THE PRACTICING WRITER
Supporting the Craft and Business of Excellent Writing
Volume 11, Number 7: August 2014
Editor: Erika Dreifus
Copyright (c) 2014 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
5. Submission Alerts!!!
6. Blog Notes
7. Newsletter Matters
1. EDITOR’S NOTE: WHAT’S NEW
Greetings, practicing writers:
The “interesting things” I alluded to last month are moving right along. The main news is that I am making a big day-job change. Last week I completed 7 and 1/2 years working at the central office of The City University of New York. And next week, I will begin my new job…which I will reveal on Facebook (http://facebook.com/erikadreifusauthor) and on Twitter (http://twitter.com/erikadreifus) after my official start.
I can tell you this: I am so grateful for my years at CUNY (and for my wonderful colleagues, who threw me a lovely farewell party AND gifted me with a “crowd-sourced” book of haiku–with an occasional sonnet and limerick thrown in–written in my honor). And I am so excited about the new work that I’ll be taking on. As I say, there will be more information to come online (and in the next newsletter).
Meantime, I am happy to present the August issue, which features a Q&A with Elizabeth Nunez along with the information on no-fee competitions and paying submission calls that you have come to expect here. Happy reading, happy August, and all best wishes with your writing practices.
2. ARTICLE/LESSONS LEARNED: QUESTIONS FOR ELIZABETH NUNEZ
Questions for Elizabeth Nunez About Her New Memoir
by Erika Dreifus
During the years that I have worked at The City University of New York (CUNY), I’ve had the great luck and privilege of meeting a number of the outstanding teacher-writers who work across the University’s campuses. One of these writers is Elizabeth Nunez, Distinguished Professor of English at Hunter College/CUNY. I’ve read every book that Elizabeth has published since I’ve met her, and so perhaps I was even more intrigued than any garden-variety reader might have been when I discovered that she was publishing a memoir earlier this year.
But you don’t need to know Elizabeth or her prior work as a fiction writer to be captivated by the beautiful–and powerful–writing in that memoir, set in Elizabeth’s native Trinidad and in her adopted New York. Titled NOT FOR EVERYDAY USE, it is the subject of this Q&A with the author.
Elizabeth Nunez is the award-winning author of eight novels. Both BOUNDARIES and ANNA IN-BETWEEN were NEW YORK TIMES Editors’ Choices. ANNA IN-BETWEEN won the 2010 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award and was long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Nunez also received the 2011 Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers and Barnes & Noble, and a NALIS Lifetime Literary Award from the Trinidad & Tobago National Library.
Please welcome Elizabeth Nunez!
ERIKA DREIFUS (ED): Elizabeth, thanks so much for taking part in this interview. NOT FOR EVERYDAY USE is a memoir, yes, but I see it also as a elegy of sorts, intimately linked to the passing of your mother, in particular. When did you realize that this was a book you had to write, and how long did it take you to complete the manuscript?
ELIZABETH NUNEZ (EN): I am a novelist. I love pursuing truth in the fictive worlds I create. I enjoy the freedom that the novel allows the writer, which leads to discoveries, often surprising. So I had not thought of writing a memoir, but my previous two novels, ANNA IN-BETWEEN and BOUNDARIES, both explored characters who were inspired by my parents and my relationship with them, and there were lingering questions about the tensions between the fictive Anna and her parents. My mother’s death propelled me to confront those questions head-on. I wanted to know the demons/challenges my mother faced that caused her to be so restrained with her demonstrations of love for her children. The writing came quickly; I had a first draft within a year, though it took me another year to polish it.
ED: You come from a large family–you are one of eleven siblings, and you’re a mother and grandmother yourself–and so it strikes me that dilemmas that can arise from “writing about family” (some of which are indeed mentioned in the memoir) might loom especially large in your case. What reaction have you received to *this* book from your family members to date?
