Poets & Writers Blogs

Lannan Literary Awards and Fellowships Announced

The Lannan Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2016 Lannan Literary Awards and Fellowships. The awards honor writers who have made “significant contributions to English-language literature,” while the fellowships recognize writers of merit who demonstrate outstanding potential. This year the foundation awarded a total of $850,000 in awards and fellowships to a group of seven poets and fiction writers.

The 2016 award recipients are fiction writers Kevin Barry and John Keene, and poet Tyehimba Jess.

Kevin Barry is the award-winning author of the novels Beatlebone (Doubleday, 2015) and City of Bohane (Graywolf, 2011), and the story collections Dark Lies the Island (Graywolf, 2012) and There Are Little Kingdoms (Stinging Fly, 2007). John Keene is the author of the fiction collection Counternarratives (New Directions, 2015), the novel Annotations (New Directions, 1995), and the poetry-art collection Seismosis (1913 Press, 2006). Poet Tyehimba Jess is the author Olio (2016) and Leadbelly (Wave Books, 2005), winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. 

The fellowship recipients are poets Don Mee Choi, Craig Santos Perez, Solmaz Sharif, and Ocean Vuong.

Don Mee Choi’s published works include the poetry collections Hardly War (Wave, 2016) and The Morning News Is Exciting (Action, 2010), as well as several translations of Korean poet Kim Hyesoon. Craig Santos Perez is the coeditor of two anthologies of Pacific Islander literature and the author of three poetry collections, most recently the American Book Award–winning from unincorporated territory [guma’] (Omnidawn, 2014). Solmaz Sharif’s debut collection, Look (Graywolf, 2016), was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her other honors include an NEA fellowship and a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. Ocean Vuong’s debut collection, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, was published by Copper Canyon in 2016. He has received the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets, as well as honors from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation and the Academy of American Poets.

Candidates for the awards and fellowships are first nominated by a group of writers, publishers, editors, and literary scholars. The Lannan Foundation’s literary committee selects the winners. There is no application process.

The annual Lannan Literary Awards and Fellowships program aims to expand the audience of contemporary poetry and prose and to inspire the creation of more English-language literature. Visit the website for more information about the awards and winners.

Colson Whitehead, John Lewis Among National Book Award Winners

Last night in New York City the National Book Foundation announced the winners of the 2016 National Book Awards. Daniel Borzutzky won in poetry for his collection The Performance of Becoming Human (Brooklyn Arts Press), and Colson Whitehead took home the fiction award for his novel The Underground Railroad (Doubleday). Ibram X. Kendi won in nonfiction for his book Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, and John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell won in young people’s literature for the graphic memoir March: Book Three (Top Shelf Productions/IDW Publishing). Each winner receives $10,000.

The ceremony was hosted by comedian Larry Wilmore, who along with award judges, winners, and presenters returned to the power and importance of literature, particularly in the current political climate. “Books give us hope,” said Lisa Lucas, the executive director of the National Book Foundation. “There’s no better way to start conversations about the world than reading. Let’s change the world one book at a time.”

The winners reinforced the idea that books can both advance and record social change. In his acceptance speech, poetry winner Daniel Borzutzky said, “Literature and poetry can serve as the means of preserving social and historical memory.” Fiction winner Colson Whitehead, whose book The Underground Railroad follows the story of two slaves trying to escape via the Underground Railroad, accepted the award and urged everyone to “be kind to everybody, make art, and fight the power.” Nonfiction winner Ibram X. Kendi, whose book details the history of racist ideas in America, said, “In the midst of racism there is the human beauty of the resistance to racism. That is why I have faith.”

“Let me tell you something,” Wilmore said after Kendi’s speech. “The National Book Foundation is woke.”

