Emerging Voices Fellowships

PEN America
Entry Fee: 
August 1, 2019

Five seven-month fellowships, which include a stipend of $1,000 each, are given annually to emerging poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers who lack access to financial and creative support. Each fellow receives professional mentorship with an established writer, attends courses at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, and takes part in genre-specific master classes, three public readings, gatherings with writers and publishing professionals, and other programming throughout the fellowship period. Travel and lodging are not provided. Writers who do not have significant publication credits, are not enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate writing program, and do not hold an undergraduate or graduate writing degree are eligible. Submit up to 10 pages of poetry or 20 pages of prose, a curriculum vitae, and two letters of recommendation with a $10 entry fee by August 1. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize

Seneca Review Books
Entry Fee: 
August 1, 2019

A prize of $2,000 and publication by Seneca Review Books will be given biennially for a collection of lyric essays. Jenny Boully will judge. Cross-genre, hybrid, and verse forms, as well as image and text works, are also eligible. Submit a manuscript of 48 to 120 pages with a $27 entry fee by August 1. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Book Contest

Howling Bird Press
Entry Fee: 
July 31, 2019

A prize of $1,000 and publication by Howling Bird Press will be given in alternating years for a book of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. The 2019 prize will be awarded in nonfiction. Using the online submission system, submit an essay collection or a memoir of 20,000 to 50,000 words with a $25 entry fee by July 31. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Barthelme Prize for Short Prose

Gulf Coast
Entry Fee: 
August 15, 2019

A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gulf Coast is given annually for a work of short prose. Submit a prose poem, a piece of flash fiction, or a micro-essay of up to 500 words with an $18 entry fee, which includes a subscription to Gulf Coast, by August 15. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Art and Change Grants

Leeway Foundation
Entry Fee: 
August 1, 2019

Project grants of up to $2,500 each are given twice yearly to women and transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, or otherwise gender-nonconforming poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers in the Delaware Valley region to fund art for social change projects. Writers living in Bucks, Camden, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Philadelphia counties who are 18 years of age or older and who are not full-time students in a degree-granting arts program are eligible. Applicants must identify a person, an organization, or a business as a partner for their project. Submit a project description and budget with the required entry form by August 1. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.


Binyavanga Wainaina


“I want to live a life of free imagination.” In this video, Binyavanga Wainaina describes his dream for Africans to tell their own stories and be set free of certain traditional systems and structures. The Kenyan author and gay rights activist, who won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2002, died at the age of forty-eight on May 21, 2019. For more from his work, read an excerpt from his memoir, One Day I Will Write About This Place (Graywolf Press, 2011).

Strange Talk


“When you talk to strangers, you’re making beautiful interruptions into the expected narrative of your daily life—and theirs,” Kio Stark says in her 2016 TED Talk “Why You Should Talk to Strangers.” As children, we are often cautioned against talking to strangers, but as adults, this warning becomes nearly impossible to heed. Whether online or in person, many of our daily interactions are with people we may never see or speak to again. Once in a while, this anonymity can lead to a level of intimacy and honesty that is surprising and unparalleled even with close friends or family. Think about a time in your life when an unexpected moment with a stranger had a profound effect on you. Write an essay about this exchange, the circumstances surrounding it, and what it meant to you.

Deadline Approaches for Robert Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award

Submissions are currently open for the Robert Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award. The award is given for a story or essay that engages with “the joy of fly-fishing, ecology, and humor regarding piscatorial friendships and fun on the water.” The winner receives $2,500 and publication in the Spring 2020 edition of the American Fly Fisher.

Using the online submission system, submit a story or essay of up to 3,000 words with a $25 entry fee. Unpublished pieces and pieces published during the previous two years are eligible. The deadline is May 31. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines. The winner will be announced in September.

Writer Nick Lyons and the Voelker Foundation created the award in 1994 to encourage and recognize “distinguished original stories or essays that embody the implicit love of fly fishing, respect for the sport, and the natural world in which it takes place.” The Voelker Foundation is dedicated to the work and values of writer and fly-fisherman John Voelker.

Where It Happens


Anna Wintour’s office, the United Nations’ Security Council Consultations Room, David Zwirner’s office, an IKEA design lab, a Fox News studio. Brent Murray’s New York Times piece “The Rooms Where It Happens” showcases photographs of these rarely seen spaces where powerful decision-making occurs. Write a personal essay about a room that has played an important role in your life. Describe the furniture, lighting, and paraphernalia, and consider the actions, behaviors, and thinking you’ve done in this room. Are there expected and unexpected correlations between the objects and actions?

Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise Accepting Submissions

Applications are currently open for the Vilcek Foundation’s Prizes for Creative Promise in Literature. Three prizes of $50,000 each are awarded to writers not born in the United States to recognize achievement early in their careers. Poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers who are thirty-eight years of age or younger and have published at least one full-length book are eligible. Winners will be notified in the fall and honored at an annual awards ceremony in New York City in Spring 2020.

Using the online submission system, submit a writing sample of up to twenty pages, a curriculum vitae, proof of your immigration status, five press clippings about your work, and contact information for two professional references by June 10. There is no application fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines and eligibility requirements.

The shortlist will be chosen by a jury of experts from the literary community who will evaluate the applicants based on their “excellence, innovation, and impact.”

Established in 2009, the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise aim to “encourage and support emerging to mid-career immigrant artists and scientists who have demonstrated exceptional achievements early in their careers.” The awards are given annually to biomedical scientists and in alternating years to writers, dancers, musicians, designers, fashion designers, theater artists, architects, visual artists, and culinary artists. The Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature was last awarded in 2011 to Dinaw Mengestu.

The Vilcek Prizes are sponsored by the Vilcek Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness of immigrant contributions to America. Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia, established the foundation in 2000.


Subscribe to RSS - Creative Nonfiction