May/June 2019

Our annual Writing Contests Issue features an in-depth look at how submissions are evaluated and winners are chosen, plus insight from six recent winners; a profile of Utah state poet laureate Paisley Rekdal on the release of her new book, Nightingale; Camille T. Dungy’s guide to living and writing; William Giraldi on author envy; articles on freelance editing and negotiating a contract; tips for successful self-publishing; writing prompts; agent advice; and more.


Shadow Narratives: A Profile of Paisley Rekdal

by Renée H. Shea
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Paisley Rekdal’s sixth poetry collection, Nightingale, out in May from Copper Canyon Press, is a stunning book about transformation that will change the way we read violence, silence, and the stories handed down to us.  

Special Section

A Look Inside the System of Competition

by Joey Franklin
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Writers, editors, and contest judges offer a comprehensive take on what really happens after you hit Submit. 

Winners on Winning

by Various
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Six writers who have won recent awards offer advice for successful contest submissions, and how to deal with rejection. 

News and Trends

The Practical Writer

How to Get Paid: Freelance Editing

by Michael Bourne
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The third installment in a continuing series looks at how writers make ends meet as freelance book editors. 

Negotiating Your Contract: The Power of the Informed Author

by Daphne Kalotay
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A novelist offers insight on how to successfully negotiate a publishing contract without help from an agent.

The Literary Life

The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises

by Staff
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Use paradoxical imagery in a poem about unseasonable weather, connect characters to a shared past in a story, or write a personal essay for each month of the year—three prompts to get you started. 

Say Yes to Yourself: A Poet’s Guide to Living and Writing

by Camille T. Dungy
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A poet and essayist meditates on the importance of making time to write—whether it’s hours or days or just a few minutes at a time. 

Author Envy: The Art of Surviving One’s Own Personality

by William Giraldi
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Writers have a long tradition of literary envy. Here, an author explores the green eyes of literature through the lens of the past, and how to navigate it in the present.