THE PRACTICING WRITER
Supporting the Craft and Business of Excellent Writing
Volume 13, Number 11: December 2016
Editor: Erika Dreifus
Copyright (c) 2016 Erika Dreifus
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IN THIS ISSUE:
1. Editor’s Note: What’s New
2. Article/Lessons Learned
3. Featured Resource
4. Upcoming/Ongoing Contests, Competitions, and Other Opportunities (NO ENTRY/APPLICATION FEES)
5. Submission Alerts!!! (NO READING FEES)
6. Blog Notes
7. Newsletter Matters
1. EDITOR’S NOTE: WHAT’S NEW
Greetings, practicing writers!
So much has transpired since the last newsletter went out. My head is still spinning.
We prepare to close out the year with what has become a regular feature article here. And, of course, the usual feast of no-fee, paying opportunities.
With every best wish for a wonderful holiday season,
2. ARTICLE/LESSONS LEARNED: END-OF-YEAR READING RECOMMENDATIONS
End-of-Year Reading Recommendations from and for Practicing Writers
Compiled by Erika Dreifus
It’s now a tradition here that the December newsletter features a compilation of reading recommendations from a particular group of individuals. You see, each year, my writing life intersects with the work of other practicing writers in a variety of ways. Toward the end of the year, I return to some of these writers and invite them to participate in a roundup article. I ask them to cite ONE book they’ve read this year that they’d recommend to other writers, and explain why other practicing writers, especially, might appreciate it.
I tell the participants that they can spotlight any type of book: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, writing reference, etc. Anything. My only condition is this: They cannot recommend their own books.
I’m grateful for the responses that my query has yielded, and I thank these authors once again for sharing their time and thoughts with us.
Without further ado:
THIS WORD NOW! (Write Good Books, 2014) by Owen and Jodi Egerton is the hot new writing book you’ve been waiting for. Bringing together decades of experience in writing and improv, the dynamic duo offers a book that is inspirational, and fun, in a convenient and easy to use format. It’s qually useful for the budding writer and the well-versed veteran. You’ll find entertaining and useful exercises whether you read straight through, take it day by day, or dip into it as needed for a creative spark. I love it, and I’ve been recommending it to every writer I know.
THE GIRLS (Random House, 2016) by Emma Cline. I was interested in this book about the 1960s and the Charles Manson murders because I’m beginning work on a novel set around that time. I didn’t expect to admire the writing as much as I did. Often when books get this much attention, I’m unimpressed, let-down, annoyed. But this book is beautifully written, vivid and memorable. And really, it’s about female relationships as much as it is about the Manson-like cult, which was a nice surprise.
I read ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE (Scribner, 2014) by Anthony Doerr in a day. The prose was exquisite, the conceit arresting, even though I struggled engaging with a flawed Nazi protagonist.
THE WALLED WIFE (Red Hen Press, 2016) by Nicelle Davis is the poetry book that has most haunted me this year with its beautiful, disturbing, thought-provoking take on an ancient ballad. Bonus: Nicelle Davis herself is a beautiful soul who creates magical community poetry events (like The Poetry Circus). I love it when incredible writers also turn out to be wonderful people.
One of the many wonderful books I read this year was Kimberly Stephens’s book THE PRODIGY’S COUSIN (Current, 2016). It’s about the link between child prodigies and autism, and even though I rarely read science, this one is unusually engaging, beautifully written, thoroughly researched, and deeply provocative. The stories of the children that Stephens profiled in the book have stayed with me and I think they always will.
3. FEATURED RESOURCE: ONLINE “BEST OF 2016” BOOK LISTS
From Largehearted Boy (David Gutowski):
“For the ninth straight year, I am aggregating every online year-end book list I find in this post. As the lists appear online, I will add them to this master list, updating daily.”
4. UPCOMING/ONGOING CONTESTS, COMPETITIONS, AND OTHER OPPORTUNITIES OF INTEREST
ANISFIELD-WOLF BOOK AWARDS
Deadline: December 31, 2016
NO ENTRY FEE
“The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recognizes outstanding works that contribute to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the cultural diversity. Awards are given for fiction, poetry and nonfiction.” NB: “Award recipients traditionally receive $10,000 from the Anisfield-Wolf fund.”
BRILLIANT FLASH FICTION “AFTERMATH” WRITING CONTEST
Deadline: January 15, 2017
NO ENTRY FEE
For flash fiction (500-word maximum) on the prompt of “Aftermath.” Prizes: 50 euro first prize “(or equivalent amount in your currency)”; 25 euro second prize; 15 euro third prize. “All winning entries (including shortlisted stories) will be published in the January 2017 issue of Brilliant Flash Fiction.”
