G&A: The Contest Blog

End of March Contest Roundup

As we head into the end of March, consider submitting to these writing contests for poets and prose writers. Each contest offers a prize of at least $1,000 and has a deadline of 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. GennaRose Nethercott will judge in poetry, Peter Nichols will judge in fiction, and Pam Houston will judge in nonfiction. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: March 31.

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; Nickole Brown will judge. The Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction is given for a short story; Robin Hemley will judge. The Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction is given for an essay; Ira Sukrungruang will judge. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: March 31.

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. Entry fee: $25. 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. Julie Williams will judge. Entry fee: $22. Deadline: March 31.

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. Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis will judge. Entry fee: None. Deadline: March 31.

Fish Publishing Poetry Prize: A prize of €1,000 (approximately $1,180) and publication in the 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. Entry fee: $17. Deadline: March 31.

Florida Review Editors’ Awards: Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Florida Review are given annually for a group of poems, a short story, and an essay. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: March 31.

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. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: March 31.

Lascaux Review Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Lascaux Review is given annually for a single poem. Entry fee: $15. 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. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $26. Deadline: March 31.

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. Ginger Murchison will judge in poetry and Pinckney Benedict will judge in fiction. Entry fee: $15. Deadline: March 31.

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. Nikki Moustaki will judge. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: March 31.

Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry: A prize of $2,500 will be given annually for poem that exudes the American South in spirit, history, landscape, or experience. The winner will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City in October. Susan Kinsolving will judge. Entry fee: None. Deadline: March 31.

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

Leah Naomi Green Wins Walt Whitman Award

The Academy of American Poets announced today that Li-Young Lee has chosen Leah Naomi Green as the winner of the 2019 Walt Whitman Award for her collection, The More Extravagant Feast. Green will receive $5,000, a six-week all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy, and publication of her collection by Graywolf Press in April 2020. The Academy will also purchase and distribute thousands of copies of her book to its members.

“This book keeps faithful company with the world and earns its name,” says Lee. “The darkness and suffering of living on earth are assumed in this work, woven throughout the fabric of its lineated perceptions and insights, and yet it is ultimately informed by the deep logic of compassion (is there a deeper human logic?) and enacts the wisdom of desire and fecundity reconciled with knowledge of death and boundedness.”

Green lives in the Shenandoah Mountains where she teaches at Washington and Lee University. The author of the chapbook The Ones We Have (Flying Trout Press, 2012), she has published poems in Tin House, Southern Review, and Pleiades.

Established in 1975, the annual Walt Whitman Award is considered one of the most prestigious first-book contests in poetry. Recent winners of the prize include Emily Skaja for Brute, Jenny Xie for Eye Level, and Mai Der Vang for Afterland.

Whiting Award Winners Announced

At a ceremony tonight in New York City, the Whiting Foundation announced the recipients of its 2019 Whiting Awards. The annual $50,000 awards are given to emerging poets, fiction writers, nonfiction writers, and dramatists on the basis of “early-career achievement and the promise of superior literary work to come.”

The ten winners are poets Kayleb Rae Candrilli, Tyree Daye, and Vanessa Angélica Villarreal; fiction writers Hernan Diaz, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, and Merritt Tierce; nonfiction writers Terese Marie Mailhot and Nadia Owusu; and dramatists Michael R. Jackson and Lauren Yee. Find out more about the winners at the Whiting Foundation website, and read excerpts of their work at the Paris Review.

Since establishing the awards in 1985, the Whiting Foundation has awarded $8 million to 340 emerging writers. Previous winners include poets Terrance Hayes and Jorie Graham and fiction writers Colson Whitehead and Denis Johnson. Last year’s winners included poets Anne Boyer and Tommy Pico, fiction writers Patty Yumi Cottrell and Weike Wang, and nonfiction writer Esmé Weijun Wang.

The annual awards are not open to submissions. A group of writers, professors, editors, agents, critics, booksellers, and other literary professionals nominate writers; a smaller panel of writers, scholars, and editors select the winners. In addition to the Whiting Awards, the Whiting Foundation administers grants to creative nonfiction writers, scholars in the humanities, literary magazines, and people who work “to preserve, document, and disseminate the timeless cultural heritage that is under threat around the world.”

Photos clockwise from top left: Kayleb Rae Candrilli, Tyree Daye, and Vanessa Angélica Villarreal; fiction writers Hernan Diaz, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Lauren Yee, Michael R. Jackson, Nadia Owusu, Terese Marie Mailhot, and Merritt Tierce.

Lammy Finalists Announced

Lambda Literary has announced the finalists for the thirty-first Lambda Literary Awards. Established in 1989, the annual awards—also known as the “Lammys”—recognize and honor books published during the previous year by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender writers. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on June 3 at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. Special awards will also be given to recognize writers who “have left an indelible mark on LGBTQ literature.”