Congressman John Lewis, who along with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell won in young people’s literature for the third installation of Marchwhich chronicles Lewis’s activism during the Civil Rights Movement—took the opportunity to note how the social climate in America has changed. To explain the award’s significance to him, Lewis, who is the congressman for Georgia’s fifth congressional district, spoke through tears of being denied a library card growing up in a segregated Alabama. “I love books,” said Lewis. “Thank everyone, thank you, National Book Foundation.”

Earlier in the evening, the foundation gave the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community to the nonprofit Cave Canem. Established twenty years ago by poets Cornelius Eady and Toi Dericotte, the nonprofit works to advance African American poetry. Poet Terrance Hayes presented the award, and cited the Latin meaning of Cave Canem—“beware the dog”—to explain the importance of the organization’s work, especially in the face of ongoing discrimination. “Cave Canem is the fortification of your language, your history, your future,” said Hayes. “We must be the dog that guards the house.”

The foundation also honored biographer Robert Caro with its Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Caro has written several notable biographies, including The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (Knopf, 1975), and a set of four biographies about Lyndon Johnson.

The finalists for the awards were announced in October; each receives $1,000. The annual awards are given for books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and young people’s literature published in the previous year. Interviews with the winners and finalists, as well as the full video from last night’s ceremony are available on the National Book Foundation website.

Established in 1950, the National Book Awards are among the literary world’s most prestigious prizes. The 2015 winners were Robin Coste Lewis in poetry for Voyage of the Sable Venus (Knopf), Adam Johnson in fiction for Fortune Smiles (Random House), and Ta-Nehisi Coates in nonfiction for Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau).

Photo (left to right): Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, Congressman John Lewis, Daniel Borzutzky, Colson Whitehead, Ibram X. Kendi

Corporeal Voices Launches Grant for Oregon Writers

Corporeal Voices has launched a new $10,000 grant for Oregon writers. The Voice is a Muscle Grant will be awarded annually to an Oregon poet, fiction writer, or nonfiction writer. The 2017 grant will be given to a writer of color; the 2018 grant will be given to a LGBTQ writer.

“We are dedicated to amplifying artistic voices by extending direct financial resources to writers,” write the staff of Corporeal Voices. “Your artistic labor is important and urgently needed. Art is the counter voice to cultural repression. Writers matter.”

Using the online submission system, writers of color may submit up to 20 pages of poetry or prose by December 5; there is no entry fee. Students enrolled in a degree-granting program are not eligible to apply. The winner will be notified by December 25.

The grant is administered by Corporeal Voices, a nonprofit foundation dedicated “to recognizing the voices, bodies, and lives of writers as socially vital to society.” Established by writer Lidia Yuknavitch, Corporeal Voices is “committed to non-hierarchical collaborations, to the body as a site of resistance and resilience, to new forms of storytelling, and to new relationships to the planet and to one another.”

Growing a Poetry Group and Finding Our Poetic Voices

Currently an adjunct college professor at SUNY Empire State College, Linda Griggs is the founder, host, and coordinator of Palace Poetry Group, which is in its tenth year of existence. She has been a mentor at Empire State College; a mental health counselor; and a transition supporter for Vietnamese “boat people” and refugees from war in Ethiopia and Somalia, using arts and crafts and, sometimes, poetry. With her husband, she is a backyard gardener, making the earth productive and healthy. Griggs self-published the chapbook Love Poems of the Universe (2003), wrote and illustrated The Night of the Starfish People (Willet Press, 2011), and is the author of the chapbook The Balance of Love (Willet Press, 2012).

Palace Poetry Group is free and open to the public at DeWitt Community Library in DeWitt, New York. Our group started in 2007 and has a monthly poetry reading with a different featured reader every month and an open mic. The goal of this poetry group is to help poets find their poetic voices and, in that process, encourage each other. Once a year, we have an additional special reader and a workshop for poets.

I found it was important to be sensitive to the poetic needs of group members and to find featured readers who could challenge those needs. Thanks to Poets & Writers’ grants, we are constantly inspired by excellent poets who expand members’ world views and expose them to different ways of poetic expression.

