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Supporting the Craft and Business of Excellent Writing
Volume 14, Number 4: May 2017
Editor: Erika Dreifus
Copyright (c) 2017 Erika Dreifus


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1. Editor’s Note: What’s New
2. Article/Lessons Learned
3. Featured Resource
4. Upcoming/Ongoing Contests, Competitions, and Other Opportunities (NO ENTRY FEES; PAYING OPPORTUNITIES ONLY)
6. Blog Notes
7. Newsletter Matters

Dear Practicing Writers:

I’ve had a good and busy April (just wait until I post my monthly “poetry stats” on the Practicing Writing blog!), and May is looking nice, too. I hope the same holds true for all of you.

I’ve been especially gratified to hear so much excellent publishing-related news from so many of you. It seems that a number of you have found THE SUNLIGHT PRESS, in particular, as congenial a home for your work as I have, which makes me quite happy.

Lots to share in this issue. Let’s get to it!

With all best wishes for your writing practices,

P.S. Later in this issue you’ll see a call for submissions from a new publication titled INTER. Here’s a prefatory note about it that I received via email from its editorial manager, Paula Carter:

Hi Erika:

I have been receiving The Practicing Writer for years and love it! I’ve had more than one success based on something I first read in your newsletter. I am now in a position to contribute to it. I am working with a new online publication, INTER, that is working to share stories about diverse religious traditions in the U.S. in order to challenge stereotypes and assumptions. We pay contributors. We are open to submissions from everyone and feature Millennial and Gen Z voices.

(Again, you’ll find more info about INTER later in this newsletter.)

Revision, Relatives, and Writing One’s Own Love Story: Q&A with Annette Gendler

By Erika Dreifus

Annette Gendler is the author of JUMPING OVER SHADOWS, a new memoir of a German-Jewish love that overcame the burdens of the past. Although Annette and I attended the same MFA program, we did not overlap there; I became acquainted with Annette and her work online; I admired her essays for TABLET MAGAZINE in particular. When I learned that her memoir would be published, I invited her to participate in a Q&A here.

Annette Gendler’s writing and photography have appeared in the WALL STREET JOURNAL, TABLET MAGAZINE, BELLA GRACE, and ARTFUL BLOGGING, among others. Annette served as the 2014–2015 writer-in-residence at the Hemingway Birthplace Home in Oak Park, Illinois, and has been teaching memoir writing at StoryStudio Chicago since 2006. Born in New Jersey, she grew up in Germany and lives in Chicago with her family.

Please welcome Annette Gendler!

ERIKA DREIFUS (ED): In your book’s acknowledgments section, you cite one of your MFA thesis readers, who told you: “The story of the past is only interesting in as far as it resonates in the present,” and you suggest that “without his urging, [you] would not have embarked on telling [your] own story,” because you found the stories of your great-aunt and your grandparents “interesting enough.” Was this truly an “aha!” moment – did you immediately embark on re-shaping the book? Or were there other moments, motivations, models that helped you create what became JUMPING OVER SHADOWS?

ANNETTE GENDLER (AG): It indeed happened like this! My MFA thesis was a collection of essays that explored what had happened to my grandparents and great-aunt in Czechoslovakia before, during, and after WWII. At the time I was mainly interested in how their loss of their homeland had resulted in the subsequent “homelessness” of my father’s generation and mine. I did not intend to write my own story despite it being undeniably dramatic. I sat on my advisor’s advice until I gave it a try during a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Following Hemingway’s method, I told myself to write at least 500 words a day and at the end of that residency, I had a rough draft of what would become the second narrative thread in JUMPING OVER SHADOWS – namely my own story.

ED: Please tell us a bit about how your family members – especially those who figure prominently in JUMPING OVER SHADOWS – have reacted to it.

AG: I didn’t even shop the manuscript around until my husband had read and okayed it, and I made whatever changes he wanted me to, which were all minor. My two older children read the book and my younger son will read it soon, I’m sure, mainly because people keep asking him about it. My daughter is a terrific editor, and she reviewed the manuscript after I did a major rewrite in the summer of 2015. Quite often she scribbled notes like “That’s so Dad!” on the margin that were great affirmations to me – I had gotten him right. My older son found the book “very interesting” and claims the most important thing he learned was that you don’t have to tell your parents everything. That’s definitely an unintended consequence!

