Archive March 2020

Upcoming Contests with No Entry Fees

Submissions are open for a number of contests with no entry fee. With deadlines ranging from March 31 to May 15, all offer a cash prize of $1,000 or more.

Academy of American Poets James Laughlin Award: A prize of $5,000 is given annually for a second book of poetry by a living poet to be published in the coming calendar year. The winner also receives an all-expenses paid weeklong residency at the Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Copies of the winning book are purchased and distributed to members of the Academy of American Poets. Rick Barot, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, and Honorée Jeffers will judge. Deadline: May 15.

American Literary Translators Association Italian Prose in Translation Award: A prize of $5,000 is given annually for a book of fiction or nonfiction translated from Italian into English and published in the previous calendar year. Submissions may be made by publishers or translators. Deadline: April 20.

American Literary Translators Association Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize: A prize of $5,000 is given annually for a book of poetry or a text from Zen Buddhism translated from an Asian language into English and published in the previous calendar year. Books translated from Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Sanskrit, Tamil, Thai, or Vietnamese into English are eligible. Submissions may be made by publishers or translators. Deadline: April 20.

Poetry Foundation Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships: Five fellowships of $25,800 each are given annually to U.S. poets between the ages of 21 and 31. Deadline: April 30.

Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing: A prize of $10,000 and publication by Restless Books is given in alternating years for a debut book of fiction or nonfiction by a first-generation immigrant. The 2020 prize will be given in fiction. Writers who have not published a book of fiction in English are eligible. Dinaw Mengestu, Achy Obejas, and Ilan Stavans will judge. Deadline: May 1.

Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation: A prize of £3,000 (approximately $3,945) is given annually for a book of poetry or fiction translated from Arabic into English and published for the first time in English during the previous year. Translations of Arabic works of poetry or fiction originally published in 1967 or later and published between April 1, 2019, and March 31, 2020, are eligible. Deadline: March 31.

Waterston Desert Writing Prize: A prize of $2,500 and a two-week residency at the PLAYA artists and scientists' retreat in Summer Lake, Oregon, is given annually for a nonfiction work-in-progress that “recognizes the vital role deserts play worldwide in the ecosystem and the human narrative, with the desert as both subject and setting.” The winner will also be provided with travel and lodging to attend a reception and awards ceremony at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon, in June. Deadline: April 1.

Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction Grants: Up to eight grants of $40,000 each are given annually for creative nonfiction works-in-progress to enable writers to complete their books. Creative nonfiction writers under contract with a publisher are eligible. Deadline: May 4.

Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction: A prize of $10,000 is given annually for a novel published during the previous calendar year that is set in the South and reflects Willie Morris’s “hope for belonging, for belief in a people’s better nature, for steadfastness against all that is hollow or crass or rootless or destructive.” The winner will also receive an all-expenses paid trip to Oxford, Mississippi, in fall 2020 for an award ceremony. Deadline: May 1.

Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry: A prize of $2,500 is given annually for a single poem that evokes the American South. Susan Kinsolving will judge. Deadline: May 1.

Winning Writers Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication on the Winning Writers website is given annually for a humorous poem. Jendi Reiter will judge. Deadline: April 1.

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

PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund Open for Applications

To help writers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be highlighting emergency funds available to writers. For more sources of support, read our running list of resources for writers in the time of coronavirus.

The PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund is currently administering grants of $500 to $1,000 to writers who “demonstrate an inability to meet an acute financial need, especially one resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.” In response to the public health crisis, PEN America has streamlined its typical application process for support through the fund. Applicants will receive a response within ten days.

The grants are made to poets, fiction writers, nonfiction writers, translators, journalists, playwrights, and screenwriters. Professional writers who have a demonstrated record of publication and who are based in the United States are eligible. Qualifying professional credentials include the publication of one or more books; publication of multiple pieces in literary magazines within the last two years; full-time employment as a journalist, columnist, or critic; consistent publication on a freelance basis in a range of outlets; the authorship of a full-length play, performed by a professional theater company in a theatre seating 250 or more people; or contracted work as a writer. Other credentials may also be considered. Writers do not need to be members of PEN America in order to be eligible.

Using only the online application system, submit a statement of need, a recent tax return, information about personal finances, and contact information for three references. Writing samples are not required. Visit the website for complete guidelines and eligibility. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Since 1922, PEN America has worked “at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide.” Headquartered in New York City, with additional offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., the nonprofit works in conjunction with PEN International to advance causes including freedom of the press and artistic freedom from censorship.

