May/June 2020

Our annual Writing Contests Issue features a survey of the pros and cons of submitting to contests versus during open reading periods; professional application tips for grants, awards, and fellowships; an in-depth interview with poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong; an essay by Miciah Bay Gault that questions the timeline of women writers’ success; an inside look at book marketing; a Q&A with David Canfield of Entertainment Weekly; writing prompts; self-publishing advice; and much more.


Double Doors Open: A Q&A With Cathy Park Hong

by Dana Isokawa
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Cathy Park Hong breaks new ground with her first essay collection, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, published in February by One World, in which she fearlessly probes the intersections of race, art, and literature.

Special Section

Finding a Home for Your Work: Should You Submit to Contests or During Open Reading Periods?

by Emma Hine
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The author interviews writers, literary agents, and editors at magazines and presses to identify the pros and cons of submitting your work to writing contests versus during open reading periods.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Application Tips for Fellowships, Grants, and Awards

by Staff
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Administrators of grants, fellowships, and awards offer candid advice and insight into the application process, including tips on putting together a compelling writing sample.

News and Trends

The Library of Unpublished Books

by Alissa Greenberg

Inspired by a 1971 novel by Richard Brautigan, the Brautigan Library collects unpublished books, creating a fantastic archive of stories unaffected by publishing trends—and a window into the minds and dreams of its contributing writers.

The Practical Writer

The Literary Life

The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises

by Staff
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Write a poem that celebrates the everyday people in your life, a short story about a character coming face-to-face with an old friend, and an essay about a time you experienced a stroke of luck.