Sadly, no one of the older generation is still alive so I could not get their input. I was most apprehensive about how my brother and sister would react, because they knew the older generation and had their own relationships with these people. That history was also their history. Thankfully, they both love the book and are happy to have our family history presented in this way, but they were also gracious enough to recognize that it was my version of the story and theirs might be different. My brother, who’s a graphic designer in Austria, has helped design a lot of my marketing materials and also had input on the cover design, so to him the book’s success is a shared project.

ED: Biggest challenge in the writing of this book? Biggest surprise?

AG: Biggest challenge: Writing my own love story! How do you do that without being soppy? Biggest surprise: Discovering a plausible reason for my great-grandfather’s suicide while doing my research.

ED: Please tell us how JUMPING OVER SHADOWS came to be published by She Writes Press. And perhaps a bit about your experience working with them.

AG: I shopped the book around for three years, trying to find an agent or a publisher. I had many nibbles, requests for the manuscript, but no takers. Then an editor at Algonquin said she’d be willing to consider it again if I took out a lot of the history. The manuscript was, in her opinion, “too historical.” I balked at that, a) because I love the historical stuff and I had done a lot of research, b) I was loath to change the book for someone who had no skin in the game. I was also, frankly, scared to attempt a rewrite. See my essay Rejection vs. Failure (http://booksbywomen.org/rejection-vs-failure-by-annette-gendler/) on this.

Eventually I did rewrite the book. Of course Algonquin didn’t take it, but I had a better book. Then I got an offer from an academic press but She Writes Press (SWP) was already on my radar because one of my students, Kelley Clink, had published her memoir A DIFFERENT KIND OF SAME with them. She’d told me that if she wrote another book, she would go with SWP again and not even waste her time trying the traditional route. That was about as strong an endorsement as I could get, and so I weighed the academic press option versus She Writes Press and found that SWP had more beautiful books at a better price point, far superior distribution, and the support of the She Writes community. Moreover, they didn’t require multiple readers to first approve the book as the academic press did.

In the end, the choice to go with She Writes Press was obvious and I could not be happier with my experience. Their hybrid publishing model is ideal for me – I had input on the cover, for example, and I am super happy with it – but I also have the expertise of a publisher at my side. The responsibility for this book doesn’t rest entirely on my shoulders as it would have had I self-published. [Editor’s note: For more about the She Writes Press business model, which does require an author to “invest in [her] project up front,” please visit http://shewritespress.com/how-it-works/.]

ED: Anything else you’d like to tell us?

AG: While the world of publishing is undergoing a huge change these days, I think we writers are fortunate that there are presently so many more opportunities available to get our work out there. It does require a lot of work on the part of the author to champion a book, but that seems to be the case no matter how you have published and thankfully, even in terms of publicity, there are a lot more opportunities out there now. I have found that readers really don’t care how you got your book published as long as it is a good book, well made, and readily available.


My thanks to Annette for this Q&A and for the complimentary advance copy of her book. To learn more about Annette and her work, and/or to purchase your own copy of JUMPING OVER SHADOWS, please visit http://annettegendler.com/book/. (Annette also tells me that you can receive a “bonus” chapter [one that was cut from the final book] when you sign up for her newsletter at the same site.)

Brooke Warner, publisher of She Writes Press, maintains a Twitter account that I find interesting and informative. (This publisher knows her stuff!)


Deadline: May 31, 2017 (5 p.m. CDT)

“Entries must be original works of fiction of no more than 5,000 words that illuminate the role of the law and/or lawyers in modern society. The winner will receive a prize of $3,000. Entrants must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Winner is responsible for all taxes associated with receipt of the prize. As a condition of receiving the prize, winner must submit a completed W-9.” NB: “Entries may be unpublished, or published no earlier than January 1, 2016. Entries posted publicly on the Internet, regardless of the forum or venue, will be considered published for the purposes of the contest. The ABA Journal will be the sole judge of an entry’s eligibility.”
Deadline: May 15, 2017

“The mission of the Long-Term Ecological Reflections program is to bring together writers, humanists and scientists to create a living, growing record of how we understand the forest and the relation of people to the forest, as that understanding and that forest both change over time. Creative writers whose work in any genre reflects a keen awareness of the natural world and an appreciation for both scientific and literary ways of knowing are invited to apply for one-week residencies at the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest.”
Deadline: June 1, 2017

