Award Series

Association of Writers & Writing Programs
Entry Fee: 
February 28, 2021
Two prizes of $5,500 each and publication by a participating press are given annually for a poetry collection and a short story collection. In addition, two prizes of $2,500 each and publication by a participating press are given annually for a novel and a book of creative nonfiction. For the Donald Hall Prize for Poetry, submit a manuscript of at least 48 pages; University of Pittsburgh Press will publish the winning collection. For the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction, submit a manuscript of 150 to 300 pages; Red Hen Press will publish the winning collection. For the AWP Prize for the Novel, submit a manuscript of at least 60,000 words; New Issues Poetry & Prose will publish the winning novel. For the AWP Prize for Creative Nonfiction, submit an essay collection or memoir of 150 to 300 pages; University of Georgia Press will publish the winning book. Using only the online submission system, submit a manuscript with a $30 entry fee ($20 for AWP members) by February 28. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Hazel Rowley Prize

Biographers International Organization
Entry Fee: 
March 1, 2021
A prize of $2,000 will be given annually for a work-in-progress by a writer who has not published a biography. The winner will also receive review of their manuscript by an agent, publicity through the Biographers International Organization (BIO) website, and a one-year membership in BIO. Writers who have not previously published, or who are not under contract to write, a book of biography, history, or other work of narrative nonfiction are eligible. Natalie Dykstra, Steve Paul, and Eric K. Washington will judge. Submit a proposal, a writing sample, and a résumé totaling up to 20 pages with a $25 entry fee by March 1. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Individual Artists Grants for Women

Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund
Entry Fee: 
January 31, 2021
Grants of up to $1,500 each are given in alternating years to feminist poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers who are citizens of the United States or Canada. The current round of grants will be awarded to poets and nonfiction writers. Using only the online submission system, submit 10 to 15 pages of poetry or nonfiction, a statement regarding interest in receiving support from a feminist fund, a project description, a budget, and a résumé with a $25 application fee between January 1 and January 31. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Deadline Approaches for Kresge Artist Fellowships

Applications are open for the 2021 Kresge Artist Fellowships, which offer $25,000 no-strings-attached grants and professional development to Detroit artists. Administered by Kresge Arts in Detroit, the fellowship program is open to artists in different disciplines each year; this cycle, Kresge will award ten fellowships to artists working in the literary arts, and ten to artists working in the visual arts. Literary arts may include arts criticism, creative nonfiction, graphic novels, poetry, spoken word, zines, or interdisciplinary work. Across disciplines, the fellowship program seeks to “recognize creative vision and commitment to excellence” and is available to emerging and established artists alike. Within the fellowship application, artists are invited to indicate if they would also like to be considered for the Gilda Awards—$5,000 no-strings-attached grants specifically designated for emerging artists—if they are not selected as fellows.

Using only the online submission system, complete a series of questionnaires and statements about your practice, biography, and community impact, and submit this information along with a resume and three to eight work samples by January 14. Residents of Michigan’s Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties are eligible. There is no entry fee. Work samples may be text, audio, or video files. An anonymous panel of both national and local artists and art professionals will judge. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Funded by the Kresge Foundation and administered by the College for Creative Studies, Kresge Arts in Detroit seeks to strengthen and celebrate the artistic communities in metropolitan Detroit. In addition to the Kresge Artists Fellowships and Gilda Awards, the organization also selects a single artist each year for the $50,000 Kresge Eminent Artist Award. Over the past twelve years, Kresge has dispensed over $6 million in funding to local artists.

Light and Shadow


Many might think of the great Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci as naturally gifted, but Francesca Fiorani, author of The Shadow Drawing: How Science Taught Leonardo How to Paint (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2020), points out in an excerpt published on Literary Hub that even the prolific virtuoso, at one point, did not know how to paint. It wasn’t until after a series of experiments with a candle did da Vinci learn how to realistically paint light, writing that “every shadow made by an opaque body smaller than the source of light casts derivative shadows tinged by the color of their original shadow.” Inspired by da Vinci, write about a time when a deep study helped you overcome an obstacle, whether in writing or life. What kind of focus was necessary to see a solution more clearly?

Aimee Nezhukumatathil on World of Wonders


“If a white girl tries to tell you what your brown skin can and cannot wear for makeup, just remember the smile of an axolotl.” In this video for Milkweed Editions, Aimee Nezhukumatathil discusses and reads from her debut essay collection, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments, which was named the 2020 Barnes & Noble Book of the Year. For more, read a Q&A with Nezhukumatathil by Ross Gay from the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Racing the Essay


In this AAWW conversation moderated by Piyali Bhattacharya, writers with debut essay collections out this year, including Cathy Park Hong, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Sejal Shah, discuss Asian American identity, genre, gender, race, publishing, and the ways that the essay form has allowed writers to tell important stories. 


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