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Current Issue


Supporting the Craft and Business of Excellent Writing
Volume 16, Number 5: June 2019
Editor: Erika Dreifus
Copyright (c) 2019 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 OR APPLICATION FEES; CASH AWARDS)
5. Submission Alerts!!! (NO READING FEES; PAYING CALLS ONLY)
6. Blog Notes
7. Newsletter Matters

Greetings, practicing writers:

Here we are, again. A new month is upon us. I have *lots* to do, especially to finish up everything that’s needed on my end before my debut poetry collection goes into production. But I’ve got some fun things planned, too. I hope that the rest of you have a good mix of items on your to-do lists, too. See you back in this space soon!

All best,

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’ve been spending some time lately advising one of my favorite youngsters on an independent short-story-writing project that he’s completing just ahead of his graduation from high school. In response to one of his questions, I referred him to an essay of mine titled “Pushing the Limits of ‘Writing What You Know.'” It had been a long time since I’d read the essay myself; I’m still pleased with it, and I hope that you’ll find it worth this new share.

The opening paragraphs:

“I never knew John Gardner, yet I’m certain he would have hated the story I submitted to my first fiction workshop. In THE ART OF FICTION, Gardner denounced the tendency to transcribe personal memory onto the page; he understood it was precisely that practice that many people, especially beginning writers, equated with the famous dictum to ‘write what you know.’ I had fallen into that trap myself. That first workshop submission proved it. I had not yet read Gardner. I did not appreciate that ‘Nothing can be more limiting to the imagination, nothing is quicker to turn on the psyche’s censoring devices and distortion systems, than trying to write truthfully and interestingly about one’s own home town, one’s Episcopalian mother, one’s crippled younger sister.’

So I wrote about my own home town. My mother, although not an Episcopalian, had thoughtfully contributed the requisite—if healthy—younger sister. I sense Gardner would have shared my workshop’s reaction toward the oh-so-alluring protagonist, who bore a remarkable resemblance to an individual indeed known to me. Someone exactly my age. Who had attended my college. Listened to the same music I did. Drank café-au-lait.

I had not yet grasped what Fred Leebron and Andrew Levy have described in CREATING FICTION as the task of developing ‘a working relationship with your memory.’ Such a relationship entails more than mere transcription, or changing, as I did, ‘Starbucks’ to ‘Café Alexandrine.’ It requires deliberate picking and choosing of real-life memories, ‘molding them, playing with language, and emerging with altered forms of lived experience that tell a new kind of truth.’ It requires pushing the limits. For awhile, the familiar becomes unfamiliar, new, transformed. Then, if done well, it has a resonance of its own.”

Read the full piece online at https://www.erikadreifus.com/publications/essays-articles/pushing-the-limits/.

Although I don’t normally provide event-arrangement services for my publicity clients, I do try to answer questions and suggest resources to them on request. A recent query about book festivals arrived just as I discovered this list from the American Writers Museum website.


Sure, there’s a lot of work ahead–checking dates, assessing which festivals accept author pitches (and when), etc. But it’s a starting place!

(Thanks to Christi Craig for that tip! http://christicraig.com.)

Deadline: June 30, 2019
“Poems can be rhyming or non-rhyming, although we find that non-rhyming poetry reads better. We suggest that you write about real emotions and feelings and that you have some special person or occasion in mind as you write.” Prizes: $350/$200/$100, plus publication on the website.
Deadline: July 31, 2019
Judge: Airea D. Matthews

Annual poetry chapbook contest (for books between 20 and 40 pages in length) from UK-based Platypus Press awards publication and $250/£200 prize money. “The contest is open internationally” and finalists “will be considered for publication.”
Deadline: June 30, 2019

