G&A: The Contest Blog

Dzanc Books Launches Second Story Collection Contest

Following an impressive batch of submissions to its inaugural short story collection contest last year, Dzanc Books has announced that it will run a second wave of the competition this fall. The winning fiction writer will receive one thousand dollars and publication of his or her book by the Michigan-based nonprofit literary press, with a release date in spring or summer of 2012.

The deadline for manuscript entries, which should be sent via e-mail, is December 31. There is an entry fee of twenty dollars; payment information is available on the press's Web site.

Last year's winner was David Galef for My Date With Neanderthal Woman, slated for publication in November 2011. His book will join a titles lineup that includes works by Laura van den Berg, whose debut story collection, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, was recently named a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, as well as Terese Svoboda, Roy Kesey, and the authors of Black Lawrence Press and OV Books, Dzanc's imprints. 

The press also publishes Monkeybicycle, a biannual lit mag in print whose online incarnation is updated twice a week.

Linda Gregg's New and Selected Snags a Second Honor

Poet Linda Gregg of New York City received high honors from the Academy of American Poets today as winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Fellow poets Dorianne Laux, J. D. McClatchy, and James Richardson selected her latest collection, All of It Singing: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 2008) for the twenty-five-thousand-dollar award, given for a collection published in the previous year.

The book, Gregg's eighth, also won the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America (PSA) in March. Gregg's poetry has been recognized by PEN American Center, with the PEN/Voelcker Award, and Poets & Writers, Inc., with the Jackson Poetry Prize, and she has received fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Gregg, who has said of her work, "The art of finding in poetry is the art of marrying the sacred to the world, the invisible to the human," receives from the Academy an award named for a writer and activist who promoted the sacredness of the world in her own right: Lenore Marshall helped form the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, an organization that helped pass the partial nuclear test ban treaty of 1963. The New Hope Foundation created the prize in her memory in 1975.

The list of past winners—a group that includes John Ashbery, Wanda Coleman, Stanley Kunitz, and Alice Notley—is posted on the Academy's Web site.

Gregg reads at the Jackson Poetry Prize ceremony in May:

Alice Munro Competes for Canadian Book Prize

After bowing out of consideration for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, storied story writer Alice Munro has been named one of five finalists for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. Her collection Too Much Happiness (McClelland and Stewart) is the fourth of her books to be nominated for the award, which she won in 2004 for Runaway (McClelland and Stewart). The twenty-five-thousand-dollar prize is given for a novel or short story collection by a Canadian author.

The other finalists, announced today, are:
Nicole Brossard for her novel Fences in Breathing (Coach House Books), translated by Susanne de Lotbinière-Harwood
Douglas Coupland for his novel Generation A (Random House Canada)
Annabel Lyon for her debut novel The Golden Mean (Random House Canada)
Andrew Steinmetz for his debut novel Eva's Threepenny Theatre (Gaspereau Press)

Descriptions of the shortlisted books—from a memoir-inspired tale of a Brechtian performer to a fictionalized story of Aristotle's tutoring a young Alexander the Great—are posted along with finalist biographies on the prize Web site. The winner will be announced on November 24.

Zoetrope Contest Offers Ten Writers a Chance for Representation

There are only two days remaining to enter the Short Fiction Contest from Zoetrope: All-Story, the lit mag founded by Francis Ford Coppola in 1997. Not only will the winner receive a prize of one thousand dollars and publication on the magazine's Web site, but he or she, along with nine finalists, will also be considered for representation by a number of literary agencies. The ten top story writers will have their work reviewed by the William Morris Agency, International Creative Management, Regal Literary, the Elaine Markson Literary Agency, Inkwell Management, Sterling Lord Literistic, and the Georges Borchardt Literary Agency.

The judge this year is Yiyun Li, author of the award-winning story collection A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (Random House, 2005) and The Vagrants (Random House, 2009), which is up for the 2009 First Novel Prize from the Mercantile Library Center for Fiction. She is a contributing editor of A Public Space.

Stories of up to five thousand words can be submitted, along with a fifteen-dollar entry fee, via the journal's online submission system until 11:59 PM on Thursday, October 1.

The winner of last year's contest was Bernie McGill of Portstewart, Ireland, for "Sleepwalkers," selected by Elizabeth McCracken.

