G&A: The Contest Blog

Emerging Writers Win Oregon Book Awards

The annual Oregon Book Awards, honoring works by in-state authors, were awarded last night to Portland writers Matthew Dickman and Jon Raymond. Dickman received the Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry for All-American Poem (American Poetry Review), and Raymond received the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction for Livability: Stories (Bloomsbury). Both writers, though early in their careers, are no strangers to recognition of their work.

Dickman, who won for his debut collection, recently received the ten-thousand-dollar Kate Tufts Discovery Award from Claremont Graduate University. He was chosen for the Stafford/Hall Award by the winner of Claremont's 2009 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, Matthea Harvey. Dickman's book came into publication as part of another award, the Honickman First Book Prize from the American Poetry Review, and also received the May Sarton Poetry Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008 along with four other emerging poets.

Raymond, whose debut story collection was selected by Robert Olmstead for the Kesey Award, has two film credits to his name, both based on stories from the book. Wendy and Lucy, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, was adapted from his story "Train Choir," and Old Joy, a 2006 Sundance feature starring innovative musician Will Oldham, finds its origins in the story of the same title. Raymond is also the author of a novel, The Half-Life (Bloomsbury, 2004).

The finalists for the poetry award are Alicia Cohen for Debts and Obligations (O Books), Endi Bogue Hartigan for One Sun Storm (Center for Literary Publishing), Andrew Michael Roberts for something has to happen next (University of Iowa Press), and Crystal Williams for Troubled Tongues (Lotus Press).

The finalists in fiction are Miriam Gershow for The Local News (Spiegel & Grau), Gina Ochsner for The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight (Portobello Books), Barbara Pope for Cezanne's Quarry (Pegasus Books), and Leslie What for Crazy Love: Stories (Wordcraft of Oregon).

An award in creative nonfiction was also given to state attorney general John Kroger for his memoir Convictions: A Prosecutor's Battles Against Mafia Killers, Drug Kingpins, and Enron Thieves (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The finalists were Bibi Gaston for The Loveliest Woman in America: A Tragic Actress, Her Lost Diaries, and Her Granddaughter's Search for Home (William Morrow), Debra Gwartney for Live Through This: A Mother's Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), and Floyd Skloot for The Wink of Zenith: The Shaping of a Writer's Life (University of Nebraska Press). Ted Conover was the judge.

The award winners will be promoted in libraries and bookstores and offered a chance to participate in the Oregon Book Awards Author Tour.

Below is a trailer for Wendy and Lucy, cowritten by Raymond.

Feminist Literary Press Launches Translation Award

Kore Press has introduced a new award to its lineup of poetry and fiction prizes, a prize for a translation by a woman of a woman's work. The Jeremy Ingalls Poetry in Translation Award will honor an original English translation of a poem written by a Japanese woman poet. The contest, which awards a prize of one thousand dollars, is open to woman translators of any nationality.

Poet, performer, and translator Sawako Nakayasu will be the judge. She is the author of, most recently, Hurry Home Honey (Burning Deck, 2009) and Texture Notes (Letter Machine Editions, 2009). In an interview with Chicago Postmodern Poetry, she lists among her influences John Cage, Gertrude Stein, and musical theater.

Kore's prize is named for the poet born Mildred Dodge Jeremy Ingalls, whose Selected Poems was published by the press in 2007. Ingalls, the author of The Metaphysical Sword (Yale Series of Younger Poets, 1941) and The Thunder Saga of Tahl (Knopf, 1945), as well as books of prose, was also a translator of works in Chinese. She died in 2000 in Tucson.

On This Weekend's To Do List: Make Those End-of-Month Deadlines

There is still one week left to submit your genre-bending nonfiction, poetry chapbook, or novel-in-progress, as well as a handful of other types of work. For those sparked into action by a fast-approaching deadline, a list of contests with closing dates in the coming week appears below. Happy submitting.

Closing on Friday, October 30 are:
DIAGRAM's Hybrid Nonfiction Contest

Inkwell's Poetry and Short Fiction Competitions

Wyoming Arts Council's Blanchan/Doubleday Memorial Awards in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction

The Saturday, October 31 deadlines are:
American Poetry Review's Honickman First Book Prize

Dana Awards for a group of poems, a short story, or a novel or novel-in-progress

Elixir Press's Poetry Awards

Glimmer Train Press's Family Matters for a story about family

Graywolf Press's Nonfiction Prize for a work-in-progress

Kore Press's Short Fiction Award

The Ledge Press's Poetry Chapbook Competition

Margie's Strong Medicine Poetry Award

North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Prize

Ohio University Press's Hollis Summers Poetry Prize

PEN/Faulkner Foundation's Award for Fiction for novels or short story collections published in 2009

Poetry Society of the United Kingdom's National Poetry Competition, which is open to international submissions

Truman State University Press's T. S. Eliot Prize for a poetry collection (not to be confused with the Poetry Book Society's T. S. Eliot Prize)

University of Arkansas Press's Miller Williams Poetry Prize for a poetry collection

The Writing Site's Arthur Edelstein Prize for Short Fiction

Sharon Olds Among the Finalists for Britain's Richest Poetry Prize

The Poetry Book Society (PBS), the U.K. institution founded in 1953 by T. S. Eliot and friends, has announced the shortlist of poetry books up for its 2009 T. S. Eliot Prize. The award, worth fifteen thousand pounds (nearly twenty-five thousand dollars), will celebrate a book of verse first published in the United Kingdom or Ireland this year by any poet writing in English.

