Poets & Writers Blogs

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.




The Second Annual Jackie Robinson Poetry Day

James Browning Kepple is a poet, the founder of Underground Books, and president of the New York Browning Society. Each year he helps judge the New York Browning Society’s New York City High School Poetry Contest, which invites over one hundred and twenty public, parochial, and private schools in the New York City area to participate. A resident of Harlem for ten years, he has been a contributor and performer at the Harlem Arts Festival, the Harlem Book Fair, and the New York City Poetry Festival.

Harlem has a deep history of jazz, poetry, social movements, and revolutions. Witnessing its boundaries and definitions encroached upon by the movement of time and gentrification, I wanted to create a link to its illustrious past, as well as a roadway to the future, through the arts, to help secure Harlem’s history in the hearts of its people. It was this sentiment that brought together the first successful Jackie Robinson Poetry Day at the Jackie Robinson Park’s bandshell in Central Harlem last fall. This year we aimed to recreate that success with the support of Poets & Writers.

Underground Books collaborated with various writers and artists in the community to make the day possible. Poet and social activist Bob McNeil hosted the day’s events with brilliant effect. His thorough and deliberate baritone—made even more powerful by the resounding acoustic echo of the bandshell—could be heard from streets over as he brought together the audience, performers, and passersby. Maksym Kurganskyy donated his time to film and edit the event.

Performances included Jana Astanov, Eartha Watts-Hicks, Marc W. Polite, as well as featured readings by Gregg Dotoli, Olena Jennings, Robert Kramer, and Bob McNeil. Guitarist Edgar Alan provided music throughout, and a Facebook live stream video shared the day’s events with those who could not attend. The winner of this year’s Gregg Dotoli Poetry Prize, local blogger and writer Marc W. Polite, performed a moving rendition of his winning poem, “Poetic Ruminations of Mr. Born Nice.”

Children who attended were invited to participate in the Harlem Renaissance Chapbook creation station, sponsored by Underground Books. They had an opportunity to learn how to make their own poetry chapbooks by selecting works from Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Gwendolyn Brooks, Jean Toomer, Countee Cullen, Federico García Lorca, Alice Dunbar Nelson, and many others. These young members of the community were able to walk home with their own personalized book of Harlem Renaissance Poetry.

As the show drew to a close, Bob McNeil brought each performer up to create an original piece of spoken word poetry by knitting together one line from each person based upon the last letter of the person before them, which created a flowing new poem straight from the minds of the performers on stage.

Underground Books looks forward to continuing to broaden and strengthen the vision of Jackie Robinson Poetry Day—to bring the community and help highlight Harlem’s literary past—and contribute to its bright new future with the support of organizations like Poets & Writers. 

Support for the Readings & Workshops Program in New York City is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Frances Abbey Endowment, the Cowles Charitable Trust, and the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photo: Performers of the second annual Jackie Robinson Poetry Day (Credit: Maksym Kurganskyy).

Upcoming Deadline: Moon City Short Fiction Award

Submissions are currently open for the 2018 Moon City Short Fiction Award. A prize of $1,000 and publication by Moon City Press is given annually for a collection of short fiction.

Using the online submission system, submit a manuscript of 30,000 to 65,000 words with a $25 entry fee by October 1. Entries may include short stories, flash fiction, or novellas. The editors will judge.

Past winners of the award include Kim Magowan for Undoing, Michelle Ross for There’s So Much They Haven’t Told You, Laura Hendrix Ezell for A Record of Our Debts, and Cate McGowan for True Places Never Are.

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


Traversing California on the Rural Libraries Tour

The Rural Libraries Tour is a result of a seventeen-year partnership between Poets & Writers’ Readings & Workshops program and the California Center for the Book (CalBook), which sends writers into rural and underserved areas of California to teach creative writing workshops in libraries or at venues promoted by the libraries. Some workshops are bilingual (English and Spanish), some reach teens, and most reach all ages and types of people. As the eighteenth year of programming approaches, the participating writing instructors reflect on their experiences teaching these workshops.

Olga García Echeverría

My visits to libraries in rural areas of Southern California are always a special treat for me as both an educator and an artist. In my regular teaching job, I am used to working with students for an extended period of time. With the Rural Libraries Tour, I am often entering completely new spaces with people I will probably never see again. Yet, in every single workshop that I have conducted during the past nine years, I have felt very much at home. I believe this is because the love of words and the desire to create binds us, regardless of where we are and if we will meet again. The potential for meaningful connections via words and art (even in a short amount of time) is always possible.

