Nurturing Network


In the popular apocalyptic video game and HBO series The Last of Us, a zombifying fungus has destroyed the world. Although there are destructive types of fungi, in forest habitats they can be quite beneficial. Fungi intertwine with the roots of trees underground and connect individual plants to form a network they use to communicate and transfer water, nitrogen, carbon, and other minerals. Older, more seasoned trees in a forest, sometimes referred to as “mother trees,” use these fungal connections to send needed nutrients to younger saplings, much like the ways in which humans care for those in need. Inspired by the interdependence of forest habitats, write an essay that reflects on the metaphorical ramifications of this nurturing relationship. Is there a parallel you can find in your own life?

Reparations Club

Reparations Club is a Black-owned, woman-owned concept bookshop and creative space in Los Angeles. The independent bookshop sells a variety of books and home goods, and frequently hosts events.

Reparations Club interior with open space and wide bookshelf.

The Salt Eaters Bookshop

The Salt Eaters Bookshop is an independent bookstore in Inglewood, California prioritizing books, comics, and zines by and about Black women, girls, femmes, and gender expansive people. ​Inspired by The Salt Eaters by Toni Cade Bambara, the shop is working to create a resting ground for all, a place to come home.

The Salt Eaters interior with colorful books.

Zibby’s Bookshop

Zibby’s Bookshop is a highly-curated, warm and inviting indie bookstore in Santa Monica, California with intimate, frequent events, all designed to connect books and authors to readers and each other.

Zibby’s Bookshop storefront in blue.

Octavia’s Bookshelf

Octavia’s Bookshelf is an independent bookstore highlighting BIPOC authors. Located in Pasadena, California, the Black-owned bookstore is inspired and named after Octavia E. Butler who lived and worked in the neighborhood.

Octavia's Bookshelf interior with a bookshelf of colorful books.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Celebrate the upcoming first day of spring by submitting to contests with a March 31 deadline! Opportunities abound for poets, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers, and translators. Don’t miss the chance to apply for six-month fellowships with A Public Space or to win $10,000 for a debut book of nonfiction by a first-generation immigrant or $5,000 for a manuscript of narrative poetry. All contests offer a cash prize of $1,000 or more and four are free to enter. May your writing bloom this springtime!

A Public Space
Writing Fellowships

Three six-month fellowships of $1,000 each are given annually to emerging poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers who “embrace risk in their work” and have not published a full-length book. The fellows will work with the editors to prepare a piece for publication in A Public Space, receive complimentary access to all A Public Space master classes during the fellowship year, and will also have the opportunity to meet with publishing professionals and participate in a public reading. Entry fee: none.

Banipal Trust for Arab Literature
Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation

A prize of £3,000 (approximately $3,665) is given annually for a book of poetry or fiction translated from Arabic into English and published for the first time in English during the previous year. Translations of Arabic works of poetry or fiction originally published in 1967 or later are eligible. Entry fee: none.

Black Lawrence Press
Hudson Prize

A prize of $1,000, publication by Black Lawrence Press, and 10 author copies is given annually for a collection of poems, short stories, essays, or hybrid work. Collections including multilingual text are welcome, but the primary written language must be English. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $27.

Elixir Press
Antivenom Poetry Award

A prize of $1,000 and publication by Elixir Press is given annually for a first or second poetry collection. John Estes will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Entry fee: $30.

Four Way Books
Levis Prize in Poetry

A prize of $1,000 and publication by Four Way Books is given annually for a poetry collection. The winner will also be invited to participate in readings either virtually or in person in New York City, as public health guidelines allow. Diane Seuss will judge. Entry fee: $30.

Gemini Magazine
Short Story Contest

A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gemini Magazine is given annually for a short story. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $8.

Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature
Paul Engle Prize

A prize of $20,000 is given annually to a writer “who, like Paul Engle, represents a pioneering spirit in the world of literature through writing, editing, publishing, or teaching, and whose active participation in the larger issues of the day has contributed to the betterment of the world through the literary arts.” Poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers are eligible. Self-nominations are not allowed. Entry fee: none.

Laura Boss Poetry Foundation
Laura Boss Narrative Poetry Award

A prize of $5,000, publication by New York Quarterly Books, and 25 author copies will be given annually for a manuscript of narrative poetry. The winner and finalists are invited to give a reading in Paterson, New Jersey, in partnership with the Poetry Center of Passaic County Community College. José Antonio Rodríguez will judge. Entry fee: $25 (which may be waived for those experiencing financial hardship).

Restless Books
Prize for New Immigrant Writing

A prize of $10,000 and publication by Restless Books is given in alternating years for a debut book of fiction or nonfiction by a first-generation immigrant. The 2023 prize will be given in nonfiction. Writers who have not published a book of nonfiction in English are eligible. Entry fee: none.

Trustees of the Robert Frost Farm
Frost Farm Prize for Metrical Poetry

A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a poem written in metrical verse. The winner also receives a scholarship to attend and give a reading at the Frost Farm Poetry Conference in Derry, New Hampshire, in June. Alfred Nicol will judge. Entry fee: $6. 

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more contests in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and translation.

Strange Cities


For the last sixty years, the Chicago River has been dyed green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. The tradition was begun by the city’s plumbers in an effort to identify leaks in pipes but stuck and even inspired other cities. Unique traditions enrich a city’s identity and there is no shortage of odd and entertaining ones. In Chandler, Arizona, there is an ostrich-themed carnival; in Boise, Idaho, onlookers gather to watch a giant potato descend at the countdown to the new year; and for Mardi Gras in New Orleans, local bakeries make king cakes with tiny plastic babies hidden inside. Write an essay about a tradition that is uniquely celebrated in your hometown. Describe in detail the origin and longevity of this beloved custom.

Joseph Earl Thomas in Conversation With Elias Rodriques


In this Free Library of Philadelphia event, Joseph Earl Thomas reads from his debut memoir, Sink (Grand Central, 2023), and speaks with author Elias Rodriques about writing in third person and on the subjects of violence, care, and family. Sink is featured in Page One in the March/April issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.


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