THE PRACTICING WRITER
Supporting the Craft and Business of Excellent Writing
Volume 11, Number 11: December 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:
Can you believe that it’s December? Once again, I’m delighted to share what has become an annual feature for this newsletter. Check the article immediately below for details.
Happy holidays to each and every one of you, and here’s wishing you continued joy and fulfillment in your writing practices – always an amazing gift in itself.
ARTICLE/LESSONS LEARNED: READING RECOMMENDATIONS FROM AND FOR PRACTICING WRITERS
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. I profile writers, review their books, and/or simply mention their efforts in this newsletter or on my blogs. 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.
As usual, I’m gratified by 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:
“I was deeply impressed by Paul Fleischman’s WONDER, published by Small Batch Books. Fleischman’s explanations of the discoveries of modern science destroy simplistic understandings of causality and make room for generous and enthusiastic spirituality that rises above the specifics of any traditional theology.”
–Jeffrey M. Green, http://amzn.to/1to45t4
“TOGETHER WE CAN BURY IT by Kathy Fish (The Lit Pub, 2012). This masterful collection is a bible of the short form — meant to be savored, studied, and re-read. Each story shimmers with the depth, wisdom and humanity of a novel; a stunning and astounding accomplishment in so few words.”
–Sara Lippmann, http://saralippmann.com
“STILL WRITING: THE PLEASURES AND PERILS OF A CREATIVE LIFE by Dani Shaprio (Grove Press, 2014 Paper). This book is full of wisdom, honesty, and insights into the personal and professional life of this writer. Beautifully written, it is a joy for the sheer power of Shapiro’s prose style.”
–Diane Lockward, http://amzn.to/1szTHij
“My recommendation: COWBOYS AND EAST INIDIANS, by Nina McConigley (Five Chapter Books, 2013). McConigley’s debut collection (and winner of the 2014 PEN Open Book Award) describes a cultural identity struggle I’d never seen depicted in literature–the American West, as seen through the eyes of Indian Americans–with deft, bittersweet humor and flawless prose.”
–Celeste Ng, http://celesteng.com
“I recommend THE KEEP by Jennifer Egan (Knopf, 2006). Although it isn’t a perfect book and critics have been mixed for a number of reasons, the approach of using different narratives and narrators is interesting, and the prose and spooky story absorbed me through most of the book and kept me reading.”
–Faye Rapoport DesPres, http://amzn.to/1kpsfjC
“LIKE A WOMAN by Debra Busman (Dzanc Books, 2015). A frank and utterly engrossing novel (forthcoming next year) that depicts a young girl’s escape from domestic abuse only to find herself forced into a life of prostitution and drug dealing before finding her way out. It has a really different structure: short chapters followed by even shorter, haunting interludes that read like prose poetry; and the employment of every available point-of-view to capture young Taylor both inside and out.”
–John Vanderslice, http://johnvanderslicebooks.com
FEATURED RESOURCE: EIGHT EASY WAYS TO SAY “THANK YOU”
Okay, I’m taking a bit of editorial license this month. Want to thank me for this no-cost, ad-free newsletter that I’ve been sending out for nearly ELEVEN years? I’ve come up with a neat list of eight easy (and mostly free) ways you can do so. Thank YOU in advance for taking a peek.
4. UPCOMING/ONGOING CONTESTS, COMPETITIONS, AND OTHER OPPORTUNITIES OF INTEREST
Berfrois Poetry Contest
Submissions: November 30-December 31, 2014
NO ENTRY FEE
“Poets may submit to Berfrois, using its online submission manager, a single, original, poem in English which is not a translation, but may be in any mode or form, up to 300 lines….By midnight on January 9, 2014, Berfrois will have read all the submissions and selected poems by 10 finalists for a short list. These 10 poems will be published on Berfrois during the first few weeks of January 2014. Berfrois may suggest that the writers of the short-listed poems make changes to these poems before posting. The writers of the ten short-listed poems will be given one week, until midnight on January 16, 2014, to submit 4 more poems each. In the last two weeks of January, Berfrois will read each of the short-listed 5 poem portfolios and select a Poetry Prize Winner. Berfrois will announce the Poetry Prize Winner of the on February 1, 2015. The winning poet will be awarded a prize. The winning portfolio of five poems will be published on Berfrois with an introduction by Daniel Bosch. Berfrois may suggest minor editorial changes be made to this portfolio prior to posting.” NB: Via Twitter (https://twitter.com/berfrois/status/530345461035851777), I was able to ascertain that there will be a “small cash prize.” Also, like the original entry, the 4 additional poems must be unpublished.
The Binnacle Twelfth Annual Ultra-Short Competition
Submissions: December 1, 2014-March 15, 2015
NO ENTRY FEE INDICATED
“The Binnacle will sponsor its Twelfth International Ultra-Short Competition in the 2014-2015 academic year. We are looking for prose works of 150 words or fewer and poetry of sixteen lines or fewer and fewer than 150 words. All works should have a narrative element to them…..A minimum of $300 in cash prizes will be awarded, with a minimum prize of $50. At least one of the prizes will go to a [University of Maine-Machias] student. Please submit no more than two works total, prose and/or poetry.”
