Deadline Nears for Courage to Write Grants

Do you have a manuscript that needs some cash to reach the finish line? Apply for the de Groot Foundation’s Courage to Write Grants, which offer $7,000 to each of seven emerging poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers with works-in-progress and “for whom a monetary boost could help further or complete the project.” Awardees will meet virtually to discuss their projects and share ideas. 

Using only the online submission system, submit a brief bio of up to 120 words, a completed application form, and five pages of a current, unpublished poetry or prose manuscript with a $22 entry fee by February 12. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Previous winners of the Courage to Write Grants include Zahir Janmohamed for his memoir, The Permitted Hours; Campbell Walmsley for her novel, Burn Rate; and Jefferey Spivey for his story collection, The Birthright of Sons.

In addition to the Courage to Write Grants, the de Groot Foundation will offer the Lando Grants, which award $7,000 to each of three writers exploring immigrant/refugee issues in any genre; applications are also due on February 12. Up to ten Writer of Note Grants of $1,500 each will be awarded to writers selected from the pool of finalists for the Lando and Courage to Write grants. 

Founded in 2010, the de Groot Foundation is a private family foundation that aims “to support high impact, sustainable innovation, education and cultural projects” worldwide. Funding from the organization has helped finance the first women’s hospital in Cambodia; a library in Nianiar, Senegal; and individual artistic projects. The foundation has recently amplified its attention to the literary arts: “Because of our love of literature and the power of story, we’re passionate about focusing the de Groot Foundation’s initiatives on discovering new voices and encouraging emerging writers,” says the foundation’s website.

Patricia Engel With Naima Coster


In this Books Are Magic event, Patricia Engel reads from her story collection The Faraway World (Avid Reader Press, 2023) and speaks with Naima Coster about writing habits and what inspires her to write. The Faraway World is featured in Page One in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.


The End of Times


Noah Baumbach’s film adaptation of Don DeLillo’s White Noise, Sam Esmail’s forthcoming film adaptation of Rumaan Alam’s Leave the World Behind, HBO’s miniseries adaptation of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven—novels with apocalyptic themes are appearing on screen more and more. Whether through satire or stark realism, this suspenseful setting allows writers to explore profound themes of survival, friendship, trust, hope, and resiliency. Inspired by apocalypse novels, write a short story that imagines the end of a modern civilization. Will you lean more toward satire, realism, or another form of expression entirely?

Nikki Giovanni and Renée Watson


In this video, Nikki Giovanni and Renée Watson speak about their love of libraries, the writers who have influenced them, and Maya’s Song (HarperCollins, 2022), a picture book for young readers about the life and work of Maya Angelou written by Watson and illustrated by Bryan Collier.

Upcoming Contest Deadlines

There’s no better way to beat the winter slump than by staying warm indoors and submitting to contests with deadlines of January 31 and February 1! Opportunities include fellowships for writers working on a biography of an important African American figure (or figures); publication of novels-in-stories, novels-in-poems, and hybrid forms; and an award for a story written in Japanese that takes place in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles. All contests offer a cash prize of $1,000 or more and four are free to enter. May the work you do this winter, writers, bring you spring and summer rewards! 

American Short Fiction
American Short(er) Fiction Prize

A prize of $1,000 and publication in American Short Fiction is given annually for a work of flash fiction. Karen Russell will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: February 1. Entry fee: $18.

Biographers International Organization
Frances “Frank” Rollin Fellowship

Two prizes of $5,000 each will be given annually to writers “working on a biographical work about an African American figure (or figures) whose story provides a significant contribution to our understanding of the Black experience.” Biographers may be at any stage in the writing process. The winners will also receive publicity through the Biographers International Organization (BIO) website, registration to the annual BIO Conference in May, and a one-year BIO membership. Adam Henig, Tamara Payne, and Eric K. Washington will judge. Deadline: February 1. Entry fee: none.