“The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program furnishes U.S. Antarctic Program operational support, and round-trip economy air tickets between the United States and the Southern Hemisphere, to artists and writers whose work requires them to be in the Antarctic to complete their proposed project….The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program supports writing and artistic projects specifically designed to increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of the Antarctic and human endeavors on the southernmost continent. Priority will be given to projects that focus on interpreting and representing the scientific activities being conducted in and/or about the unique Antarctic region. Resulting projects must target audiences in the U.S. and be distributed/exhibited in the U.S. The program does not support site installations or performances in Antarctica. The program also does not support short-term projects that are essentially journalistic in nature.”
Deadline: June 15, 2017 (received)

“The Bard Fiction Prize is awarded to a promising emerging writer who is an American citizen aged 39 years or younger at the time of application. In addition to a $30,000 cash award, the winner receives an appointment as writer-in-residence at Bard College for one semester, without the expectation that he or she teach traditional courses. The recipient gives at least one public lecture and meets informally with students.” NB: The application requirements include sending “three copies of the published book” that the applicant considers to best represent their work.
Submissions: May 1-June 30, 2017 (received)

“The University of Pittsburgh Press announces the 2018 Drue Heinz Literature Prize for a collection of short fiction. The prize carries a cash award of $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press under its standard contract.” Eligibility: “The award is open to writers who have published a novel, a book-length collection of fiction, or a minimum of three short stories or novellas in magazines or literary journals of national distribution. Digital-only publication and self-publication do not count toward this requirement.” Also: “The award is open to writers in English, whether or not they are citizens of the United States.”
Deadline: May 31, 2017 (for no-fee submissions)
NO ENTRY FEE (for submissions prior to May 31)
2017 Judge: Graham Mercer

“It’s that time of year again! Time to type up those travel articles, travel anecdotes and travel reflections. We want to read about that place that changed you, about the experiences you can’t wait to share with other travelers. Whether your work is humorous, informative, quirky or profound–send it in.” Prizes: EURO200 (first place), EURO50 (second place), EURO50 (Readers’ Choice award as noted). Top entries will be published on the website with authors’ permission.
Submissions: May 1-July 31, 2017

“In 1970, Louise Meriwether published her novel of life in the post-Harlem Renaissance era, DADDY WAS A NUMBER RUNNER. Nearly fifty years later it is still considered a classic. Following Paule Marshall’s 1959 BROWN GIRL, BROWNSTONES, DADDY WAS A NUMBER RUNNER is one of the first contemporary American novels featuring a young black girl as the protagonist. The book inspired the careers of writers like Jacqueline Woodson and Bridgett M. Davis, among many others. In order to celebrate Meriwether’s achievements and continue her legacy, the Feminist Press has partnered with TAYO Literary Magazine to launch a contest seeking the best debut books by women and nonbinary writers of color. First time authors, submit your complete manuscript, either fiction, including novels and short story collections, or narrative memoir, of 50,000 to 80,000 words, and you could receive $5,000 and a publishing contract from the Feminist Press!”
Deadline: June 15, 2017

“The Norton Writer’s Prize will be awarded annually for an outstanding essay written by an undergraduate. Literacy narratives, literary and other textual analyses, reports, profiles, evaluations, arguments, memoirs, proposals, mixed-genre pieces, and more: any excellent writing done for an undergraduate writing class will be considered. The winner will receive a cash award of $1,500. Two runners-up will each receive a cash award of $1,000.” Eligibility: “Competition for the Norton Writer’s Prize is open to undergraduates enrolled during the 2016-2017 academic year in an accredited 2- or 4-year college or university….Each entry must be accompanied by a cover letter on departmental stationery from a nominating instructor….Each instructor may nominate only one student essay.”
Deadline: June 1, 2017

“Created by the Missouri Humanities Council, the Warrior Arts Alliance, and Southeast Missouri State University Press, this series of anthologies preserves and shares military service perspectives of our soldiers and veterans of all conflicts and of their families. It is not only an outlet for artistic expression but also a document of the unique aspects of wartime in our nation’s history. Writing must be by veterans, military-service personnel, or their families. Include the connection in your short bio.” Contest confers $250 and publication for each of five categories: short fiction, poetry, interview with a warrior, essay, and photography. NB: All entries are also considered for an anthology.
Deadline: May 15, 2017

“The biannual $50,000 Literary Prize is sponsored by St. Francis College to offer its support and encouragement to the literary community and mid-career authors who have recently published their 3rd to 5th work of fiction.” At this time, the prize is open to 3rd to 5th works of fiction published between June 2015 and May 2017.