Three poets who received P&W grants in 2016 were Joseph Bruchac, Michael Czarnecki, and Barbara Crooker. All have different ways of expressing poetry while clearly illustrating their views on the world. Joseph and Michael are master storytellers. Joseph told his stories and read his free verse poems about nature, justice, spirituality, and Native American culture, describing how these themes relate to the good of all of us. Michael used free verse as well as the poetic expressions of haiku and haibun, a Japanese literary form combing condensed prose and haiku, to express experiences he’s had traveling throughout the United States—recording his feelings and his approach to looking at nature and life. Barbara Crooker read her free verse poems choosing ordinary experiences and perceptions of nature to express caring, compassion, and joy in life.

Each featured reader expressed interest in audience members listening to them, using anecdotes and humor to express their ideas. For example, Joseph Bruchac used humor and stories to lead audience members to an understanding of Abenaki culture and beliefs. He listened carefully to each poet in the open mic—including a poet who read in Spanish, a language he is fluent in—and said something positive about each of the poems. Palace Poetry Group members were able to look anew at the way they wrote and fine-tune their own poetry, thus developing their poetic voices, the goal of our group.

Photos: (top, left to right) Lindsey Bellosa, Linda Griggs. Photo credit: Martin Willitts. (middle) Palace Poetry Group tenth anniversary cake. Photo credit: Martin Willitts. (bottom, front row, left to right) Jane Schmid, Donna M. Davis, Paul R. Davis, Eileen Rose, Linda Griggs, Martin Willitts. (back row, left to right) Michael Cheslik, David Harper, David Forrest Hitchcock, Paul Shephard, Stephen Brace. Photo credit: Sue Harper.

 

Support for the Readings & Workshops Program in New York is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, with additional support from the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Upcoming Prose Contest Deadlines

Do you write novels, short stories, or essays? Spend some time this weekend polishing those manuscripts; below is a round-up of prose contests with a deadline of November 15. These contests offer prizes ranging from $1,000 to $20,000, as well as publication.

For short prose writers looking to submit a full-length manuscript, the Pleiades Press Robert C. Jones Prize for Short Prose awards $2,000 and publication by Pleiades Press for a collection of short stories, flash fiction, essays, or lyric essays. Jenny Boully will judge. Submit a manuscript of 90 to 200 pages with a $25 entry fee.

Another opportunity for short prose writers—very short prose writers, that is—is Quarter After Eight’s Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest, which awards a prize of $1,008.15 and publication in Quarter After Eight for a single prose poem, a short short story, or a micro-essay. Ander Monson will judge. Submit up to three pieces of no more than 500 words each with a $15 entry fee, which includes a subscription to Quarter After Eight.

In addition to $3,000 and publication in Writer’s Digest, the winner of Writer’s Digest’s Short Short Story Competition will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference in August 2017 in New York City. Using the online submission system, submit a story of up to 1,500 words with a $20 entry fee; the entry fee goes up to $25 after November 15.

One of the world’s richest prizes for a collection of short fiction, the Story Prize annually awards $20,000 for a book published in the previous year. Two runners-up will each receive $5,000, and one entrant will receive the $1,000 Story Prize Spotlight Award,  given for a collection that merits further attention. Larry Dark and Julie Lindsey will select the three finalists and the Spotlight Award winner; Harold Augenbraum, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, and Daniel Goldin will choose the Story Prize winner. Publishers, authors, or agents may submit two copies of a book published between July 1 and December 31, 2016 with a $75 entry fee. (The deadline for books published during the first half of the year was July 15.)

The Pushcart Press Editors’ Book Award occasionally offers a prize of $1,000 for a fiction or nonfiction manuscript that has been rejected by a commercial publisher and  “overlooked by today’s high-pressure, bottom-line publishing conglomerates.” An editor at a U.S. or Canadian publishing company must submit a formal letter of nomination. There is no entry fee.