EN: Well, this memoir tells part of my family’s story. It would take many more memoirs to tell all. I tried to be fair and truthful in my portrayals of my parents and siblings. The memoir, of course, is my truth about what I remembered and how I remembered it. So far, the only objection from my family relates to incidents of my father’s infidelity. But not all of my siblings have read the memoir, so there may be more objections to come. I am not worried about their reactions. I would not deliberately write something that I know will be hurtful to them, but I am committed to telling the truth.
ED: You published many novels before this memoir. Please us what surprised you (or didn’t surprise you) about the experience of writing a book of nonfiction instead of fiction.
EN: One of the advantages of fiction for me is that I can explore my life, the dark side as well as the better side, under the safe veil of fabrication. I think to myself: No one will find me in the characters I write about. I can explore the good as well as the bad, my true motivations for my actions, and so come to a clearer understanding of who I am, and the meaning of human life on earth. Ultimately, though, I still manage to fool myself when the characters I create in my fiction follow paths of their own making. Originally, I thought that since in memoir I would be writing about myself, I would have more control over the thoughts and decisions of the characters. But the need to put a positive spin on the challenges I faced was still very much there. It was only after rereading scenes from the memoir that I discovered that the tensions between my mother and me had roots far deeper than what I had allowed in my fiction. Yes, the daughter resented the fact that her mother had never asked her to return to her homeland after she immigrated to the U.S., but that resentment came from a much earlier time.
ED: Please tell us about the book’s publisher, Akashic Press, and your history with it.
EN: Akashic Books is one of the rare publishers today that remains committed to the encouragement of literary talent and the development of the public’s taste for literary fiction. When my last mainstream publisher passed on one of my novels, I went straight to Akashic, in spite of my agent’s insistence that we send the novel to other mainstream publishers. But I was tired of working with houses that were more interested in the potential market for my work than in its literary/artistic value. Akashic treated my work with respect and gave me the editorial guidance I needed. To date, two of my novels and my memoir have been published by Akashic. However, as with any business, the bottom line is crucial to Akashic. If the company does not make a profit, it will be unable to achieve its goal, but Johnny Temple, the publisher, has managed to maintain the balance between art and commerce by making smart acquisition decisions.
ED: What is your dearest hope for this book?
EN: It would be great to win a major literary award. It would be great, too, to expand the diversity of my readers.
ED: Anything else you’d like us to know (or writing advice you’d like to impart)?
EN: I teach creative writing, fiction, but I know that the best teachers of creative writing are well-written books.
ED: Thank you, Elizabeth, for taking the time to answer these questions.
FEATURED RESOURCE: ELIZABETH NUNEZ ON CUNY TV
Interest piqued? Watch this wonderful interview with Elizabeth Nunez on CUNY TV’s Eldridge & Co., recorded in April.
“Elizabeth Nunez, distinguished Professor of English at Hunter College, scholar and author of 8 novels, talks about ‘Not for Everyday Use: A Memoir’ her latest book. Ms. Nunez beautifully explores family relationships, cultural influences, the oppression of the church and colonialism and more.”
4. UPCOMING/ONGOING CONTESTS, COMPETITIONS, AND OTHER OPPORTUNITIES OF INTEREST
American Psychoanalytic Association Award for Excellence in Journalism
Deadline: September 16, 2014
NO ENTRY FEE
This award “recognizes professional reporting of outstanding merit that contributes in an exceptional way to the public understanding of psychoanalytic and psychological principles and phenomena. The $1,000 award is broadly conceived. Nominated work need not be specifically about psychoanalysis or psychotherapy per se. And, nominated work may critique or question psychoanalysis as long as it advances understanding of human relationships and/or the life of the mind.” Eligibility: The submitted work “must have been written in English, intended for the layperson, and must have been first published between July 1 and June 30 for decision the following October.”
Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts Writer-in-Residence
Deadline: August 29, 2014
NO APPLICATION FEE INDICATED
“Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, a community art center in Fridley, MN is located in a historic building on the Mississippi and features diverse programming in the literary and visual arts….Each year BLCA selects a Writer-in-Residence to make the art center their writing home, to facilitate our monthly NorthWords Writers writing group, and to be a presence at the center for our member writers. We offer: free use of a writing studio with great views of Manomin Park and comfortable furniture and a $1000 annual stipend. This opportunity does not provide living accommodations. You provide: a willingness to write at BLCA and to utilize the space for your personal writing goals and facilitation of a monthly 2 hour meeting with the NorthWords writers and the coordination of an annual June reading for BLCA readers….The Writer-in-Residence term runs from January 1 to December 31, 2015.” (via http://www.loft.org)
Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Research Awards
Deadline: September 14, 2014
NO APPLICATION FEE
“The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute awards grants to support interdisciplinary research or artistic projects on Jewish women and gender issues. Scholars, activists, writers and artists who are pursuing research on questions of significance to the field of Jewish women’s studies may apply.”
Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award
Submissions: August 1-September 30, 2014 (postmarked)
NO ENTRY FEE
“Any writer who has not previously published a volume of prose fiction is eligible to enter the competition. Previously entered manuscripts that have been revised may be resubmitted. Writers are still eligible if they have published a volume of poetry or any work in a language other than English or if they have self-published a work in a small print run. Writers are still eligible if they are living abroad or are non-US citizens writing in English. Current University of Iowa students are not eligible.” Winning manuscripts are published by the University of Iowa Press under the Press’s standard contract.
The Ordinary Guru Contest
Deadline: August 31, 2014
NO ENTRY FEE
“Have you ever met an everyday, ordinary guru who helped you break a myth that held you back, sparked insight, or helped you see the world a little differently? If so, tell us your story by entering the Ordinary Guru Contest. You can submit a short story, essay, memoir, photo essay, cartoon,graphic novel or poem.” Prizes: $5,000/$2,500/$1,500. (via http://FundsforWriters.com)
RAC Driving Abroad Short Story Competition 2014
Deadline: September 11, 2014
NO ENTRY FEE
“To celebrate the launch of the RAC’s new 5* Defaqto European Breakdown Cover, we’ve created a national short story competition based on the theme of driving in Europe. The Driving Abroad Short Story Competition 2014 is a great opportunity to showcase your writing talent. And if you win you’ll scoop GBP500 and FREE RAC 5* European Breakdown Cover for a year. Plus, you’ll also have your story published in the RAC’s online club magazine. Two runners up will be awarded GBP100 M&S vouchers and all shortlisted entries have the chance to be published on our website….There’s a 1,000-word limit and it must follow a short story narrative, rather than just accounts of a driving holiday abroad. And if the story includes the UK it must also include one or more other countries or regions of the EU.” (via http://shortstops.info)
Helen Schaible International Shakespearean/Petrarchan Sonnet Contest
Deadline: September 1, 2014
NO ENTRY FEE
This contest for original, unpublished Shakespearean or Petrarchan sonnets awards cash prizes: $50/$35/$15
Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award
Deadline: September 26, 2014
NO ENTRY FEE
“The Award – the only international prize for a single short story – recognises the finest writers, with previous winners including Junot Diaz, Kevin Barry, Anthony Doerr and C K Stead. Worth GBP30,000 to the winner and GBP1,000 to each of the five runners-up, prizes will be announced in April 2015. Entry is open to authors from anywhere in the world, as long as they have a previous record of publication in creative writing in the UK and Ireland. Stories must be previously unpublished, or first published after 1 January 2014. All entries must be 6,000 words or under and entirely original.”
Young Lions Fiction Award
Deadline: August 15, 2014
NO APPLICATION FEE
“The New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award is a $10,000 prize awarded each spring to a writer age 35 or younger for a novel or a collection of short stories. Established in 2001, this annual award recognizes the work of young authors and celebrates their accomplishments publicly, making a difference in their lives as they continue to build their careers….Each year five young fiction writers are selected as finalists by a reading committee of Young Lions members, writers, editors, and librarians. A panel of award judges selects the winner of the $10,000 prize.”
Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Nonfiction
“The reading period for the award will be the month of February for the issue that publishes in June, and the month of August for the issue that publishes in December.”
NO ENTRY FEE
“The Diana Woods Memorial (DWM) Award in creative nonfiction was established in Diana’s memory by her family, friends, and the Antioch University Los Angeles MFA community. DWM serves as a special opportunity for authors worldwide to be published in the literary journal Lunch Ticket. Launched in the spring of 2012, Lunch Ticket is produced by the Antioch University Los Angeles MFA program, an innovative creative writing graduate program devoted to the education of literary artists, community engagement, and the pursuit of social justice. Twice each year an author of a work of creative nonfiction will be selected for the DWM award by the Woods family, a member of the AULA MFA faculty in creative nonfiction, and a special guest judge. The winning submissions will be published in Lunch Ticket and the recipient will receive $250. One author will be chosen for the Summer/Fall issue of Lunch Ticket and one in the Winter/Spring issue.”‘
5. SUBMISSION ALERTS!!!
ELLIPSIS…LITERATURE AND ART reopens for submissions on August 1 (closing again November 1). Considers poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, and art. Pays: “We pay $10 for each poetry or art piece and $50 for each prose piece, plus two free copies of the issue.” See http://www.ellipsis-literature.com for more information.
ARTS & LETTERS (which charges a fee for e-submissions but continues to accept submissions sent via postal mail without fees) also reopens for submissions on August 1. The journal accepts unsolicited poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Query for translations and interviews. Pays: “$10 per printed page (minimum payment: $50), a one-year subscription to Arts & Letters, and an additional copy of the issue in which your work appears.” The subscription also includes access to the digital supplement to the print journal. http://artsandletters.gcsu.edu/submit/
From August 1 to April 1, “the editors of WEST BRANCH welcome submissions of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and translation. We print only original, unpublished work. For accepted work, we purchase First North American serial rights. Payment is awarded for accepted works in the amount of $40 per submission of poetry, $10/page of printed prose with a maximum payment of $100, and .$.05/word of online prose with a maximum payment of $100. Additionally, we provide each contributor with two copies of the issue in which his/her work appears and a one-year subscription to West Branch.” http://westbranchsubmissions.bucknell.edu
WHITEFISH REVIEW, which publishes material “with a slant toward mountain culture,” reopens for submissions on August 1. Pays: “We want to honor your contribution and we pay $10/printed page, $25 minimum per title, $50 maximum per author, with two copies of the issue. Often we negotiate extra copies of the journal in lieu of payment to help us with cash flow. Payment is upon publication.” http://www.whitefishreview.org/
BRAIN, CHILD is planning another issue of BRAIN, TEEN: “In 2015 we will have another special issue for parents of t(w)eens. Here we invite essays, fiction and poetry that capture the unique experience of raising t(w)eens. Examples of essays include a father coming out to his daughter, a mother letting her son take a gap year, and a mother’s foray into heavy metal music with her teen daughter.” Deadline: September 1, 2014. The magazine pays “competitive pay rates.” Please visit http://www.brainchildmag.com/about/writers-guidelines/ for more information. (h/t http://WritingCareer.com)
Canadian journal SUBTERRAIN’s winter issue also has a September 1 deadline. This issue will be themed “Meat”: “Humans have hunted, trapped, and killed animals for their ‘meat’ (Old English mete = food) from at least as far back as our “hunter-gatherer” days. From guinea pigs to bison, quail to turkeys, oolichans to whales, we’ve tried them all. The human relationship with meat will be explored in fiction, memoir, and essay.” Pays: $50/poem and $50/page. Considers poetry that is related to the theme, fiction, creative nonfiction, and commentary “social or otherwise”). http://subterrain.ca/about/35/sub-terrain-writer-s-guidelines