CUTTYHUNK ISLAND RESIDENCY SCHOLARSHIPS
Deadline: February 1, 2017
NO APPLICATION FEE INDICATED
“Cuttyhunk Island Writers’ Residency seeks applicants from all stages in their writing careers who demonstrate a consistent dedication to their work and an openness to sharing and learning within a focused group of like-minded participants. This year, we’re accepting fiction and nonfiction writers.” In 2017, the program will award four full scholarships. “A scholarship includes tuition, housing, all meals, and a round-trip ferry ticket to Cuttyhunk from New Bedford, MA. All scholarship recipients will need to provide for their own transportation to and from New Bedford.” One scholarship is open to all writers; one is limited to writers with at least one child under 18; one is open to writers who belong to the Mashpee or Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe; and one will be given to a writer of color. There will be two residency sessions this year (check the website for details). Margot Livesey will lead workshop for the first; Wells Tower, for the second.
ELLEN MELOY FUND FOR DESERT WRITERS
Deadline: January 15, 2017
NO ENTRY FEE
“The Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers grants one $5,000 award in the spring of each year. Only literary or creative nonfiction proposals will be considered. No fiction or poetry proposals will be reviewed. The Fund supports writing that combines an engaging individual voice, literary sensibility, imagination and intellectual rigor to bring new perspectives and deeper meaning to the body of desert literature. All applications will be reviewed through a peer-panel process.”
NPR KROC FELLOWSHIP
Deadline: December 31, 2016
NO APPLICATION FEE
“The NPR Kroc Fellowship identifies and develops a new generation of extraordinary public radio journalists. Over the course of a year, the three Kroc Fellows get rigorous, hands-on training in every aspect of public radio journalism, both on-air and online, including writing, reporting, producing and editing…. The Fellowship begins in August and lasts one year. Fellows receive a stipend of more than $40,000 and benefits, including paid vacation.” NB: “Candidates should be close to completing a undergraduate or graduate degree, or have earned a degree no more than one year prior to December 31.” (via http://ProFellow.com)
LILLIAN E. SMITH WRITER-IN-SERVICE AWARD
Deadline: January 17, 2017
NO APPLICATION FEE
“The Lillian E. Smith Center sponsors the annual Writer-in-Service Award, which includes a two-week residency at the Center, a $500 honorarium, and a $500 travel allowance. Applications are usually accepted from November through mid-January, with the winner named in late February. The Award is open to U.S. residents working to advance writing through public service careers or volunteer work. Eligible activities include, but are not limited to, arts education, literacy instruction, prison arts and education, English as a second language instruction, art-related therapies, etc. While the work of writing instructors and volunteers is vital to the community, the demands often limit personal writing time. This award provides an opportunity for those writers who, like Lillian E. Smith, recognize ‘the power of the arts to transform the lives of all human beings.'”
SPLIT THIS ROCK FREEDOM PLOW AWARD FOR POETRY AND ACTIVISM
Nominations due: December 18, 2016
NO NOMINATION FEE INDICATED
“The award, made possible through the generosity of the CrossCurrents Foundation, recognizes and honors a poet who is doing innovative and transformative work at the intersection of poetry and social change. Our hope is that the prize, like our biennial poetry festival, will become an essential, enduring part of our mission to promote the growing field of art and social activism on a national level. Also like the festival, the Freedom Plow Award is presented every other year. Recipients receive $3,000 and a beautifully designed award, as well as extensive attention to their work. We will celebrate the winner and finalists of the Freedom Plow Award and their achievements at a gala ceremony and reading at the Arts Club of Washington, D.C. at 6:30 pm on the evening of April 6, 2017. This year’s award panel of judges include Holly Bass, Dawn Lundy Martin, Mark Nowak.” (via http://vidaweb.org)
SUMMER POET-IN-RESIDENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI
Deadline: January 15, 2017
NO APPLICATION FEE
“The residency supports a poet who desires a quiet, beautiful location in which to further his or her work, and it lasts four weeks, from June 15 to July 15.” Further information: “The residency is designed for poets who have at least one full length book (either published or under contract) and no more than two books. Chapbooks are not full length books. Eligible poets are encouraged to apply. The SpiR receives housing, a travel reimbursement, and an honorarium of $3,000 thanks to the generosity of The Department of English, The College of Liberal Arts, and the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education. In addition, the SPiR will receive ten broadsides of his or her work, designed by Jan Murray. The residency is designed to provide ample writing time to the SPiR while also allowing the University of Mississippi’s summer course offerings to be enriched by the presence of a active poet on campus. To this end, the SPiR will be involved in the campus community and the University of Mississippi MFA program by giving a poetry reading and making 1-2 class visits a week. The SpiR will also be invited to serve as judge for the Yalobusha Review’s Yellowwood Poetry Prize. As judge, the SPiR will be given ten finalist poems by the editorial staff and will select the winner and any honorable mentions.”
WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS POETRY COMPETITION
Deadline: December 31, 2016
NO ENTRY FEE
“The William Carlos Williams Poetry Competition, sponsored by the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), is open to students attending allopathic or osteopathic schools of medicine in the United States and Canada. Each year hundreds of entries are submitted to the competition and go through a preliminary screening by the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University, and final judging will be by Richard M. Berlin, M.D., psychiatrist and poet from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The first-, second-, and third-place winners will be invited to read their poetry at an awards ceremony at NEOMED. In addition, the editors of the Journal of Medical Humanities review the winning poems and consider them for possible publication in that journal.” Cash prizes: $300/ $200/$100.
HELENE WURLITZER FOUNDATION RESIDENCIES
Deadline: January 18, 2017
NO APPLICATION FEE
Based in New Mexico, “the Foundation offers three months of rent-free and utility-paid housing to grantees. Our eleven guest houses, or casitas, are fully furnished and provide residents with a peaceful setting in which to pursue their creative endeavors.” Applications are welcome fro “painters, poets, sculptors, writers, playwrights, screenwriters, composers, photographers and filmmakers, or national and international origin.” NB: “In certain cases, and dependent on the Artist Stipend Fund, the Foundation may be able to assist with travel and/or grocery expenses.”
5. SUBMISSION ALERTS!!!
WORDRUNNER ECHAPBOOKS: “The next echapbook (our 30th!) will be a themed collection by multiple authors. Submissions open December 1, 2016, and close January 30, 2017. We are looking for original fiction, memoir, and poetry about breaking barriers or pushing against boundaries.” NB: “Work should not have been previously published with this exception: If you are submitting poems, at least one submission to the anthology issue should be previously unpublished, either online or in print (excluding self-published pieces). If a second or third poem is submitted, they can be reprints. Please submit all your poetry in one file.” Pays: “$5 to $25 for poems and stories published in the annual anthology.” Guidelines: http://www.echapbook.com/submissions.html.
SLICE is currently receiving poetry and prose for possible inclusion in Issue 21, the theme of which will be “Panic.” Deadline: December 15, 2016. Pays: “$250 for stories and essays and $75 for poems. Visit https://slicemagazine.org for more information.
THE JOURNAL OF COMPRESSED CREATIVE ARTS will reopen for submissions on December 15. “We aren’t as concerned with labels—hint fiction, prose poetry, micro fiction, flash fiction, and so on—as we are with what compression means to you.” Pays: $50. Details at https://matter.submittable.com/submit.
THE GOLDEN KEY, a journal of “speculative and literary writing, inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale ‘The Golden Key,'” seeks submissions for Issue 7, “Resurrected Things.” NB: “We prefer fiction submissions under 3,000 words and poems that are under 100 lines. We especially love flash fiction and prose poems.” Also: “Please note, we are not interested in religious allegory, either explicit or implicit. You’re welcome to borrow from and re-envision mythological sources, but this is not a forum for spiritual discourse.” Pays: “THE GOLDEN KEY currently pays all contributors a flat fee of $10.” Deadline: December 31, 2016. See http://www.whatwonderfulthings.net/main/submissions/ for more. (via http://placesforwriters.com)
“Lucky issue thirteen of WORKERS WRITE! will be TALES FROM THE CASINO and will contain stories and poems from workers in the gambling industry. We’re looking for fiction about dealers, wait and hospitality staff, security – anyone who works in or around a casino. Drop us a line if you have a question.” Deadline: December 31, 2016 (or until the issue is full). Pays: “Between $5 and $50 (depending on length and rights requested). We will consider previously published material.” Website: http://www.workerswritejournal.com.
OUTLOOK SPRINGS “is a literary journal from another dimension. It is devoted to fiction, poetry, and non-fiction tinged with the strange.” Current submission period ends on January 15, 2017. Pays: “For fiction and non-fiction, contributors will be paid $25 in addition to a contributor’s copy. Poets will be paid $10 per poem in addition to one contributor’s copy total.” Visit http://outlooksprings.com for more info.
