G&A: The Contest Blog

Deadline Approaches for Emily Dickinson First Book Award

Submissions are currently open for the Poetry Foundation’s Emily Dickinson First Book Award. A prize of $10,000 and publication by Graywolf Press is given for a poetry collection by a U.S. writer of at least forty years of age who has not published a full-length book of poetry.

Using the online submission system, submit a manuscript of forty-eight to eighty pages with a biography that includes publication history by February 27. There is no entry fee. Visit the contest page for complete guidelines.

The Emily Dickinson First Book Award is an occasional contest that is not held annually. Previous winners include Hailey Leithauser, Brian Culhane, and Landis Everson. The winner of the 2017 award will be notified by April 30, and announced publicly at the Poetry Foundation’s Pegasus Awards ceremony in Chicago in June.

PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants Announced

PEN America has announced the recipients of the annual PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants. This year the judges awarded fifteen grants of $3,870 each to assist in the completion of translation projects spanning thirteen different languages. PEN also announced the winner of the inaugural $5,000 Grant for the English Translation of Italian Literature.

The 2017 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant recipients are:

Nick Admussen for his translation from the Chinese of Ya Shi’s poetry collection Floral Mutter
Polly Barton for her translation from the Japanese of Misumi Kubo’s novel Cowards Who Looked to the Sky
Elizabeth Bryer for her translation from the Spanish of Aleksandra Lun’s novel The Palimpsests
Vitaly Chernetsky for his translation from the Ukrainian of Sophia Andrukhovych’s novel Felix Austria
Iain Galbraith for his translation from the German of Raoul Schrott’s Selected Poems
Michelle Gil-Montero for her translation from the Spanish of Valerie Mejer Caso’s poetry collection Edinburgh Notebook
Sophie Hughes for her translation from the Spanish of Alia Trabucco Zerán’s debut novel, The Remainder
Elisabeth Jaquette for her translation from the Arabic of Rania Mamoun’s story collection Thirteen Months of Sunrise
Kira Josefsson for her translation from the Swedish of Pooneh Rohi’s novel The Arab
Adam Morris for his translation from the Portuguese of Beatriz’s Bracher novel I Didn’t Talk
Kaitlin Rees for her translation from the Vietnamese of Nhã Thuyên’s poetry collection A Parade
Dayla Rogers for her translation from the Turkish of Kemal Varol’s novel Wûf
Christopher Tamigi for his translation from the Italian of Mauro Covacich’s novel In Your Name
Manjushree Thapa for her translation from the Nepali of Indra Bahadur Rai’s novel There’s a Carnival Today
Joyce Zonana for her translation from the French of Tobie Nathan’s novel This Land That Is Like You

The recipient of the inaugural $5,000 PEN Grant for the English Translation of Italian Literature is Douglas Grant Heise, for his translation of Luigi Malerba’s novel, Ithaca Forever.

PEN’s prize advisory board selected the fifteen grantees from a pool of 224 applicants. For more information about the winners and the Translation Fund, which is now in its fourteenth year, visit PEN’s website.

Submissions Open for the Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize

The deadline approaches for the Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize, sponsored by the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University and given for a group of poems. The winner will receive $2,000, and the runner-up will receive $1,000. Both winners will be invited to read at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, in April, and will be provided with accommodations and a $500 honorarium.

Poets who have not published more than one poetry collection are eligible. Using the online submission system, submit three to five poems totaling no more than six pages by February 16 with a $20 entry fee. The winner will be notified in early March, and must attend the award ceremony on April 17 at James Madison University, where the award will be presented by Nora Brooks Blakely, Gwendolyn Brooks’s daughter.

Poet Patricia Smith will judge. She is the author of seven poetry collections, including the forthcoming Incendiary Art, which will be published by TriQuarterly Books in February.

The prize honors the centennial of poet Gwendolyn Brooks’s birth. Formally established in 2005 by Joanne V. Gabbin, the Furious Flower Poetry Center is the nation’s oldest academic center devoted to African American poetry, and works to cultivate, honor, and promote the voices of African American poets. The center hosts visiting poets; runs workshops, an annual poetry camp, panels, conferences, and seminars; and creates text and videos and other content on African American poetry.

Vievee Francis Wins Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

Claremont Graduate University has announced the winners for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. One of the richest prizes for poetry in the United States, the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award is given annually to a midcareer poet for a book published in the previous year. The $10,000 Kate Tufts Award is given for a debut poetry collection.

Vievee Francis, a poet “known for her explorations of racial identity, modernist poetics, and feminist legacies,” received the 2017 Kingsley Tufts Award for her collection Forest Primeval (Northwestern). The book employs an “anti-pastoral” approach to examine the violence and transcendence of nature and survival.

The Kingsley Tufts finalists were Tyehimba Jess’s Olio (Wave), Ada Limón’s Bright Dead Things (Milkweed), Jamaal May’s The Big Book of Exit Strategies (Alice James Books), and Patrick Rosal’s Brooklyn Antediluvian (Persea).

