Our annual Writing Contests Issue features a guide to contests for emerging writers, advice from judges on standing out in a crowd, and best practices when applying to grants and fellowships; Luis Alberto Urrea gains a new understanding of his mother with his novel Good Night, Irene; Camille T. Dungy blooms as both writer and gardener in Soil; Brian Gresko chronicles Gina Chung’s journey to her debut novel, Sea Change; how to read the terms of your book contract; ChatGPT and the future of writing; writing prompts; contest deadlines; and more.
Bringing the Joy: A Profile of Luis Alberto Urrea
Luis Alberto Urrea always knew his mother had a story; he just didn’t know how to tell it. But in researching his new novel, Good Night, Irene, he gained a deeper understanding of the person she was and the happy ending she deserved.
Blooming How She Must: A Profile of Camille T. Dungy
With roots in nature writing, environmental justice, poetry, and photography, Camille T. Dungy’s new book, Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden, delves into the personal and political act of cultivating one’s own green space.
Be Bold: Pursue Your Contest Dreams—At Any Stage in Your Career
Break On Through: A Guide to Great Contests for Emerging Writers
Every writer starts their journey somewhere, and writing contests can be one great way to first find community and nurture your career. These contests have proven records of supporting new writers as they chart paths towards success.
Level Up: Contest Judges on Standing Out in a Crowd
The fine line between finalist and winner is often a mystery—even so, you may be closer than you think. Contest judges break down the contest review process, provide advice for polishing your work, and dissect the “it” factor.
Writing Into Our Imagining: Applying for Grants and Fellowships
Grants and fellowships provide resources that help your work flourish, but applying can be an art in itself. The author offers application advice, best practices, and guidance on thriving not only as an applicant, but a writer.
Celebrate Every Win: How Savoring One Victory Can Fuel Your Next
In a professional dry spell, the things that often carry us through are the tokens of appreciation—big or small—that validate our work when our own confidence falters.
News and Trends
Literary Prizes Under Scrutiny
A trio of academics—including two poets—has compiled data on the winners and judges of major literary prizes in the U.S. Their findings raise critical questions about how social hierarchies influence who gets rewarded for their writing.
Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin
The first lines of a dozen noteworthy books, including Any Other City by Hazel Jane Plante and Thinning Blood: A Memoir of Family, Myth, and Identity by Leah Myers.
ChatGPT Revises Authorship
With the rise of AI-generated writing, writers and publications alike struggle with the question of what authorship means.
Small Press Points: 2Leaf Press
Hoping to inform, entertain, and connect to readers, 2Leaf Press has published dozens of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction titles as an independent nonprofit serving a diverse audience.
The Anthologist: A Compendium of Uncommon Collections
A look at three new anthologies, including Between Paradise and Earth: Eve Poems and The Language of Trees: A Rewilding of Literature and Landscape.
Literary MagNet: Candace Williams
The author of I Am the Most Dangerous Thing introduces five journals that first published their poems and engaged them in community, including Sixth Finch and Prelude.
The Written Image: Monica Ong—Rewriting the Sky
In her new Planetaria series, artist Monica Ong crafts visual poems in the form of objects that prompt the audience to experience poetry through the lens of astronomy.
Q&A: Major Jackson of The Slowdown
Following poets laureate Ada Limón and Tracy K. Smith, poet Major Jackson steps into a new role as host of the celebrated podcast, sustaining and encouraging listeners to find new possibilities within poetry.
The Practical Writer
First: Gina Chung’s Sea Change
The debut author speaks with Brian Gresko about climate fiction, cultural identity, and the people who supported her on the journey to publishing her first novel, Sea Change.
The Fine Print: How to Read Your Book Contract
Book contract language can be dense, but it’s key for writers to understand what they’re agreeing to when signing on the dotted line. The author of Blithedale Canyon breaks down the essentials of rights, restrictions, and deadlines.
The Literary Life
The Time Is Now
Write a poem about your vision of the future, a story around a single life-altering event, or an essay about an animated work that inspired you.
Radiant Fog: One Writer’s Life in Rural America
A poet shares how she builds a life around her writing in rural Wisconsin, where literary community takes surprising—and sometimes amusing—forms. She finds both struggle and abundance in her chosen path.