The finalists are:
The Sun-fish (Gallery Press) by Eiléan Ní Chuilleánain
Continental Shelf (Carcanet Press) by Fred D'Aguiar
Over (Oxford Poets) by Jane Draycott
The Water Table (Bloodaxe Books) by Philip Gross
Through the Square Window (Carcanet Press) by Sinéad Morrissey
One Secret Thing (Jonathan Cape) by Sharon Olds
Weeds & Wild Flowers (Faber and Faber) by Alice Oswald
A Scattering (Areté Books) by Christopher Reid
The Burning of the Books and Other Poems (Bloodaxe Books) by George Szirtes
West End Final (Faber and Faber) by Hugo Williams

The winner will be revealed on January 18, whereupon each of the finalists will be awarded an honorarium of one thousand pounds (a little over sixteen hundred dollars).

British poet Jen Hadfield won last year's award for her second collection, Nigh-No-Place (Bloodaxe Books, 2008). Past recipients of the prize, considered the most lucrative poetry honor in Great Britain, include current U.K. poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Anne Carson, Mark Doty, and Paul Muldoon. The full list of winners since the award's inception in 1993 is available on the PBS Web site

Contest Offers Emerging Story Writer Trip to New Orleans

The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival has opened its second annual fiction contest for a story by a writer who has not published a book. The winner will receive fifteen hundred dollars and a trip (travel, lodging, and an all-access event pass) to attend the twenty-fourth annual festival, which takes place between March 24 and 28, 2010, in the Big Easy.

Writers may submit as many stories as they'd like along with an entry fee of twenty-five dollars per submission. The pieces should be previously unpublished—publication in the New Orleans Review is also part of the prize—and weigh in under seven thousand words each. Jill McCorkle will serve as the judge.

The inaugural winner was Robin Martin of Brooklyn, New York, for "1969," selected by Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford.

For the dramatists out there, the festival will also honor a one-act play with a fifteen hundred dollar prize, a trip to the 2010 event—a reading of the play will be staged there—and publication in Bayou, the literary magazine of the University of New Orleans. A full production of the play will go up at the 2011 festival.

Washington Poet Wins Prize for Second Book

White Pine Press announced today that poet Kelli Russell Agodon has won its fifteenth annual poetry book prize for Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room, selected by Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Dennis. The Buffalo-based indie press will publish Agodon's book, her second, next fall, and she will receive one thousand dollars.

Agodon's debut collection, Small Knots, was published by Cherry Grove Collections in 2004. Her poems have also appeared in magazines and journals, including Prairie Schooner and the Atlantic, and anthologies such as Poets Against the War (Nation Books, 2003), edited by Sam Hamill. She coedits the Crab Creek Review, a twenty-five-year-old Seattle literary magazine. 

The sixteenth annual White Pine Press contest is currently underway, with an entry deadline of November 30. U.S. poets can submit manuscripts of sixty to eighty pages with a twenty-dollar fee. The judge remains anonymous until the competition closes, but the press does say that the poet making the selection will be a writer of national reputation.

Lisa Russ Spaar and Domnica Radulescu Win Library of Virginia Awards

On Saturday the Library of Virginia named the winners of its twelfth annual literary awards, which recognize Virginia writers for works published in the previous year. The poetry and fiction honorees, both on the faculty of universities in Virginia, are poet Lisa Russ Spaar and novelist Domnica Radulescu. Each will receive a prize of thirty-five hundred dollars.

Spaar, a professor of English and director of the Area Program in Poetry Writing at University of Virginia in Charlottesville, took the award for her fourth collection, Satin Cash (Persea Books). The book borrows its title from Emily Dickinson's poem 402: "I pay—in Satin Cash/ You did not state—your price—."

The poetry finalists were Claudia Emerson for Figure Studies: Poems (Louisiana State University Press) and Eric Pankey for The Pear as One Example: New and Selected Poems, 1984-2008 (Ausable Press).

Radulescu won for her debut novel, Train to Trieste (Knopf). The Romanian-born writer teaches romance languages at Washington and Lee University, where she is also director of the women's studies program.

The shortlisted authors in fiction were Geraldine Brooks for People of the Book (Viking) and David A. Taylor for Success: Stories (Washington Writers' Publishing House).

