Attention, California Poets and Fiction Writers!

Although we need to wait until August to find out which state’s writers will be able to compete for the 2007 Poets & Writers Writers Exchange award, information is now available for a parallel California Writers Exchange contest, made possible by a special grant from the James Irvine Foundation.

“Selected by renowned judges, the winning writers receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City, where they meet with agents, editors, and prominent writers, and give a public reading of their work.” One poet and one fiction writer will be chosen; they will also receive $500 honoraria.

The contest is open to California poets and fiction writers who have never published a book, or who have published (self-published books do not count) no more than one full-length book in the genre in which they are applying. Applicants must have resided in California for a minimum of two years prior to the date they submit their manuscripts.

There is NO FEE to apply. Application deadline: August 31, 2006.

Find out more and download the required entry form here.

Contest Results

It’s relatively easy to find contest announcements, but not always so simple to learn the competitions’ results. That’s why I was so pleased to hear back from the organizers of the Like Heaven Short Story Competition, which you may have read about here awhile back. Congratulations to all!

Winner – Like Heaven Short Story Competition

We want to thank entrants and website managers for their support to this competition. We also want to thank British writer Andrea Semple for acting as one of the judges. We received nearly 100 entries, many containing very fine writing. We want to commend all the entrants on their talent and dedication. The following writers, in particular, sent work in that was very enjoyable and/or moving to read.

Writers of Shortlisted Entries: Samara McDowell, Emily Waples, Leigh Hancock, Tom Bentley, Lucas Shane Triplett, Sharon Wright, Nancy Malek, Sue Orenstein, Robert Ronsson, Richard Leo Barrett, Gina DaMaia, Gimbiya Kettering, Jonathan Gurling, Polly Nelson, Louise Wilford

Three finalists were eventually chosen out of the shortlist and we read their stories with pleasure over and over. Those writers were: Lucas Shane Triplett, Samara McDowell and Robert Ronsson.

The judges had a very difficult time selecting an overall winner but were finally able to do so. We are very proud to announce that

The Winner of the Like Heaven Short Story Competition is Robert Ronsson.*

The winning story, as well as some from the shortlist will soon appear on the Like Heaven Writing Holiday website. Again, we want to thank all those who helped make this competition a success and wish you all good luck with your writing.

Niala Maharaj
Sally Sontheimer

*Robert started writing with the intention of getting published in June 2004. He has completed two novels – one of which is for children aged 0-15. Neither has secured a publication deal – yet. Robert is currently researching and drafting his next book, a fictional account of how his father’s birth in 1920 changed the course of British political history.

Deadline Extended

This just in from Camille Cusumano:

Greece, a Love Story anthology by Seal Press is still open to submissions AND the deadline is extended to July 1.

See under Submissions, (also pasted in below).

If you’ve already sent a story and I acknowledged its receipt, no need to inquire further—I will notify you as the selection process proceeds.

Thanks for all your interest in the book,



Women Write About the Greek Experience

Slated for Spring 2007

Greece evokes a richly embroidered tapestry of images, from old monuments rife with history to idyllic isles of glass-blue sea and blinding white stucco dwellings. The ancient Greeks, as well as the contemporary, permeate our Western culture with the unparalleled gifts of beauty and wisdom they left behind: classical literature, mythology, philosophy, rhetoric; a mind-stirring history and civilization; and a language that is musical and expressive of emotions/ideas not reflected in other languages. Vestiges of their artistic genius are huge and imposing: Greek temples, marvels of architecture such as Athens’s Parthenon and Acropolis, gracefully sculptured statues, delicate pottery. Greece, it is said, is where “art became inseparable from life.”

We are looking for twenty to thirty essays to fill this collection on the Greece that lies behind postcards. We would like personal stories that go beyond the practical travel guide and that embrace more “literary” travel writing, from writers who have been deeply affected by the country. Writers will demonstrate that they have had some kind of love affair with the country, whether with its people, cities, islands, food, history, art, or culture.

