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Supporting the Craft and Business of Excellent Writing
Volume 15, Number 8: September 2018
Editor: Erika Dreifus
Copyright (c) 2018 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

Greetings, practicing writers:

I’ll keep this intro message ultra-brief because this is one *ample* newsletter issue that you have ahead. Here’s hoping that August treated everyone well, and that we all experience super Septembers, too.

And special happy-new-year wishes for any practicing writers who will be observing the start of the Jewish New Year 5779 in the coming weeks.

With all best wishes for your writing practices,


An Anthologist Speaks: Q&A with Jennifer Baker

conducted by Erika Dreifus

The last week of August brought the publication of a new anthology from Atria Books: EVERYDAY PEOPLE: THE COLOR OF LIFE. As its publisher describes it, this is “a thoughtfully curated anthology of short stories that presents new and renowned work by established and emerging writers of color. It illustrates the dynamics of character and culture that reflect familial strife, political conflict, and personal turmoil through an array of stories that reveal the depth of the human experience.” Its contributors encompass “an eclectic mix of award-winning and critically lauded writers, including Mia Alvar, Carleigh Baker, Nana Brew-Hammond, Glendaliz Camacho, Alexander Chee, Mitchell S. Jackson, Yiyun Li, Allison Mills, Courttia Newland, Dennis Norris II, Jason Reynolds, Nelly Rosario, Hasanthika Sirisena, and Brandon Taylor.” And its editor is Jennifer Baker, who graciously agreed to answer a few questions via email for this newsletter feature.

Jenn is a publishing professional, creator/host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, and contributing editor to ELECTRIC LITERATURE. She has done social media for Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop and the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books (where she was also a panel organizer), and is presently doing social media for the I, Too Arts Collective. She has led writing courses for Sackett Street, I, Too Arts, and independently. In 2017, she was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Fellowship & Queens Council on the Arts New Work Grant (as well as the latter’s award for Artistic Excellence) for Nonfiction Literature. Her writing has appeared in NEWTOWN LITERARY (where her short story “The Pursuit of Happiness” was nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize), BOSTON LITERARY, ECLECTIC FLASH, KWELI JOURNAL, THE OFFING, POETS & WRITERS, THE OTHER STORIES podcast, and THE FEMALE COMPLAINT anthology (Shade Mountain Press), among others.

Please welcome Jennifer Baker!

ERIKA DREIFUS (ED): In the anthology’s introduction, Jenn, you write, “As I told the contributors when I approached them, EVERYDAY PEOPLE isn’t ‘my baby’ in terms of inception.” You credit the book’s origin to the late Brook Stephenson, whom you describe as “a wonderful person and literary citizen.” Please tell us a bit more about Brook Stephenson and how you came to take up this project after his passing.

JENNIFER BAKER (JB): Brook, and it’s still weird to say this in the past tense, was a massively cool guy and good person, as well as talented. He had a knack for bringing the Black literary community together. This was a goal of his via the Harlem Fete that continues with recognition of him every year. Brook created the Rhode Island Writers Colony, which is still in existence and to which royalties from EVERYDAY PEOPLE will go.

He had an idea for an all-Black anthology of contemporary voices. He passed suddenly, but Atria and the editor who worked with Brook on the proposal there, Todd Hunter, really wanted to keep this book going. Todd found me via my advocacy work and podcast. Believe me, I did think long and hard about taking on this project, but I also very much wanted to do Brook justice when I said yes.

ED: You also mention soliciting and corresponding with contributors. Had the contributor list been decided by the time you came on board? Were submissions at all open to unsolicited writers? How did you finalize the list of included stories?

JB: Brook did have a list of writers he wanted because, at that time, the proposal was for an all-Black anthology. When I saw the title I asked if this could be inclusive of various PoC/Indigenous voices because I wanted it to stand out even more. I couldn’t name too many titles major publishers had supported in anthology form that included only PoC/Indigenous writers. Some of those I asked and who are included in EVERYDAY PEOPLE had overlap with Brook’s original list, as he and I had similar interests. So, there was no open call, this was a curated list. Which in some respects is harder because you’re unsure of what you’re getting in the end.

