“I saw the book as another kind of house. How did I want the reader to pass through it? What room would they enter first, and how should that room feel?” writes Sarah M. Broom about the structure of her debut memoir, The Yellow House (Grove Press, 2019), in “The New Nonfiction 2019” in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine. Write a memoiristic piece, or revisit one already in progress, and work on constructing it like a house that the reader must pass through. Plan out the points of entry and exit, and organize different sections or vignettes to be experienced as rooms visited one after another.
What would motivate you to walk thousands of miles? Last month, researchers released data that tracked an arctic fox that had made a trek of over two thousand miles across the frozen Arctic Ocean from Norway to Canada over the course of seventy-six days, most likely prompted by a search for food or a new habitat. Write a personal essay about a time that you traveled a long way—traversing a great physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual distance—to achieve something that was of utmost importance to you. What motivated you along the way? How did the trials of the journey compare with the end result?
Bronze statue of Cheryl Strayed unveiled; the two sides of rejection in the publishing world; Mary-Kay Wilmers on the language of book reviews; and other news.
The “great book scare” of the late nineteenth century; Téa Obreht on researching her new novel, Inland; Helen Fielding’s home for rent; and other news.
Summer’s final deadlines are upon us! Contests with a deadline of August 31 span poetry and prose, and include awards celebrating queer writers, writers over the age of 60, and writers living in upstate New York. Each offers a prize of at least $1,000.
Aesthetica Creative Writing Award: Two prizes of £1,000 (approximately $1,225) each and publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual are given annually for a poem and a short story. The winner in poetry also receives a membership to the Poetry Society in London, and the winner in short fiction receives a consultation with the literary agency Redhammer Management. Both winners receive a subscription to Granta and a selection of books from Bloodaxe Books and Vintage Books. Katy Guest, Oz Hardwick, Liz Jones, Teresa Palmiero, Martine Pierquin, and Steve Toase will judge. Entry fee: £12 (approximately $15) for a poem of up to 40 lines, or £18 (approximately $22) for a short story of up to 2,000 words.
Black Lawrence Press St. Lawrence Book Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Black Lawrence Press is given annually for a debut collection of poems or short stories. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $25.
Ex Ophidia Press Poetry Book Contest: A prize of $1,000, publication by Ex Ophidia Press, and 15 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Richard-Gabriel Rummonds will judge. Entry fee: $25.
Gemini Magazine Flash Fiction Contest: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gemini Magazine is given annually for a short short story. The editors will judge. Entry fee: $6.
Grid Books Off the Grid Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Grid Books is given annually for a poetry collection by a writer over the age of 60. Jon Davis will judge. Entry fee: $25.
Masters Review Short Story Award for New Writers: A prize of $3,000 and publication in Masters Review is given twice yearly for a short story by a writer who has not published a novel (writers who have published story collections are eligible). The winning story will also be sent to agents Victoria Cappello from the Bent Agency, Sarah Fuentes from Fletcher & Company, Andrea Morrison from Writers House, and Nat Sobel from Sobel Weber Associates. Tope Folarin will judge. Entry fee: $20.
Omnidawn Publishing Open Book Prize: A prize of $3,000, publication by Omnidawn Publishing, and 100 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Rachel Zucker will judge. Entry fee: $27.
Red Hen Press Quill Prose Award: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Red Hen Press is given annually for a short story collection, a novel, or an essay collection by a queer writer. Uzodinma Iweala will judge. Entry fee: $10.
University of New Orleans Press Publishing Lab Prize: A prize of $10,000 and publication by University of New Orleans Press is given annually for a short story collection or a novel. Entry fee: $28.
Utica College Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize: A prize of $2,000 is given annually for a poetry collection published in the previous year by a resident of upstate New York. The winner will also give a reading and teach a master class at Utica College in April 2020. Entry fee: none.
Tips from Gwyneth Paltrow’s book curator; Jess Row and Timothy Yu on writing about race; Ben Fama on art and belonging; and other news.
Cornell College in Iowa launches low-residency MFA program; Petina Gappah on the novel she’s been writing for twenty-one years; Laura van den Berg and Helen Phillips in conversation; and other news.