First Book Prize Now Gives a Woman Poet Time to Write Abroad

Persea Books is now accepting entries to the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize, which offers the winning poet one thousand dollars, publication of her poetry collection, and, for the first time this year, a six-week residency in Italy. The all-expenses-paid retreat will take place at the Civitella Ranieri Center, a fifteenth century castle in Italy's Umbria region.

The contest is open to women poets who have not yet published a book-length collection. The deadline for manuscripts, which should be forty-six to ninety-eight pages, is November 1. The winner, to be announced in January, is chosen by an anonymous selection committee.

Previous years' winners are:
2009 Alexandra Teague for Mortal Geography
2008 Tara Bray for Mistaken for Song
2007 Anne Shaw for Undertow
2006 Alena Hairston for The Logan Topographies

The award is a collaborative effort between Persea Books, independent publisher of collections by poets such as Sarah Gambito, Marie Howe, and Thylias Moss, and the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Project, named for the late poet Lexi Rudnitsky, author of A Doorless Knocking Into Night (Mid-List Press, 2005).

ReLit Awards Honor Canadian Indies

On Sunday three Canadian writers were revealed as the winners of the 2009 ReLit Awards, honoring books published by independent presses in Canada. Poet Maurice Mierau of Winnipeg, Manitoba, won for his book Fear Not (Turnstone); Lisa Foad of Toronto won for her debut short story collection The Night Is a Mouth (Exile Editions); and Michael Blouin of Oxford Mills, Ontario, won for his novel Chase & Haven (Coach House).

The prizes, operating under the banner "Ideas, Not Money," award each winner a ReLit ring, comprised of four movable, letter-embossed bands that allow the wearer to spell out different words. Mierau, Foad, and Blouin will receive their rings at a celebration that will take place during the Ottawa International Writers Festival on October 25.

The winners were selected from shortlists of seven books in each category. The finalists were:
Poetry
Noble Gas, Penny Black (Brick) by David O’Meara
Little Hunger (Nightwood) by Philip Kevin Paul
Dead Cars in Managua (DC Books) by Stuart Ross
Penny Dreadful (Signal) by Shannon Stewart
Troubled
(Coach House) by R. M. Vaughan
Sentenced to Light (Talon) by Fred Wah

Short Fiction
Squishy (DC Books) by Arjun Basu
Evidence (Porcupine’s Quill) by Ian Colford
My White Planet (Thomas Allen) by Mark Anthony Jarman
In the Quiet After Slaughter (Libros Libertad) by Don McLellan
Elysium (Anvil) by Pamela Stewart
The Butcher of Penetang (Caitlin) by Betsy Trumpener

Novel
Cleavage (NeWest) by Theanna Bischoff
Shuck (Arsenal Pulp) by Daniel Allen Cox
A Slice of Voice at the Edge of Hearing (Mercury) by Brian Dedora
Girls Fall Down (Coach House) by Maggie Helwig
Charlie Muskrat (Thistledown) by Harold Johnson
Anna’s Shadow (Esplanade) by David Manicom

The ReLit Awards, whose name stands for "regarding literature, reinventing literature, relighting literature," have been given since 2000.

Bausch Book Wins Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Announced yesterday, the recipient of the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize is Richard Bausch, for his eleventh novel, Peace, published by Knopf in April. He will receive ten thousand dollars, and the runner-up, Uwem Akpan, whose honored short story collection Say You're One of Them (Little, Brown, 2008) was recently named an Oprah's Book Club pick, will receive one thousand dollars.

Bausch's winning novel follows American soldiers in Italy during World War II as they pursue the German army. The prize press release calls the book a "meditation on the corrosiveness of violence, the human cost of war, and the redemptive power of mercy."

Along with the nonfiction winner—Benjamin Skinner's A Crime So Monstrous: Face to Face With Modern Day Slavery (Free Press)—Akpan's collection "put a much-needed spotlight on the tragedy of contemporary slavery, an issue that has been ignored for too long," says prize chair Sharon Rab in the press release. (Skinner donated his ten-thousand-dollar honorarium to Free the Slaves, the U.S. branch of the human rights organization Anti-Slavery International.)