Black Lawrence Press
Big Moose Prize

A prize of $1,000, publication by Black Lawrence Press, and 10 author copies is given annually for a novel. The contest is open to traditional novels as well as “novels-in-stories, novels-in-poems, and other hybrid forms that contain within them the spirit of a novel.” The editors will judge. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: $27.

Ghost Story
Screw Turn Flash Fiction Competition

A prize of $1,000 and publication on the Ghost Story website and in the 21st Century Ghost Stories anthology is given twice yearly for a work of flash fiction with a supernatural or magical realism theme. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: $15.

Iowa Review
Iowa Review Awards

Three prizes of $1,500 each and publication in Iowa Review are given annually for works of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: $20.

Little Tokyo Historical Society
Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest
Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Rafu Shimpo and on the Discover Nikkei and Little Tokyo Historical Society websites are given annually for short stories that take place in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles and “capture the cultural spirit” of the neighborhood. One prize is given for a story written in English; the other is given for a story written in Japanese. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: none.

PEN America
Emerging Voices Fellowship

Twelve fellowships of $1,500 each and participation in a virtual five-month mentorship program, which includes one-on-one mentorship with an established writer; introductions to editors, agents, and publishers; a professional headshot; and a one-year PEN America membership are given annually to emerging poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers “from communities that are traditionally underrepresented in the publishing world.” Fellows will also participate in workshops on editing, marketing, and building a professional platform. Writers who have not yet published a book and who do not hold an advanced degree in creative writing are eligible to apply. Deadline: January 31. Entry fee: $25.

Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College
Paterson Poetry Prize

A prize of $2,000 is given annually for a poetry collection published in the previous year. The winning poet is expected to participate in an awards ceremony, give a reading, and teach a workshop at the Poetry Center in Paterson, New Jersey. Books of at least 48 pages are eligible. Deadline: February 1. Entry fee: none.

Southern Indiana Review
Michael Waters Poetry Prize

A prize of $5,000 and publication by Southern Indiana Review Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Michael Waters will judge. All entries are considered for publication. Deadline: February 1. Entry fee: $30, which includes a subscription to Southern Indiana Review

Stadler Center for Poetry & Literary Arts
Philip Roth Residencies

Two four-month residencies, which include a stipend of $5,000 each, at the Stadler Center for Poetry & Literary Arts at Bucknell University are given annually to writers in any literary genre, including poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, hybrid works, and graphic novels, working on a first or second book. Deadline: February 1. Entry fee: none.

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more contests in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and translation.

Behind the Awards


It’s awards show season for the film and television industry, but behind the camera are all the hardworking folks that make these shows happen. From florists arranging dramatic centerpieces, to chauffeurs driving celebrities from venue to venue, to the graphic designers of the envelopes holding the winners’ names—each individual helps make these one-night-only events possible. Consider what happens behind the scenes at one of these massive events and write a story from the perspective of someone working for an awards show. Imagine the mounting pressure throughout the night, the unexpected responsibilities that may arise, and the difficult celebrities one might encounter for the details in your story.

Deadline Approaches for the Eliud Martínez Prize

Submissions are open for the Eliud Martínez Prize, an award from the Inlandia Institute celebrating writers who identify as Hispanic, Latino/a/x, or Chicana/o/x. The winning writer will receive a prize of $1,000 and publication of their book of fiction or creative nonfiction by Inlandia Books.

Using only the online submission system, submit a novel, memoir, essays, stories, and multi-genre or hybrid fiction and nonfiction work between 150 and 300 pages with a $15 entry fee by January 31. Proposals for longer works of up to 500 pages may be submitted with an excerpt, table of contents, and a synopsis. Only manuscripts written primarily in English will be considered. Isabel Quintero will judge. Fee waivers are available. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Located in Southern California, the Inlandia Institute is a nonprofit that fosters the literary activity of the state’s Inland region. The Eliud Martínez Prize is offered annually in memory of the novelist and artist Eliud Martínez, who taught as a professor at the University of California in Riverside. The prize’s most recent winner is Zita Arocha, who won the inaugural award for her memoir, Guajira: The Cuba Girl.




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