Philip B. Williams received the Kate Tufts Discovery Award for his collection, Thief in the Interior (Alice James), a book that presents a “perilous journey through a violent landscape in which race separates many from the American dream.” Williams is also featured in Poets & Writers Magazine’s twelfth annual roundup of debut poets.

The Kate Tufts finalists were Derrick Austin’s Trouble the Water (BOA), Rickey Laurentiis’s Boy With Thorn (University of Pittsburgh), Jordan Rice’s Constellarium (Orison), and Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky With Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon).

The judges for both prizes were Don Share, Elena Karina Byrne, Terrance Hayes, Meghan O’Rourke, and Brian Kim Stefans. Poetry magazine editor Don Share, this year’s judge committee chair, said Francis’s Forest Primeval is “an intense work, dark…Dantean…dreamlike in its visions…. Francis is reclaiming modernist and feminist legacies of poetry, and it takes great courage to do that.” 

In addition to Forest Primeval, which also won the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry, Francis is the author of two previous poetry collections, Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press, 2006) and Horse in the Dark (Northwestern University Press, 2012). She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and a Kresge Artist Fellowship. She is currently an associate professor of English at Dartmouth College and an associate editor for Callaloo.

This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Tufts Poetry Awards, which honor the memory of poet Kingsley Tufts. Previous winners of the Kingsley Tufts Award include Ross Gay, D. A. Powell, and Linda Gregerson. Past recipients of the Kate Tufts Award include Danez Smith, Yona Harvey, and Lucia Perillo. Francis and Williams will be honored at an awards ceremony in Los Angeles on April 20.

Deadline Approaches for Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize

The deadline approaches for the sixth annual Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize, given for a poem that evokes a connection to place. The winner will receive $500 and publication on the Zócalo Public Square website.

Submit up to three poems of any length via e-mail to poetry@zocalopublicsquare.org by Friday, February 3. There is no entry fee. The editors will judge. “Place may be interpreted by the poet as a place of historical, cultural, political, or personal importance,” write the editors. “It may be a literal, imaginary, or metaphorical landscape.” Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The winner will be announced in March. In 2016, 443 poets entered the prize. Interviews with recent winners and their winning poems can be read on the Zócalo website. Recent winners include Matt Phillips for his poem “Crossing Coronado Bridge” about the bridge that connects San Diego to Coronado Island; Gillian Wegener for her poem about a small town, “The Old Mill Café;” and Amy Glynn for her poem “Shoreline.”

Established in 2003, Zócalo Public Square publishes news, essays, and creative writing. The journal is based in Los Angeles.

New American Poetry Prize Open for Submissions

The deadline approaches for the 2017 New American Poetry Prize, given annually for a poetry collection. The winner receives $1,000 and publication by New American Press. Jesse Lee Kercheval will judge.

Using the online submission system, submit a manuscript of at least 48 pages with a $22.50 entry fee by January 31. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Judge Jesse Lee Kercheval is the author of fifteen books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Her most recent book is the poetry collection Extranjera/Stranger (Editorial Yaugarú, 2015), written in both Spanish and English. Kercheval is also a translator, and specializes in Uruguayan poetry. She teaches in the University of Wisconsin’s MFA Program, and spends part of each year in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Previous winners of the New American Poetry Prize include Christopher Cokinos for The Underneath, Brittney Scott for The Derelict Daughter, and Arne Weingart for Levitation for Agnostics. New American Press publishes three to five full-length books each year, including the winners of its annual poetry and fiction prizes. The press also publishes the literary journal MAYDAY Magazine, and recently released two anthologies of poetry and fiction by Midwestern writers.

Deadline Approaches for Autumn House Press Contest

Submissions are open for the 2017 Autumn House Press Rising Writer Contest, given annually for a debut poetry collection by a poet who is thirty-three years old or younger. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication by Autumn House Press. Ada Limón will judge.

Using the online submission system, submit a poetry manuscript of 50 to 80 pages with a $25 entry fee by Tuesday, January 31. All entries will be considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Judge Ada Limón is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions, 2015), which was a finalist for both the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award. Her first collection, Lucky Wreck, was published by Autumn House Press in 2006 as the winner of the press’s poetry prize.

Established in 1998, Pittsburgh-based Autumn House Press publishes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. The press has published authors such as poets Danusha Laméris, Ed Ochester, Martha Rhodes, and Gerald Stern; fiction writers Sarah Gerkensmeyer and Matthew Pitt; and nonfiction writers Jill Kandel and Sheryl St. Germain.

Finalists Announced for 2017 PEN Awards

PEN America announced on Wednesday the finalists for the 2017 PEN Awards. The annual awards are given for books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and translation published in the previous year. This year PEN America will award nearly $315,000 to writers, including the inaugural $75,000 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, given for a “book of extraordinary originality and lasting influence.”

The finalists are:

PEN/Jean Stein Book Award: A prize of $75,000 given annually to recognize a book-length work in any genre for its originality, merit, and impact.

