G&A: The Contest Blog

Jesmyn Ward, Frank Bidart Win National Book Awards

The winners of the 2017 National Book Awards were announced this evening in New York City. Jesmyn Ward took home the award in fiction for her novel Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner), and Frank Bidart won the award in poetry for Half-light: Collected Poems 1965–2016 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Masha Gessen won in nonfiction for The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia (Riverhead Books), and Robin Benway won in young people’s literature for her novel Far From the Tree (HarperCollins). Each of the winners will receive $10,000.

Actress Cynthia Nixon emceed the ceremony and opened the evening by emphasizing the importance of books. “Books are among the most powerful weapons we have against what has lately felt like a hostile world,” she said. “For some of us books provide a welcome escape or a valuable resource for arming us with indispensable knowledge of history. But it also offers something we so desperately need: broadened perspective…. They cultivate empathy, they inspire action, they make us feel less alone, and they expose us to an experience we couldn’t imagine on our own.”

The winners of the 2017 awards echoed this sentiment. “Writing the poems was how I survived,” said Bidart upon winning the poetry prize. “I hope that the journeys these poems go on will help others survive as well.” In her acceptance speech, Ward addressed the crowd and said, “You looked at me and the people I love and the people I write about…. and you saw your grief, your love, your losses, your regret, your joy, your hope. I am deeply grateful, and I hope to continue this conversation with all of you for all of our days.”

Earlier in the evening, Bill Clinton presented the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community to Richard Robinson, the chairman, president, and CEO of Scholastic. “All over this country there are people who are forming new neural networks at the speed of light, stimulated by books that wouldn’t be here if not for [Robinson’s] day job at Scholastic and his commitment to this kind of philanthropic work,” said Clinton.

The foundation also honored Annie Proulx with the 2017 Medal for Distinguished Contribution  to American Letters. Actress Anne Hathaway, who starred in the 2005 film adaptation of Proulx’s story “Brokeback Mountain,” presented the award to the writer, who is the author of several story collections and novels, most recently Barkskins (Scribner, 2016). The annual $10,000 award is given for lifetime achievement, which Proulx wryly noted in her acceptance speech. “Although this is award is given for lifetime achievement,” she said, “I didn’t start writing until I was fifty-eight.”

Established in 1950, the National Book Awards are among the literary world’s most prestigious prizes. The 2016 winners included poet Daniel Borzutzky, fiction writer Colson Whitehead, and nonfiction writer Ibram X. Kendi.

 

PEN/Dau Short Story Prize Deadline Approaches

Submissions are currently open for the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. Twelve prizes of $2,000 each and publication in PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2018 (Catapult) are given annually for debut short stories published in the current year.

Using the online submissions manager, editors may submit up to four debut stories published in 2017 of up to 12,000 words each by Friday, November 10. There is no entry fee. Authors may not submit their own stories. Eligible publications include print magazines distributed in the United States, online magazines, and cultural websites.

The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers aims to help launch the careers of emerging fiction writers. Visit the website for complete guidelines, or e-mail awards@pen.org.

Visit our Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more upcoming contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Perugia Press Prize for Women Poets

Submissions are currently open for the 2018 Perugia Press Prize, an award of $1,000 and publication by Perugia Press given annually for a first or second poetry collection by a woman.

Women poets, including transgender women and female-identified individuals, who have published no more than one full-length poetry collection in English are eligible. Hybrid forms, including collaborations and manuscripts incorporating visuals, will also be considered. Using the online submission manager, submit a manuscript of 45 to 85 pages along with a $27 entry fee by November 15. Submissions are also accepted via postal mail, at Perugia Press Prize, P.O. Box 60364, Florence, MA 01062.

Established in 1997, Perugia Press seeks to support and promote women’s voices in print. Visit the website to learn more about the press, and for complete contest guidelines.

Visit our Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more upcoming contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

November 1 Contest Deadlines: Fiction and Nonfiction

Have a short story, essay, or fiction manuscript ready to submit? Don’t miss out on these prose contests offering prizes of at least $1,000 and publication—all with a deadline of November 1.