For examples of the various styles of writing that will work for this collection, see essays in the books already published in the “Love Story” series—on France, Italy, and Mexico. As with these anthologies, Greece, A Love Story will embrace every angle of love—whether of place, people, food, culture, or art—and the stories will capture the experience that changes, teaches, enlightens the author-and by extension the reader.

We are looking for strong narratives, excellent first-person writing, good storytelling, and diverse voices. Personal style and humor are encouraged.

EDITOR: Camille Cusumano was an editor at VIA Magazine in San Francisco for 17 years. She is the author of many food and travel articles and several books and the editor of France, A Love Story, Italy, A Love Story, and Mexico, A Love Story.

PUBLISHER: Seal Press, an imprint of Avalon Publishing Group, Inc.

DEADLINE: June 1, 2006

LENGTH: 2,500 to 5,000 words

FORMAT: Essays must be typed, double-spaced, and paginated. Please include your address, phone number, email address, and a short bio on the last page.

SUBMITTING: Electronic submissions are preferred. Send essay electronically as a Word or Rich Text Format file (with .doc or .rtf extension) to CAMILLE CUSUMANO at ocaramia(at) Put GREECE A LOVE STORY in the subject line. If email is not possible, mail the essay to CAMILLE CUSUMANO, Seal Press, c/o Denise Silva, 1400 65th Street, Suite 250, Emeryville, CA 94608. Please direct any inquiries to ocaramia(at)


REPLY: Editor cannot reply to every submission personally. Please allow until July 31, 2006, for a response. If you haven’t received a response by then, please assume your essay has not been selected.

Blog Break

I’ll be away from the blog for the next several days (yes, I’m taking an extended Memorial Day break). But don’t worry–I’m still planning to send out the next “Practicing Writer” newsletter at the end of the week (look for a feature article especially for past, present, and future MFA grads–’tis the season, after all).

See you back here next week!

Another No-Cost Contest for Poets

Writing about work is something that’s interested me for awhile (AWP members can read my article, “Working Men and Women: Characters and Their Development,” over at the AWP site: you’ll need to log into eLink, click “Chronicle,” and then click “eLink Exclusive” to access it).

Now there’s an interesting opportunity for poets writing about work, too: the Being at Work Poetry Challenge.

From the announcement:

Work in the hustle and bustle of the now is central to the human experience, yet rarely do we sit back and think about how work has come to define our being. In an attempt to explore this notion we are challenging experienced and beginner poets to submit poetry that captures the essence, nuance and personal of worklife experiences. We’re looking for poems by people about the work they personally do or have done, paid or unpaid, blue- or white- or no-collar. And for poems about the work of looking for work, and about how our hours at work affect the rest of our lives. In an attempt to reach people from all walks of life we have organized two contests; one contest for experienced poets and another contest for everybody else. Challenge our unique panel of judges and tell us about your work.

“Experienced poets,” for this purpose, include “those with at least 6 works published in literary magazines and/or have one of their collections published by a reputable publisher.” Note that “we would like to focus on poems outside of the work involved in the writing process.”

This is a Canadian-organized contest, so I’m assuming that the prize money is to be awarded in Canadian currency: $300 for first prize; $150 for second prize; $75 for third prize, in each contest. A selection of winning poems will be published in Our Times, “Canada’s independent labour magazine.”

There is no entry fee. You can submit by postal mail or e-mail. Deadline: July 31, 2006.

For more information and submission instructions, visit the Web site.

(Source: CRWROPPS)

New Market for Writing on Writing

Just found out about a new (low-paying, but paying) bi-weekly e-zine for writers, Coffee Break for Writers. The editor really seems to have thought a lot about what she wants in the content, and offers detailed guidelines at the site. You can also request an even more specific theme list.

Remember, you’ll find many more possibilities in our new guide, WRITERS’ MARKETS: Where To Sell What You Write When You Write About Writing. Download your free preview (with sample market listings) today!