Winners of 2020 Whiting Awards Announced

This evening ten poets, fiction writers, nonfiction writers, and dramatists were named the winners of the 2020 Whiting Awards. Administered by the Whiting Foundation, the annual $50,000 awards honor emerging writers and are designed to give them “their first chance to devote themselves full-time to their own writing, or to take bold new risks in their work.”

The winners are poets Aria Aber, Diannely Antigua, Jake Skeets, and Genya Turovskaya; fiction writers Genevieve Sly Crane, Andrea Lawlor, and Ling Ma; nonfiction writers Jaquira Díaz and Jia Tolentino; and playwright Will Arbery.

The winners were announced online; the foundation’s annual ceremony in New York City was canceled due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. “We wish to celebrate extraordinary writers, but we find ourselves in extraordinary times, ones where we are all reinventing how to gather, exchange ideas, and deepen our connections with each other across a necessary distance,” said Courtney Hodell, the foundation’s director of literary programs. “As long as literature has existed, it has served this purpose, and we look to writers for their uncanny ability to sift raw experience for its poetry and truth. What we are living now, Whiting writers will reflect back to us in time, with depth and clarity and heart.”

The Whiting Awards were first administered in 1985, and have since honored dozens of writers including poets Jericho Brown and Tracy K. Smith, fiction writers Sigrid Nunez and Colson Whitehead, nonfiction writers Mary Karr and John Jeremiah Sullivan, and playwrights Tony Kushner and Suzan-Lori Parks.

Photo (clockwise from upper left): Aria Aber, Diannely Antigua, Jake Skeets, Genya Turovskaya, Genevieve Sly Crane, Will Arbery, Jia Tolentino, Jaquira Díaz, Ling Ma, and Andrea Lawlor.

Authors League Fund Open for Applications

To help writers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be highlighting emergency funds available to writers. For more sources of support, read our running list of resources for writers in the time of coronavirus.

The Authors League Fund assists poets, writers, dramatists, and journalists who are “experiencing unexpected hardship.” Writers with an established record of publication that live in the United States or who are American writers abroad are eligible to apply for a no-strings-attached, interest-free loan. The loan amount is based on the fund’s budget as well as the writer’s professional background and financial need; the fund requests the writer pay back the loan “when and as one is able.”

Writers with a demonstrated record of success are eligible. Eligible writers include authors who have published at least one book with a traditional publisher, dramatists whose full-length plays have been produced in mid-size or large theaters or published by an established press, and poets, fiction writers, nonfiction writers, and journalists who have published “a substantial body of work in periodicals with a national or broad circulation.”

The fund typically disburses funds to writers who are ill or supporting someone who is in poor health; writers facing overwhelming medical or dental expenses; writers struggling after a natural disaster; and writers suffering financial crises unrelated to health, such as unexpected loss of income or temporary unemployment.

Using only the online application system, fill out the required entry form. Writers are asked to describe the nature of their emergency, detail their publication record and writing projects, and provide personal information regarding income, employment, rent, assets, and health insurance. Writing samples are not required. Visit the website for complete guidelines and eligibility requirements.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and are typically processed in ten to fourteen days.

Novelist Ellis Parker Butler established the Authors League Fund in 1917; the fund has since disbursed millions of dollars to writers in need. Major donors to the fund include Suzanne Collins, James A. Michener, Kenneth Patchen, the Haven Foundation, and the Amazon Literary Partnership.

Winners of the 2020 Windham-Campbell Prizes Announced

Eight writers have been named winners of the 2020 Windham-Campbell Prizes. The unrestricted grants of $165,000 are awarded annually to poets, fiction writers, nonfiction writers, and playwrights, and are intended to provide their recipients a life-changing opportunity “to focus on their work independent of financial concerns.”

This year’s winners are poets Bhanu Kapil and Jonah Mixon-Webster, fiction writers Yiyun Li and Namwali Serpell, nonfiction writers Anne Boyer and Maria Tumarkin, and playwrights Julia Cho and Aleshea Harris.

The winners were announced via a livestream video hosted by fiction writer and journalist Damian Barr. Mike Kelleher, director of the Windham-Campbell Prizes, has remarked on the ambition and prescience of their collective work, which “digs deeply into everything from the poisoned water crisis in present-day Flint, Michigan, to the vicissitudes of the surveillance state in an Afro-Futurist Zambia.”

The Windham-Campbell Prizes were established at Yale University in 2013 by novelist and memoirist Donald Windham. The prizes honor Windham’s lifelong partner, Sandy M. Campbell, and their shared wish to provide others with the kind of security that allowed Windham’s writing to flourish. Previous recipients of the award include poets Kwame Dawes and Cathy Park Hong, fiction writer John Keene, and essayist Rebecca Solnit. Winners are selected through a confidential nomination process; there are no applications for the award.

