Review are given annually for a group of poems and a story. Javier Zamora will judge in poetry and Angela Flournoy will judge in fiction. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $20 (includes subscription).

Narrative Winter Story Contest: A prize of $2,500 and publication in Narrative is given annually for a short story, a short short story, an essay, or an excerpt from a longer work of fiction or creative nonfiction. A second-place prize of $1,000 is also awarded. The editors will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $27.

Press 53 Prime Number Magazine Awards: Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Prime Number Magazine are given annually for a poem and a short story. Adrian Rice will judge in poetry and Wendy J. Fox will judge in fiction. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $15.

Red Hen Press Nonfiction Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Red Hen Press is given annually for an essay collection, memoir, or book of narrative nonfiction. Kristen Millares Young will judge. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $25.

Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing: A prize of $10,000 and publication by Restless Books is given in alternating years for a debut book of fiction or nonfiction by a first-generation immigrant. The 2020 prize will be given in fiction. Writers who have not published a book of fiction in English are eligible. Dinaw Mengestu, Achy Obejas, and Ilan Stavans will judge. Deadline: March 31. Entry Fee: none.

Frost Farm Prize: A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a poem written in metrical verse. The winner also receives a scholarship and a $400 honorarium to give a reading at the Frost Farm Poetry Conference in Derry, New Hampshire, in June. Rachel Hadas will judge. Deadline: March 30. Entry Fee: $6 per poem.

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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