Writers Justice League

¿Que dice la buena vida, mi gente? On September 4, I joined the Houston Writers Coalition—a newly formed group of activist writers, professors, and creators—for an event supporting the Writers for Migrant Justice campaign. Organized by poets Christopher Soto, Jan-Henry Gray, Anni Liu, and Javier Zamora, the campaign brought writers together in more than forty cities across the United States to protest the government’s immigration policies and raise funds for the Immigrant Families Together Project, an organization that provides legal aid to undocumented families.

Here in Houston we participated by hosting a marathon reading—simply put, a reading with no introductions, prefaces, book signings, or discussions, just our words. Over forty writers gathered at the Holocaust Museum Houston, each of us reading an original piece or a piece from a notable writer on the topic of immigration. We raised a good deal of money for the campaign and auctioned off two mini-libraries, which each included a set of books signed and donated by local authors.

There are a few moments when a writer can say that they can make a direct impact outside of the written word, and that day, as we held simultaneous readings in multiple cities, writers stepped up to the plate and stood up for a just cause.

It was breathtaking.

Farnoosh Moshiri reads at the Writers for Migrant Justice event in Houston. (Credit: Lupe Mendez)
 
Lupe Mendez is the literary outreach coordinator for Poets & Writers in Houston. Contact him at Houston@pw.org or on Twitter, @houstonpworg.

Where to Write in Detroit

As a writer, I know how quickly our own writing seems to age. It often feels difficult to generate new work. Communing with fellow creatives is sometimes the best way to put pen to paper. With that in mind, I want to highlight a couple spaces for writers that I have found in the area.

Riverwise is a community-based magazine focused on highlighting local activism and personal Detroit stories. Alexis Draper has been organizing the Riverwise Writing Workshop series, which are held all over the city allowing for more accessibility to folks seeking out classes. The workshops range from general creative writing techniques to focusing on discussions about social issues in our community. A recent workshop called “Uncomfortable Spaces” was offered for free at the Artists Inn and was led by local poets Kahn Santori Davidson and Natasha T. Miller.

The Detroit Writing Room is an up-and-coming venue that opened in June offering coworking and event space in downtown Detroit. They have writing coaches that anyone can schedule an appointment with for feedback and editing on business materials or literary work. Many of the writing coaches are local creatives and professionals, including Anna Clark and Ashley Calhoun, both of whom I highly recommend! 

There are so many organizations and spaces that I could mention, but here are just a few more: Bottom Line Coffee House is home to a number of workshops led by local writers and visual artists, and they have great coffee and pastries. The Room Project is a work space for women and nonbinary writers and artists, and this October and November they will be offering creative nonfiction workshops. InsideOut’s after-school program, Citywide Poets begins this October for any teens looking to develop their writing. 

I hope these are resources that you can use and share with fellow writers! 

Justin Rogers is the literary outreach coordinator for Poets & Writers in Detroit. Contact him at Detroit@pw.org or on Twitter, @Detroitpworg.

Travel Writing Contest

Nowhere Magazine
Entry Fee: 
$20
Deadline: 
January 1, 2020

A prize of $1,000 and publication in Nowhere Magazine is given twice yearly for a poem, a short story, or an essay that “possesses a powerful sense of place.” Porter Fox will judge. Unpublished and published pieces that have not already been chosen as a contest winner are eligible. Using only the online submission system, submit a poem of up to 800 words or a story or essay of 800 to 5,000 words by January 1, 2020. The entry fee is $20 until November 30 and $30 thereafter. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Literature Awards

Willow Books
Entry Fee: 
$25
Deadline: 
December 15, 2019

Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication by Willow Books are given annually for a book of fiction and a book of creative nonfiction by writers of color. Using only the online submission system, submit a story collection, novella, novel, essay collection, or memoir of up to 200 pages with a $25 entry fee by December 15. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Translation Prizes

French-American Foundation
Entry Fee: 
$0
Deadline: 
January 14, 2020

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 2019 by January 14, 2020. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award

Florida Review
Entry Fee: 
$25
Deadline: 
December 31, 2019

A prize of $1,000 and publication by Florida Review is given annually for a chapbook of short fiction, short nonfiction, or graphic narrative. Submit a manuscript of up to 45 pages with a $25 entry fee by December 31. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

Cleveland Foundation
Entry Fee: 
$0
Deadline: 
December 31, 2019

Three to four prizes of $10,000 each are given annually for a poetry collection, a book of fiction, and a book of nonfiction (including creative nonfiction) published during the previous year that “contributes to our understanding of racism and appreciation of human diversity.” Rita Dove, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Joyce Carol Oates, Steven Pinker, and Simon Schama will judge. Submit five copies of a book published in 2019 by December 31. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

Translation Fellowships

National Endowment for the Arts
Entry Fee: 
$0
Deadline: 
January 15, 2020
Grants of $12,500 and $25,000 each are given annually to translators of poetry and prose from any language into English. Applicants must have published, alone or in collaboration, at least 20 pages of literary translation in digital or print publications or at least one book of translation between January 1, 2005, and January 1, 2020. Using only the online submission system, submit 10 to 15 pages of translation and the original work, a project description, a résumé, a résumé for the original author, a justification of retranslation (if applicable), and a list of published translations into English with proof of eligibility by January 15, 2020. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

Desert Writers Award

Ellen Meloy Fund
Entry Fee: 
$15
Deadline: 
January 15, 2020

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. Using only the online submission system, submit up to 10 pages of creative nonfiction, a project proposal, and a biographical statement of up to one page with a $15 entry fee by January 15, 2020. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

Literary Awards

Black Caucus of the American Library Association
Entry Fee: 
$0
Deadline: 
December 31, 2019

Four prizes of $500 each are given annually for a poetry collection, a first novel, a book of fiction, and a book of nonfiction (including creative nonfiction) by an African American writer published in the United States in the previous year. The awards honor books that depict the “cultural, historical, and sociopolitical aspects of the Black Diaspora.” Publishers may nominate books published in 2019 by December 31. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines and a list of jurors to whom books should be sent.

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