THE PRACTICING WRITER
Supporting the Craft and Business of Excellent Writing
Volume 13, Number 9: October 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:
September really whooshed by. It was a pretty good month for me, and I hope for you, too.
As I ready this newsletter for you, I am also readying myself for the Jewish New Year. Let me take this opportunity to wish everyone else who may be celebrating it a Shanah Tovah.
And here’s wishing all of you the best with your writing practices,
2. ARTICLE/LESSONS LEARNED: Q&A WITH RACHEL HALL
Q&A with Rachel Hall, Author of HEIRLOOMS
By Erika Dreifus
I’m always pleased to share author Q&A articles with you, but this time, I’m exceptionally happy. In part that’s because I love the book that you’ll be hearing about: HEIRLOOMS, Rachel Hall’s collection of linked stories. And in part, it’s because Rachel herself is such a dear friend.
I was lucky to meet Rachel almost 15 years ago, at the 2002 meeting of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). Our paths crossed at a session we both attended on historical fiction. We connected quickly over that shared interest, and another common bond: writing fiction inspired by our families’ World War II experiences. I first read the manuscript that became HEIRLOOMS some time ago, and I knew instantly how important and exceptional it was. I truly couldn’t wait until other people had the opportunity to discover that for themselves.
And now that time is here. HEIRLOOMS has just been published by BkMk Press, having been selected by Marge Piercy for the G.S. Sharat Chandra Book Prize. In Piercy’s words, “HEIRLOOMS is a fascinating series of interconnected stories about members of an extended family of Jews before, during, and long after the Holocaust, in France, in Israel, in the United States. Different women and men define themselves in resistance, denial, and ignorance of history through four generations . . . In some ways the entire book is a meditation on the meaning of family and history.” Stories in the collection were initially published in journals including BELLINGHAM REVIEW, GETTYSBURG REVIEW, MIDWESTERN GOTHIC, NEW LETTERS, WATER-STONE, COSMONAUTS AVENUE, and LILITH, which awarded “La Poussette” its 2016 fiction prize.
Rachel Hall teaches creative writing and literature at the State University of New York at Geneseo, where she holds two Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence–one for teaching and one for her creative work. She lives in Rochester, New York, with her family.
Please welcome Rachel Hall!
ERIKA DREIFUS (ED): Rachel, which of the stories in HEIRLOOMS is the “oldest”–which is the one you began writing earliest? What initially motivated you to write it? Where does it fall now in the manuscript?
RACHEL HALL (RH): “Saint-Malo, 1940” was the first story I wrote, and it’s the first story in the book. This makes it seem as if I worked in an organized and orderly way when, in fact, I didn’t. I think the experience of becoming a mother and having a young child made the material of that story, a story based on a family story I’d heard numerous times, both urgent and accessible to me. I could imagine the anguish of leaving behind a small child, as well as the way the child’s loss would ripple out into the rest of her life.
ED: And which is the “newest”–which is the one you began writing most recently? What prompted that? Where does *it* fall in the manuscript?
RH: The most recent story is “Jews of the Middle West,” which I wrote at the suggestion of an editor who was interested in the manuscript, but wanted to see more about the character of [American-born] Sophie. I wasn’t sure initially that this was a good idea, but I’m glad now for this encouragement even though that editor ended up passing on the manuscript. I think this story adds an important aspect to the collection by exploring how family history gets shared. And it was really fun to write about the donut shop, which is much like a place I worked in high school. “Jews of the Middle West” is fourth from the end of the collection. The following story, “After All,” was also added about the same time, and Sophie is also important in that story.
ED: As you sought publication for this manuscript, you worked with an agent AND entered literary contests. Please tell us, first, one thing you learned via the process of working with an agent.
RH: As a writing student and instructor, I was accustomed to giving and receiving feedback of a certain kind–focused on craft and technique, logical rather than emotional. I assumed that this would be the case with the publishing industry, too. My agent sent my manuscripts to a number of editors, and we got really complimentary and kind rejections. Many of the editors said they admired the writing, but they weren’t “in love.” I was surprised by this comment, which isn’t useful in any way for the writer. But of course, editors aren’t, like writing professors, required to educate. Still, I was surprised by how subjective and emotional the responses were. It was hard not to think in terms of dating and relationships: “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” Who wants to hear that?
ED: And one thing you learned via the contest process?
RH: I entered a number of contests with this manuscript. It was a finalist for two other contests before BkMk and Marge Piercy selected it for the G.S. Sharat Chandra award. I was pretty discouraged by these close calls, but I see now that I should have been more encouraged. I have another collection that was a finalist several times and I gave up on it. Now, I realize that being a finalist means that the collection will eventually find a home.
ED: Please tell us a bit about your experience working with BkMk Press in the months since you were notified that HEIRLOOMS won the contest and would be published by the press.