Not all the original contributors attached are in the final anthology, for various reasons. And that happens, it’s just the way of the world in publishing. I am incredibly happy with the final product because it really does reflect a wonderful range. Of course, if I’d had more time, and money, I’d love to have included even more since I don’t think we can have enough PoC/Indigenous voices.

ED: I know that you made one change to the anthology pretty late in the game, removing the concluding story by Junot Diaz. Can you please tell us a bit about how the decision was made to take it out–and how you determined what would appear in its place?

JB: It was a fairly quick decision for me once I heard from those online speaking out about assault. I don’t openly discuss what I’ve dealt with in that realm for a reason, so I recognize that it’s not easy to speak out. It never is. I had chosen Junot’s story because I admire his work, but I also have to take into consideration how his work is read by others and what it means to continue to speak out as a woman of color, a woman who has been assaulted, and a supporter of other artists. As I told my publisher, this wasn’t a PR move to remove Junot’s story: It was a moral one. And I’m glad that my publisher understood and agreed on this count. In the end, the publicity team sent out a statement to those who had galleys about this late-stage change.

The idea of replacing the last story with a list of work by women (expanded to include nonbinary & transgender) writers of color came from my friend Maya Davis, whom I credit in the book, too. My publisher really liked the idea. I had two weeks to do it, which isn’t enough time, and I continue to fear that I’ve left off so many names. But I also recognize that it’s a beginning list of suggestions, not THE list to end all lists. Hopefully, going forward, those on this list will be sought out among MANY others within this community of PoC/Indigenous writers.

ED: How has editing this book interacted with/influenced your own writing?

JB: I’ve always been a line editor by nature because I work in production (aka managing editorial) for the past decade, which is most of my publishing career. This is a role that works a lot on content. Plus, I go to workshops/residencies annually, so even after leaving my MFA program, which I have many mixed feelings about, I’ve kept myself in the literary world meeting new people and learning from those I’ve encountered in workshops, whether as a leader or participant.

When it came to editing EVERYDAY PEOPLE, and even being an editor for ELECTRIC LITERATURE and in my day-to-day full-time job, I recognize some authors are not cool with edits. It hits their egos. Editors must approach editing from a logical yet considerate and specific standpoint. You have to outline what you’re seeing, if that’s the vision, how to make the work what it can be, and some people need more handholding than others. But always we editors come at it with respect for the artist and the work, or at least we should. I’m very lucky that I worked well with everyone in the final product of EVERYDAY PEOPLE. As a contributor to an anthology, I found the process easy: My story was accepted and underwent minor edits.

In the end, we all struggle, even as editors, no matter how many books or essays or stories we’ve published or edited or solicited. We struggle from zero draft to final product. So maybe as artists we can consider being less intimidated by the process–maybe we can recognize that we’re all in a similar boat and the main thing is to get to the finish line. Which can always happen as long as we push ourselves.

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

JB: Be on the lookout for events in NYC (one that’s solidified is an event at Astoria Bookshop on September 10th), in DC, and possibly on the West Coast. There’ll also be a giveaway of copies in NYC on September 6th via Books on the Subway. So if you’re in NYC, seek those out! Otherwise, I stay relatively busy so if you follow me online or go to my website you’ll see I keep my calendar of events pretty updated.

ED: Thanks so much, Jenn, and congratulations again on the anthology.

Readers, please visit https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781501134944 for more about EVERYDAY PEOPLE, and don’t forget that you can find Jenn’s own online home at http://www.jennifernbaker.com.

My thanks to Jennifer Baker and Atria Books for the advance galley copy of EVERYDAY PEOPLE.

The original Q&A that I conducted with Jennifer Baker ran pretty long. At one point, I asked her to talk a bit about something I suspected that I would spotlight as this issue’s “featured resource”: her Minorities in Publishing (MiP) podcast.

In our exchanges, Jenn told me that she’s been looking forward to getting back to the podcast “and the amazing guests on the horizon,” who discuss not just ongoing issues in publishing, but also their individual pathways. Says Jenn: “These are often fruitful and wonderful conversations, so it’s a joy to post and share them with others. It’s volunteer work I enjoy doing.” (Kind of like assembling a monthly newsletter for writers! ;-))

So if you’re not already familiar with/subscribed to the podcast, please go check it out.