Known and Strange Things (Random House) by Teju Cole   
Olio (Wave Books) by Tyehimba Jess
The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between (Random House), Hisham Matar
Dark Money (Doubleday) by Jane Mayer
The Underground Railroad (Doubleday) by Colson Whitehead

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction: A prize of $25,000 given annually to an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in the previous year—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise of a second work of literary fiction.

Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky) by Rion Amilcar Scott
We Show What We Have Learned (Lookout Books) by Clare Beams
The Mothers (Riverhead Books) by Brit Bennett
Homegoing (Knopf) by Yaa Gyasi
Hurt People (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) by Cote Smith

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay: A prize of $10,000 is given annually for a book of essays published in the previous year that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.

The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood (Graywolf Press) by Belle Boggs
Known and Strange Things (Random House) by Teju Cole
A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and The Mind (Simon & Schuster) by Siri Hustvedt
The Girls in My Town (University of New Mexico Press) by Angela Morales
Becoming Earth (Red Hen Press) by Eva Saulitis

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction: A prize of $10,000 is given biennially to an author of a distinguished book of general nonfiction published in the previous two years, possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective and illuminating important contemporary issues.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (Crown) by Matthew Desmond
The Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America (Norton) by Patrick Phillips
Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic (Bloomsbury Press) by Sam Quinones
Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran (Riverhead Books) by Laura Secor
Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship (Doubleday), Anjan Sundaram

PEN Open Book Award: A prize of $5,000 is given annually for an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in the previous year.

The Book of Memory (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) by Petina Gappah
The Big Book of Exit Strategies (Alice James Books) by Jamaal May
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours (Riverhead Books) by Helen Oyeyemi
Look (Graywolf Press) by Solmaz Sharif
Blackacre (Graywolf Press) by Monica Youn

Visit the website for a complete list of finalists, including those for the PEN Awards in biography, translation, poetry in translation, and literary sports writing. The winners of the 2017 awards will be announced on February 22 in New York City.

Established in 1963, the PEN America Literary Awards have honored hundreds of writers including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Richard Blanco, Katherine Boo, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Cynthia Ozick, Marilynne Robinson, and Claudia Rankine.


Finalists for Story Prize Announced

The finalists for the 2016 Story Prize have been announced. The annual prize is given for a story collection published in the previous year. The winner receives $20,000 and the finalists each receive $5,000.

The finalists for this year’s prize are Rick Bass for For a Little While (Little, Brown), Anna Noyes for Goodnight, Beautiful Women (Grove Press), and Helen Maryles Shankman for They Were Like Family to Me (Scribner). Prize founders Larry Dark and Julie Lindsey selected the finalists from 106 submissions; Harold Augenbraum, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, and Daniel Goldin will choose the winner.

“These three books stood out from a large and varied field, each offering skillful storytelling, beautifully detailed language, and a whole greater than its parts,” said Dark. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in New York City on March 8.

Established in 2004, the Story Prize is one of the largest prizes given for a story collection. Recent winners include George Saunders for Tenth of December, Elizabeth McCracken for Thunderstruck, and Adam Johnson for Fortune Smiles.

Finalists for Tufts Poetry Awards Announced

Claremont Graduate University has announced the finalists for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Both awards are given for poetry collections published in the previous year; the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award is given to a midcareer poet and the $10,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award is given for a debut poetry collection.

The finalists for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award are Vievee Francis for Forest Primeval (Northwestern University Press), Tyehimba Jess for Olio (Wave Books), Ada Limón for Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions), Jamaal May for The Big Book of Exit Strategies (Alice James Books), and Patrick Rosal for Brooklyn Antediluvian (Persea Books).

The finalists for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award are Derrick Austin for Trouble the Water (BOA Editions), Rickey Laurentiis for Boy With Thorn (University of Pittsburgh Press), Jordan Rice for Constellarium (Orison Books), Ocean Vuong for Night Sky With Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon Press), and Phillip B. Williams for Thief in the Interior (Alice James Books).

“Poetry has the power to remind us of what is truly significant, worthy, and lasting in our culture,” said Lori Anne Ferrell, the director of the Tufts Poetry Awards. “This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards at Claremont Graduate University, and once again we honor the careers of talented poets, both new and midcareer, who are finalists for these distinguished awards. Their voices—diverse, compassionate, challenging—represent America at its best.”

The judges for both prizes are Don Share, Elena Karina Byrne, Terrance Hayes, Meghan O’Rourke, and Brian Kim Stefans. The winners will be announced in February and honored at a ceremony in April in Los Angeles.

Established in the early 1990s, the Tufts Poetry Awards honor the memory of Kingsley Tufts. Recent winners of the Kingsley Tufts Award include Ross Gay, Angie Estes, and Afaa Michael Weaver. Recent winners of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award include Danez Smith, Brandon Som, and Yona Harvey.

Photos (clockwise from top left): Francis, Jess, Limón, Rosal, May.


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