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Feedback from a reader
I read your magazine whenever I get a new issue. I note that there are many funds, prizes, incentives, and so on for beginning or younger poets and writers, but I never find any for older people. Are there any? I am eighty-eight, two months away from eighty-nine. I have now published three dozen titles, many of them with Hippocampus Press and Arkham House. Does any publisher offer a prize to a writer of elderly status? If so, would you please share names, addresses, and other information?
North Chatham, Massachusetts
The editors respond:
It sure can seem like there are precious few opportunities for older writers, especially considering how much attention is paid to authors under a certain age—and some publishers’ insistence on using the term “new and emerging” as if it were synonymous with “young” does little to change that impression—but there are in fact a number of prizes, publications, and organizations that support this large and vibrant literary community. The Henry Morgenthau III Poetry Prize is given biennially by Passager Books for a first poetry collection by a writer who is seventy or older. The winner receives $3,000 and publication by Passager Books, an independent press with a mission to “honor the voices of older writers.” The next deadline is January 31, 2024. The Off the Grid Poetry Prize is given annually by Grid Books for a poetry collection by a writer over age sixty. The winner receives $1,000 and publication by Grid Books. The typical deadline is August 31. The Older Writers Grant is given annually by the Speculative Literature Foundation to a speculative fiction writer who is fifty or older and “starting to work at a professional level.” The winner receives $1,000. The typical deadline is May 31. The J. Michael Samuel Prize for Emerging Writers Over 50 is given annually to LGBTQ writers over age fifty who are working in any genre but have not published a book and do not have a book under contract. Application materials include a ten-page writing sample and a personal statement. The winner receives $5,000. Submissions will be accepted beginning in January 2024. The Patricia Dobler Poetry Award, sponsored by Carlow University, is given annually to a woman poet over age forty who has not published a book of poetry. The winner receives $1,000, publication in Voices From the Attic, and travel and lodging to give a reading with the contest judge at Carlow University. Submissions will open in the fall. The Robert H. Winner Memorial Award is given annually by the Poetry Society of America for a poetry manuscript of ten pages by a writer over age forty who has published no more than one book. The winner receives $2,500. The next deadline is December 31. And in the next issue of this magazine, look for our eighth annual 5 Over 50, a feature on debut authors over age fifty who published their first books in the past year. Watch the virtual event celebrating last year’s 5 Over 50 here.
“Radical Attention” (July/August 2023) by Brian Gresko incorrectly stated that Cal Morgan reissued Kate Zambreno’s first novel, O Fallen Angel, via Harper Perennial; the novel was indeed published by the HarperCollins imprint in 2017, but it was acquired after Morgan left the publisher. Due to a scheduling change, the month of publication for Omotara James’s Song of My Softening was listed incorrectly in Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin (July/August 2023); previously scheduled for June, the book’s publication has been delayed indefinitely. The name of Megan Fernandes’s editor for I Do Everything I’m Told was misspelled in the online version of Page One; the editor’s name is Alyssa Ogi. The installment of Literary MagNet featuring Greg Marshall (July/August 2023) by Dana Isokawa incorrectly stated that Off Assignment has published Rafia Zakaria; the writer has not had work published in that magazine. Spencer Quong’s “Big Change to Canadian Poetry Prize” (July/August 2023) erroneously paraphrased Canadian writer Alicia Elliott’s September 2022 column for the CBC; Elliott argued that poets outside Canada tend to be “better funded and more widely reviewed,” which may make them more, not less, competitive for the Griffin Poetry Prize or finalist list.