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines and submission details. For more upcoming contests, visit our Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar.

Deadline Approaches for PEN/Catapult Fiction Prize

This Friday marks the deadline for editors to nominate stories for a new annual fiction prize. Sponsored by PEN America and Catapult, the inaugural PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers honors twelve emerging fiction writers for debut short stories published in the previous year. Twelve winning writers will each receive a prize of $2,000, and their stories will be included in an annual anthology, The PEN America Best Debut Short Stories, to be published by Catapult.

Debut stories published in online magazines, cultural websites, or print magazines distributed in the U.S. in 2016 are eligible. A debut story is defined by PEN as the writer’s first short story publication that has undergone an editorial review process and has been accepted and published by a publication with which the author is not professionally affiliated. Authors must be either U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents.

Using the online submission system, editors of participating publications may submit up to four stories of no more than 12,000 words each, along with the required eligibility and consent form, by Friday, November 11. Authors may not submit their own work. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The winners will be honored at the annual PEN Literary Awards ceremony in New York City.

Launched this year, the PEN/Robert J. Dau Prize aims to help launch the careers of new writers. The award is named for and supported by the family of Robert J. Dau, a Petoskey, Michigan–based arts advocate who passed away last year.

Rachel Valinsky on the Wendy’s Subway Reading Room

Rachel Valinsky is a cofounder of Wendy’s Subway, a nonprofit library and writing space in Bushwick, Brooklyn. As an independent curator, writer, and translator, she has presented projects at Judson Memorial Church, Lisa Cooley, and Spectacle Theater, and written for East of BorneoMillennium Film JournalBOMBC Magazine, and the Third Rail. She is the editor of Warm Equations (Édition Patrick Frey, 2016) and a contributing editor at Éditions Lutanie, Paris. Valinsky is currently a doctoral student in Art History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Since the founding of Wendy’s Subway in December 2013, we have been steadily growing a space for writing and thinking across disciplines. In January 2016, we moved to a new storefront space, which comfortably houses our collection of over three thousand books, periodicals, and printed matter, as well as the Laurin Raiken Archive, an extensive resource for the study of art history and criticism. During the day, the space is open for writing, and on some evenings, we host public programs, including readings and screenings, interdisciplinary talks and lectures, discussion and reading groups, as well as writing workshops. Open to the public, we welcome readers to consult our non-circulating library. Likewise, our membership actively contributes to the operations of the organization, by taking part in the daily life of the space, writing together, and conceiving of projects that are developed independently or as a group, with peers and friends from Wendy’s and beyond.

In 2015, we launched a mobile Reading Room project. Designed by Tyler Polich and Hannah Wilentz, the Reading Room has been presented at a variety of locations in and outside of New York, in each case directly engaging with the context and site of the invitation. It has addressed the topics of experimental writing, visual art, and digital media (for Brown University’s Interrupt 3 conference and “From Line to Constellation” group exhibition) and place and revolution (for Open Engagement's 2015 conference at the Carnegie Mellon School of Art), among others. At NADA New York in May 2015, Wendy's Subway partnered with the Mexico City-based library Aeromoto to present a selection of books by Latin American publishers, paired with books in our collection. Central to the mission of the Reading Room is to develop close partnerships and conversations with exhibiting or presenting artists.

As I write this, we’re preparing for a Political Therapy workshop, led by artist Liz Magic Laser and certified life coach Valerie Bell, which is meant to help participants confront and express their mounting frustrations in the face of this year’s presidential election. The workshop will take place in the Reading Room we’ve installed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) for the Next Wave Festival, which lasts all fall. Here, the collection of nearly four hundred books on display focuses on performance, dramaturgy, theater, dance, choreography, and poetics while also highlighting titles chosen by the artists performing in the festival and the visual artists whose work is exhibited across BAM’s many locations. In the lower lobby of the BAM Fisher Building, the Next Wave Reading Room is a fixture of the festival, open to the public every day for browsing and extended reading.

