Monday Markets/Jobs/Opportunities for Writers

Monday brings the weekly batch of no-fee competitions/contests, paying submission calls, and jobs for those of us who write, especially those of us who write fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. (Even during the holidays, when the listings can be a little thin!)

  • The 6th Annual James Nicholson Political Poetry Prize, administered by the Town of Pelham Public Library, is open to residents of Westchester County, N.Y., 18 years of age or older. There will be a $500 prize for the winner. (Make sure that your library account is in good standing, since “awards will not be given to anyone with outstanding fines or fees.”) There are also categories open to middle-school and high-school students. All winners “must be available” for a reading and reception currently scheduled for Thursday, April 11, 2013, and the winning poems will be published in the Pelham Weekly. Deadline: February 18, 2013.
  • The state of Colorado’s Creative Industries Division offers Jumpstart Awards to “provide fresh energy to artists and creative entrepreneurs to help stimulate their creative business or organization, whether nonprofit or commercial. Our goal is to help grantees increase their revenue, gain new audiences, and improve management practices.” You must be a Colorado resident to apply. No fee indicated. “The maximum request is $1,000 and funds are paid on a reimbursement basis upon receipt of final report and expense receipts.” Next deadline is January 15, 2013.
  • “The Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop (NOWW) requests proposals for an E-Writer in Residence. The E-Writer in Residence, who may be located anywhere in Canada, will provide manuscript critiques and workshops, delivered primarily by communications technology, to writers located in Northwestern Ontario cities, towns and isolated communities (including First Nations communities). NOWW will give priority to applicants who are poets (defined as having at least one professionally published book of poetry for which the poet has a publishing contract and receives royalties). NOWW welcomes applications from First Nations and Métis writers.” No application fee. Deadline: January 13, 2013.
  • And you’ll find LOTS of no-fee contests and paying calls in the new (January 2013) issue of The Practicing Writer. Consider it my New Year’s present to all of you. Happy New Year!
  • From My Bookshelf: A Town of Empty Rooms, by Karen E. Bender

    I jumped at the chance to read a complimentary advance copy of Karen E. Bender‘s second novel, A Town of Empty Rooms. Although I have yet to read Bender’s acclaimed first novel, Like Normal People (2000), one of her short stories, “Candidate,” stayed with me long after I read it. And certain details about the new novel, which features a Jewish protagonist in North Carolina, resonated with my experience/interests.

    In essence, the book traces three major connected conflicts. First, there’s the marital dissatisfaction between protagonist Serena Hirsch and her husband, Dan Shine. Among the problems this nominally Jewish couple faces is a curious development that follows their move from New York to Waring, N.C. (a move prompted by a serious misdeed on Serena’s part): Serena is pulled to join the sole local synagogue, Temple Shalom, whereas Dan resists even setting foot in the place.

    Next, there’s the outsider experience of Serena and Dan in their new hometown, where ubiquitous billboards proclaim messages along the lines of “Jesus says: I will make my home with you.” Serena and Dan’s son, Zeb, is the only Jewish child in his public kindergarten; it isn’t long before another kindergartner throws pennies at Zeb, commanding him to pick them up. Zeb, thinking the other boy his friend, complies. “Ryan had laughed at him, and said ‘See? See?’ and said to a group of kids, ‘I told you he’d pick them up.'” One infers that the episode is especially painful for Serena, whose recently-deceased father was a child emigrant from Nazi Germany.

    Finally, there’s the intramural discord within Temple Shalom, conflict surrounding the charismatic yet unconventional Rabbi Josh Golden. Embedded within the not-always-admirable behavior depicted here are serious questions about the complicated meanings of religious policies and practice and the roles and responsibilities of spiritual leaders.

    In short, there is a great deal to absorb and consider as one reads this novel. Karen E. Bender has set the bar high here, attempting to depict and explore the souls of individuals and communities. The result is a novel well worth reading.

    Side note for fiction fans: Karen Bender and Aimee Bender, who helped launch Tablet magazine’s fiction feature in September of this year, are sisters.

    Friday Finds for Writers

    Treasure ChestThe weekly collection of writing-related resources, news, and reflections to read over the weekend.

  • For those of us with strong opinions and the urge to share them in writing (ahem): a helpful set of “10 Rules for Writing Opinion Pieces.”
  • Wise words for writers from Sharon Bially on “Marketing and the Spirit of Giving.”
  • Grant-getting tips from Jillian Keenan.
  • There is a lot of advice if you drill down through all of the links in this post on “What Writers Need to Know About Goodreads.” I, for one, can’t see myself devoting sufficient time and energy to making use of every tip. But the key take-away is this: “The key to goodreads is to become a member of the community first…and mention your writing only in context and when appropriate.”
  • And to conclude: some interesting details in this year-in-review post from Ploughshares, including data on submissions, payments, and more.
  • Have a great weekend, everyone. See you back here on Monday for the final post of 2012!

    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish news, primarily of the literary variety, from around the Web.

  • I’m going to have to reread this article about Jewish-American poetry – I somehow can’t quite buy the suggestion that “all poetry is Jewish.”
  • “In honor of the centennial of Abraham Sutzkever’s birth, SLS Lithuania is proud to announce a poetry translation contest, to be judged by Ed Hirsch.” Note that there is an entry fee for this contest. “The winner will receive a full scholarship at SLS Lithuania, as well as a $500 travel stipend. The winning entry will be translated into Lithuanian, and read at a celebration in Vilnius on the centennial, on July 15, 2013.” (via The Forward)
  • In the latest issue of their online journal, the fellows from LABA: House of Study “take a close look at the intersection between food and power and how Jacob used his knowledge of this connection to pull off one of the biggest heists in Jewish tradition.”
  • I missed what looks to have been an intriguing event at the Center for Jewish History on the subject of Jewish participation as “culture brokers” in publishing-the book trade. Luckily, there’s video from the evening, which I hope to watch this weekend.
  • Et tu, National Geographic?
  • Shabbat shalom.


    It wasn’t that long ago that I mentioned new courses being offered under the auspices of the Tikvah Fund. I also mentioned that I’d applied for admission to one of those courses.

    I’m delighted to share that I have been admitted to the course I applied for: “Zionist Thought and Statesmanship,” taught by Professor Allan Arkush. (I was also tempted by Dara Horn’s “When Bad Things Happen to Good People: Divine Justice and Human Creativity in Jewish Literature,” but that course meets during the day, and I couldn’t swing that with my work schedule.)

    If you’re curious, the syllabus for Professor Arkush’s course is online. I can’t wait to get started!