“In the ongoing work of LGBTQ equality, literature plays a distinct and powerful role—offering roadmaps for loving, fighting, and thriving,” says Sue Landers, executive director of Lambda Literary. “We are thrilled to announce [this year’s] finalists, which reflect our community’s vast and continually evolving brilliance.”

This year Lambda Literary will give out awards in twenty-four categories, including a new award for Bisexual Poetry. Other categories include fiction, mystery, horror, memoir/biography, drama, anthologies, and LGBTQ Studies, A panel of more than sixty judges selected the finalists from a group of over a thousand books. Visit the website for the complete list of finalists.

Winners last year included Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties (Graywolf Press) for Lesbian Fiction, CAConrad’s While Standing in Line for Death (Wave Books) for Gay Poetry, and C. Riley Snorton’s Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity (University of Minnesota Press) for Transgender Nonfiction.

Based in Los Angeles, the Lambda Literary Foundation has been a resource for LGBTQ writers since 1987. With a mission to “nurture and advocate for LGBTQ writers,” the organization hosts an annual writing retreat and literary festival, publishes an online magazine, and runs educational programs, among other initiatives.

Read more about the organization in Jonathan Vatner’s article “Lambda Literary Looks to the Future” from the September/October 2018 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

PEN Announces 2019 Literary Award Winners

At a ceremony last night in New York City, PEN America announced the winners of its 2019 Literary Awards. This year the organization awarded more than $370,000 to writers and translators for books and literary works published in 2018. 

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah took home the biggest prize of the night, the $75,000 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, for his debut story collection, Friday Black (Mariner Books). The annual award is given for a book of any genre for its “originality, merit, and impact.”

The $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection went to Will Mackin for Bring Out the Dog (Random House), and Michelle Tea won the $10,000 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay for Against Memoir: Complaints, Confessions, & Criticisims (Feminist Press). Nafissa Thompson-Spires received the $5,000 PEN Open Book Award for her novel, Heads of the Colored People (Atria). The annual award is given for a book of any genre by a writer of color. 

PEN America also honored poet, essayist, and novelist Sandra Cisneros with its Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. Cisneros, the author of several books, including the acclaimed novel The House on Mango Street, will receive $50,000. The organization also awarded its inaugural $25,000 PEN/Mike Nichols Writing for Performance Award to Kenneth Lonergan; the annual award honors the year’s best writing for performance.

PEN America started its award program in 1963 to “celebrate literary excellence, encourage global discourse, champion important voices, and bring new books to life.” Visit the PEN website for a complete list of winners, finalists, and judges.

Photo: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum Open for Residency Applications

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott, Arkansas, is open for applications for its 2019 writer-in-residence position. The resident will be provided with private lodging in Piggott during the month of June, access to the studio where Ernest Hemingway worked on A Farewell to Arms, and a $1,000 stipend. The writer-in-residence will also serve as mentor for a weeklong retreat at the center and will be expected to give one or two readings.

To apply, send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and writing sample to Dr. Adam Long at adamlong@astate.edu by February 28. Candidates with an MA or MFA in a relevant field are preferred. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Established in 1999, the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center aims to contribute to “the understanding of the regional, national and global history of the 1920s and 1930s eras by focusing on the internationally connected Pfeiffer family of Piggott, Arkansas, and their son-in-law and regular guest, Ernest Hemingway.” Kate Osana Simonian was awarded the inaugural residency in 2018.

Photo: The barn studio at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center where Ernest Hemingway wrote several short stories and part of A Farewell to Arms.

 

Deadline Approaches for Memoir Essay Prize

Creative Nonfiction is currently accepting submissions to its essay contest on the theme “Memoir.” The winner will receive $2,500 and publication in Creative Nonfiction. Two runners-up will receive $500; all entries will be considered for publication in the “Memoir” issue of the magazine, which will be published in 2020.

Using the online submission system, submit a previously unpublished essay of up to 4,000 words with a $20 entry fee by February 25. “Submissions must be vivid and dramatic; they should combine a strong and compelling narrative with an informative or reflective element, and reach beyond a strictly personal experience for some universal or deeper meaning,” write the editors. “We’re looking for well-written prose, rich with detail and a distinctive voice; all essays must tell true stories and be factually accurate.”

Established in 1993 by Lee Gutkind, Creative Nonfiction was one of the first literary magazines to exclusively publish the genre. Each issue addresses a specific theme, such as “Intoxication,” “Dangerous Creations,” and “Science and Religion.” Edited in Pittsburgh, the quarterly aims to demonstrate “the depth and versatility of narrative nonfiction” and show how “smart, engaging narratives can make any subject fascinating and meaningful.”

End of February Contest Roundup

As we head into the holiday weekend, consider submitting to these writing contests, all of which are open to poets, fiction writers, or nonfiction writers. Each contest offers a prize of at least $1,000 and publication and has a deadline of February 28.

