Our annual Writing Contests Issue features a stress-free guide to seventy-five writing contests with no entry fees; Diane Seuss’s notes on order in poetry and in life; Sarah Ruhl on writer’s block during the pandemic; Kavita Das on copyediting as a process for (or against) social change; J.T. Bushnell on building a novel; advice from agent Iwalani Kim; interviews with New York Times book critic Jennifer Szalai and Writer Mother Monster podcast host Lara Ehrlich; writing prompts; and more.
Restless Herd: Some Thoughts on Order—in Poetry, in Life
The author of five poetry collections, most recently frank: sonnets, meditates on the idea of order and revisits her past to consider how shaping a book is like forging and acknowledging a self.
Free Writing Contests: Your Stress-Free Guide to Seventy-Five Contests With No Entry Fees
A selection of writing contests and grant opportunities that charge no entry fees along with submission tips and advice from contest administrators and editors.
News and Trends
To foster a love of reading among kids in North Carolina, Caitlin Gooch started a program through which children can read books to horses.
The first lines of a dozen noteworthy books, including Second Place by Rachel Cusk and The Renunciations by Donika Kelly.
Ten years after its first meeting, Women Who Submit has grown to a global community that continues to empower women and nonbinary writers to seek publication.
Three new anthologies including Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry and There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love: Letters From a Crisis.
The PERIPLUS collective aims to democratize writing and publishing by matching emerging BIPOC writers with established authors and publishing professionals for yearlong mentorships.
The fiction writer and essayist on five journals that published their work and helped shape their debut novel, The Atmospherians.
Lara Ehrlich, the host of the podcast Writer Mother Monster, debunks the superwoman myth and considers how to balance writing and motherhood.
Established in 2004, the indie press strives to treat poetry as a genre with “frontlist potential” while also publishing fiction, nonfiction, and literature in translation from new voices.
The Practical Writer
The literary agent answers questions about submitting story collections, getting an agent’s attention, and querying two agents at the same agency.
Copy editors are adapting to increasing cultural awareness of racial injustice and new approaches to representing identity on the page. How can their work can help or hinder social change?
The critic on how she began writing reviews, how she and the Times staff pick books to cover, and how social media affects her work.
The Literary Life
The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises
Write a poem dedicated to a single person, a story about a key life experience without explicitly naming that experience, and an essay inspired by the landscape of Mars.
Not Writing Right Now: Writer’s Block During a Pandemic
With daily life so affected by the pandemic, the author and playwright offers suggestions for staying creative such as writing letters, trying a short form, and letting yourself take a break.
The Thousand Pages: Tips for Transitioning to the Novel
The author of The Step Back offers strategies for short story writers trying to draft a novel for the first time and shares how a new approach—aiming to pen a thousand pages—led to his first novel.