Reed Magazine Gabriele Rico Challenge in Creative Nonfiction: A prize of $1,333 and publication in Reed Magazine is given annually for an essay. Entry fee: $15

Reed Magazine John Steinbeck Fiction Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Reed Magazine is given annually for a short story. Entry fee: $15

Briar Cliff Review Writing Contests: Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Briar Cliff Review are given annually for a short story and an essay. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $20

Madison Review Fiction Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Madison Review is given annually for a short story. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $10

Fiction Collective Two Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest: A prize of $1,500 and publication by Fiction Collective Two is given annually for a short story collection, novella, novella collection, or novel. U.S. writers who have not previously published a book with Fiction Collective Two are eligible. Noy Holland will judge. Entry fee: $25

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

Poetry Contests Open Through Halloween

Poets, Halloween is a week from today, so between costume shopping and pumpkin carving, consider making some time to submit to the following contests with an October 31 deadline. Whether you’re sitting on a single poem, a chapbook, or a full-length collection, these contests each offer a prize of at least $1,000 and publication. Don’t be scared…

Single Poem:

North American Review James Hearst Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in North American Review is given annually for a poem. Eduardo C. Corral will judge. Entry fee: $20

Poetry Society of the United Kingdom National Poetry Competition: A prize of £5,000 (approximately $6,500) and publication on the Poetry Society of the United Kingdom website is given annually for a poem. A second-place prize of £2,000 (approximately $2,600) and a third-place prize of £1,000 (approximately $1,300) are also given. The winners will also be published in the Poetry Review and invited to read at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in Ledbury, England, in Spring 2018. Poets from any country are eligible. Hannah Lowe, Andrew McMillan, and Pascale Petit will judge. Entry fee: £6.50

Chapbook Contests:

Comstock Review Jessie Bryce Niles Poetry Chapbook Contest: A prize of $1,000, publication by the Comstock Writers Group, and 50 author copies is given biennially for a poetry chapbook. Kathleen Bryce Niles-Overton will judge. Entry fee: $30

Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Tupelo Press is given annually for a poetry chapbook. Major Jackson will judge. Entry fee: $25

Full-Length Contests:

American Poetry Review Honickman First Book Prize: A prize of $3,000 and publication by American Poetry Review is given annually for a debut poetry collection. The winning book will be distributed by Copper Canyon Press through Consortium. Gregory Pardlo will judge. Entry fee: $25

Elixir Press Poetry Awards: A prize of $2,000 and publication by Elixir Press is given annually for a poetry collection. A second-place prize of $1,000 and publication is also awarded. Kathleen Winter will judge. Entry fee: $30

Persea Books Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Persea Books is given annually for a debut poetry collection by a woman who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The winner also receives a six-week, all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy. Entry fee: $30

Truman State University Press T. S. Eliot Prize: A prize of $2,000 and publication by Truman State University Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Entry fee: $25

University of North Texas Press Vassar Miller Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by University of North Texas Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Rosanna Warren will judge. Entry fee: $25

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

George Saunders Wins Man Booker Prize

George Saunders has won the 2017 Man Booker Prize for his novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. He will receive £50,000 (approximately $66,000). The annual award is given for a novel published in the previous year in the United Kingdom.

‘The form and style of this utterly original novel, reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative,” says Lola Young, who chaired the judging panel. “This tale of the haunting and haunted souls in the afterlife of Abraham Lincoln’s young son paradoxically creates a vivid and lively evocation of the characters that populate this other world. Lincoln in the Bardo is both rooted in and plays with history, and explores the meaning and experience of empathy.” The 2017 judges were Lola Young, Lila Azam Zanganeh, Sarah Hall, Tom Phillips, and Colin Thubron.

The judges considered 144 submissions for this year’s prize. The finalists, who each received £2,500, were Paul Auster, Emily Fridlund, Mohsin Hamid, Fiona Mozley, and Ali Smith.

Saunders is the second American in a row to win the Man Booker Prize, an award once limited to books by authors from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Paul Beatty took the 2016 prize for his novel The Sellout.

Saunders is the author of four story collections, including his critically acclaimed 2013 collection, Tenth of December. Published by Random House last March, Lincoln in the Bardo is Saunders’s first novel.

To learn more about Saunders and his novel, read “The Emotional Realist Talks to Ghosts,” the cover story of the March/April 2017 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

 

2 Elizabeths Love & Romance Contest

Feeling amorous? Submissions are currently open for the 2017 2 Elizabeths Love & Romance Contest. An award of $1,000 and publication in the inaugural 2 Elizabeths Anthology will be given annually for a group of poems or a work of short fiction with romantic themes.

Using the online submission system, submit 3 to 10 pages of poetry or 1,000 to 6,000 words of short fiction with a $22.50 entry fee by November 1. All entries are considered for publication. The editors will judge.

2 Elizabeths is a mother-daughter-run online literary magazine that publishes short stories, flash fiction, and poetry, as well as interviews, writing prompts, and other practical writing resources for writers.