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. Entry fee: $30

Fish Publishing Flash Fiction Prize: A prize of €1,000 and publication in the Fish Publishing anthology is given annually for a short short story. Entry fee: €14

Glimmer Train Press Fiction Open: A prize of $3,000, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of the prize issue is given twice yearly for a short story. A second-place prize of $1,000 is also given. Entry fee: $21

Glimmer Train Press Very Short Fiction Award: A prize of $2,000, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of the prize issue is given twice yearly for a short short story. Entry fee: $16

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. Publishers include Beacon Press, Ecco, Milkweed Editions, Penguin Books, and University of Georgia Press. Entry fee: $35

Red Hen Press Women’s Prose Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Red Hen Press is given annually for a book of fiction or nonfiction by a woman. Entry fee: $25

Tupelo Press Snowbound Chapbook Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Tupelo Press is given annually for a poetry chapbook. 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.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines for Writers

Writers: The deadline approaches for several writing fellowships and contests. Each contest offers a prize of at least $1,000 and is open to poets, translators, or writers of fiction and nonfiction.

Salem State University’s Claire Keyes Poetry Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Soundings East is given annually for a group of poems. Sean Thomas Dougherty will judge. Entry fee: $10. Deadline: February 15.

New American Press Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by New American Press is given annually for a book of poetry. Sara Gelston will judge. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: February 15.

Hidden River Arts Willow Run Poetry Book Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Hidden River Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Entry fee: $22. Deadline: February 15.

Ruminate’s William Van Dyke Short Story Prize: A prize of $1,500 and publication in Ruminate is given annually for a short story. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: February 15.

Cagibi Macaron Prize: Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Cagibi will be given annually for a group of poems, a story, and an essay. Major Jackson will judge in poetry, Chantel Acevedo will judge in fiction, and Sheila Kohler will judge in nonfiction. Entry fee: $18. Deadline: February 15.

Furious Flower Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Obsidian, the literary journal of Illinois State University, is given annually for a group of poems that explore Black themes. A. Van Jordan will judge. Entry fee: $15. Deadline: February 10.

Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine: A prize of £1,000 (approximately $1,300) and publication in the Hippocrates Prize anthology and on the website is given annually for a poem on a medical theme. A prize of £1,000 is also given for a poem on a medical theme written by a health professional. Entry fee: $10. Deadline: February 14.

Center for Fiction’s New York City Emerging Writers Fellowship: Fellowships of $5,000 each, membership to the Center for Fiction in New York City, and access to writing space at the center are given annually to fiction writers living in New York City who have not yet published a book of fiction. Entry fee: None. Deadline: February 15.

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. Entry fee: None. Deadline: February 15.

Academy of American Poets Ambroggio Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe 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. Rosa Alcalá will judge. Entry fee: None. Deadline: February 15.

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. Each winner will also receive a two-week residency at the Blackacre State Nature Preserve and Historic Homestead in Louisville, Kentucky. Sarah Gorham and Jeffrey Skinner will judge both prizes. Entry fee: $29. Deadline: February 15.

Center for Documentary Studies Documentary Essay Prize: A prize of $3,000 is given biennially for an essay that demonstrates a “reliance on documentary methods, specifically immersive fieldwork, research, and interviewing conducted over periods of time.” The winning essay will be featured in the center’s print and digital publications and will also be placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts at the Rubenstein Library at Duke University. A panel of writers, editors, and documentary artists will judge. Entry fee: $50. Deadline: February 15.

Academy of American Poets Raiziss/de Palchi Fellowship: A fellowship of $25,000 and a five-week residency at the American Academy in Rome is given biennially to a U.S. translator for a work-in-progress of modern Italian poetry translated into English. Maria Frank, Giorgio Mobili, and Michael Palma will judge. Entry fee: None. Deadline: February 15.

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.

Deadline Approaches for Veterans Writing Award

Submissions are open for a new writing contest for U.S. veterans and their families. The inaugural Veterans Writing Award, which is sponsored by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and Syracuse University Press, will be given for a debut novel or short story collection.

The contest, which will award the winning entrant a $1,000 cash prize and a publication contract with Syracuse University Press, is open to U.S. veterans and active duty personnel and their immediate family members. Manuscripts do not need to directly depict military experience; the judges are interested in “original voices and fresh perspectives that will expand and challenge readers’ understanding of the lives of veterans and their families.” Women veteran writers and veterans of color are encouraged to submit.

The deadline for the award is February 15. Submit a fiction manuscript of up to 90,000 words with a cover letter that details the branch of service of the entrant or their family member. There is no entry fee for submissions, which can be e-mailed to vwasubmissions@syr.edu or mailed to Syracuse University Press, 621 Skytop Road, Suite 110, Syracuse, NY 13244. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The Veterans Writing Award Advisory Board will select the finalists, and award-winning novelist, short story writer, Vietnam veteran, and former Syracuse University faculty member Tobias Wolff will choose the winner. The winning entry will be announced in September of 2019.

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