Deadline: October 5, 2018

“The American Antiquarian Society (AAS), a national research library and learned society of American history and culture, is calling for applications for visiting fellowships for historical research by creative and performing artists, writers, film makers, journalists, and other persons whose goals are to produce imaginative, non-formulaic works dealing with pre-twentieth-century American history. Successful applicants are those whose work is for the general public rather than for academic or educational audiences. The Society’s goal in sponsoring this program is to multiply and improve the ways in which an understanding of history is communicated to the American people. The fellowships will provide the recipients with the opportunity for a period of uninterrupted research, reading, and collegial discussion at the Society, located in Worcester, Massachusetts. At least three fellowships will be awarded for residence of four weeks at the Society at any time during the period January 1 through December 31. For fellows who reside on campus in the Society’s scholars’ housing, located next to the main library building, the stipend will have the room fee deducted from the $1850 stipend. (Room fees range from $700 to $500 per month.) The stipend will be $1,850 for fellows residing off campus. Fellows will not be paid a travel allowance.”
Deadline: October 15, 2018 (received, 11:59 pm)

“Art Omi: Writers, formerly known as Ledig House, hosts authors and translators from around the world for residencies throughout the spring and fall. The program’s strong international emphasis provides exposure for global literary voices and reflects the spirit of cultural exchange that is essential to Art Omi’s mission. Guests may select a residency of one week to two months; about ten writers at a time gather to live and work in a rural setting overlooking the Catskill Mountains. Daytime is reserved for writing and quiet activities, while evenings are more communal. A program of weekly visits bring guests from the New York publishing community. Noted editors, agents and book scouts are invited to share dinner and conversation on both creative and practical subjects, offering insight into the workings of the publishing industry, and introductions to some of its key professionals. Readings throughout the year invite the public to experience finished and in-process work by writers and translators in residence….All residencies are fully funded with accommodations, food, local transport and public programming provided. However, please note that Art Omi: Writers does not provide travel funds. Selected residents are responsible for funding their own travel or securing travel funds from a third party.”
Deadline: September 15, 2018

There is no prompt for this contest: “Let your imagination run wild.” Word limit: 300 words (excluding title). Prizes: “50 euro first prize (or equivalent amount in your currency)/25 euro second prize/15 euro third prize.” NB: “All winning entries (including shortlisted stories) will be published on our website in September 2018.”
Deadline: October 17, 2018 (6pm EST/midnight CET)

Based in Cassis, France, the Camargo Core Program annually selects 18 fellows (9 artists and 9 scholars/thinkers), for fellowship residencies that range from six to 11 weeks. “The Camargo Core Program offers time and space in a contemplative environment to think, create, and connect. By supporting groundbreaking research and experimentation, it supports the visionary work of artists, scholars and thinkers in the Arts and Humanities. By encouraging multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, it contributes to the visionary work of artists, scholars, and thinkers in the Arts and Humanities.” NB: “A stipend of 250 USD per week is available, as is funding for basic transportation to and from Cassis for the Fellow for the residency. In the case of air travel, basic coach class booked far in advance is covered.” Also: “An informational webinar will be offered for interested applicants on September 20, 2018 at 11:00am EST (New York City), 5:00pm CET (France).”
Deadline: September 30, 2018 (received)

“The Marcus Harris Foundation is pleased to announce the launching of the Marcus Harris Poetry Fellowship. Established by internationally renowned poet and philanthropist Marcus Harris, the fellowship is designed to encourage young poets to pursue further writing and publishing efforts. One (1) $500 fellowship will be awarded based on the quality of the applicant’s writing sample.” NB: Applicants must be U.S. citizens, at least 18 years of age and no older than 30 years of age as of June 30th.”
Deadline: September 30, 2018 (for spring 2019 program)