This is the first time, however, that we have been able to organize a series of public programs with the Reading Room that systematically extend the collections’ reach to wider audiences. With readings and workshops every month of our stay at BAM, we’ve brought in diverse communities of writers, artists, performers, and enthusiasts of all kinds for interdisciplinary programs.

This past October, a program pairing six writers and performers, one of several in this series to receive generous support from Poets & Writers, drew over a hundred audience members. The Reading Room was packed, yet the surprising and meaningful resonances that echoed across each set of readings made for a very intimate evening—one that reminded me of the intimate feel of our space in Bushwick, where we can comfortably accommodate forty people. Supporting writers gave them more resources to develop connections across their work—connections which reverberated across the Reading Room and speak to the collaborative mission of Wendy’s Subway.

Follow the projects and adventures of Wendy's Subway on Instagram.

Photos: (top) Wendy’s Subway Reading Room at BAM Fisher designed by Tyler Polich and Hannah Wilentz. Photo credit: Greg Bosse. (bottom) Drawing of several Wendy’s Subway board members and friends at the Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, AWP Offsite Program. Drawing by Matt Longabucco.

Editor's Note: Wendy’s Subway cofounder Carolyn Bush passed away on September 28. Contributions to a fundraiser in her honor will go in part to Wendy's Subway, "to continue the legacy she started."

Support for Readings & Workshops in New York City is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Louis & Anne Abrons Foundation, the Axe-Houghton Foundation, the A.K. Starr Charitable Trust, and the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Kirkus Prize Winners Announced

Last night at a ceremony in Austin, Texas, Kirkus Reviews announced the winners of the third annual Kirkus Prize. Three awards of $50,000 each are given for a book of fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature published in the previous year.


C. E. Morgan won the fiction award
for her second novel, The Sport of Kings (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Fiction writer Claire Messud, bookseller Annie Philbrick, and Kirkus Reviews critic Gene Seymour judged.

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Susan Faludi took home the nonfiction prize for In the Darkroom (Metropolitan). Writer Jim Piechota, bookseller Chris Schoppa, and journalist and novelist Héctor Tobar judged.

Jason Reynolds won the young readers’ literature prize for his novel As Brave As You (Caitlyn Dlouhy). Bookseller and author Elizabeth Bluemle, Kirkus critic and librarian Deborah D. Taylor, and National Book Award–winning author Jacqueline Woodson judged. 

The winners were selected from 1,154 titles that received a Kirkus starred review between November 1, 2015, and October 31, 2016, for fiction and nonfiction, and between October 1, 2015, and September 30, 2016, for young readers’ literature.

One of the world’s richest literary awards, the Kirkus Prize was established in 2014 to honor the eighty-first anniversary of Kirkus Reviews, a publication that today provides review coverage of more than seven thousand commercially published books, as well as more than three thousand self-published books, each year. For more information about the prize, as well as a list of finalists in each category, visit the Kirkus Reviews website.

(Photos from left: C. E. Morgan, Susan Faludi, Jason Reynolds)

Deadline Approaches for Dylan Thomas Prize

The deadline approaches for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, given annually for a book of poetry or fiction published in English in the previous year by an author between the ages of 18 and 39. The winner will receive £30,000.

Publishers may submit ten copies of a book published between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2016, along with the required entry form, by Friday, November 4. Entries should be mailed to the International Dylan Thomas Prize, c/o Dr. Elaine Canning, Research Institute for Arts and Humanities, Keir Hardie Building, Room 405c, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK.

There is no entry fee. Translations and self-published books are ineligible. E-mail or visit the website for complete guidelines.

The International Dylan Thomas Prize was established in 2006 in honor of Dylan Thomas, who, according to the website, was: “the quintessential adolescent writer, ideally suited to serve as an inspiration to young writers everywhere. The freshness and immediacy of his writing were qualities that he never lost. The Prize seeks to ensure that readers today will have the chance to savour the vitality and sparkle of a new generation of young writers.”

