Archive March 2018

Women Take Home All Six National Book Critics Circle Awards

Last night in New York City the winners of the National Book Critics Circle Awards (NBCC) were announced. The winners in all six categories were women, including Layli Long Soldier in poetry for her collection, WHEREAS (Graywolf), Joan Silber in fiction for her novel Improvement (Counterpoint), and Xiaolu Guo in autobiography for her memoir, Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China (Grove).

The poetry finalists were Nuar Alsadir’s Fourth Person Singular (Oxford University Press), James Longenbach’s Earthling (W.W. Norton), Frank Ormsby’s The Darkness of Snow (Wake Forest University Press), and Ana Ristović’s Directions for Use, translated from the Serbian by Steven Teref and Maja Teref (Zephyr Press).

The finalists in fiction were Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West (Riverhead), Alice McDermott’s The Ninth Hour (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (Knopf), and Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner).

The finalists in autobiography were Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir (Abrams), Roxane Gay’s Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (Harper), Henry Marsh’s Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martins), and Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s The Girl From the Metropol Hotel: Growing Up in Communist Russia, translated from the Russian by Anna Summers (Penguin).

Additionally, fiction writer Carmen Maria Machado won the John Leonard Prize for her story collection, Her Body and Other Parties (Graywolf); fiction writer and critic Charles Finch received the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing; and creative nonfiction writer John McPhee received the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award.

Established in 1974, the National Book Critics Circle Awards, which are among the most prestigious prizes for literature, are given annually for books published in the previous year. A board of twenty-four working magazine and newspaper critics and editors nominates and selects the winners each year. Visit the NBCC website for a complete list of winners and finalists.

(Photos from left: Layli Long Soldier, Joan Silber, Xiaolu Guo)

Deadline Approaches for Chautauqua’s New Prose Prize

Submissions are currently open for the inaugural Chautauqua Janus Prize. An award of $2,500 and publication in Chautauqua will be given annually for a short story or essay by an emerging writer. The winner will also be invited to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institute in Chautauqua, New York, this summer. Kazim Ali will judge.

Named for the Roman god Janus, who looks to both future and past, the new prize honors writing “with a command of craft that renovates our understandings of both” and seeks formally inventive works “that upset and reorder literary conventions, historical narratives, and readers’ imaginations.”

Using the online submission system, submit up to 15,000 words of fiction or nonfiction with a $20 entry fee by March 31. Writers who have not yet published a full-length collection are eligible. Stories and essays must either be unpublished, forthcoming this year, or published no earlier than April 2017.

The Chautauqua Institution sponsors interdisciplinary art and educational programs, events, awards, and residencies throughout the year. In addition to the Janus Prize, the institution awards the annual Chautauqua Prize and Editors Prize for writers. Visit the website for more information.

Photo: Kazim Ali (Credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones)

Upcoming Fiction and Nonfiction Deadlines

Fiction and creative nonfiction writers, polish up your stories, novels, and essays! The deadlines are approaching for the following contests, each of which offers a prize of at least $1,000 and publication.

Fourth Genre Steinberg Essay Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Fourth Genre is given annually for an essay. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: March 20.

New South Writing Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in New South is given annually for a story or essay. Alissa Nutting will judge. Entry fee: $15 (includes a one-year subscription). Deadline: March 21.

Enizagam Literary Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Enizagam is given annually for a short story. Rachel Khong will judge. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: March 23.

Cleveland State University Poetry Center Essay Collection Competition: A prize of $1,000 and publication by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center is given annually for an essay collection. Brian Blanchfield will judge. Entry fee: $28. Deadline: March 31.

Bosque Press Fiction Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in bosque is given annually for a short story or a novel excerpt by a writer over the age of 40. Timothy Schaffert will judge. Entry fee: $22. Deadline: March 31.

Lascaux Review Flash Fiction Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Lascaux Review is given annually for a work of flash fiction. Entry fee: $10. Deadline: March 31.

Narrative Winter Story Contest: A prize of $2,500 and publication in Narrative is given annually for a short story, a short short story, an essay, or an excerpt from a longer work of fiction or creative nonfiction. A second-place prize of $1,000 is also awarded. Entry fee: $26. Deadline: March 31.

Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gemini Magazine is given annually for a short story. Entry fee: $7. Deadline: March 31.

Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Prose Prize: A prize valued at $1,600 will be given annually to a fiction writer to attend a weeklong seminar at the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Summer Conference in June. Robert James Russell will judge. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: March 31.

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

Deadline Approaches for Frontier Poetry Chapbook Contest

Submissions are currently open for the Frontier Poetry Chapbook Contest. A prize of $2,000 and digital publication by Frontier Poetry is given annually for a poetry chapbook by an emerging writer.

Using the online submission system, submit an original manuscript of 10 to 30 pages with a $20 entry fee by March 15. Poets with more than two published full-length collections are ineligible.

The judges are looking for poems that “express both traditional excellence in craft and a willing fearlessness in content and form.” Poets previously published in Frontier include Tiana Clark, Chelsea Dingman, and Momtaza Mehri.

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.

Yale Announces Recipients of Windham-Campbell Prizes

Yale University has announced the eight recipients of the 2018 Windham-Campbell Prizes. The winners, who will each receive $165,000 to honor their literary achievement or promise, are poets Lorna Goodison of Jamaica and Cathy Park Hong of the United States; fiction writers John Keene of the United States and Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi of Uganda and the United Kingdom; nonfiction writers Sarah Bakewell and Olivia Laing, both of the United Kingdom; and playwrights Lucas Hnath and Suzan-Lori Parks, both of the United States.

Established in 2013 by writer Donald Windham in memory of his partner, Sandy M. Campbell, the annual awards are administered by Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library and are given to English-language writers from any country to allow them to focus on their work without financial concerns. Fifty-one writers from fourteen countries have received the prize since its inception.

The winners are nominated confidentially and judged anonymously. Previous winners include poets Carolyn Forché and Ali Cobby Eckermann, fiction writers C. E. Morgan and Teju Cole, and nonfiction writers Maya Jasanoff and Hilton Als.

This year’s awards will be conferred at the Windham-Campbell Festival, held from September 12 to September 14 on the Yale University campus.

(Photos clockwise from top left: Lorna Goodison, Cathy Park Hong, John Keene, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Suzan-Lori Parks, Lucas Hnath, Olivia Laing, Sarah Bakewell)

Finalists Announced for Inaugural $35,000 Book Prize

The finalists for the first annual Aspen Words Literary Prize have been announced. The $35,000 award will be given for a book of fiction published in the previous year that “illuminates a vital contemporary issue and demonstrates the transformative power of literature on thought and culture.” The winner will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the 2018 Aspen Words Summer Benefit in Aspen, Colorado, as a featured speaker and guest of honor.

The finalists are What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky (Riverhead Books) by Lesley Nneka Arimah, What We Lose (Viking) by Zinzi Clemmons, Exit West (Riverhead Books) by Mohsin Hamid, Mad Country (Soho Press) by Samrat Upadhyay, and Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner) by Jesmyn Ward.

Judges Stephen L. Carter, Jessica Fullerton, Phil Klay, Alondra Nelson, and Akhil Sharma selected the finalists from twenty semi-finalists. The winner will be announced on April 10 at an awards ceremony at the Morgan Library in New York City. Visit the Aspen Words website for more information.

(Photos from left: Moshin Hamid, Samrat Upadhyay, Zinzi Clemmons, Jesmyn Ward, Lesley Nneka Arimah)