BLACK RABBIT “aims to publish prose, art, and essays that are serious in subject and theme, self-aware in style, flexible, smart, and above all engaging.” Submissions for Issue One are now open. They will publish “only a very few, very short pieces” in their quarterly issues, and will pay $25 per published work. Deadline: January 31, 2017. Visit http://blackrabbiquarterly.com for more info.
The newly formed HIPPOCAMPUS MAGAZINE AND PRESS is requesting “true stories inspired by the heyday of radio* for its forthcoming anthology, AIR….We’re looking for behind-the-scene stories about small town radio stations. We’re seeking personal stories about die-hard radio fans. We want to hear from (current/former) jocks, from program directors, from engineers, from the sales team, from ancillary characters like record reps and concert promoters—tales from every corner of the radio station and from everyone radio ever reached. We want Air to be filled with a variety of eras, settings, themes, and voices–we want funny, we want heartfelt, we want adventurous–we’ll consider stories of all kinds, but stories must be true and contributors must be willing to use their real names (identifying details/names of other characters can be changed). We’re looking for stories with compelling characters and a strong sense of place, stories with action and a clear narrative arc–but please don’t be discouraged from submitting if you’ve never written an essay before. We’ll help your story shine should it be selected for publication. We are NOT looking for academic essays about the history or impact of radio.” NB: “*When we say heyday of radio, we’re mostly referring to the pre-digital age. We’d love stories leading up to the early 2000s…before voice-tracking became a thing.” Pays: “$50 + 2 contributor copies upon publication; special pricing on additional copies.” Deadline: February 15, 2017. See http://www.hippocampusmagazine.com/2016/08/wed-like-to-make-a-request-air-a-collection-of-radio-inspired-stories-seeking-submissions/ for more information.
“In our fifth publication year, we are now considering personal essays for BRAIN TEEN, our award-winning print magazine devoted to parenting teens (ages 13 and up) or having been a teen. We look for an authentic voice with a down-to-earth tone. We appreciate exquisite detail, vivid scenes and spot-on dialogue. We love to see new topics or interesting angles on familiar topics. Payment: $300. Each accepted essay is automatically entered into our ‘Best of Brain Teen’ contest for a $1,000 prize.” Deadline: February 15, 2017. See https://brainchildmag.submittable.com/submit for guidelines.
And another reminder: FIG TREE BOOKS (where I am Media Editor) reads agented and un-agented submissions year-round. Looking for novels (including YA) and nonfiction (including memoirs) “that chronicle and enlighten the beautiful and sometimes challenging mosaic of the American Jewish Experience.” Visit https://figtreebooks.submittable.com/ for more info.
6. BLOG NOTES
The newsletter is published just once each month, but there’s *always* something new at our Practicing Writing blog: fresh market news, current contest and job listings, links to writing-related articles, newly-discovered craft and business resources, and so much more. Regular blog features include:
–Monday Markets for Writers
–Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer (formerly “Wednesday’s Work-in-Progress”)
–Friday Finds for Writers
Please visit, and comment! http://www.erikadreifus.com/blogs/practicing-writing/
And for those of you practicing writers who are interested in matters of specifically Jewish cultural interest, please also visit My Machberet (http://www.erikadreifus.com/blogs/my-machberet). For the curious, “machberet” is the Hebrew word for “notebook”.
7. NEWSLETTER MATTERS
Information contained in THE PRACTICING WRITER is collected from many sources, with the purpose of providing general references. It is researched to the best of our ability but readers should verify information when necessary and appropriate. THE PRACTICING WRITER and its editor/publisher disclaim any liability for the use of information contained within. Thank you for subscribing.
For updates and additional opportunity listings between newsletters, please check in with our “Practicing Writing” blog, http://www.erikadreifus.com/blogs/practicing-writing.
ABOUT THE EDITOR: Based in New York City, Erika Dreifus is the author of QUIET AMERICANS: STORIES, which is an American Library Association Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title for outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. A member of the advisory board for J JOURNAL: NEW WRITING ON JUSTICE, she has taught for Harvard University, the Cambridge (Mass.) Center for Adult Education, and the low-residency MFA programs in creative writing at Lesley University, the Northwest Institute for Literary Arts, and Oklahoma City University. In August 2014, Erika joined Fig Tree Books as Media Editor. Please visit http://www.erikadreifus.com to learn more about Erika’s work, and go directly to http://www.erikadreifus.com/quiet-americans/book-clubs/ to arrange for her to visit your book club!
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