G&A: The Contest Blog

Danez Smith Wins Inaugural Four Quartets Prize

Poet Danez Smith has won the inaugural Four Quartets Prize for “summer, somewhere,” a sequence of poems from the collection Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017). Sponsored by the T. S. Eliot Foundation and Poetry Society of America, the new $20,000 award is given annually for a unified and complete sequence of poems published in the United States in the previous two years. Linda Gregerson, Ishion Hutchinson, and Jana Prikryl judged.

The finalists, who each received $1,000, were Geoffrey G. O’Brien for “Experience in Groups” from Experience in Groups (Wave Books, 2018), and Kathleen Peirce for Vault: a poem (New Michigan Press, 2017).

Actor Jeremy Irons announced the winner this afternoon at a ceremony at the National Arts Club in New York City. Of Smith’s work, the judges said: “‘Do you know what it’s like to live / on land who loves you back?’ In “summer, somewhere,” Danez Smith imagines just such a land for the black boys who have died by violence in our time: the violence of vigilantism, of police brutality, of stigmatized poverty and illness, of despair. From a bitter landscape, this unblinking sequence manages to wrest a celebration of black lives, fusing metaphor and emotion in a transformative whole.”

Don’t Call Us Dead, Smith’s second collection, was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award. Smith’s first collection, [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award. Smith has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation.

The Poetry Society of America, based in New York City, is dedicated to promoting poetry in American culture. The T. S. Eliot Foundation, based in London, is dedicated to celebrating poetry, literacy, and “all things Eliot.” The inaugural Four Quartets Prize celebrates the seventy-fifth anniversary of the U.S. publication of Eliot’s Four Quartets.

(Photo: Danez Smith; Credit: David Hong)

Deadline Approaches for Passages North Prose Contests

Submissions are currently open for Passages North’s biennial fiction and short-short contests. Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Passages North are given for a short story and a short-short story, prose poem, nonfiction piece, or hybrid work.

To submit to the Waasnode Short Fiction Prize, using the online submission system submit a story of up to 10,000 words with a $15 entry fee. To submit to the Neutrino Short-Short Prize, using the online submission system submit up to 1,000 words of prose with a $15 entry fee. Anne Valente will judge the fiction contest and T. Fleischmann will judge the short-short contest. The deadline for both contests is April 15. All entries are considered for publication.

The 2016 winner of the Waasnode Short Fiction Prize was Alex McElroy for “Responsible Fear;” The 2016 winner of the Neutrino Short-Short Prize was Jonathan Escoffery for “In Flux.”

Established in 1979, Passages North is an annual literary journal published at Northern Michigan University. The journal’s 2019 literary prizes will be given in poetry and nonfiction. Visit the website for more information.

Upcoming Poetry Deadlines

Poets! If you have a single poem or a full-length manuscript ready to submit, consider the following contests with upcoming deadlines, each of which offers a prize of at least $1,000 and publication.

Oberon Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Oberon is given annually for a poem. Entry fee: $18. Deadline: April 10

Chautauqua Editors Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Chautauqua, the Chautauqua Institution’s literary journal, will be given annually for a poem, a short story, an essay, or a piece of flash fiction or nonfiction that captures the issue’s theme as well as the spirit of the Chautauqua Institution. The theme of the 2019 issue is “Moxie.” The editors will judge. Entry fee: $3. Deadline: April 15

Spoon River Poetry Review Editors’ Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Spoon River Poetry Review is given annually for a poem. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: April 15

New Ohio Review Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in New Ohio Review is given annually for a poem or group of poems. Kevin Prufer will judge. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: April 15 

Press 53 Prime Number Magazine Poetry Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Prime Number Magazine is given annually for a poem. Terri Kirby Erickson will judge. Entry fee: $15. Deadline: April 15

Cave Canem Foundation Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Northwestern University Press is given biennially for a second book of poetry by an African American poet. Matthew Shendoa will judge. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: April 16

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 Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize

Submissions are currently open for the 2018 Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize. An award of $1,000 and publication by the University of Utah Press is given annually for a poetry collection. The winner will also receive an additional $500 in travel and lodging expenses to give a reading at the University of Utah. Kimiko Hahn will judge.