My poetic spirit is nourished in amazing ways each time. We don’t just read and write, we share intimate parts of ourselves and, collectively, we create. It’s amazing how often participants linger past the workshop to express how much they enjoyed being able to tap into themselves and write something that surprises them. There is a glow about them that is familiar; I know that feeling of having created something and feeling empowered or proud. These workshops—they’re a dynamic exchange of creative energy and they always reaffirm my love of poetry and community.

Tim Z. Hernandez

I’ve driven the road to Hollister, California numerous times over the past several seasons that I’ve participated in the Rural Libraries Tour, but this time was special. After having just released my book, All They Will Call You (University of Arizona Press, 2017), based on the famous 1948 plane crash that killed twenty-eight Mexican migrant workers, I knew I was returning to a community that not only knew the realities of migrant life very well, but more than that, Hollister is positioned on the western slope of the very canyon that the plane crashed down on—Los Gatos Canyon.

I was visiting with students, most of whom had come from migrant farm working families. They had never heard of this story before, but felt an immediate connection to it. They were rapt, and we conversed and shared stories for what seemed like hours. The most beautiful part came in the final minutes when students began asking if one of the passengers on the plane was named Rodriguez. And then another asked about the name Martinez. Another still wanted to know if there was a Ruiz who was killed. They were each going to go home and share this story with their parents. Perhaps they too were related. This is the power of stories, I nodded to myself. I never know what exchange will impact the people I get to work with, as well as myself. But always, I leave feeling grateful.

Susan Wooldridge

I’m happiest when people of all ages and ethnicities appear at workshops. Including the California border towns of Imperial and Crescent City, I’ve visited small libraries tucked in Markleesville, Placerville, Alturas, Yreka, Etna, and Weaverville (in the Trinity Alps), Susanville and Quincy where, always, surprisingly gifted youngsters, teens, and adults appear with their pens and their souls waiting for expression. Most recently, twenty people gathered on round tables at the Shasta Library in Redding.

Our workshops together have welcomed me into the heartland of California as part of a larger mission: to bring love of language to small-town California. I’ve been heartened and changed as part of our years-long, far-and-wide endeavor. I feel delight and honor and, hey, almost “credible!” I feel held and loved by the support and camaraderie (not to mention pay!) provided by Poets & Writers and the California Center for the Book. These years of sessions nourish and transform my own writing. My (almost finished!) book about land and language includes many chapters about experiences and revelations in small libraries—“Damien’s Waterfalls” (South Lake Tahoe), “Sublime Limes” (Colusa), and “Cesar Stealing Words” (Williams), to name a few. Our rural libraries outreach adds a wildly colorful dimension to my writing and life.

Support for Readings & Workshops in California is provided by the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support comes from the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photo 1: Olga García Echeverría (Credit: Maritza Alvarez). Photo 2: Tim Z. Hernandez (Credit: Tim Z. Hernandez). Photo 3: Susan Wooldridge (Credit: Shannon Iris).

Applications Open for BuzzFeed’s Emerging Writers Fellowship

BuzzFeed has opened applications for its third annual Emerging Writers Fellowship. The fellowship awards three nonfiction writers a stipend of $14,000 and career mentorship from BuzzFeed News’s senior editorial staff. Beginning in March 2018, the fellows will spend four months in BuzzFeed’s New York City office and focus on writing cultural reportage and personal essays. Applications are open until December 4.

Launched in 2015 by Saeed Jones, the fellowship’s mission is to expand the media landscape and empower emerging writers, particularly those who are “traditionally locked out” of media opportunities. “Investing in diversity and emerging voices doesn’t just have to be a conversation on panels and roundtables; it can be a reality,” Jones said in an interview with Poets & Writers Magazine last year.

With the third round of applications opening today, BuzzFeed’s new executive editor of culture, Karolina Waclawiak, spoke with Poets & Writers Magazine about the 2018 program, advice for applicants, and the value of nurturing writers beyond the fellowship’s conclusion.

Will there be any changes to the 2018 fellowship program?

There are two major changes to the upcoming program: We are accepting three fellows instead of four, and we are increasing the stipend amount from $10,000 to $14,000. These changes ensure that our fellows receive as much personal attention as possible, as well as financial viability for living in New York City for the program’s duration.

What can fellows expect during a typical week in the program?