Pulitzer Prize winner Annette Gordon-Reed was also honored with the award in nonfiction, for her much-lauded book The Hemingses of Monticello (Norton), which sheds light on the lives of Thomas Jefferson and the Hemings family at the Charlottesville estate they shared. Gordon-Reed teaches at New York Law School.

The library will be accepting entries of books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction (including creative nonfiction) for next year's awards—three copies each of titles with a 2009 publication date—until February 5.

Ann Lauterbach and Colum McCann Among Finalists for National Book Award

The National Book Foundation revealed the finalists for the National Book Award in poetry and fiction yesterday. The shortlists of five were winnowed from 161 poetry book entries and 236 short story collections and novels submitted by publishers.

The finalists in poetry, selected by judges Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, A. Van Jordan, Cole Swensen, and Kevin Young are:
Rae Armantrout for Versed (Wesleyan University Press)
Ann Lauterbach for Or to Begin Again (Viking)
Carl Phillips for Speak Low (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon for Open Interval (University of Pittsburgh Press)
Keith Waldrop for Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy (University of California Press)

The finalists in fiction, selected by Alan Cheuse, Junot Díaz, Jennifer Egan, Charles Johnson, and Lydia Millet are:
Bonnie Jo Campbell for her story collection American Salvage (Wayne State University Press)
Colum McCann for his novel Let the Great World Spin (Random House)
Daniyal Mueenuddin for his story collection In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (Norton)
Jayne Anne Phillips for her novel Lark and Termite (Knopf)
Marcel Theroux for his novel Far North (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Finalists in nonfiction and young people's literature were also announced, including, in the nonfiction category, Following the Water: A Hydromancer's Notebook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by 2006 MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship winner and memoirist David M. Carroll, and David Small's Stitches (Norton), a graphic memoir nominated for the young people's literature prize. Bios of all of the shortlisted authors as well as summaries of their books are available on the National Book Foundation Web site.

The award winners, who will receive ten thousand dollars each, will be named at the annual awards dinner on November 18, marking the sixtieth anniversary of the prize.

Anne Carson Among Griffin Prize Judges

The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry announced today the judges of the tenth annual Griffin Poetry Prize. The judges are Anne Carson, born in Canada and currently on faculty at New York University, Kathleen Jamie of Scotland, and Carl Phillips, who teaches at Washington University in Saint Louis.

Both Carson and Jamie have been recognized by the Griffin Trust in the past—Carson won the Griffin Prize in 2001 for her collection Men in the Off Hours (Knopf, 2000), and Jamie was shortlisted for the award in 2003 for Mr. and Mrs. Scotland are Dead: Poems 1980-1994 (Bloodaxe Books, 2002). Phillips, whose most recent collection is Speak Low (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009), has received honors including the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and was twice named finalist for the National Book Award.

The Griffin Prize, worth fifty thousand Canadian dollars (a little less than fifty thousand U.S. dollars), is given annually to a Canadian poet and an international poet for collections published in the previous year. Publishers may submit books published in 2009 to the trust by December 31. In April, the shortlist of three Canadian poets and four international will be announced in Toronto, and the winners will be named on June 3. Last year's international winner was C. D. Wright of Providence; Toronto poet A. F. Moritz took the Canadian honor.

In other award jury news, yesterday the Story Prize announced the judging panel for this year's twenty-thousand-dollar award. Author A. M. Homes, blogger Carolyn Kellogg, and librarian Bill Kelly will select the winner of the prize, given annually for a short story collection.

Publishers who would like to have titles considered for the 2009 Story Prize can submit books published between July 1 and December 31, 2009, by November 16 (the deadline for volumes released during the first half of the year was July 15). Past winners include Tobias Wolff, Mary Gordon, and Edwidge Danticat.

In the video below, Griffin Prize judge and inaugural winner Anne Carson reads from her winning collection.

Samantha Hunt Wins Thirty-Thousand-Dollar Fiction Prize

Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, announced yesterday that novelist Samantha Hunt is the recipient of the 2009 Bard Fiction Prize. The thirty-thousand-dollar award, given annually to an emerging fiction writer, includes a one-semester appointment as writer-in-residence at the college, situated near the Catskill Mountains ninety miles north of New York City.

Hunt has received a handful of other honors in her early career, receiving a 2006 Five Under Thirty-Five award from the National Book Foundation, selected by René Steinke, after Hunt's debut novel, The Seas (MacAdam/Cage), was released in 2004. Her most recent book, The Invention of Everything Else (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008) was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Believer Book Award.

Previous winners of the Bard Fiction Prize, given since 2001, include Fiona Maazel (another Five Under Thirty-Five author) for her novel Last Last Chance (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008), Salvador Plascencia for hsi novel The People of Paper (McSweeney's Books, 2005), and Nathan Englander for his short story collection For the Relief of Unbearable Urges (Knopf, 1999).

Published authors are invited to submit entries for the award, accepted by Bard College until July 15. Submissions should include three copies of the published book that best represents their work, a project proposal, and a curriculum vitae. More information is available on the Bard College Web site.

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