Deadline Approaches for TulipTree Publishing Underdogs Story Contest

Submissions are open for the TulipTree Publishing Underdogs Story Contest. The editors seek work in any genre—fiction, nonfiction, or poetry—that responds to the “underdog” theme of the fall/winter issue of TulipTree Review. “It’s easy for the powerful, the strong, and even just the loud to get our attention, but we would argue it’s much more satisfying when the underdog lands in the spotlight for upsetting the odds.” The winning writer will receive $1,000 and publication in TulipTree Review.

To submit, e-mail a work of fiction or nonfiction of up to 10,000 words or a poem of any length with a $20 entry fee by September 23. There is no limit on the number of entries per writer, and entry fees may be submitted by PayPal or by mail. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

TulipTree Publishing was established in 2015 with the mission to “tell stories that need to be told.” In addition to printing a biannual literary journal, the organization also publishes an annual story anthology and a series of books dedicated to raising funds for various social causes.

Letter to Self


Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet (Norton, 1934), is a collection of letters written when he was twenty-seven and living and working with the artist Auguste Rodin in Paris. Rilke’s correspondence was with Franz Xavier Kappus, an aspiring nineteen-year-old poet seeking advice. Many scholars say that much of Rilke’s advice to the younger poet is advice he himself received from a more experienced Rodin when they worked together at different points of their career. Write a short series of letters addressed to your younger self. What experiences can you use to encourage your less experienced self?

Katrina Fifteenth Anniversary Virtual Reading

On August 26, I curated a virtual reading highlighting New Orleans writers to remember, as I said at the event, all the people, all the cultural places, all the businesses, all the family artifacts, all the schools, all the neighborhoods, and the ways of being that were lost physically and dismantled systematically by Hurricane Katrina. It is hard to believe, but August 29 marked the day the levees broke in New Orleans fifteen years ago.

To commemorate the occasion, Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy, Tom Piazza, Alison Pelegrin, José Torres Tama, Lolis Elie, and Asia Rainey read from their work and shared their experiences. Fourteen-year-old New Orleans saxophonist Akeel Salah Muhammad Haroon treated us with a performance to close the evening.

Readings & Workshops program coordinator Ricardo Hernandez, who helped with tech support, said of the event: “The featured readers were all incredible. I was especially moved to hear Lolis Elie read from “The Whys” and I looked up the piece so I could quote it accurately: ‘Some of us came back because we didn’t believe that the insurance company that we’d dutifully paid for decades would cheat us in our hour of gravest need. (If Dante Alighieri had endured the inferno of our flood, he would have kindled a special fire for insurance companies!)’”

Curating this event was fun but challenging, especially with the added pressure of doing this virtually and praying for no tech hiccups. Luckily it all worked out and our virtual audience was pleased. My goal was to highlight all the ways Hurricane Katrina impacted the city’s writers. It was hard to curate because so much is at stake with a reading that represents the loss and trauma of an entire city. I was happy that each writer brought a different voice and perspective to the reading.

Thank you to all of those who joined us on Facebook for the live event. If you missed the reading, you can watch it here. There is also a wonderful piece written by Joshua Barajas for PBS NewsHour about our event.

Writing about Katrina can be painful, but mostly it is a celebration of what makes New Orleans so special. As Saloy says in the PBS NewsHour piece, “We’re not just authors. We are the carriers of our culture.”

Kelly Harris is the literary outreach coordinator for Poets & Writers in New Orleans. Contact her at or on Twitter, @NOLApworg.

Fire Follower


In California’s chaparral plant ecosystem, there are dozens of species known as “fire followers”—including tree and fire poppies, whispering bells, phacelia, lupine, poodle-dog bush, and snapdragons—whose growth is triggered after regional fires by changed chemical conditions of charred soil, and fire- or smoke-activated seeds or buds. Write a series of flash nonfiction pieces, each pointing to a small beginning of sorts after a specific event of chaos or destruction in your life. Does each short narrative pick up a thread from an originating incident and carry it toward something new?

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

The first contests of the fall season include opportunities for established and emerging writers alike. With deadlines of September 15, September 17, or September 18, all feature a cash prize of $1,000 or more.

Cave Canem Foundation Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize: A prize valued at approximately $2,500 is given annually for a poetry chapbook by a Black poet. The winner will receive $500, publication by Jai-Alai Books, and a weeklong residency at the Writer’s Room at the Betsy Hotel in Miami, Florida; the winner will also give a reading at the O, Miami Poetry Festival in April 2021. Mahogany L. Browne will judge. Deadline: September 15. Entry fee: none.

Gulf Coast Barthelme Prize for Short Prose: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gulf Coast is given annually for a work of short prose. Jenny Offill will judge. Deadline: September 15. Entry fee: $15 (includes subscription).

Gulf Coast Prize in Translation: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gulf Coast is given in alternating years for a group of poems or a prose excerpt translated from any language into English. The 2020 prize will be given for poetry. Urayoán Noel will judge. Deadline: September 15. Entry fee: $15 (includes subscription).

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Writing Fellowships: Fellowships of approximately $50,000 each are awarded annually to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers on the basis of achievement and exceptional promise. Citizens and permanent residents of the United States and Canada with a significant and appropriate record of publication are eligible. Deadline: September 17. Entry fee: none.

Manchester Metropolitan University Poetry and Fiction Prizes: Two prizes of £10,000 (approximately $12,740) each are given annually for a group of poems and a short story.  Deadline: September 18. Entry fee: £18 (approximately $23) 

University of Wisconsin Press Brittingham and Felix Pollak Prizes: Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication by University of Wisconsin Press are given annually for poetry collections. Carmen Giménez Smith will judge. Deadline: September 15. Entry fee: $28.

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.

I Love, I Love

Henri Cole’s latest memoir, Orphic Paris (New York Review of Books, 2018), mixes the forms of autobiography, diary, essay, and poetry with photographs for a complete and intimate look into his time spent in Paris. Each line in the last essay of the book begins with “j’aime,” as Cole uses anaphora, a form which repeats a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses, to write a final moving ode to Paris. Whether it be by your travels or ancestry, what city or place do you feel captivated by? Write a personal essay that uses the repetition of a word or phrase, or the anaphora form to examine your connection to that particular place.

Short Lectures by Mary Ruefle


In this 2013 Woodberry Poetry Room video, Mary Ruefle reads twenty-eight short meditations from her essay collection Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures (Wave Books, 2012) with subjects including Shakespeare, Socrates, Van Morrison, the dead, hypocrisy, and loneliness. Ruefle received the 2020 Arthur Rense Poetry Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


Subscribe to RSS - Creative Nonfiction