Great Plains Emerging Tribal Writer Award
http://greatplainswritersconference.wordpress.com/awards/great-plains-emerging-tribal-writer-award-submission-guidelines/ or http://bit.ly/118PqLO
Deadline: January 15, 2015 (received)
NO ENTRY FEE
“The Great Plains Writers’ Conference, in cooperation with South Dakota State University’s American Indian Studies Program and American Indian Education and Cultural Center, sponsors an annual award to encourage tribal writers in the early phases of their writing lives and to honor those of extraordinary merit and promise. The 2015 winner, judged by the [South Dakota State University] SDSU English Department, AIS and AIECC, will receive an award of $500 and be invited to read at the Great Plains Writers’ Conference at SDSU, in March, 2015.” The prize is open to “tribally-enrolled writers from the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Minnesota who have not yet published a book of creative writing.” Eligible work includes fiction, creative nonfiction, drama/screenplay, or poetry.
Amy Levy Prize
Deadline: March 1, 2015
NO ENTRY FEE
“To mark the 125th anniversary of the death of Amy Levy, we are proud to announce a new award for young, unpublished writers….Entrants, 30 years old, or under, can only submit one entry of 5000 words or less….This piece of work must be a previously unpublished piece of fiction, on a Jewish theme.” Prizes: GBP 1,000, a week-long writing retreat, a mentor for one year, and a residency at JW3.
Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers
Deadline: January 15, 2015
NO ENTRY FEE
“Established in 2005 to honor the memory of Ellen Meloy, the Fund provides support to writers whose work reflects the spirit and passions embodied in Ellen’s writing and her commitment to a ‘deep map of place.’ Ellen’s own map-in-progress was of the desert country she called home.” The Fund grants one $3,000 award each spring. “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.”
OREGON QUARTERLY Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest
Deadline: January 20, 2015
NO ENTRY FEE
“Now in its 16th year, the Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest is a competitive forum for outstanding nonfiction writing. Winners are eligible for $2,000 in cash prizes and are invited to participate in a reading on the UO campus. The first-place winner will be published in OREGON QUARTERLY magazine. Essays must have some evident connection to the Pacific Northwest, but we intentionally leave the interpretation of what constitutes a ‘Northwest Perspective’ fairly open. Many past winners have been set in the region. Others have evoked local sensibilities. While this region means different things to different people, all submissions should be grounded in the Pacific Northwest — physically, emotionally, or psychically.” NB: This contest is open to entrants in two categories: “Open” and “Student” (“student” meaning “any student enrolled and pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree at a college or university at the time of the deadline”).
Summer Poet-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi
Deadline: January 15, 2015
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.”
THIRDSPACE Short Fiction Contest
Deadline: December 22, 2014
NO ENTRY FEE INDICATED
“Send us your short fiction for a chance to win a $350 prize and have your work published in thirdspace! The stories should center on experience(s) of medical education.” Check the guidelines for “some ideas just to get you started….” NB: “The contest is open to everyone….Please limit your submissions to one per author, and 5,000 words or less.” (Thanks to Suzanne Koven — http://SuzanneKovenMD.com — for the lead on this one.)
TransitionsAbroad.com 2015 Narrative Travel Writing Contest
Deadline: January 15, 2015 (received)
NO ENTRY FEE
“Professionals, freelancers, and aspiring travel writers are invited to write articles which describe how traveling in a slower manner and adapting to the space and time of natives has deepened your experience of both the people and the destination. One of the results of a slower form of immersion travel is the experience of ‘epiphanies’ which change one’s perceptions of the world, of others, and of oneself. We urge you to translate one of those moments or series of moments into a narrative, which will convey this view to many who still tend to see travel as a way to ‘do’ as many countries, cities, and continents in the world as possible—as if travel was some form of competition or consumption.” The top three winners’ entries as well as those of selected runners-up will be published. “In this year’s Narrative Travel Writing Contest, the first-place winner’s entry will receive $500 (USD), the second-place winning entry $150, and the third-place winner $100. Any other articles selected as runner-ups will receive a $50 payment.” Competition is open to “professional, freelance and aspiring travel writers from any location around the globe and of any nationality.”
Wildacres Residency Program
Deadline: January 15, 2015
NO APPLICATION FEE
“The Wildacres Residency Program began in 1999 and over the past fifteen years has hosted approximately 400 writers, artists, and musicians. Participants stay in one of three comfortable cabins located 1/4 mile from the conference center and have use of the Wildacres facilities….With the use of three cabins, the program will have about 70 one- and two-week residencies available from April through October. Sessions begin each Monday afternoon and conclude on Sunday or early Monday morning. The program allows individuals the solitude and inspiration needed to begin or continue work on a project in their particular field.” NB: “In 2015, we will again include several two week residencies. Those people who wish to apply for a two week residency should fill out the application specifically for that program. Those that apply for two week residencies will not be considered for the one week program.”