The fellows will pitch, write, and edit original pieces on a broad range of cultural coverage, which will be published on BuzzFeed. In addition, each week we bring in an industry professional to meet with the fellows, including staff writers from other publications, book and magazine editors, and agents. These meetings have proven to be very beneficial; last year all four fellows left the program with an agent!

Who would be considered an ideal applicant?

We encourage writers with a strong desire to create an impact on cultural conversations to apply. All experience levels are welcome—don’t be deterred if you don’t have a lot of clips. Over the past two years the fellows entered the program with varying levels of experience, and all grew as writers and professionals. This is a great opportunity and a rigorous program if your goal is to become a staff writer at a major publication, or even if you just want to elevate your platform and be seen in this industry of so many writers. On a practical note, I suggest reading the work of previous fellows before applying.

After two successful years completed, what have you noticed about this fellowship that sets it apart from similar programs?

We make a point to provide support and guidance for these writers beyond the conclusion of the fellowship. Whether they need help getting into residencies—for example, two of our fellows from last year were accepted to Breadloaf—or want assistance growing their network of other writers, editors, and publishers, we care about building sustainable careers for these important voices. The mentorship doesn’t end when the program ends.

To apply, using BuzzFeed’s online application form submit a resume or CV, 3 to 5 examples of your essays or articles, a statement of purpose, and two letters of recommendation by December 4. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Photo: Karolina Waclawiak Credit: Eric Burg

Prose Contests With Upcoming Deadlines

Fiction and nonfiction writers: consider taking a chance and submitting your story, essay, or prose manuscript to a writing contest. Below is a list of contests with deadlines in the second half of September. Each contest offers a first-place prize of at least $1,000.

Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication on the Ghost Story website is given twice yearly for a short story with a supernatural or magic realism theme. Deadline: September 30. Entry fee: $20

Hackney Literary Awards Novel Contest: A prize of $5,000 is given annually for an unpublished novel. Deadline: September 30. Entry fee: $30

Literal Latté Essay Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Literal Latté is given annually for a personal essay. Deadline: September 30. Entry fee: $10

Manchester Metropolitan University Fiction Prize: A prize of £10,000 is given annually for a short story. The winner will be invited to attend an award ceremony in Manchester, England, in November. Bonnie Greer, Angela Readman, and Nicholas Royle will judge. Deadline: September 29. Entry fee: $23

Travelers’ Tales Solas Awards: A prize of $1,000 and publication in the annual anthology The Best Travel Writing and on the Travelers Tales’ website is given annually for a travel essay. Writers from Arizona and Vermont are eligible for publication, but not the cash prize. Deadline: September 21. Entry Fee: $25

University of Iowa Press Iowa Short Fiction Award: Two awards of publication by University of Iowa Press are given annually for first collections of short fiction. Writers who have not published a book of fiction are eligible. Deadline: September 30. Entry fee: 0

University of Massachusetts Press Juniper Prizes: Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication by University of Massachusetts Press are given annually for a short story collection and a novel. Deadline: September 30. Entry fee: $30

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


Deadline Approaches for Frontier Poetry Award

Submissions are currently open for the 2017 Frontier Poetry Award for New Poets. A prize of $2,000 and publication in Frontier Poetry is given annually for a poem by an emerging poet. Tyehimba Jess, winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, will judge.

Poets with no more than two full-length published collections are eligible. There is no style or topic restriction, but the editors want “work that is blister, that is color, that strikes hot the urge to live and be.” Using the online submission system, submit up to three poems totaling no more than five pages with a $20 entry fee by September 30. Multiple submissions are allowed. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

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

Watch Tyehimba Jess read from his Pulitzer Prize–winning collection Olio:

Upcoming Poetry Book Contests

If you’ve completed a full-length poetry manuscript and want to submit it to publication contests, look no further. Below you’ll find contests with deadlines in September that offer publication and a prize of at least $1,000.

California State University in Fresno Philip Levine Prize for Poetry: A prize of $2,000 and publication by Anhinga Press is given annually for a poetry collection. C. G. Hanzlicek will judge. Deadline: September 30. Entry fee: $28.

Mad Creek Books Journal/Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize: A prize of $2,500 and publication by Mad Creek Books, the literary trade imprint of Ohio State University Press, is given annually for a poetry collection. Kathy Fagan will judge. Deadline: September 30. Entry fee: $38.

New Criterion Poetry Prize: A prize of $3,000 and publication by St. Augustine’s Press is given annually for a poetry collection that pays close attention to form. Roger Kimball, Charles Martin, and David Yezzi will judge. Deadline: September 30. Entry fee: $25.