Visit the contest website for more information, and check out our Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more upcoming contests in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

Whiting Foundation Announces Creative Nonfiction Grant Recipients

The Whiting Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2017 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grants, given annually to up to eight writers in the process of completing a book of creative nonfiction. The writers will each receive $40,000.

The grantees are:

Michael Brenson for David Smith and the Transformation of American Sculpture, forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Philip Gourevitch for You Hide That You Hate Me and I Hide That I Know, forthcoming from Penguin Press

Pacifique Irankunda for The Time of Stories, forthcoming from Random House

Seth Kantner for A Thousand Trails Home, forthcoming from Mountaineers Books

Jay Kirk for Avoid the Day, forthcoming from Harper Perennial

Meghan O’Rourke for What’s Wrong With Me? The Mysteries of Chronic Illness, forthcoming from Riverhead Books

George Packer for Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century, forthcoming from Knopf

Julie Phillips for The Baby on the Fire Escape, forthcoming from Norton

The winners were selected from a list of fifteen finalists by an anonymous judging panel. Now in its second year, the Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant “fosters original, ambitious projects that bring writing to the highest possible standard.” The applicants must have a publishing contract and be at least two years into their project. The next round of applications will open in Spring 2018.

For more than forty years, the Whiting Foundation has supported literature and the humanities through its various programs, including its annual awards for emerging writers and the new Whiting Literary Magazines Prizes, which honor literary journals. Visit the website for more information.

(Photos: Top row, from left: Michael Brenson, Philip Gourevitch, Pacifique Irankunda, Seth Kantner; Bottom row, from left: Jay Kirk, Meghan O'Rourke, George Packer, Julie Phillips)

New $10,000 Story Collection Prize

Spartanburg, South Carolina–based Hub City Press has announced the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize, a new award of $10,000 and publication for a debut story collection by a writer residing in the American South. Acclaimed short story writer Lee K. Abbott will judge the inaugural contest.

Fiction writers living in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, or West Virginia who have not yet published a book are eligible to apply. Submit a manuscript of 140 to 220 pages with a $25 entry fee by January 1, 2018. The winning book will be published in Spring 2019.

Betsy Teter, Hub City’s founder and publisher, notes that the new prize is “one of the most substantial short story prizes in North America,” and is named to honor fiction editor C. Michael Curtis, who “has been a great friend to Hub City Press over the years.” Curtis has edited notable American short story writers including Tobias Wolff, Joyce Carol Oates, and Anne Beattie.

Established in 1995, Hub City Press is dedicated to publishing works by emerging and established authors from the American South. Visit the website for more information.

Kazuo Ishiguro Wins 2017 Nobel Prize

English novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, author of The Remains of the Day, has won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Swedish Academy made the announcement today in Stockholm, remarking that Ishiguro, sixty-two, “in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.”

 

“If you mix Jane Austen and Franz Kafka, then you have Kazuo Ishiguro in a nutshell—but you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix,” said Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, which presents the award. “He is a writer of great integrity, who doesn’t look to the side. He has developed an aesthetic universe all his own. He is exploring what you have to forget in order to survive in the first place as an individual or as a society.” 

Born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954, Ishiguro moved with his family to England in 1960. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kent in 1978 and a master’s from the University of East Anglia’s creative writing program in 1980. He is the author of seven novels, beginning with A Pale View of Hills (1982), and is perhaps most well known for The Remains of the Day, which won the prestigious Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989 and was made into Academy Award–nominated film starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. The novel, told from the perspective of an English butler in the years leading up to World War II, deals with ideas of loyalty, love, repression, and loss.

“Ishiguro’s writings are marked by a carefully restrained mode of expression, independent of whatever events are taking place,” the prize committee said in a statement. “At the same time, his more recent fiction contains fantastic features.”

Of his 2005 novel Never Let Me Gowhich won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was also adapted into film—the prize committee remarked that Ishiguro had introduced “a cold undercurrent of science fiction into his work.” His most recent novel, The Buried Giant (Random House, 2015), was praised by the committee for its exploration of “how memory relates to oblivion, history to the present, and fantasy to reality.” Ishiguro has also published a story collection, Nocturnes, and four screenplays.

Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature, given for an author’s body of work, has been awarded 109 times to 113 writers. In a controversial decision, last year’s prize was awarded to singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Other recent winners include Belarusian journalist and nonfiction writer Svetlana Alexievich in 2015, French novelist Patrick Modiano in 2014, and Canadian short story writer Alice Munro in 2013.

 

 

 

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