RH: I’ve enjoyed working with Ben Furnish and the others at BkMk. Ben has been open to all my ideas for the book design, including my request for the cover art, a gouache by Charlotte Salomon (1917-43). Ben and I have had these lovely phone conversations all year. I was really happy to meet him at [the 2016 conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs]. I was struck by his devotion to his writers. And this devotion is reciprocated: A number of writers have reached out to me because of our mutual connection with Ben and BkMk. There’s a BkMk community, it turns out, and I’m lucky to be a part of it now.
ED: Anything else you’d like us to know?
RH: There’s a steep learning curve for the debut author. There’s a new vocabulary to learn, new terms and acronyms: galleys, media, ARC, etc. It can be a bit overwhelming. After learning that BkMk would be publishing HEIRLOOMS, I reached out to the previous winner of the G.S. Sharat Chandra award, Lenore Myka. I’d read her collection KING OF THE GYPSIES and loved it. I wanted to let her know, and I also was eager to hear about her experience with BkMk. Lenore was incredibly helpful and had wonderful things to say about her experience. I ended up working with Lenore’s independent publicist, Caitlin Hamilton Summie, and that’s been an excellent experience. I hope this year’s winner will contact me, so I can pass on what I’ve learned too.
ED: That winner will have an excellent advisor! Thank you so much, Rachel. As you know, I cannot wait for readers to discover HEIRLOOMS.
Readers, please check out Rachel’s website, www.rachelhall.org, and follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/rach_h_writer.
3. FEATURED RESOURCE: NATHAN BRANSFORD’S BOOK PUBLISHING GLOSSARY
Rachel’s reference to the “new vocabulary” that debut authors must learn inspired me look for glossaries online. Here’s a helpful one from Nathan Bransford.
4. UPCOMING/ONGOING CONTESTS, COMPETITIONS, AND OTHER OPPORTUNITIES OF INTEREST
GAIUS CHARLES BOLIN DISSERTATION AND POST-MFA FELLOWSHIPS
Deadline: November 15, 2016
NO APPLICATION FEE INDICATED
“The Gaius Charles Bolin Fellowships at Williams College are designed to promote diversity on college faculties by encouraging students from underrepresented groups to complete a terminal graduate degree and to pursue careers in college teaching. The Bolin Fellowships are two-year residencies at Williams, and two scholars or artists are appointed each year. Fellows devote the bulk of the first year to the completion of dissertation work–or in the case of MFA applicants, building their professional portfolios–while also teaching one course as a faculty member in one of the College’s academic departments or programs. The second year of residency (ideally with degree in hand) is spent on academic career development while again teaching just one course.” Eligibility: “The Bolin Fellowships are awarded to applicants from underrepresented groups, including ethnic minorities, those who are first-generation college graduates, women in predominately male fields, or disabled scholars. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who intend to pursue a professorial career in the U.S. Ph.D. candidates must have completed all doctoral work except the dissertation by the end of the current academic year. MFA candidates must be recent recipients of the degree; only those with degrees granted in 2015, or to be granted in 2016, are eligible to apply.” Confers an annual stipend of $40,000. “The College will also provide health and dental benefits, relocation and housing assistance, academic support including office space and a computer, and an annual allowance of $4,000 for research-related expenses.”
PATRICIA BIBBY MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
Deadline: November 1, 2016
NO APPLICATION FEE INDICATED
“The Patricia Bibby Memorial Scholarship was created in 2006 in memory of Patricia Bibby, a newer poet in Southern California whose work showed great promise but who died in 2004 before her full potential was realized. Originally conceived and awarded at Idyllwild Arts/Summer Poetry in Idyllwild through an endowed fund, the scholarship and fund were transferred to the management and care of Tebot Bach in 2015 after Idyllwild Arts discontinued its summer poetry program. The 2017 recipient will receive a scholarship to attend the five-day Post-Conference Workshop in Poetry and Short-Form Prose, February 21 – 25, 2017, led by poet Cecilia Woloch, in association with the San Miguel Writers Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The scholarship covers the cost of the workshop, airfare, and lodging. The recipient may, at her or his own discretion, travel to San Miguel prior to the workshop, to attend some or all of the conference events at his or her own expense.” NB: “The competition is open to all English-language poets residing in the United States who have not previously published a full-length book or chapbook. Financial need is not required, but will be a factor in the selection.”
BROOKLYN NON-FICTION PRIZE
Deadline: November 15, 2016
NO ENTRY FEE INDICATED
“The Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize, a cash award of $500, will be awarded to the best Brooklyn-focused non-fiction essay which is set in Brooklyn and is about Brooklyn and/or Brooklyn people/characters. We are seeking compelling Brooklyn stories from writers with a broad range of backgrounds and ages who can render Brooklyn’s rich soul and intangible qualities through the writer’s actual experiences in Brooklyn. From the collection of selected Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize submissions, five authors will be selected to read from their work and discuss their Brooklyn stories with the audience at our December 2016 event. The exact date/time and venue will be announced later. These stories and several other submitted stories will be published on the Brooklyn Film and Arts Festival website and made available to the public.”
DRAKE UNIVERSITY EMERGING WRITER AWARD
http://www.drake.edu/english/susanglaspellwriterscriticsseries/ (scroll down the page)
Deadline: November 1, 2016
NO APPLICATION FEE
“The Drake University Writers & Critics Series is accepting submissions for its eighth annual Drake University Emerging Writer Award. The faculty and students of Drake University’s English Department select one outstanding first book from among the entries, and the author receives an honorarium of $1000 plus travel and lodging expenses to read at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Each year, the award rotates among genres (short fiction, literary nonfiction, and poetry). We are currently accepting submissions of first books of short stories (collections) for consideration for the Drake University Emerging Writer Reading, which will be held in the month of September, 2017. Entries must have a copyright date of 2014 or later, and may be submitted by the author or the publisher. Submissions must include a copy of the published book; a cover letter that includes a brief biography, contact information (phone and email) for the author, and a statement affirming that this is the author’s first book-length publication of a collection of short stories.” NB: “Authors must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and must agree to attend and participate in the reading at Drake University in November 2017 to receive the award.”
EMORY UNIVERSITY CREATIVE WRITING PROGRAM FELLOWSHIPS
Deadline: November 1, 2016
NO APPLICATION FEES
Two year fellowships (2017-2019) in poetry or fiction. “Load 2-1, all workshops; $30,000 salary, and health benefits.”
LINDENWOOD REVIEW LYRIC ESSAY CONTEST
Deadline: November 1, 2016
NO ENTRY FEE
“Winner receives $50, publication in issue 7 of The Lindenwood Review, and three contributor copies. Honorable mentions receive publication in issue 7 of The Lindenwood Review and three contributor copies.” Check the post for more information, including guidance regarding the lyric essay form.
JANE LUMLEY PRIZE
Deadline: November 1, 2016
NO ENTRY FEE (“You may, however, choose to make a donation of $3 with your submission to support our endeavor.”)
“The Jane Lumley Prize will be awarded to poets who have not published more than one full length collection, and/or have only published chapbooks, and/or have published work in literary magazines and/or anthologies. We also strongly encourage unpublished writers to submit their work for consideration.” The prize is awarded “to a poet whose written work revels in the full spirit of creating a literary architecture that inspires the readers to engage with its being beyond the words and feelings that constitute it.” The winner “will receive a prize of $300 and will be featured in the January 2017 edition of Hermeneutic Chaos. The winner will also receive a certificate, 10 broadsides of the winning poem, and three chapbooks from our press catalog. Publication will also be awarded to the two finalists, along with certificates. We will also select up to seven honorable mentions who will be offered publication. In addition, all the entries will be considered for publication in the forthcoming issues of the journal. We are pleased to announce that this year, our contest will be co-sponsored by Duotrope, the award winning writers’ resource, which has generously contributed a one year subscription gift certificate to be awarded to the winner.”
THE PAYTON PRIZE
Deadline: November 21, 2016
NO ENTRY FEE
“The Freeman Family and the Drake University Department of English invite you to submit outstanding unpublished non-fiction essays of up to 3500 words on the subject of change and changes– whether that means the changing world, the changing self, metamorphoses or evolutions, sea changes or slow changes, we are open to all interpretations of this very general theme. Students and faculty of Drake University will read all entries and choose the finalists. The winner will be selected by final judge Thomas Page McBee, author of MAN ALIVE (2014), and the forthcoming AMATEUR. The winner will be awarded $500, published in THE RUMPUS, and brought to Drake University in April 2017 to read from the winning essay and speak at a public event.” NB: Authors must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
PEN/FAULKNER AWARD FOR FICTION
Deadline: October 31, 2016
NO ENTRY FEE
“The PEN/Faulkner Award honors the best work of fiction published by an American in a single calendar year. The largest peer-reviewed literary prize in the country, the PEN/Faulkner Award continues to recognize the finest American fiction being produced today.” NB: Per the 2016 submission letter (http://www.penfaulkner.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Submission-Letter-2016.pdf) the winning author receives $15,000, “and the other four finalists receive $5,000 each.”
WAX POETRY AND ART SOCIALLY ENGAGED AND SATIRICAL POETRY CONTEST
Deadline: October 31, 2016
NO ENTRY FEE
“Poetry has a role to play in shaping the discourses around the most pressing issues of our time. Engaging with serious topics is the most challenging, most exhausting, and most important poetic work. But it can also be a lot of fun to celebrate our right of free expression by speaking truth to power. WAX POETRY AND ART invites all socially engaged and aware poets to participate in this free contest. For the purpose of this contest, we shall consider the widest possible definition of ‘socially engaged.'” Prize of $50 CAD for winning poem (contest is open to Canadian residents and non-residents). NB: No simultaneous submissions.
