Archive July 2020

Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence Open for Submissions

Submissions are open for the 2020 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Sponsored by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, this annual award “serves to inspire and recognize rising African-American fiction writers of excellence at a national level.” Given for either a novel or a collection of short stories published in 2020, this award includes a $15,000 cash prize. The winner will also receive the opportunity to attend the prize ceremony in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and participate in educational outreach events at schools and after-school programs in the area; travel expenses are funded by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

Mail a completed registration form and eight copies of a published book or galley to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation offices by August 31. Anthony Grooms, Edward P. Jones, Elizabeth Nunez, Francine Prose, and Patricia Towers will judge. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

In honor of the late Ernest J. Gaines, a cherished Louisiana writer, recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, and National Book Critics Circle Award winner, this contest is now in its fourteenth year. The winner of the 2020 book prize will be selected in November of this year, and the awards ceremony will take place on January 28, 2021. Previous winners of the award include Victor LaValle, T. Geronimo Johnson, Jamel Brinkley, and Bryan Washington.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

The end of the month and its last contest deadlines are arriving sooner than you might expect. With a deadline of July 30 or July 31, these awards include opportunities to publish single poems and flash fiction, as well as longer projects. All offer a cash prize of $1,000 or more.

Bard College Fiction Prize: A prize of $30,000 and a one-semester appointment as writer-in-residence at Bard College is given annually to a U.S. fiction writer under the age of 40. The recipient must give at least one public lecture and meet informally with students but is not expected to teach traditional courses. Deadline: July 30. Entry fee: none.

Howling Bird Press Book Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Howling Bird Press is given in alternating years for a book of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. The 2021 prize will be awarded in poetry. Deadline: July 31. Entry fee: $25.

Munster Literature Centre Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition: A prize of €2,000 (approximately $2,180) and publication in Southword is given annually for a short story. The winner also receives a weeklong residency at the Anam Cara Writer’s Retreat on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork and accommodation at the Cork International Short Story Festival. Billy O’Callaghan will judge. Deadline: July 31. Entry fee: €18 (approximately $20).

Narrative Spring Story Contest: A prize of $2,500 and publication in Narrative is given annually for a short story, a short short story, an essay, a short work of graphic fiction or creative nonfiction, or an excerpt from a work of fiction or creative nonfiction. A second-place prize of $1,000 is also awarded. The editors will judge. Deadline: July 31. Entry fee: $27.

New Millennium Writings New Millennium Awards: Four prizes of $1,000 each and publication in New Millennium Writings and on the journal’s website are given twice yearly for a poem, a short story, a short short story, and an essay that have not appeared in a print publication with a circulation over 5,000. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: July 31. Entry fee: $20.

Prairie Heritage, Inc. Jan Garton Prairie Heritage Book Award: A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a book of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction published in the previous year that “illuminates the heritage of North America’s mid-continental prairies.” Deadline: July 31. Entry fee: none.

Press 53 Award for Poetry: A prize of $1,000, publication by Press 53, and 50 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Tom Lombardo will judge. Deadline: July 31. Entry fee: none.

Red Hen Press Novella Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Red Hen Press is given annually for a novella. Donna Hemans will judge. Deadline: July 31. Entry fee: $25.

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 PEN/Jean Stein Grants for Literary Oral History

The deadline is approaching for the PEN/Jean Stein Grants for Literary Oral History. Starting this cycle, PEN America will award two writers grants of $15,000 each, expanding the program from a single grant of $10,000. The prizes will support literary works of nonfiction that use oral history to “illuminate an event, individual, place, or movement.” Only unpublished works-in-progress are eligible.

Using only the online submission system, submit a writing sample of 20 to 40 pages, 6 to 10 pages of transcribed interviews, a curriculum vitae, a project outline, a project description, a statement on how and why oral history is being used in the project, and a statement on how the grant would be useful to the project by August 1. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Established in 2017, the PEN/Jean Stein Grants are awarded by PEN America, a nonprofit organization advancing freedom of expression, and are made possible by a donation from Jean Stein, whose is remembered for pioneering the genre of narrative oral history. The inaugural grant recipient was Aleksandar Hemon, who received the grant for How Did You Get Here?: Tales of Displacement, a project to record the experiences of immigrants fleeing genocide in Bosnia.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Escape the midsummer heat and spend time in the shade submitting to fiction, poetry, and nonfiction contests. With deadlines of either July 14 or July 15, these contests include several opportunities for writing on a theme, including a prize for writing about health and illness and a prize for travel writing. All offer a cash prize of $1,000 or more.

Bellevue Literary Review Prizes in Poetry and Prose: Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Bellevue Literary Review are given annually to a poet, a fiction writer, and a creative nonfiction writer for works about health, healing, illness, the body, and the mind. Jen Bervin will judge in poetry, Dan Chaon will judge in fiction, and Kay Redfield Jamison will judge in creative nonfiction. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: $20. 

Cincinnati Review Robert and Adele Schiff Awards: Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in the Cincinnati Review are given annually for a poem, a short story, and an essay. The editors will judge in nonfiction. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: $20 (includes subscription). 

Comstock Review Muriel Craft Bailey Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Comstock Review is given annually for a single poem. Patricia Smith will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: $27.50 (or $5 per poem via postal mail)

Los Angeles Review Literary Awards: Four prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Los Angeles Review are given annually for a poem, a short story, a short short story, and an essay. Francisco Aragón will judge in poetry, Kristen Millares Young will judge in fiction, Ellen Meeropol will judge in flash fiction, and Aimee Liu will judge in nonfiction. Deadline: July 14. Entry fee: $20. 

Nowhere Travel Writing Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Nowhere is given twice yearly for a poem, a short story, or an essay that “possesses a powerful sense of place.” Unpublished and published pieces that have not previously been chosen as a contest winner are eligible. Porter Fox will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: $15. 

Rattle Poetry Prize: A prize of $15,000 and publication in Rattle is given annually for a single poem. A Reader’s Choice Award of $5,000 is also given to one of ten finalists. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: $25 (includes subscription).

Regal House Publishing Petrichor Prize for Finely Crafted Fiction: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Regal House Publishing will be given annually for a novel. The editors will judge. Deadline: July 15. Entry fee: $25.

The Story Prize: A prize of $20,000 is given annually for a short story collection written in English and published in the United States in the current year. Two runners-up receive $5,000 each. The $1,000 Story Prize Spotlight Award is also given for an additional short story collection “of exceptional merit.” Larry Dark and Julie Lindsey will select the three finalists and the Spotlight Award winner; three independent judges will choose the Story Prize winner. July 15 is the deadline for books published in the first half of the year. The deadline for books published during the second half of the year is November 15. Entry fee: none. 

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.

Bellevue Literary Review Prizes Open for Submissions

Submissions are open for the Bellevue Literary Review Prizes in Poetry and Prose. The annual contest seeks submissions from poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers whose work addresses “themes of health, healing, illness, the mind, and the body.” One winner in each genre will receive $1,000 and publication in the Bellevue Literary Review.

Using only the online submission system, submit up to three poems totaling no more than five pages or up to 5,000 words of prose with a $20 entry fee by July 15. Jen Bervin will judge in poetry, Dan Chaon will judge in fiction, and Kay Redfield Jamison will judge in creative nonfiction. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Founded by a group of physician-writers in 2000, the Bellevue Literary Review seeks to explore “human existence through the prism of health and healing, illness and disease.” Published by the New York University Langone Medical Center, the publication’s offices are located in New York City’s Bellevue Hospital, the oldest public hospital in the country. Previous contributors to the magazine include Leslie Jamison, Celeste Ng, and Rick Moody.