Using the online submission system, submit an unpublishedmanuscript of 64 to 100 pages with a $25 entry fee by April 15. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Established in 2003 and sponsored by the University of Utah Press and University of Utah English department, the annual prize is named for the late Agha Shahid Ali, a celebrated poet and former University of Utah professor. Previous winners of the prize include Heather June Gibbons for Her Mouth as Souvenir, Susan McCabe for Descartes’ Nightmare, and Philip Schaefer for Bad Summon.

(Photo: Agha Shahid Ali)

Upcoming Poetry Deadlines

Happy Spring, poets! If you have a single poem or a full-length manuscript ready to submit, consider the following contests with upcoming deadlines, each of which offers a prize of at least $1,000 and publication.

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 honorarium to give a reading at the Frost Farm Poetry Conference in Derry, New Hampshire, in June. Melissa Balmain will judge. Entry fee: $6. Deadline: March 30.

Airlie Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Airlie Press will be given annually for a poetry collection. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: March 31.

Arts & Letters Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Arts & Letters is given annually for a group of poems. Alfred Corn will judge. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: March 31.

Florida Review Editors’ Awards: A prize of $1,000 each and publication in Florida Review is given annually for a group of poems. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: March 31.

Fish Publishing Poetry Prize: A prize of €1,000 (approximately $1,250) and publication in the Fish Publishing anthology is given annually for a poem. The winner and 10 runners-up are also invited to give a reading at the West Cork Literary Festival in July. Ellen Bass will judge. Entry fee: $17. Deadline: March 31.

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. No entry fee. Deadline: April 1.

Gulf Coast Writing Contests: A prize of $1,500 and publication in Gulf Coast is given annually for a poem. Entry fee: $23. Deadline: April 1.

Southeast Missouri State University Press Cowles Poetry Book Prize: A prize of $2,000, publication by Southeast Missouri State University Press, and 30 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: April 1.

Zone 3 Press First Book Award for Poetry: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Zone 3 Press is given biennially for a debut poetry collection. Jennifer Givhan will judge. Entry fee: $20

Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,500, publication by Saturnalia Books, and 20 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Natalie Diaz will judge. Entry fee: $30. Deadline: April 1.

Poetry International Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Poetry International is given annually for a poem. Victoria Chang will judge. Entry fee: $15. 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.

Whiting Foundation Announces 2018 Award Winners

The Whiting Foundation announced the ten recipients of its $50,000 awards at a ceremony tonight in New York City. The annual awards are given to emerging writers of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama.

The winners are Rickey Laurentiis and Tommy Pico in poetry; Anne Boyer in poetry and nonfiction; Patty Yumi Cottrell, Brontez Purnell, and Weike Wang in fiction; Esmé Weijun Wang in nonfiction; and Nathan Alan Davis, Hansol Jung, and Antoinette Nwandu in drama.

“Year on year, we’re astounded by the fresh ways Whiting winners challenge form and stretch the capabilities of language, while scrutinizing what’s most urgent in the culture,” says Courtney Hodell, the Whiting Foundation’s director of writers’ programs. “The award is intended to give them the freedom to keep experimenting and growing.”

Established in 1985, the Whiting Awards have given more than $7.5 million to 330 writers since its inception. Previous winners include poets Tracy K. Smith and Jorie Graham, fiction writers Deborah Eisenberg and Denis Johnson, nonfiction writers Mary Karr and John Jeremiah Sullivan, and playwright Tony Kushner.

Photos clockwise from top left: Rickey Laurentiis, Tommy Pico, Anne Boyer, Patty Yumi Cottrell, Brontez Purnell, Antoinette Nwandu, Hansol Jung, Nathan Alan Davis, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Weike Wang.

Deadline Approaches for Open-Genre Book Prize

Submissions are currently open for the 2018 Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) Book Contest. A prize of $1,000 and publication by Les Figues Press will be given annually for a book of poetry or prose that “exceeds genre conventions.” Poet Simone White will judge.

Accepted entries include poetry collections, novellas, novels, story collections, essays, hybrid works, and translations. Using the online submission system, submit a manuscript of 64 to 250 pages with a $25 entry fee (which includes a book of choice from the Les Figues catalogue) by April 1.

An imprint of the Los Angeles Review of Books’s LARB Books, Les Figues Press publishes feminist poetry, prose, visual art, and translation. Previous winners of the NOS award include Mariko Nagai for Irradiated Cities and Adam Tipps Weinstein for Some Versions of the Ice. Visit the Les Figues website for more information.

