Resolving to carve out more time for your creative practice in 2021? Ring in the new year by submitting to writing contests. With deadlines of either January 14 or January 15, these awards include two residencies earmarked for Texas writers, as well as an opportunity for a nonfiction writer to spend creative time in a desert environment. All offer a cash prize of $500 or more.
Asheville Poetry Review William Matthews Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Asheville Poetry Review is given annually for a single poem. The winner is also invited to give a reading at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, North Carolina. Quincy Troupe will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $20.
Australian Book Review Calibre Essay Prize: A prize of $5,000 AUD (approximately $3,807) is given annually for an essay. A second-place prize of $2,500 AUD (approximately $1,903) will also be given. The winners will be published in Australian Book Review. Sheila Fitzpatrick, Billy Griffiths, and Peter Rose will judge. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $25 AUD (approximately $19).
Autumn House Press Rising Writer Prizes: Two prizes of $500 each and publication by Autumn House Press will be given annually for a debut poetry collection and a debut book of fiction by writers who are 36 years old or younger. The winners will each also receive a $500 grant for travel and book promotion. Matthew Dickman will judge in poetry and Maryse Meijer will judge in fiction. All finalists will be considered for publication. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $25.
Burnside Review Press Book Award: A prize of $1,000, publication by Burnside Review Press, and 10 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Jennifer Chang will judge. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $25 (includes one title from the press’s catalogue).
Colorado Review Colorado Prize for Poetry: A prize of $2,000 and publication by the Center for Literary Publishing is given annually for a poetry collection. Sherwin Bitsui will judge. Deadline: January 14. Entry fee: $28 (includes subscription).
Ellen Meloy Fund Desert Writers Award: A prize of $5,000 is given annually to enable a creative nonfiction writer “whose work reflects the spirit and passions for the desert embodied in Ellen Meloy’s writing” to spend creative time in a desert environment. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $15.
French-American Foundation Translation Prizes: Two prizes of $10,000 each are given annually for translations from French into English of a book of fiction and a book of nonfiction (including creative nonfiction) published during the previous year. A jury of translators and literary professionals will judge. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: none.
New American Press Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,500, publication by New American Press, and 25 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Quan Barry will judge. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $20.
North Carolina Writers’ Network Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition: A prize of $1,000 is given annually for an essay “that is outside the realm of conventional journalism and has relevance to North Carolinians.” The winning essay will also be considered for publication in Ecotone. Destiny O. Birdsong will judge. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $12 ($10 for NCWN members).
Poetry Society of Virginia North American Book Award: A prize of $1,000 will be given annually for a book of poetry published during the previous year. The winner will be invited to read at the spring festival of Poetry Society of Virginia in May 2021. Self-published books and books that have previously received any other awards are ineligible. Luisa Igloria will judge. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $35 ($25 for Poetry Society of Virginia members).
University of Texas Dobie Paisano Fellowships: Two residencies, cosponsored by the Texas Institute of Letters, at a rural retreat west of Austin are given annually to writers who are native Texans, who have lived in Texas for at least three years, or who have published significant work with a Texas subject. The six-month Jesse H. Jones Writing Fellowship is given to a writer in any stage of their career and includes a grant of $18,000. The four-month Ralph A. Johnston Memorial Fellowship is given to a writer who has demonstrated “publishing and critical success” and includes a grant of $24,000. Deadline: January 15. Entry fee: $20 ($30 to enter both competitions).
Two prizes of $10,000 each are given annually for translations from French into English of a book of fiction and a book of nonfiction (including creative nonfiction) published during the previous year. A jury of translators and literary professionals will judge. Authors, translators, agents, and U.S. publishers may submit three excerpts from a book published in 2020 by January 15, 2021. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
The 2020 Kentucky Book Festival, presented by Kentucky Humanities, was held online from November 9 to November 14, with additional online programming on Thursday evenings from September 17 to November 5. The festival featured live and prerecorded panel discussions. Participating authors included poets Reginald Dwayne Betts and Nikky Finney, fiction writers Terry Brooks and J. R. Ward, and nonfiction writers David Blight and Martha S. Jones. Most events were free and open to the public. Visit the website for more information.
Kentucky Book Festival, Kentucky Humanities, 206 East Maxwell Street, Lexington, KY 40508. (859) 257-4317. Sara Volpi, Director.
The 2020 Portland Book Festival, hosted by Literary Arts, was held online from November 5 to November 21. The festival featured events including author discussions and writing workshops. Participating authors included poets Natalie Diaz, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Claudia Rankine; fiction writers Ayad Akhtar, Margaret Atwood, and Jess Walter; and nonfiction writers Isabel Wilkerson and Lidia Yuknavitch. All events were free and open to the public. Visit the website for more information.
Portland Book Festival, Literary Arts, Inc., 925 SW Washington Street, Portland, OR 97205. (503) 227-2583. Amanda Bullock, Director of Public Programs.
The 2020 Texas Book Festival was held online from October 31 to November 15, with adult programming from November 6 to November 15. The festival featured panels and discussions with more than 125 writers. Participating authors included poets Marcelo Hernandez Castillo and Jake Skeets; fiction writers Julia Alvarez, Aimee Bender, Yaa Gyasi, Nick Hornby, and Ottessa Moshfegh; and poet and nonfiction writer Natasha Trethewey. Many events were free; tickets for select events cost $30 to $40. Visit the website for more information.
Texas Book Festival, 1023 Springdale Road, Building 14, Unit B, Austin, TX 78721. (512) 477-4055.
Amy Key’s essay “A Bleed of Blue,” published this month in Granta, begins with a white lie: “I wasn’t in LA because of Joni Mitchell, but that was what I had told my Lyft driver and it felt good to have a story.” The essay meditates on Mitchell’s iconic 1971 album Blue, and reflects on Key’s memories listening to it as a teenager with her friend who had just begun experiencing menstruation: “In my memory of that night, the lava lamp was like the pain my friend was experiencing, the hot red pulse of it.” Song by song, Key recounts her memories of Los Angeles and her emotional connection to Mitchell’s songwriting. Choose a music album that’s meant a lot to you, then write an essay that reflects on how the experience of listening to each song transformed you.