New York Public Library’s 125th Anniversary

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“Books have been such an important part of my life, from The Brothers Karamazov when I was a teenager to reading Charlotte’s Web to my grandchildren,” says Hillary Clinton in this video of over one hundred book-loving authors, actors, musicians, public figures, and professional librarians sharing their favorite books in celebration of the New York Public Library’s 125th anniversary.

The Poets & Writers Complete Guide to Being a Writer Launch Party

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To celebrate the launch of The Poets & Writers Complete Guide to Being a Writer (Avid Reader Press, 2020), authors Mary Gannon and Kevin Larimer speak with novelist Nicole Dennis-Benn, literary agent Annie Hwang, publicist Michael Taeckens, and publisher and editor Jamia Wilson about the need for new voices in literature and the ins and outs of the literary world in this online event hosted by the Center for Fiction.

The Houses on My Block: Calypso Editions

Hey, mi gente. I want to get right to the point and keep up the flow of discussion on the publishing houses here in Houston. Throughout the month I’ve written about Arte Público Press, Mutabilis Press, and Bloomsday Literary, so I’ll keep it going today and introduce you to Calypso Editions.

Calypso Editions is the city’s main publishing house focused on translation—getting books written by foreign authors into English. In addition, they publish books of poetry and fiction written in English and are committed to “providing a space for talented, new voices.” One of the main things that has always caught my attention about Calypso Editions is that it is a cooperative! That’s right—it is a nonprofit press that is artist-run, which makes their publishing choices all the more engaging and remarkable.

They are also a community-oriented publishing house. Back in 2017, when PEN America planned out the Writers Resist reading in New York City, Calypso Editions was one of the first organizations that was willing to stand with Houston writers as we planned our own Writers Resist events.

On May 1, Calypso Editions will release The Child Who, a book by Jeanne Benameur, translated from the French by Bill Johnston. This work of poetic prose explores the worlds of a young boy whose mother has disappeared, his father, and the boy’s grandmother. As always, Calypso Editions hopes to introduce yet another wonderful voice to a new audience of English-language readers.

Lupe Mendez is the literary outreach coordinator for Poets & Writers in Houston. Contact him at Houston@pw.org or on Twitter, @houstonpworg.

The Houses on My Block: Arte Público Press

It gives me great pleasure to highlight the many aspects of the literary world that exist here in the Houston area through this blog. I feel it is important to keep this work going, especially now during this global crisis, to provide a sense of community as well as a little break from the news.

Starting this month, I’ll be writing about some of the publishing houses here in Houston, including Arte Público Press. Founded in 1979 by Nicolas Kanellos, Arte Público Press is the largest and most established publisher of Latino literature in the United States. Housed at the University of Houston, where Kanellos is a professor of Hispanic Studies, the press has helped launch the careers of notable authors like Sandra Cisneros, whose debut novel, The House on Mango Street, was published by the press; Miguel Piñero, who cofounded the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York City; and Obie Award–winning playwright Luis Valdez.

The press also launched the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Program to catalog lost Latinx writings from the American colonial period through 1960. They then branched out into bilingual books for children and young adults with their imprint Piñata Books.

Arte Público Press continues their mission to bring Hispanic literature to more audiences through their programs and books. They publish thirty books a year, so if you got the time, take a look at their massive catalog and consider ordering some of these wonderful books (including the recent release of Richard Z. Santos’s debut novel). Trust me, it’ll be worth your while.

Lupe Mendez is the literary outreach coordinator for Poets & Writers in Houston. Contact him at Houston@pw.org or on Twitter, @houstonpworg.

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.

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.

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.

 

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