5. SUBMISSION ALERTS!!!
“THE NORTHWEST REVIEW OF BOOKS is an online magazine of book reviews and literary essays. Founded in Portland, Oregon, in 2014, The Northwest Review of Books aims to continue the discussion of valuable literature, whether it is new or old, famous or obscure.” For website submissions (literary essays and book reviews), payment is $80 per piece; you can query first or submit via the online manager. For the first print issue, the journal invites queries and submissions until October 31. Guidelines: http://www.nwreview.com/about.html. The first print issue will be devoted to translation (both works in translations and works about translation). “All contributors will be compensated for their work; payment will be determined separately for each piece.” See https://nwreview.submittable.com/submit/62949 for print issue guidelines. (Thanks to http://twitter.com/Duotrope for making me aware of this one.)
SHENANDOAH “is open for fiction through Nov. 18. We will open for poetry once we get caught up.” Pays: Amounts are not disclosed on the website, but there is a note that “payment will coincide with publication.” More submissions info at http://shenandoahliterary.org/submissions/.
New publication: “TINY TIM LITERARY REVIEW will be released on a quarterly basis. Our first publication date is set for sometime in December. The goal is to normalize chronically ill/disability narratives in addition to humanizing medical professionals through their stories. We’ll be taking in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction work primarily. I’m also open to other formats as they present themselves. Dismantling ableism is important while also providing a place for medical narratives.” Pays: “Writers whose work is accepted will be compensated at $50. As we grow, we hope to be able to offer more.” Current deadline: November 19, 2016. Guidelines: https://tinytimliteraryreview.submittable.com/submit.
UNDERSTOREY MAGAZINE “is a Canadian online magazine of literary writing and visual art. Submissions are open to writers and artists who identify as women and live in Canada (or are Canadian citizens living abroad)….For our first seven issues (Fall 2013-Winter 2016), UNDERSTOREY published stories of motherhood….While we maintain an interest in stories of motherhood, we now welcome submissions on a wider range of topics relevant to Canadian women.” Submissions for issue 9, themed “Home and Away,” are open until December 1, 2016. Pays: “We offer a small honorarium ($40-$65) to writers and artists whose work is accepted for publication.” Visit http://understoreymagazine.ca/submissions/ for more.
For a short-fiction anthology tentatively titled SOUTHERN VOICES, Liz McMullen Show Publications is “seeking Southern voices, from the Appalachian hollers to the Deep South and everywhere in between….This anthology aspires to combat the media-fueled stereotype that all Southerners share the same values (and the same accent!) by depicting the diversity of the region. We want to hear the stories of Southerners of a wide range of ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, physical differences, social classes, and points of view. The stories may be contemporary or historical as long as they depict time and place authentically and imaginatively (Take it easy on the moonlight and magnolias, y’all).” Pays: “$50 plus two paperback copies, and an eBook.” Deadline: December 10, 2016. See guidelines at http://www.thelizmcmullenshow.com/cfs-southern-voices-anthology/. (Via a post to a call for submissions group from https://www.facebook.com/alan.jankowski.1)
Canada-based CARTE BLANCHE will be open for submissions from October 1, 2016, to December 31, 2016. “Our mandate is to provide a venue for narrative of all forms from fiction and nonfiction, to poetry and photo essays.” Pays: “a modest honorarium.” Visit http://carte-blanche.org for more information.
GOBLIN FRUIT will next be open for submissions from October 9 until December 1. “We want poetry that we can call ‘of the fantastical,’ poetry that treats mythic, surreal, fantasy and folkloric themes, or approaches other themes in a fantastical way. Re-write a fairytale, ponder an old story, consider history from an unusual perspective–really, it’s up to you, so long as the fantastical element is there. Since what qualifies as “the fantastical” is easily debatable, however, here’s what we’re not interested in: science fiction poetry (it’s not you, it’s us), horror for horror’s sake, and poetry that’s self-consciously gothic.” Pays: “$15.00 USD on publication for original, unpublished poems, and $5.00 for solicited reprints.” Check guidelines at http://www.goblinfruit.net/2016/winter/guidelines/.
UPSTREET has reopened for submissions (fiction and nonfiction only; they’re not considering unsolicited poetry at this time). “Payment, upon publication, will be between $50 and $250 for short stories or essays. Each author will also receive one complimentary copy, and may purchase more copies at a reduced rate.” Submission window closes March 1, 2017. Visit http://upstreet-mag.org/ for more info.
THE LASCAUX REVIEW has upped its pay rates, now offering $100 for stories, poems, and “essays of literary quality.” See http://lascauxreview.com/submissions/ for details.
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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