Poets & Writers Blogs

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.

German Romanian Author Herta Müller Wins Nobel

The 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature goes to Herta Müller of Germany, announced earlier today by the Swedish Academy, which selects the winner in letters. The author, who was born in a German-speaking town in Romania and emigrated in 1987 after she was prohibited from publishing in her home country, will receive her $1.4 million prize at a ceremony in Sweden on December 10.

Müller's most recent book is the novel Atemschaukel (Hanser, 2009), which depicts the lives of German Romanians, a minority in the southeastern European country, who were deported during World War II to the Soviet Union. The author has personal ties to the situation of the individuals portrayed in her book: Müller's own mother spent five years in a Ukrainian work camp during that era.

Across her oeuvre, Müller has explored her own experiences with corruption and repression in Romania, casting a penetrating light on the situation of Romanian citizens under a dictatorship. Her debut short story collection, Niederungen (Kriterion-Verlag, 1982) was censored in Romania, though well received in Germany, along with her second collection, Drückender Tango (Kriterion-Verlag, 1984).

She has gone on to publish seventeen additional works of fiction, poetry, and essays. Her novels available in English translations are Heute wär ich mir lieber nicht begegnet (Rowohlt, 1997), or The Appointment, translated by Philip Boehm and Michael Hulse (Metropolitan Books, 2001); Herztier (Rowohlt, 1994), or The Land of Green Plums, translated by Michael Hofmann (Metropolitan Books, 1996); Reisende auf einem Bein (Rotbuch-Verlag, 1989), or Traveling on One Leg, translated by Valentina Glajar and André Lefevere (Northwestern University Press, 1998); and Der Mensch ist ein großer Fasan auf der Welt (Rotbuch-Verlag, 1986), or The Passport , translated by Martin Chalmers (Serpent's Tail, 1989).

In a video interview with Simon Frantz of Nobelprize.org, Peter Englund, the new permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, commended Müller's "extreme precision with words" and the "moral momentum in what she writes." For the uninitiated, Englund recommends Müller's Herztier, which he says is considered by many to be her best novel.

Another Prize For Fiction Writers From Dzanc Books

Last week, we announced on the blog that Dzanc Books is holding its second contest for a short story collection. The publisher has recently sent word of another opportunity for fiction writers: the five thousand dollar Dzanc Prize for Excellence in Literary Fiction and Community Service. The award is given annually to provide support to a writer to dig into a work-in-progress.

Eligible writers must also have in mind a yearlong community service project that they can outline for the prize judges. On their Web site, the press provides some examples of programs that would catch a judge's eye: "working with HIV patients to help them write their stories, doing a series of workshops at a drop-in youth homeless center, running writing programs in inner-city schools, or working with older citizens looking to write their memoirs."

In an e-mail newsletter, Dzanc founders Steve Gillis and Dan Wickett expressed a bit of disappointment in the low percentage of viable submissions—around four percent—in the two years that the press has run the award, seemingly due to writers lacking investment in the service proposal requirement of the entry process. A word to the wise: "It should be truly surprising to open up a submission and read that the literary community service aspect will be that the author will read from his or her work one or two times at the local library. Sadly, after reading two years worth of submissions, that particular service idea is not that surprising any longer." The two are hoping to broaden the entrant pool this year by asking that writers forward and post information about the award widely.

The deadline for entries is November 1. Detailed guidelines are posted on Dzanc's Web site.

Historical Novel Wins Booker Prize

Tonight novelist Hilary Mantel was revealed as the winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize for fiction for her eleventh novel, Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate). Mantel, who was longlisted for the prize in 2005 for Beyond Black (Fourth Estate), received the fifty-thousand-pound award (approximately eighty thousand dollars) at a dinner at London's Guildhall.

In her winning book, Mantel weaves an historically-inspired story centered on Thomas Cromwell, who rose from working-class roots to become King Henry VIII's chief advisor. "With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident," reads the description of the novel on the Booker Web site, Wolf Hall "peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion and suffering and courage."

The book was selected from a shortlist that includes Sarah Waters's The Little Stranger (Virago) and A. S. Byatt's The Children's Book (Chatto and Windus). Lucasta Miller, John Mullan, James Naughtie, Sue Perkins, and Michael Prodge were the judges.

In the video below, Mantel reads from and talks about the "book she was born to write" at the Edwardian bookshop Daunt Books in London. The second and third segments of the talk are available on YouTube.

National Book Foundation Names Its Annual Five to Watch

The National Book Foundation has revealed its Five Under Thirty-Five honorees for 2009, all of whom are recognized for debut books. The five writers, chosen as they have been since the Five Under Thirty-Five program began in 2006 by former National Book Award (NBA) winners and finalists, will be celebrated by their nominators and a host of lit lovers at a celebration in New York City kicking off National Book Awards week later this fall.

The honorees are:
Ceridwen Dovey for her novel Blood Kin (Viking, 2008), selected by Rachel Kushner, 2008 NBA Fiction Finalist for Telex from Cuba (Scribner, 2008)

C. E. Morgan for her novel All the Living (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009), selected by Christine Schutt, 2004 NBA Fiction Finalist for Florida (TriQuarterly Books, 2004)

Lydia Peelle for her novel Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing (HarperCollins, 2009), selected by Salvatore Scibona, 2008 NBA Fiction Finalist for The End (Graywolf Press, 2008)

Karen Russell for her story collection St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves  (Vintage, 2006), selected by Dan Chaon, 2001 NBA Fiction Finalist for Among the Missing (Ballantine Books, 2001)

Josh Weil for his novella collection The New Valley (Grove Press, 2009), selected by Lily Tuck, 2004 NBA Fiction Winner for The News from Paraguay (HarperCollins, 2004)

The event celebrating the five will take place on November 16 at Brooklyn's PowerHouse Arena, a popular venue for literary events and home to the art book publisher PowerHouse Books. The honorees will read from their works at the party, emceed by New York City punk rocker and novelist Richard Hell. Brooklyn author Jonathan Lethem will serve as the evening's DJ.

The National Book Awards, now in their sixtieth year, will be announced the following Wednesday, November 18, at the foundation's annual dinner in New York City.

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: