Archive December 2016

Deadline Approaches for Bayou Magazine Contests

Submissions are open for the annual Bayou Magazine Kay Murphy Prize for Poetry and James Knudsen Prize for Fiction. The winners will each receive $1,000 and publication in Bayou Magazine. The deadline is January 1.

Using the online submission system, submit up to three poems for the Kay Murphy Prize or a story or novel excerpt of up to 7,500 words for the James Knudsen Prize by January 1. The entry fee is $20, which includes a one-year subscription to Bayou Magazine. All entries will be considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Myung Mi Kim will judge the Kay Murphy Prize for Poetry. Kim has written several poetry collections, most recently Penury (Omnidawn Publishing, 2009).

Anne Raeff will judge the James Knudsen Prize for Fiction. Raeff has published a novel, Clara Mondschein’s Melancholia (MacAdam/Cage, 2002), and most recently the story collection The Jungle Around Us (University of Georgia Press, 2016). Read Raeff’s interview with Bayou Magazine in which she talks about her work as a teacher, as well as how her writing reckons with family history and the effects of war and violence on individual lives.

Recent winners of the Kay Murphy Prize for Poetry include Seann Weir for “Plans to Disembark,” Marco Maisto for “The Loneliness of the Middle Distance Transmissions Aggregator,” and Madeline Vardell for “Nude to Pink.” Recent winners of the James Knudsen Prize for Fiction include Barrett Bowlin for “Hands Like Birds on Strings,” Michael Chin for “Practical Men,” and Michael Gerhard Martin for “Shit Weasel Is Late for Class.”

Established in 2002, Bayou Magazine is housed at the University of New Orleans and published twice a year. The magazine publishes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

Photos: Myung Mi Kim, Anne Raeff

NEA Announces Creative Writing Fellowships

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the thirty-seven recipients of its 2017 Creative Writing Fellowships in poetry. Each of the fellows will receive $25,000 for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. The annual grants are given to emerging and established writers and alternate between poetry and prose.

The recipients, who hail from nineteen different states, are:

Hadara Bar-Nadav
Michael Bazzett
Josh Bell
Joshua Bennett
Emma Bolden
Jesús Ignacio Castillo
Darin Ciccotelli
Diana Marie Delgado
Jose Hernandez Diaz
Melanie Figg
Jennifer Elise Foerster
Landon Godfrey
Amorak Huey
James Kimbrell
Ruth Ellen Kocher
Edgar Kunz
Nick Lantz
Nancy Chen Long
Chris Martin
David Tomas Martinez
Ted Mathys
Matt Morton
Angel Nafis
Hieu Minh Nguyen
Kathryn Nuernberger
Morgan Parker
Emmy Perez
Hai-Dang Phan
Camille Rankine
Lauren Russell
Danez Smith
Patricia Smith
Monica Sok
Melissa Stein
Corey Van Landingham
Jeanann Verlee
Hope Wabuke

“The NEA has an excellent record of supporting writers who have gone on to have impressive literary careers,” said NEA Director of Literature Amy Stolls. “With their talent and diverse backgrounds, this year’s Creative Writing Fellows will add to our country’s rich literary history.” The fellows were selected from a pool of more than eighteen hundred applications.

The 2018 fellowships will be given to prose writers; the application deadline is March 8.


PEN Announces Literary Awards Longlists

PEN America has announced the longlists for its 2017 PEN America Literary Awards in fiction, creative nonfiction, and translation. Each year PEN awards more than $150,000 to writers of poetry, fiction, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, translation, and drama.

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000)

The semifinalists are The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood (Graywolf) by Belle Boggs; Known and Strange Things (Random House) by Teju Cole; Against Everything (Pantheon) by Mark Greif; A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind (Simon & Schuster) by Siri Hustvedt; The Girls in My Town (University of New Mexico Press) by Angela Morales; Soul at the White Heat (Ecco) by Joyce Carol Oates; Becoming Earth (Red Hen) by Eva Saulitis; Ethics in the Real World (Princeton University Press) by Peter Singer; Far and Away: Reporting From the Brink of Change (Scribner) by Andrew Solomon; and Hungry Heart (Atria) by Jennifer Weiner.

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction ($25,000)

The semifinalists are Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky) by Rion Amilcar Scott; We Show What We Have Learned (Lookout) by Clare Beams; The Mothers (Riverhead) by Brit Bennett; The Wangs vs. the World (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Jade Chang; When Watched (Penguin) by Leopoldine Core; Hide (Bloomsbury) by Matthew Griffin; Homegoing (Knopf) by Yaa Gyasi; Tuesday Nights in 1980 (Gallery) by Molly PrentissHurt People (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) by Cote Smith; and Wreck and Order (Hogarth/Crown Publishing) by Hannah Tennant-Moore

PEN Open Book Award for a book in any genre by a writer of color ($5,000)

The semifinalists are Blackass (Graywolf) by A. Igoni Barrett; Chronicle of a Last Summer: A Novel of Egypt (Tim Duggan) by Yasmine El Rashidi; The Book of Memory (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) by Petina Gappah; The Big Book of Exit Strategies (Alice James) by Jamaal May; Behold the Dreamers (Random House) by Imbolo Mbue; What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours (Riverhead) by Helen Oyeyemi; Look (Graywolf) by Solmaz Sharif; Problems (Coffee House) by Jade Sharma; Cannibal (University of Nebraska Press) by  Safiya Sinclair; and Blackacre (Graywolf) by Monica Youn.

