N. Scott Momaday With Robert Redford


“I have written somewhere that there is only one story, but there are many stories in the one, and I like that idea.” In this video from PBS’s American Masters series, N. Scott Momaday speaks with Robert Redford about the oral tradition, hearing stories from his father, and the importance of language and story. Momaday’s second memoir, Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land (Harper, 2020), is featured in Page One in the November/December issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Fairy Tale


Sabrina Orah Mark’s Paris Review column Happily features essays inspired by fairy tales and motherhood, including “It’s Time to Pay the Piper,” which reimagines our current reality through the children’s story “The Pied Piper of Hamelin.” Through incantatory sentences and the framing of our reality through a fantastical lens, it asks whether the reason for the pandemic, corrupt leaders, and environmental collapse has a link to the story of the piper, who collects payment by robbing the village of its children. Pick a fairy tale you are familiar or enchanted with and write an essay that uses the structure of that story to explain an event in your life. How do well-known characters and themes help add meaning to the subject matter?

A Shiver


“The cold seemed to have come on all at once, just after lunch, as the teacher and his wife were tranquilly talking over their plans to return to the capital the next day, the second of September, a little later than usual.” At the beginning of Marie NDiaye’s novel That Time of Year (Two Lines Press, 2020), translated from the French by Jordan Stump, a teacher’s wife and son disappear on the day before they are all to return to Paris after spending the summer in a countryside village. The unsettling events and confrontations that follow, as the teacher searches for answers, are a reminder that boundaries are everywhere, between summer and autumn, vacation life and regular life, between those with power and those without. Write a personal essay about an uncertain time in your life when a dramatic event caused a shift. Did you lean into the in-between and search for answers or try to ground yourself and move on?  

My Salinger Year


Joanna Rakoff’s memoir My Salinger Year (Knopf, 2014) has been adapted into a feature film directed by Philippe Falardeau and starring Margaret Qualley and Sigourney Weaver. Set in 1995, an aspiring writer and poet takes a job at a literary agency in New York City that represents the notoriously reclusive J. D. Salinger and handles his fan mail.

American Book Awards

Before Columbus Foundation
Entry Fee: 
December 31, 2020

Awards are given annually for books published in the United States during the previous year to recognize “outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s

Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest

Quarter After Eight
Entry Fee: 
November 30, 2020

A prize of $1,008.15 and publication in Quarter After Eight is given annually for a prose poem, a short short story, or a micro-essay.

Steinbeck Fellowships in Creative Writing

San José State University
Entry Fee: 
January 2, 2021
Yearlong residencies at San José State University in San José, California, which include a stipend of $15,000 each, are given annually to fiction writers and creative nonfiction writers. The fellows will give one public reading each semester and must live in the Bay Area during the academic year. Using only the online submission system, submit up to 25 pages of prose, a project proposal, a résumé, and three letters of recommendation (uploaded by references) by January 2, 2021. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Mississippi Review Prize

Mississippi Review
Entry Fee: 
January 1, 2021
Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Mississippi Review are given annually for a poem, a short story, and an essay. Current or former University of Southern Mississippi students are ineligible. Submit three to five poems totaling up to 10 pages or a short story or essay of 1,000 to 8,000 words with a $15 entry fee ($16 for electronic submissions), which includes a copy of the prize issue, by January 1, 2020. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

30 Below Contest

Entry Fee: 
November 19, 2020
A prize of $1,500 and publication in Narrative is given annually for a poem, a short story, an essay, or an excerpt from a longer work of fiction or creative nonfiction by a writer under the age of 30. The editors will judge. Using only the online submission system, submit up to five poems of any length or up to 15,000 words of prose with a $26 entry fee by November 19. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.


Subscribe to RSS - Creative Nonfiction