5. SUBMISSION ALERTS!!!
From THE HUMBER LITERARY REVIEW (Canada): “We are currently seeking submissions of prose, poetry, artwork, and comics for our third issue, scheduled for release in spring 2015.” Deadline: December 8, 2014. Pays: “We purchase first North American serial rights, and pay $60/per poem, and $100 each for essays, fiction, and reviews. Contributors will receive two copies of the issue in which their work appears.” http://humberliteraryreview.com/submissions/ (via http://placesforwriters.com)
December is one of the months when Australia-based KILL YOUR DARLINGS accepts submissions (other months: March, June, and September). “KILL YOUR DARLINGS publishes fiction, feature articles and investigative journalism, essays and other creative non-fiction. Reviews of contemporary books, theatre, music and film are also welcomed. We are particularly interested in retrospectives.” Pays: “Kill Your Darlings pays its regular columnists, as well as contributors to the quarterly edition and writers of special features on our website. Rates are negotiated with the editors on commission, however our minimum payment for a lead feature commentary is $550, commentary is $200, fiction is $250, and reviews $200 (for all of which we subtract $50 for a discounted yearly subscription, or renewal of an existing subscription).” Note also: “We are currently accepting pitches and submissions (nonfiction only) to our blog, Killings….Killings pieces are generally between 800-1000 words. Commissioned online content (excluding our regular columns) is paid $50.” http://www.killyourdarlingsjournal.com/submissions
From Monkey Star Press: “We are looking for content for two mom lit anthologies 1) tantrums and babysitters, and 2) moms, children, and lack of sleep.” Will consider “personal essay, creative nonfiction, flash memoir, and non-essay content including poems, lists, top ten, dos and don’ts, humor or inspirational, up to 2,000 words.” Will consider reprints. Deadline: December 31, 2014. Pays: “One to two free paperback copies of the anthology and compensation ranging from $25 to $200 (to be paid after publication based on a payment structure that is explained and outlined in the contract that you sign).” Visit http://www.monkeystarpress.com/p/call-for-submissions.html
From Canada-based CARTE BLANCHE: “We have ONE submission period for the entire year, from September 1st, 2014 until January 1st, 2015. Submissions received during this time will be considered for the issues published in the 2015 calendar year.” Pays: “carte blanche pays a modest honorarium per submission. We hope to increase the amount in the future.” http://carte-blanche.org/submissions/
THE CAPILANO REVIEW (also Canada-based) plans a “Pacific Poetries” issue for May 2015. “TCR’s spring issue will feature writing and visual art that take up Pacific poetics, environments, and orientations / Pacific geo-politics / radical cartographies / the trans-Pacific / Pacific correspondences / translations / transportation / waterways / Pacific Gateway initiatives / historical interfaces / site-specific work / collaborations / work that queries the category of the Pacific / & etc.” Deadline: February 25, 2015. This Canadian journal pays its contributors $50/published page up to a maximum of $200. http://www.thecapilanoreview.ca/about/
THE FIRST LINE’s 2015 “first lines” are here, so go check them out. Pays: $25-$50 a story, $5-$10 for poetry, and $25 for nonfiction (all in U.S. dollars). http://www.thefirstline.com
“EPOCH is an open forum for literary fiction, poetry, essays, screenplays, cartoons, graphic art, and graphic fiction. We consider only work that is previously unpublished. We do not accept electronic submissions or simultaneous submissions.” Submissions are currently open and will remain so until April 15. Pays: “Our payments vary from year to year depending on our funding. We presently pay a minimum of $50 per poem. We pay a maximum of $150 per story, more for fiction submitted by literary agencies and for long stories and novellas.” http://english.arts.cornell.edu/publications/epoch/submit.html
The Stoneslide Corrective pays for stories upon publication. Authors will be paid $250 for short fiction and short narrative non-fiction, and $100 for flash pieces up to 1,000 words. What do we want? We’ll look at any genre. We like serious, comic, lighthearted, dark, emotional, and acerbic. The important factor for us is that the work use story, characters, emotions, and other fundamental elements of storytelling to think, to ask questions, to move the mind forward.” NB: Guidelines page also includes submission info if you are interested in submitting book-length work. http://stoneslidecorrective.com/another-page-here/
“THE QUIP accepts submissions of the written word in any form – fiction/non-fiction short stories, novellas, poems, op-ed pieces, lyrics, etcetera. THE QUIP is a comedic literary magazine.” Pays: “We are working on a Kickstarter campaign so we can pay our authors and continue to produce beautiful printed magazines. Paying writers is important to The Quip. For now, authors will receive $50 per publication along with a free yearly subscription.” Guidelines: http://www.thequip.org/submissions/
“EMBER is a semiannual journal of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction for all age groups. Submissions for and by readers aged 10 to 18 are strongly encouraged.” Pays: $.01/word or $20 per work, “whichever is more, for worldwide first publication rights in English.” http://emberjournal.org
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-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”.
Recent writing-focused posts there include:
–Lee Mandel’s “Unlikely Warrior: A Pacifist Rabbi’s Journey from the Pulpit to Iwo Jima”
–Pre-Shabbat Jewish Lit Links
–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. 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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