Recent winners of the prize include Max Porter for his novel, Grief Is a Thing With Feathers (Graywolf, 2016), Joshua Ferris for his novel To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Little, Brown, 2014), and Claire Vaye Watkins for her story collection Battleborn (Riverhead, 2012).

The 2017 winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in Swansea, Wales, in May.

Marilyn Nelson Wins Neustadt Prize

Poet, children’s book author, and translator Marilyn Nelson has won the 2017 Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature. The biennial award recognizes a “storied career exploring history, race relations, and feminism in America,” and carries with it a $25,000 purse.
Ohio-born Nelson, who currently serves as professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut, has written or translated more than a dozen works, and has received honors including the Newbery Honor, the Coretta Scott King Honor, and the Pushcart Prize. In addition to her awards, Nelson has served as the poet laureate of Connecticut, and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Poetry Society of America.

Robert Con Davis-Undiano, the executive director of World Literature Today who oversees the prize, said in a press release of Nelson’s work, “Her engaging, lyrical style builds awareness around sensitive issues through human, and even humor storytelling that both children and adults can relate to.”

Established in 2003, the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature honors a living writer or author-illustrator who has made significant achievements in the field. Funding for the award is provided by Nancy Bercelo, Susan Neustadt Shwartz, and Kathy Neustadt, and the prize is sponsored by World Literature Today, the University of Oklahoma–based magazine of international literature. Previous winners include Vera B. Williams, Virginia Euwer Wolff, and Naomi Shihab Nye.

Upcoming Creative Nonfiction Contest Deadlines

Are you a nonfiction writer? Looking to publish an essay, or in search of funding to finish your book? If so, there’s a writing contest for you—and several of them have deadlines within the next few days. So get to work this weekend, and check out these contests with November 1 deadlines.

If you’re an emerging writer looking for experience and mentorship in New York City, A Public Space’s annual Emerging Writer Fellowships might be right for you. Each fellowship includes $1,000, publication in A Public Space, a six-month mentorship with an established author, and optional workspace in the journal's Brooklyn, New York, office from March 2017 to September 2017. There is no application fee.

Looking to publish an essay? Reed Magazine’s Gabriele Rico Challenge in Creative Nonfiction offers an annual prize of $1,333 and publication of an essay of up to 5,000 words (with a $15 entry fee). Similarly, the Briar Cliff Review offers an annual prize of $1,000 and publication for an essay of up to 5,000 words (with a $20 entry fee).

Want to travel abroad to finish your book? There’s a contest for that. The American-Scandinavian Foundation offers annual writing fellowships of up to $23,000 and grants of up to $5,000 to creative nonfiction writers for study and research in Scandinavia. The application fee is $60. Meanwhile, the American Academy in Rome’s annual Rome Prize— which includes a $28,000 stipend, lodging, workspace, and most meals—allows writers to spend eleven months at the American Academy in Rome. It’s open to nonfiction writers who have published either a book or at least five essays or memoir excerpts in two or more literary journals, magazines, or anthologies. The application fee is $40.

For study in the United States, Washington College’s Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship confers a nine-month fellowship, which includes a stipend of $45,000, at the C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, to a nonfiction writer working on a book that addresses the history or legacy of the American Revolution and the nation’s founding ideas. There is no application fee.

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines and submission details. For more upcoming contests, check out our Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines for Fiction Writers

The deadline approaches for several contests for fiction writers. Below is a roundup of fiction contests—for everything from flash fiction and stories to full-length manuscripts and published books—with deadlines of October 31 or November 1.

For emerging story writers, check out Glimmer Train Press’s Short Story Award for New Writers, given for a short story by a writer whose fiction has not appeared in a print publication with a circulation of more than 5,000. The winner will receive $2,500 and publication in Glimmer Train Stories; the deadline is October 31.