Women Take Home All Six National Book Critics Circle Awards

Last night in New York City the winners of the National Book Critics Circle Awards (NBCC) were announced. The winners in all six categories were women, including Layli Long Soldier in poetry for her collection, WHEREAS (Graywolf), Joan Silber in fiction for her novel Improvement (Counterpoint), and Xiaolu Guo in autobiography for her memoir, Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China (Grove).

The poetry finalists were Nuar Alsadir’s Fourth Person Singular (Oxford University Press), James Longenbach’s Earthling (W.W. Norton), Frank Ormsby’s The Darkness of Snow (Wake Forest University Press), and Ana Ristović’s Directions for Use, translated from the Serbian by Steven Teref and Maja Teref (Zephyr Press).

The finalists in fiction were Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West (Riverhead), Alice McDermott’s The Ninth Hour (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (Knopf), and Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner).

The finalists in autobiography were Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir (Abrams), Roxane Gay’s Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (Harper), Henry Marsh’s Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martins), and Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s The Girl From the Metropol Hotel: Growing Up in Communist Russia, translated from the Russian by Anna Summers (Penguin).

Additionally, fiction writer Carmen Maria Machado won the John Leonard Prize for her story collection, Her Body and Other Parties (Graywolf); fiction writer and critic Charles Finch received the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing; and creative nonfiction writer John McPhee received the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award.

Established in 1974, the National Book Critics Circle Awards, which are among the most prestigious prizes for literature, are given annually for books published in the previous year. A board of twenty-four working magazine and newspaper critics and editors nominates and selects the winners each year. Visit the NBCC website for a complete list of winners and finalists.

(Photos from left: Layli Long Soldier, Joan Silber, Xiaolu Guo)

Deadline Approaches for Chautauqua’s New Prose Prize

Submissions are currently open for the inaugural Chautauqua Janus Prize. An award of $2,500 and publication in Chautauqua will be given annually for a short story or essay by an emerging writer. The winner will also be invited to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institute in Chautauqua, New York, this summer. Kazim Ali will judge.

Named for the Roman god Janus, who looks to both future and past, the new prize honors writing “with a command of craft that renovates our understandings of both” and seeks formally inventive works “that upset and reorder literary conventions, historical narratives, and readers’ imaginations.”

Using the online submission system, submit up to 15,000 words of fiction or nonfiction with a $20 entry fee by March 31. Writers who have not yet published a full-length collection are eligible. Stories and essays must either be unpublished, forthcoming this year, or published no earlier than April 2017.

The Chautauqua Institution sponsors interdisciplinary art and educational programs, events, awards, and residencies throughout the year. In addition to the Janus Prize, the institution awards the annual Chautauqua Prize and Editors Prize for writers. Visit the website for more information.

Photo: Kazim Ali (Credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones)

Upcoming Fiction and Nonfiction Deadlines

Fiction and creative nonfiction writers, polish up your stories, novels, and essays! The deadlines are approaching for the following contests, each of which offers a prize of at least $1,000 and publication.

Fourth Genre Steinberg Essay Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Fourth Genre is given annually for an essay. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: March 20.

New South Writing Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in New South is given annually for a story or essay. Alissa Nutting will judge. Entry fee: $15 (includes a one-year subscription). Deadline: March 21.

Enizagam Literary Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Enizagam is given annually for a short story. Rachel Khong will judge. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: March 23.

Cleveland State University Poetry Center Essay Collection Competition: A prize of $1,000 and publication by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center is given annually for an essay collection. Brian Blanchfield will judge. Entry fee: $28. Deadline: March 31.

Bosque Press Fiction Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in bosque is given annually for a short story or a novel excerpt by a writer over the age of 40. Timothy Schaffert will judge. Entry fee: $22. Deadline: March 31.

Lascaux Review Flash Fiction Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Lascaux Review is given annually for a work of flash fiction. Entry fee: $10. Deadline: March 31.

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. Entry fee: $26. Deadline: March 31.

Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gemini Magazine is given annually for a short story. Entry fee: $7. Deadline: March 31.

Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Prose Prize: A prize valued at $1,600 will be given annually to a fiction writer to attend a weeklong seminar at the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Summer Conference in June. Robert James Russell will judge. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: March 31.

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

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