Based in the U.K. and aimed toward “women who write,” MSLEXIA seeks submissions on “Ancestors” for its next “New Writing” section. “Whether recently deceased or long dead, whether imagined, researched or remembered, tell us something about one of more of your forbears. Please send poems (up to 40 lines) and short stories (up to 2,200 words).” Deadline: September 16, 2014. Pays: “The basic rates of New Writing are GBP25 per poem and GBP15 per thousand words of prose.” http://www.mslexia.co.uk/info/submit.php
PLOUGHSHARES reopened for submissions on June 1 (closes again January 15). The journal “welcomes unsolicited submissions of fiction, poetry, and a limited amount of nonfiction.” Submit via postal mail or online (there is a $3 fee for online submissions; no fee for postal submissions). Pays: on publication, $25/printed page, $50 minimum/title, $250 minimum/author, plus two copies and a subscription. See http://www.pshares.org/submit/index.cfm for more info; note that for critical essay queries, “you will not be charged the service fee.” See also this comment on the submission manager page itself: “Please note that the Spring 2015 issue will be a special poetry issue. Therefore, Ploughshares will not be making final decisions about the fiction and nonfiction shortlist for the Fall 2015 issue until early 2015. We ask that fiction and nonfiction writers who submit early on in our reading period be patient with the long wait.”
“DEATH WHERE THE NIGHTS ARE LONG is an anthology of writing about the idea and experience of death. We are asking approximately thirty writers from Canada, the U.S. and Iceland to deliver an account of death in its many varied forms….We are seeking a wide range of voices and experiences. Untimely death. Death of old age. Death of a pet or other animal. Death cheated. Death embraced. Death by suicide, murder, illness, carelessness, caring. Bargains with death. Experiences and imaginings about what lies beyond our last breath. Grieving. Coping. Strategies for living in the full awareness of mortality. All of these and more are welcome for consideration. We are seeking essays, memoirs, poetry and creative non-fiction, with a suggested length of between 2,500 and 5,000 words. You can make a pitch, or send in your completed piece.” Pays: “If your piece is accepted, you will be paid $250 on completed delivery and acceptance. You will receive another $250 on publication. If the book does very well — as we hope it will — we will also consider a success fee to each contributor in an amount to be determined.” NB: “We anticipate working with an established publisher, depending on interest, which depends in turn on the quality of submissions. Our anticipated publication date is autumn 2015. Deadline for submission is November 1, 2014.” Details at http://everywherenowpress.com/books/anthology-about-our-experience-of-death/ (h/t http://writingcareer.com)
“STORY is interested in narrative of any shape and kind we can get onto the printed page. Surprise us with traditional and experimental forms of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. We love short fiction, but we love hermit-crab essays, hybrid forms, research, lists, and charts too. Issues are themed and double-sided and feature the best narratives that speak to that theme in whichever size, shape, or genre they come. Pays: “Story, will pay author(s) a minimum of $30 per poem, $20 per page of prose (up to $200), and $100 per interview upon publication of the work(s) in print editions of STORY. Unfortunately we do not currently pay for online publication or for reprints of already-published work.” NB: “We are now accepting submissions for our forthcoming issue about immigration and emigration, human or otherwise. Currently 3-6 month response time.” The reading period for this issue closes on November 15, 2014. Check http://www.storymagazine.org/submit/ for more information. (via http://duotrope.com)
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
–Friday Finds for Writers
Please visit, and comment! http://www.erikadreifus.com/blogs/practicing-writer.
And for those of you practicing writers who are interested in matters of specifically Jewish literary/cultural interest, please also visit My Machberet (http://www.erikadreifus.com/blogs/my-machberet). (For the curious, “machberet” is the Hebrew word for “notebook”.)
Recent posts there include:
–Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links
–Fiction for, If Not of, Our Times
–Words of the Week
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 and the Northwest Institute for Literary Arts. 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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