FRONTIER POETRY, which is a new project of THE MASTERS REVIEW, launching in May, is open to “New Voices” submissions from “any new and emerging author who has not published more than one full-length collection of poetry. New Voices are published online only and will feature a number of poems from new authors each month.” Pays: “$50 per poem, up to $150.” Guidelines: https://frontier.submittable.com/submit/79694/new-voices-free.
Also new on the scene: LIKELY RED, which is “open year-round for submissions in prose, poetry, photography, and almost everything else. While we may prioritize local [Louisville, Kentucky] authors and artists for consideration from time to time, we encourage folks from anywhere to let us see what they’ve got. We try to keep an open mind. We publish what we like.” Pays: “We pay contributors $25 (usd) upon acceptance. We know it’s not much. As our journal grows, we are open to exploring ways to increase this amount.” Guidelines: http://www.likelyred.com/submissions/.
Still another new venue: INTER, “a digital magazine of ideas and art from a new generation navigating unprecedented religious diversity in America. Religion is currently at the center of some of our most important public and political conversations. Admits the tumult are millions of people of different religious and non-religious identities living and working. We want to bring these stories to the fore. We want to challenge stereotypes and give readers a chance to rethink their assumptions about everyone from Atheists to Mormons to Zoroastrians. We accept and publish stories across a variety of media formats, including personal essays, op-eds, photography, videos, interviews, and more. INTER is strongly committed to supporting our contributors and their work.” Learn more about editorial themes and check guidelines at http://inter.ifyc.org. NB: Via email (see “Editor’s Note,” above), I was informed that INTER primarily features “Millennial and Gen Z voices” but is “open to submissions from everyone.” Pays: We pay contributors for pieces that are published on INTER.” (Via email, I was able to learn that the standard fee is $150 for an essay that runs from 1,000 to 2,000 words.)
NATURAL WONDERS: TIME IN NATURE CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE is an anthology project from Sowing Creek Press. “The focus of this anthology will be finding peace about an issue, learning about yourself and others, while in nature. If you’ve had an epiphany while in the wilds, share your eye-opener or conclusion reached while in nature by writing an essay for this anthology.” Essay length should run between 1,200 and 2,000 words. Pays: “Those whose essays are accepted will receive a one-time fee of $50 (U.S.), which represents first worldwide rights and covers one year exclusive use by publisher in all forms, whether digital or in print, and use of the work in future editions or online.” NB: Although there is some mention of poetry in the call, there is no specific mention of payment for poetry. Deadline: May 15, 2017. Visit http://www.sowingcreekpress.com/submissions to consult the full call.
“For the June 2017 issue, PEDESTAL editors will be accepting poetry on the theme of ‘war.’ We welcome work from both veterans and non-veterans, and would like to see a variety of responses—literal, confessional, figurative, and metaphoric. Send up to 5 poems (no restrictions on genre or length). Please include all work in a single file. Open for submissions May 1 – May 21 (2017). Payment: $40 per accepted poem.” Visit http://www.thepedestalmagazine.com/submissions/ for more information.
“MILKWEED EDITIONS will be open to manuscripts of fiction (novels, novellas, and short story collections) from May 1–31, 2017. *We are not currently accepting any children’s or YA manuscripts*, and any submitted will be automatically declined. We do not publish romance, science fiction, mystery, crime, or westerns. Please submit a query letter with three opening chapters (of a novel) or three representative stories (of a collection).” More info at http://milkweed.org/submissions.
Also open for submissions until the end of May: NEW RIVERS PRESS. They will consider short story/novella collections, novels, memoirs, essay collections, poetry collections, and hybrid forms. Visit https://www.newriverspress.com/submissions/general-submissions/ for more information.
NASHVILLE REVIEW is open to fiction, poetry, and nonfiction submissions during the month of May. Pays: “We pay $25 per poem & song selection; $100 per selection for all other categories, including featured artwork.” Visit https://as.vanderbilt.edu/nashvillereview/contact/submit for full guidelines.
“GRAIN, the journal of eclectic writing, is a literary quarterly that publishes engaging, diverse, and challenging writing and art by some of the best Canadian and international writers and artists. Submission window closes May 31. Pays: “All contributors, regardless of genre, are paid $50 per page to a maximum of $250, plus two copies of the issue in which their work appears. Visual work published inside the magazine (in black and white) and on the cover (in colour) is paid at the same page rate as text contributions to a maximum of $500.” Visit http://www.grainmagazine.ca/ for more info.
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.

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
–Sunday Sentence

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”.
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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