“The Carey Institute for Global Good believes that an informed, educated and engaged citizenry is essential to the functioning of democratic society. Our Logan Nonfiction Program supports this belief by advancing deeply reported, longform nonfiction about the most pressing issues of the day and helping to disseminate it on a variety of media platforms to the widest possible audience…. Lodging, work space, sophisticated technological support (including Wi-Fi, a state-of-the-art screening room and dedicated space, equipment and software for video, film and radio editing) and meals are provided. Fellows may also benefit from the mentorship of several board members and internationally renowned journalists. We also help selected print fellows convert their work into audio, video or digital media through the expertise of our partners. The Institute is eager to convene issue-oriented conferences related to our fellows’ projects to bring their reporting to policy-makers and other experts.” NB: The spring program runs from January to April; “applicants can request a short residency (5 weeks) or a long residency (10-12 weeks).”
Deadline: September 17, 2018

“Nearly everyone has memories of a former sweetheart. Write your true story of an earlier love, in no more than 700 words. Tell us about someone whose memory brings a smile or a tear, or both….Your story may be heart-warming or humorous. Just tell about your earlier sweetheart as if you were talking to your best friend.” Cash prizes will be awarded: $100/$75/$50. “Winning stories will be posted (anonymously, if requested by author) on this website.”
Submissions: September 1, 2018 until March 31, 2019

“The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing [hereafter referred to as ‘the Prize’] alternates yearly between accepting unpublished fiction and nonfiction submissions.” In the upcoming reading period, nonfiction submissions will be considered. “Nonfiction submissions must consist of either a complete manuscript, or a sample of at least 25,000 words and a detailed proposal that includes a synopsis and an annotated table of contents. All submissions must be in English (translations welcome).” NB: “Candidates must be first-generation residents of their country. ‘First-generation’ can refer either to people born in another country who relocated, or to residents of a country whose parents were born elsewhere.” Additionally, candidates must not have published a previous book of nonfiction in English. Prize: “The winner will receive a $10,000 advance and publication by Restless Books in print and digital editions.”
Deadline: October 1, 2018

“The Stadler Fellowships offer poets who have recently completed an MFA or MA in poetry the opportunity to receive professional training in arts administration and literary editing. The fellowships are designed to balance the development of professional skills with private time to complete a first book of poems. The Stadler Fellows assist for twenty hours each week in the administration of the Stadler Center’s programs and the editing of West Branch, Bucknell’s nationally distinguished literary journal. They also serve as staff members in the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets in June. The one-year fellowships provide a competitive stipend, health insurance, and housing.”
Deadline: September 30, 2018

“We are currently accepting submissions for our first Flash Fiction Contest. Any flash fiction (under 1,000 words) submitted from August 1 – September 30, 2018 will be considered. One winner will receive a $100.00 award, which is in addition to payment received from The Sunlight Press when the piece is published. Please write flash fiction contest in the subject line of submissions. The winner will be announced and published in November.”