New Issues Poetry & Prose Green Rose Prize: A prize of $1,000, publication by New Issues Poetry & Prose, and a reading at Western Michigan University is given annually for a poetry collection. Poets who have published at least one full-length collection of poetry are eligible. Deadline: September 30. Entry Fee: $30.

Red Mountain Press Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Red Mountain Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Irena Praitis will judge. Deadline: September 15. Entry fee: $28.

University of Arkansas Press Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize: A prize of $5,000 and publication by University of Arkansas Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Billy Collins will judge. Deadline September 30. Entry fee: $28.

University of Massachusetts Press Juniper Prizes: Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication by University of Massachusetts Press are given annually for a first poetry collection and a poetry collection. The creative writing faculty at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst will judge. Deadline: September 30. Entry Fee: $30.

University of Wisconsin Press Brittingham and Felix Pollak Prizes: Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication by University of Wisconsin Press are given annually for poetry collections. Deadline September 15. Entry fee: $28.

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



The Kindness of Strangers: Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s Festival of Books

Jill Kalotay has been supporting the Spencertown Academy Arts Center as a volunteer for the past ten years. In 2015 she accepted the position of cochair of the Festival of Books with David Highfill, an executive editor at William Morrow, and she joined the Spencertown Academy Board of Directors in 2016.

It is important to me to support the arts, and particularly authors, since my daughter Daphne announced at the age of three that she wanted to be a writer. She has shown me what hard work it is, and how steep the climb to success is in today’s market. The annual Festival of Books, presented by the Spencertown Academy Arts Center, is a way to feature writers and focus on books—and to help ensure that they will be here for some time to come.

Housed in a beautifully restored 1840s Greek Revival schoolhouse at 790 State Route 203 in Spencertown, New York, the Spencertown Academy Arts Center is a cultural center serving Columbia County, the Berkshires, and the Capital region. It offers a variety of free and low-cost community arts events, including concerts, readings, theater pieces, art exhibitions, and arts-related workshops and classes.

For the past twelve years, the Festival of Books has been a major fund-raising event for the Spencertown Academy Arts Center. Subtitled “All Things Literary,” the festival provides a stage for authors to talk about their new books, poets to read from their collections, and high school students to read their prizewinning short stories and essays, entered earlier in a contest we sponsor in conjunction with the festival. (You can read the winning entries here.)

The three-day event takes place over Labor Day weekend, and also features a huge book sale, with over ten thousand donated books on offer. “The best books sale in the area,” according to many visitors. All the books are culled, cleaned, and sorted by Academy volunteers—those book lovers who want to get as many books as possible out into the world and bring in money for the Academy so that we can keep our doors open for one more year. Typically all of the authors come without promise of remuneration.

This year, we hosted an amazing array of artists, and five fiction writers were generously supported by grants from the Poets & Writers’ Readings & Workshops program.

Wesley Brown read from his Dance of the Infidels, a collection of related stories about jazz musicians (mostly real) and jazz lovers (imagined) in 1930s and 1940s New York City jazz clubs.

Rebecca Morgan Frank read from her collection, The Spokes of Venus, and spoke about the inspiration for her poems, in which magicians, wig makers, sculptors, perfumers, and choreographers help conjure these works about making and observing art.

In spite of the incessant rain beating on our tent, on one of the worst days of the summer, Elinor Lipman and Louie Cronin shared the stage for a session called “If These Walls Could Talk.” Lipman’s latest book, On Turpentine Lane, is a romantic comedy about a restless woman who impulsively buys a dilapidated house that soon reveals a mysterious past. Everyone Loves You Back, Cronin’s very funny first novel, features another house in dire need of repair, this one in Cambridge. Town and gown meet again!

Patricia Park read from her novel, Re Jane, set in the disparate worlds of Queens, Brooklyn, and Seoul during the early 2000s. In the novel, Jane Re, a Korean American woman (and orphan), lives with her aunt and uncle in Queens, and feels like an outsider. Park’s animated talk provided glimpses of her own background in Flushing, Queens and described some of the difficulties in getting her novel onto the TV screen. Actor and producer Daniel Dae Kim is adapting the book as a half-hour comedy series.

For the past five years we have been operating as an all-volunteer organization. We rely totally on all the volunteers, donors, sponsors, and kind artists who support us with their valuable time and talents. We are so grateful! And especially thankful to Poets & Writers for their financial backing of writers and events such as ours.

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.

Photo: Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s Festival of Books (Credit: Peter Blandori).