Photos (clockwise from upper left): Bhanu Kapil, Julia Cho, Yiyun Li, Maria Tumarkin, Anne Boyer, Namwali Serpell, Aleshea Harris, and Jonah Mixon-Webster

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

The first contest deadlines of spring are upon us. These poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and translation awards include a prize for fiction by a first-generation immigrant and opportunities to give readings in Ireland and New York City. All offer a cash prize of $1,000 or more, and all have deadlines of either March 30 or March 31.

Arts & Letters Prizes: Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Arts & Letters are given annually for a group of poems, a short story, and an essay. Cate Marvin will judge in poetry, Devi S. Laskar will judge in fiction, and Jason Allen will judge in nonfiction. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $20.

Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation: A prize of £3,000 (approximately $3,945) is given annually for a book of poetry or fiction translated from Arabic into English and published for the first time in English during the previous year. Translations of Arabic works of poetry or fiction originally published in 1967 or later are eligible. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: none.

Black Lawrence Press Hudson Prize: A prize of $1,000, publication by Black Lawrence Press, and 10 author copies is given annually for a collection of poems or short stories. The editors will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $25.

Chautauqua Institution Janus Prize: A prize of $5,000 and publication in Chautauqua will be given annually to an emerging prose writer. The winner will also receive lodging and travel expenses to give a lecture during the Summer 2020 season of the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York. Writers who have not published a book of up to 15,000 words totaling no more than 100 pages in any prose genre are eligible. Hilary Plum will judge. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $20.

Cleveland State University Poetry Center Lighthouse Poetry Series: A prize of $1,000 and publication by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center is given annually for a poetry collection. Randall Mann will judge. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $28 (includes a recent book from the poetry center’s catalogue).

Elixir Press Antivenom Poetry Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Elixir Press is given annually for a first or second poetry collection. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $30.

Fish Publishing Poetry Prize: A prize of €1,000 (approximately $1,100) and publication in the 2020 Fish Publishing anthology is given annually for a single poem. The winner is also invited to read at the anthology launch event at the West Cork Literary Festival in July. Billy Collins will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: €14 (approximately $15).

Four Way Books Levis Prize in Poetry: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Four Way Books is given annually to a U.S. poet for a poetry collection. The winner will also be invited to participate in a reading in New York City. Diane Seuss will judge. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $30.

Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gemini Magazine is given annually for a short story. The editors will judge. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $8.

Indiana Review Poetry and Fiction Prizes: Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Indiana Review are given annually for a group of poems and a story. Javier Zamora will judge in poetry and Angela Flournoy will judge in fiction. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $20 (includes subscription).

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. The editors will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $27.

Press 53 Prime Number Magazine Awards: Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Prime Number Magazine are given annually for a poem and a short story. Adrian Rice will judge in poetry and Wendy J. Fox will judge in fiction. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $15.

Red Hen Press Nonfiction Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Red Hen Press is given annually for an essay collection, memoir, or book of narrative nonfiction. Kristen Millares Young will judge. Deadline: March 31. Entry fee: $25.

Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing: A prize of $10,000 and publication by Restless Books is given in alternating years for a debut book of fiction or nonfiction by a first-generation immigrant. The 2020 prize will be given in fiction. Writers who have not published a book of fiction in English are eligible. Dinaw Mengestu, Achy Obejas, and Ilan Stavans will judge. Deadline: March 31. Entry Fee: none.

Frost Farm Prize: A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a poem written in metrical verse. The winner also receives a scholarship and a $400 honorarium to give a reading at the Frost Farm Poetry Conference in Derry, New Hampshire, in June. Rachel Hadas will judge. Deadline: March 30. Entry Fee: $6 per poem.

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

 

Submissions Open for Sonora Review Nonfiction Contest

A new Sonora Review creative nonfiction contest is open for submissions. The literary journal has partnered with the University of Arizona Consortium on Gender-Based Violence for a nonfiction contest and special online issue centered on the theme “Extinction.” The winner of the nonfiction contest will be awarded $1,000 and publication of their work as a booklet to be inserted into Issue 77 of Sonora Review. Writers must respond to the specific prompt given, which explores extinction as it relates to violence against women.

 

Using only the online submission system, submit a piece of creative nonfiction of up to 6,000 words with a $15 entry fee by March 27. Author and activist Lacy M. Johnson will judge. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Established in 1980, Sonora Review is run by graduate student volunteers in the University of Arizona Creative Writing MFA program.

Photo: Lacy M. Johnson; credit: John Carrithers