Just a couple of days remain to send in work for an upcoming issue of POETRY magazine that will focus on “poetry in the age of mass incarceration.” The magazine seeks the “best poetry written by incarcerated poets, as well as work by family, friends, and others affected by mass incarceration.” Again, the deadline is imminent: September 3, 2018. Pays: “$10 per line plus two complimentary copies of the issue.” Guidelines: http://poet.ly/Shmq30l0Uo6.
Closing October 1: “CHERRY TREE welcomes submissions of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and literary shade.” Pays: “Payment is $20 per contributor and two contributor’s copies.” Website: https://www.washcoll.edu/centers/lithouse/cherry-tree/.
“NASHVILLE REVIEW seeks to publish the best work we can get our hands on, period. From expansive to minimalist, narrative to lyric, epiphanic to subtle–if it’s a moving work of art, we want it. We hope to provide a venue for both distinguished and emerging artists.” Next reading period runs throughout the month of September: “You may submit fiction, poetry, and nonfiction three times a year: January, May and September. We opt for shorter, more frequent reading periods so that we can provide quicker responses to our submitters….Submissions in all other genres are open year-round.” Pays: “We pay $25 per poem and song selection; $100 per selection for all other categories, including featured artwork. Translators receive $25/poem & $100 for prose selections.” https://as.vanderbilt.edu/nashvillereview/contact/submit
ONE STORY reopens for submissions on September 1 (and will remain open until November 14). Seeks stories “between 3,000 and 8,000 words. They can be any style and on any subject as long as they are good. We are looking for stories that leave readers feeling satisfied and are strong enough to stand alone.” Pays: “$500 and 25 contributors copies for First Serial North American rights.” Check the guidelines via the website at https://www.one-story.com, where you can also consult guidelines for ONE TEEN STORY, which publishes & pays for four stories a year “and accepts submissions from teen writers ages 13-19.”
“NINTH LETTER is accepting submissions of fiction from September 1 to November 30 and from January 1 to February 28 (postmark dates). We are accepting submissions of poetry and essays from September 1 to February 28 (postmark dates). Ninth Letter is published semi-annually at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. We are interested in prose and poetry that experiment with form, narrative, and nontraditional subject matter, as well as more traditional literary work.” Pays: “$25 per printed page, upon publication, for accepted material, as well as two complimentary copies of the issue in which the work appears.” See http://www.ninthletter.com/journal/submit.
“COPPER NICKEL accepts submissions of poetry, fiction, essays, and translation folios from September 1 to December 15, January 15 to March 1.” Pays: “$30 per printed page + two copies of the issue in which the author’s work appears + a one-year subscription. We also award two $500 prizes per issue–the Editors’ Prizes in Poetry and Prose—for what we consider to be the most exciting work in each issue, as determined by a vote of our in-house editorial staff.” Guidelines: http://copper-nickel.org/submit/.
Also slated to reopen in September: SYCAMORE REVIEW. Note that “during contest periods we do not accept standard submissions in the contest genre. For example, during our fiction and poetry contest that runs from Oct. 1 – Nov. 15, we do not accept standard fiction or poetry submissions.” NB: “Under our Submittable plan, we are allowed 800 non-fee submissions per month. If we exceed this, our regular submissions will change to a $2 fee so that we may continue to receive work. You may notice this happening at the end of a given month. At the beginning of the following month, we will revert to free submissions.” Pays: “two copies, and $50 per short story or non-fiction piece, or $25 per poem.” Guidelines page: https://sycamorereview.com/submissions/.
From KENYON REVIEW: “During the 2018 reading period, we will be accepting submissions from September 15th through November 1st, 2018. All submissions received during the reading period will be read. The response time will vary according to the number of submissions. We make every effort to respond to all submissions within six months of receipt. Please note that all submissions are considered for both the Kenyon Review and KROnline. The two are aesthetically distinct spaces. We urge our submitters to read and become familiar with both. We are especially eager to discover and publish work by new voices from traditionally underserved communities.” NB: Check guidelines for information on book-review queries. Pays: “upon publication. Authors retain their copyright and will receive a contract upon acceptance.” Guidelines: https://www.kenyonreview.org/submission/.
“SHENANDOAH is now open for submissions under new editor Beth Staples, and will remain open until April 1, 2019 for the fall 2018 and spring 2019 issues. Shenandoah is excited to consider short stories, essays, excerpts of novels in progress, poems, comics, and translations of all the above.” Pays: “We pay our contributors as much as we can depending on available funds.” See the notice at https://shenandoahliterary.org/blog/2018/08/were-open-for-submissions/.
“BYWORDS. CA wants your Canadian poetry reviews. We will pay $75 for previously unpublished reviews of 500 words or more of recent Canadian poetry books and chapbooks. Send your reviews as .doc, .docx, .rtf files to Amanda(at)byword(dot)ca by the end of the month for consideration for the next issue of Bywords.ca.” You’ll find these guidelines on http://bywords.ca. (Discovered this one via http://twitter.com/weischoice.)

I must tell you that I recently was overwhelmed by the comment that one regular blog reader left on the Practicing Writing blog. If you go read it, I’m sure that you’ll understand why I found it so moving:


Reminder: 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 a freelance writer and book publicist. She is the author of QUIET AMERICANS: STORIES, which is an American Library Association Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title for outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. 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. From 2014-2017, Erika served as Media Editor for Fig Tree Books LLC. 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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