Changing Hands Bookstore: Phoenix

Founded in 1974, Changing Hands Bookstore is an independent community bookstore and online bookseller that gives a portion of its proceeds to local schools and over two hundred local, national, and international charities and service organizations. A second location, in Tempe, was opened in 1998. The bookstores host frequent author readings and signings, writing classes and workshops, and other literary events. The Phoenix branch of the bookstore also has the First Draft Book Bar, which serves beer, wine, coffee, and food, and hosts a happy hour book club.

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Main Street Books

Main Street Books has been an independent book provider for over twenty years. In addition to books, patrons can purchase a multitude of gift items, including greeting cards, bookmarks, journals, card games, and children’s toys. Main Street Books also coordinates several author events per month, both at the store and with the St. Charles City-County Library District. They have hosted local favorites as well as national bestseller authors.

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Laguna Woods Village

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Thea Iberall

The Spoken Word Club of Laguna Woods is a place for writers, poets, playwrights, monologuists, and storytellers to read their work and develop new material. In our monthly meetings, members have an opportunity to read and hear others. There is a featured reader every month. Guests are welcomed to listen or read ($2 charge for guests per meeting). Light refreshments at the Redwoods Room in the Community Center on El Toro on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 1pm-3pm.

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Alexander Chee on His Writing Process


“I like questions, my imagination likes them too.” In this A Word on Word series video, Alexander Chee speaks about his essay collection, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (Mariner Books, 2018), and his writing process which involves engaging in conversation with his fictional characters.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

Just a few days left to submit to the following writing contests, all with a deadline of July 14 or July 15. Each contest offers a first-place prize of at least $1,000 and publication. Good luck!

Cincinnati Review Robert and Adele Schiff Awards in Poetry and Prose: Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Cincinnati Review are given annually for a poem and a piece of fiction or creative nonfiction. Rebecca Lindenberg will judge in poetry and Michael Griffith will judge in prose. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: July 15.

Comstock Review Muriel Craft Bailey Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Comstock Review is given annually for a single poem. David Kirby will judge. Entry fee: $28. Deadline: July 15.

Literal Latté Poetry Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Literal Latté is given annually for a poem or group of poems. Entry fee: $10. Deadline: July 15.

Los Angeles Review Literary Awards: Four prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Los Angeles Review are given annually for a poem, a short story, a short short story, and an essay. Matty Layne Glasgow will judge in poetry, Tammy Lynne Stoner will judge in fiction, Brittany Ackerman will judge in flash fiction, and Adrianne Kalfopoulou will judge in nonfiction. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: July 14.

Narrative Poetry Contest: A prize of $1,500 and publication in Narrative is given annually for a poem or group of poems. The poetry editors will judge. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: July 14.

Rattle Poetry Prize: A prize of $10,000 and publication in Rattle is given annually for a poem. A Reader’s Choice Award of $2,000 is also given to one of ten finalists. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: July 15.

Santa Fe Writers Project Book Award: A prize of $1,500 and publication by the Santa Fe Writers Project is given biennially for a book of fiction or creative nonfiction. Carmen Maria Machado will judge. Entry fee: $30. Deadline: July 15.

The Word Works Tenth Gate Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by the Word Works is given annually for a poetry collection by a poet who has published at least two full-length books of poetry. Entry fee: $25. Deadline: July 15.

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

Esmé Weijun Wang on Taking Compliments


“We can be unrelentingly hard to ourselves, and under such circumstances, it’s a shame to not let the world’s light stick to us when we have the chance.” Esmé Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias (Graywolf Press, 2019), speaks about the importance of prioritizing compliments over criticism in this PBS NewsHour video.

Photo Op


Amanda Lee Koe’s debut novel, Delayed Rays of a Star (Nan A. Talese, 2019), begins with a photograph taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt at a party in Berlin in 1928, a chance snapshot of Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong, and Leni Riefenstahl during their early years of celebrity. Koe’s novel explores each of their lives and worlds, as they navigate womanhood in Berlin, Hollywood, the Alps, and Paris. Taking inspiration from this idea of drawing narrative—both historical and mythological—from a single image, search through your old photos and select one that depicts a few people from your past. Consider the period and its conventions, and research news events that were occurring at the time. Write a personal essay that examines your relationship with each person and their relationships with one another while also weaving in historical events and your memories about the particular occasion.

Roughhouse Friday


“Every conversation between us then had a way of spiraling into the same abyss. Real men were impossible to understand. Real men suffered. Real men were broken.” Jaed Coffin reads from his second memoir, Roughhouse Friday (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019), which is featured in Page One in the July/August issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, and talks about his experiences barroom boxing in Alaska with Kathryn Miles for Portland Public Library’s Literary Lunch series.

Up in Smoke

“A plume came and a plume went,” said NASA scientist Paul Mahaffy about the possibility of a sign of life detected on Mars after a startling spike in the amount of methane gas found in a crater prompted excitement. A second test a few days later, however, came up with nothing. Write an essay about a time when something occurred which gave rise to a certain expectation, and then the situation did not pan out as hoped. What was the progression of emotions involved? How did your interactions with those around you fluctuate over the course of your experience?


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