Upcoming Prose Contest Deadlines

Fiction and nonfiction writers: The weather’s changing and hopefully stirring up creative energy for you to put towards your writing. Consider submitting to the following contests with upcoming deadlines, each offering at least $1,000 and publication.

Hippocampus Magazine Remember in November Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Hippocampus Magazine is given annually for an essay. The winner will also receive free admission to the annual HippoCamp Conference for creative nonfiction writers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in Summer 2018. Deadline: September 15. Entry fee: $12

Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction: A prize of $10,000 and publication by Dzanc Books is given annually for a novel. Lindsey Drager, Daniel A. Hoyt, and Chrissy Kolaya will judge. Deadline: September 15. Entry fee: $25

Dzanc Books Short Story Competition: A prize of $2,500 and publication by Dzanc Books is given annually for a story collection. Deadline: September 15. Entry fee: $25

Disquiet/Dzanc Books Open Borders Book Prize: A prize of $5,000 and publication by Disquiet, an imprint of Dzanc Books, will be given annually for a novel, a memoir, a collection of short stories or essays, or a cross-genre work that “exhibits a marked commitment to mutual understanding and cultural exchange across the globe.” Deadline: September 15. Entry fee: $25

TulipTree Publishing Stories That Need to Be Told Contest: A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a short story or an essay “that tells a story.” The winning work will also be published in the contest anthology, Stories That Need to Be Told. Deadline: September 16. Entry fee: $20

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

Poetry Foundation Announces 2017 Ruth Lilly Fellows

The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine have announced the recipients of the 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships. The annual awards are given to five U.S. poets between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one. Each winner receives $25,800.

(Photos from left: Fatimah Asghar, Sumita Chakraborty, Cortney Lamar Charleston, Roy G. Guzmán, Emily Jungmin Yoon)

This year’s fellows are Fatimah Asghar, Sumita Chakraborty, Cortney Lamar Charleston, Roy G. Guzmán and Emily Jungmin Yoon. Don Share, editor of Poetry magazine, said of the winners, “In a year during which some readers have asked ‘Why poetry?’ here are poets whose work not only provides a powerful answer, but demonstrates that the present—and future—of poetry have never been in such fine hands.”

Established in 1989 by Ruth Lilly, the fellowship program celebrates and encourages young poets to further their studies and writing of poetry. Visit the Poetry Foundation website for more information.

Writing Workshops as Healing Circles

Bobby González is a nationally known multicultural motivational speaker, storyteller, and poet. Born and raised in South Bronx, New York, he grew up in a bicultural environment. González draws on his Native American (Taino) and Latino (Puerto Rican) roots to offer a unique repertoire of discourses, readings, and performances that celebrates his indigenous heritage.

At the beginning of the first in a series of six “Spoken Word 101” workshops at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, I made it clear that I wasn’t going to teach anyone to be a better poet or spoken word artist. We were gathered to support each other as we explored the world of spoken and written word. For inspiration we read and discussed some of the verses of Aja Monet, Charles Bukowski, Nanao Sakaki, Sonia Sanchez, and other authors. Also, every session included the viewing of a YouTube video of these poets reciting their works.

This was the fifth year of the summer workshops at the Bronx Museum, and the participants quickly realized that we were creating in a safe zone. They wrote and shared poetry that disclosed family secrets, personal tragedies, racial angst, and heroic triumphs. The writing and the sharing was an integral part of their ongoing healing process. Tears were shed, voices were raised in anger, and a couple of emotional recitals were reciprocated with huge hugs.

Each session of “Spoken Word 101” resulted in the formation of a family that transcended reading, writing, and performing. Like all families, losses were experienced. Within the last few months, two members of our family passed away. Steve “Latin Gorilla” Lewis and Robert Waddell both died suddenly. We paid tribute to them in open mic readings and reminded ourselves that their thoughts and spirits will live forever in our hearts and in the poetry they left behind.

Through “Spoken Word 101” we all relearned language, dramatic articulation, and the wonder of allowing ourselves to bare our vulnerabilities with friends we barely met but already knew we could trust. That’s the power of poetry. The Poets & Writers’ Readings & Workshops program provides vital financial support for a literary series in an underserved community that is greatly appreciative of this empowering experience.

Support for the Readings & Workshops Program in New York City is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Frances Abbey Endowment, the Cowles Charitable Trust, and the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Photo: (left to right) Makeba Higgins, Dara Kalima, Damien Tillman, Bobby González, and Rosa Velez (Credit: Maria Aponte).