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize, given since 2006, recognizes authors whose "work advances peace as a solution to conflict, and leads readers to a better understanding of other cultures, peoples, religions, and political points of view." The writers will be feted at a ceremony in Dayton on November 8.

Danticat and McHugh Among "Genius" Grant Fellows

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today the twenty-four recipients of this year's "Genius" Fellowships. The fellows working in the literary arts are poet Heather McHugh, fiction writer and memoirist Edwidge Danticat, and short story writer Deborah Eisenberg. They will each receive one hundred thousand dollars every year over the course of five years.

"It felt incredibly, wonderfully surreal,” Danticat told the Felicia R. Lee of the New York Times. "What artists crave and need most is time. It will definitely buy some time. It’s wonderful to have a sense of security, especially in these economic times."

Danticat's most recent book is the memoir Brother, I'm Dying (Knopf, 2007), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, among other honors. Eisenberg is the author of four story collections, including Twilight of the Superheroes (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006). The latest book from McHugh, who has also worked in translation and essay, is the poetry collection Upgraded to Serious, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in October.

As 2009 MacArthur fellows, the three writers are in the company of artists working in media including painting, documentary film, and photojournalism, as well as luminaries in other disciplines. Recipients this year include an ornithologist, a papermaker, a climate scientist, a mental health lawyer, a bridge engineer, a biogeochemist, and an applied mathematician.

The no-strings grants are given in the anticipation of independent creative achievement in the future—that is, according to MacArthur Foundation president Robert Gallucci, "We're looking for you to continue in a creative way, without anyone looking over your shoulder."

Ellison or O'Connor? Voting Opens for Best of NBA Fiction

In celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of its National Book Awards (NBA), the National Book Foundation is asking the public to weigh in on who they think is the best of its fiction winners, beginning today. Through October 21, visitors to the foundation's Web site can choose from a shortlist of six NBA-winning books nominated for the superlative honor by a panel of 140 National Book Award winners, finalists, and judges.

Which of these do you think is the Best of the National Book Awards Fiction, 1950 to 2008?
John Cheever's The Stories of John Cheever (Knopf, 1981)
Ralph Ellison' s Invisible Man (Random House, 1953)
William Faulkner's Collected Stories of William Faulkner (Random House, 1951)
Flannery O'Connor's The Complete Stories (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1972)
Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (Viking, 1974)
Eudora Welty's The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty (Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1983)

An incentive to cast your vote: The National Book Foundation announced that it will choose one voter to receive tickets to the NBA ceremony, held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on November 18, and a hotel stay at the Marriott Hotel Downtown.

The finalists for this year's NBA in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and young people's literature will be announced on October 13. Along with the book award winners, Gore Vidal and Dave Eggers will be honored at the November ceremony. Eggers will receive the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, and Vidal will be presented with the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

George Plimpton and actor Irwin Corey, who stood in for Thomas Pynchon at the 1974 award ceremony, talk about the theatrical acceptance of the NBA that year:

Five First Novels Up for Merc Center Prize

The Mercantile Library Center for Fiction announced on Wednesday the shortlist for its 2009 First Novel Prize. The ten-thousand-dollar award aims to promote the career of an emerging U.S. fiction writer by honoring his or her debut novel.

The finalists, whose books were all published in 2009, are:
Paul Harding for Tinkers (Bellevue Literary Press)

Yiyun Li for The Vagrants (Random House)

Philipp Meyer for American Rust (Spiegel & Grau)

John Pipkin for Woodsburner (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday)

Patrick Somerville for The Cradle (Little, Brown)

A committee of American writers selected the shortlisted books from a pool chosen by the Mercantile’s librarians, staff, and members.

The winner, announced on November 9, will join the ranks of One Story editor Hannah Tinti, who won the prize for The Good Thief (Dial Press, 2008); Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz, honored for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead, 2007); and bestselling author Marisha Pessl, who received the prize for Special Topics in Calamity Physics (Viking, 2006). Tinti will present this year’s prize at the Center for Fiction's annual benefit in New York City, during which the Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction will also be given to Gerald Howard, vice president and executive editor of Doubleday.

Check out a book trailer for The Cradle, touring the Wisconsin landscape for sites from the novel:

 

Here's an interview with Woodsburner author Pipkin, who talks about the process of writing the historical novel:

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