The finalists in several categories will be announced on January 18, and the winners will be announced February 22. The debut fiction and essay awards, as well as the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the PEN/Nabokov Award, will be announced live at the PEN Literary Awards Ceremony on March 27 in New York City.

For the complete list of semifinalists, including those in the categories of poetry and prose in translation, visit the PEN America website.

Kia Corthron Wins First Novel Prize

At a ceremony last night in New York City, the Center for Fiction announced Kia Corthron as the winner of the 2016 First Novel Prize. Corthron, who will receive $10,000, won the prize for her debut novel, The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter (Seven Stories Press). The annual award is given for a debut novel published in the previous year.

Kia Corthron has written and produced more than fifteen plays, and written for television shows such as The Wire. The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter is her first novel, and tells the story of two pairs of brothers growing up during the Civil Rights Movement. Corthron lives in Harlem, New York.

The finalists for the prize were Emma Cline for The Girls (Random House), Nicole Dennis-Benn for Here Comes the Sun (Liveright), Yaa Gyasi for Homegoing (Knopf), Krys Lee for How I Became a North Korean (Viking), Kaitlyn Greenidge for We Love You, Charlie Freeman (Algonquin Books), and Garth Greenwell for What Belongs to You (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Each finalist will receive $1,000. The longlist for the prize was announced in July and included twenty-five debut novels.

This judges for the 2016 prize were Chris Abani, Kate Christensen, Rivka Galchen, Kate Walbert, and Viet Thanh Nguyen, who won the 2015 prize for The Sympathizer (Grove Press).

Previous winners include Tiphanie Yanique for Land of Love and Drowning (Riverhead Books) in 2014 and Margaret Wrinkle for Wash (Atlantic Monthly Press) in 2013.

The Center for Fiction, established in 1820 as the Mercantile Library, is devoted to encouraging people to “read and value fiction and to support and celebrate its creation and enjoyment.” Based in New York City, the organization administers several literary prizes and fellowships, runs reading groups and writing workshops, and hosts events in its space.

 Photo: Kia Corthron

Submissions Open for Hazel Rowley Prize for Biographers

Submissions are now open for the Biographers International Organization (BIO) Hazel Rowley Prize, given annually for a proposal by a first-time biographer. The winner receives $2,000, a detailed manuscript reading by an established agent, a yearlong membership in BIO, and publicity through the organization’s website and newsletter, Biographers Craft.

Hazel RowleyCitizens or permanent residents of the United States and Canada writing in English who are working on a biography that has not been commissioned, contracted, or self-published—and who have not yet published a biography, history, or book of narrative nonfiction—are eligible. To apply, fill out the online entry form and upload a book proposal, résumé, and writing sample in one document totaling no more than 20 pages with $50 application fee by December 31. The winner will be announced during BIO’s 2017 conference in Boston on May 19.

First awarded in 2014, the prize is named for the late Hazel Rowley (1951–2011), the author of four biographies and a generous supporter of the Biographers International Organization. Previous winners of the prize include Holly Van Leuven for her biography of actor Ray Bolger, and Robert Marshall for his biography of New Age author Carlos Castaneda.

Biographers International Organization is the world’s only literary organization dedicated to biographers and biography. Founded in 2010, the organization “informs, supports, promotes, defends, and advocates for its members.” For more information about the prize, visit BIO’s website

(Photo: Hazel Rowley)

Upcoming Prose Contest Deadlines

Do you have a work or fiction or nonfiction ready to submit? As we head into the weekend, consider submitting to the following contests—which offer prizes of up to $10,000 and have deadlines within the next two weeks.

University of Iowa Press Iowa Prize in Literary Nonfiction: Publication by University of Iowa Press will be given for an essay collection; Meghan Daum will judge.
Deadline: December 10
Entry Fee: $10

Friends of American Writers Literary Awards: A prize of $4,000 will be given for a book of fiction or nonfiction published during 2016 by a writer who is a resident of the Midwest (or who previously resided in the Midwest for at least five years) or whose book features a Midwestern setting.
Deadline: December 10
Entry Fee: None

Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest: A prize of $10,000 and publication in Creative Nonfiction will be given for an essay on the theme of “The Dialogue Between Science & Religion.” A $5,000 runner-up prize will also be awarded.
Deadline: December 12
Entry Fee: $20

Willow Books Literature Awards: A prize of $1,000 will be given for a book of fiction or creative nonfiction by a writer of color. Story collections, novellas, novels, essay collections, and memoirs are all eligible.
Deadline: December 15
Entry Fee: $25

Chautauqua Institution Chautauqua Prize: A prize of $7,500 will be given for a book of fiction or creative nonfiction published during the previous year. The winner also receives a weeklong, all-expenses-paid summer residency at Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York.
Deadline: December 15
Entry Fee: $75

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