You might also try your luck with the Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards, one of which will be given for a short story or novel excerpt. The winner will receive $1,000 and an invitation to participate in a panel discussion at the annual Tucson Festival of Books and attend a workshop on the University of Arizona campus in March 2017. The deadline is October 31.

Story writers may also consider a handful of contests with a November 1 deadline that offer at least $1,000 and publication of a story, including the Madison Review’s Fiction Prize, the Malahat Review’s Open Season Award in Fiction, and Reed Magazine’s John Steinbeck Fiction Award.

For writers working on a novel or who have published a novel, the Dana Awards offer a prize of $2,000 for a novel or novel-in-progress; the deadline is October 31. Writers with a book of fiction published in 2016 can also submit to PEN/Faulkner Foundation’s annual Award for Fiction, a $15,000 prize given for a short story collection, novella, or novel published in the preceding year. The deadline is October 31.

And for those seeking publication of their fiction manuscript, several contests with November 1 deadlines offer at least $1,000 and publication. The $1,000 Washington Writers Publishing House Fiction Prize is given annually for a story collection or novel by a writer who lives in Washington D.C., or in Maryland or Virginia within a 75-mile radius of the U.S. Capitol. Fiction Collective Two is administering two prizes for story collections, novellas, novella collections, or novels: the $15,000 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize, given to a writer who has published at least three books of fiction, and the $1,500 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest, open to all fiction writers.

Visit the prize websites for complete guidelines. For more contests with upcoming deadlines, visit our Grants & Awards Database, and check out the Submission Calendar.

Paul Beatty Wins Booker Prize

Paul Beatty has been awarded the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for his novel The Sellout (Oneworld), a satirical look at race in America. Beatty will receive £50,000 (approximately $61,000).

Beatty, fifty-four, is the first American author to win the prize. Of his winning book, 2016 chair of judges Amanda Foreman said, “The Sellout is a novel for our times. A tirelessly inventive modern satire, its humor disguises a radical seriousness. Paul Beatty slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with wit, verve and a snarl.” 

The Sellout was selected from a shortlist of finalists that included Deborah Levy’s Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton), Graeme Macrae Burnet’s His Bloody Project (Contraband), Ottessa Moshfegh’s Eileen (Jonathan Cape), David Szalay’s All That Man Is (Jonathan Cape), and Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta Books). Each finalist receives £2,500 (approximately $3,050). 

“I can’t tell you how long this journey has been,” Beatty said in his acceptance speech, at the Man Booker awards ceremony this evening in London. “Writing has given me a life.” 

In addition to its Booker win, The Sellout received the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.

This is the third year that the Man Booker Prize, established in 1969, has been open to any novel written in English and published in Britain, after having previously been given only to writers from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Previous winners include Margaret Atwood, Peter Carey, and Marlon James. 

(Photo: Paul Beatty, Credit: Alex Welsh)

Joy Ladin on Lambda Literary's Retreat for LGBTQ Writers

Outside of MFA programs and writing conferences, it’s pretty queer to be a poet in most places in the United States. I learned that when, during my first job after college, a fellow office worker backed away from me when I told her that I was a poet.
Joy Ladin is the author of seven books of poetry, including Impersonation (Sheep Meadow, 2009) and Transmigration (Sheep Meadow, 2015), which were both Lambda Literary Award finalists. Her memoir of gender transition, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013), was a 2012 National Jewish Book Award finalist. Her work has been recognized with a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship and a Fulbright Scholarship, among other honors. She holds the Gottesman Chair in English at Yeshiva University in New York. This past July, Ladin led a P&W–supported poetry workshop as part of the Lambda Literary Foundation's annual Writers Retreat in Los Angeles. Here, she blogs about the importance of this retreat for emerging LGBTQ writers.

Joy Ladin

Outside of MFA programs and writing conferences, it’s pretty queer to be a poet in most places in the United States. I learned that when, during my first job after college, a fellow office worker backed away from me when I told her that I was a poet.

But to many LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or otherwise queer) poets, the poetry world seems just as “straight” as the non-literary world, just as invested in norms that focus attention paid on the work and lives of heterosexual white people (particularly men) and make it hard for LGBTQ people and people of color to feel seen, valued, or understood.

That's why the Lambda Literary Foundation’s annual Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices (supported in part by a grant from Poets & Writers’ Readings & Workshops program) is so important. For many of the LGBTQ writers who attend, the retreat is a weeklong oasis in which they can find the understanding, encouragement, and recognition that all writers need to survive and thrive. As Nico Amador, a poetry fellow, said, “In so many workshops queer and trans writers have to spend more time than we’d like on…educating our straight or non-trans peers enough so that they can engage with a reading of our work that honors our intentions and points of view. At Lambda, it was enlivening to be able to sit at a table with others who could move seamlessly through the varied thematic and poetic discussion in the workshop—applying a queer reading when relevant and leaving it out when it wasn’t. The space this created allowed us to take seriously the goals of each person's work, to offer a diversity of thought, and pose questions that could [help] each of us to grow in our work as poets.”

This past summer, for the first time, I learned firsthand what the writers retreat offers LGBTQ writers, when I led the poetry workshop. After decades of writing and teaching in classrooms where my transgender identity is treated as an awkward subject to avoid, I found myself in a place where my experience as a trans writer was valued. Not that I felt surrounded by “writers like me”: Even within the poetry workshop, we were all very different in our writing concerns, styles, backgrounds, and the complex constellations of our identities. At the retreat, we didn't have to minimize or hide our differences; we could share and celebrate them as sources of poetry, insight, humanity.

But as Julia Tranchina, another poetry fellow wrote: “The best part of the retreat was working on poetry. Breathing, biting, imbibing poetry with other poets.” Those are feelings every poet I've ever met can understand.

Lambda Retreat Poetry Cohort

Photos: (top) Joy Ladin. Photo credit: Lisa Ross. (bottom) Joy Ladin and poetry cohort. Photo credit: Lambda Literary.

Major support for Readings & Workshops in California is provided by the James Irvine Foundation and the Hearst Foundations. Additional support comes from the Friends of Poets & Writers.

October Poetry Contest Deadlines

The end of October is fast approaching, and with it comes not only Halloween but also a number of contest deadlines. Today we’re rounding up poetry contests with October 31 deadlines that offer at least $1,000 and publication. Whether you have a single poem, a chapbook-length collection, or a full-length manuscript ready to submit, don’t let these passing deadlines haunt you.

If you’re looking for a contest for a single poem, submit to the James Hearst Poetry Prize, which includes $1,000 and publication in the Spring 2017 issue of the North American Review. Award-winning poet Major Jackson will judge. Submit up to five poems along with a $20 application fee, which includes a subscription to the North American Review.

Ready those chapbook manuscripts and submit to the Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Prize, which includes $1,000 and publication by Tupelo Press. The winner will also give a reading at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival in Connecticut. Poet Maggie Smith will judge. Submit a manuscript of 20 to 36 pages with a $25 entry fee.

Kentucky-based Finishing Line Press hosts an annual open chapbook prize of $1,000 and publication. Submit a manuscript of up to 30 pages and a $15 entry fee.

Looking to publish a full-length book? Elixir Press sponsors an annual prize of $2,000 and publication for a poetry collection. A second-place prize of $1,000 and publication is also awarded. Jane Satterfield will judge. Submit a manuscript of at least 48 pages with a $30 application fee.

The Vassar Miller Prize awards $1,000 and publication by University of North Texas Press annually for a poetry collection. A. E. Stallings will judge. Submit a manuscript of 50 to 80 pages with a $25 entry fee.

Visit the prize websites for complete application guidelines. For more contests with upcoming deadlines, visit the Grants & Awards Database, and check out the Submission Calendar.