“Now in its 30th year, CASW’s Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award was created to recognize the contributions to journalism of both Ev Clark and Seth Payne. The award is intended to encourage young science writers by recognizing outstanding reporting and writing in any field of science. The 2019 winner will receive $1,000 and expenses to attend ScienceWriters2019 in State College, Pa.” Eligibility: “The award is limited to non-technical, print and online journalism. Articles published in newspapers (including college newspapers), magazines, newsletters and websites are eligible. Both freelancers and staff writers are eligible. (Books, as well as articles in technical journals and trade association publications are not eligible.) Science writing includes, but is not limited to, writing in the biological, physical, environmental, computer, and space sciences, along with technology, mathematics, health and science policy.” NB: “Applicants must be age 30 or younger. The 2019 award will be limited to those applicants whose 31st birthday is July 1, 2019, or later.”
Deadline: June 25, 2019

Through this program, a group of thirteen independent Midwestern colleges confers recognition “on a volume of writing in each of three literary genres: poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. Publishers submit works on behalf of their authors; the key criterion for this award is that any work submitted must be an author’s first-published volume in the genre. All entries must be written in English and published in the United States or Canada….The winning authors tour several of GLCA’s member colleges from which they receive invitations, giving readings, lecturing, visiting classes, conducting workshops, and publicizing their books. Because of this provision of the award, all writers must live in the U.S. or Canada. Each writer receives an honorarium of at least $500 from each college visited, as well as travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and hospitality. By accepting the award the winner is committed to visit member colleges that extend invitations. GLCA works to identify dates that accord with campus calendars and a writer’s availability.” NB: “For this year’s competition the GLCA will accept entries that bear a publication imprint of 2018 or 2019.”
Deadline: “We will begin reviewing aid applications after the priority deadline of July 12, 2019. We will continue to accept aid applications on a rolling basis and will award financial assistance as long as funds are available.”

“Financial assistance scholarships are available to writers who wish to participate in our Writers’ Workshop Program. We aim to support the development of diverse new voices in American literature and provide opportunities to those who may not otherwise be able to attend. Scholarship recipients will receive partial or full fee waivers to our Writers’ Workshop Program (up to $600). Limited financial assistance to offset lodging costs is also available. Priority will be given to those who have not previously received KWLS support.”
Deadline: July 15, 2019

Based at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, this residency opportunity provides a $500 cash prize, two weeks’ lodging, free registration to the Langdon Review Weekend, and publication in the Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas. (Requires attendance at the Weekend, which always takes place the week after Labor Day.) Open to applicants in poetry or prose. Further information available at the website.
Deadline: June 30, 2019

“ANESTHESIOLOGY proudly announces the Letheon, its third annual poetry prize. As anesthesiologists who engage in scientific inquiry and clinical practice, we discover that creativity flourishes in the tension of science and art as we navigate the liminality, if you will, of body and soul. So we have decided to embrace our heritage. Writers of all backgrounds are encouraged to submit poems somehow related to the perioperative setting. Are you a medical professional or related to one? Perhaps you have been anesthetized recently, or you are overly acquainted with the waiting room. If you are connected to the world of anesthesia, we encourage you to share your experience with us. One winning poem will receive a $500 prize and will be published, along with other finalists, in the ‘Mind to Mind’ section of ANESTHESIOLOGY.”
Deadline: June 30, 2019 (23:59 UK time)

The theme of this contest is “Sedition”: “We are looking for poems that reflect on the relationship between people and power, which may include topics like human rights, corruption, the environment, sexism, racism, activism, Brexit, law-making/law-breaking, free speech, bodily autonomy/integrity, politics, oligarchy, etc.” Prizes: For first prize, “£25 or $30 Amazon giftcard, your poem published on our website or in our magazine, limited edition LD merch!” For second prize, “£10 or $15 Amazon giftcard, your poem published on our website.” Be sure to read the additional terms/guidelines.
Deadline: July 1, 2019

“The Richard J. Margolis Award is given annually to a promising new journalist or essayist whose nonfiction work combines warmth, humor and wisdom and sheds light on issues of social justice. The award honors the life of Richard J. Margolis (1929-1991), a renowned journalist, essayist and poet who gave eloquent voice to the rural poor, migrant farmworkers, Native Americans, aging adults and others whose voices are seldom heard. He also wrote several books for children. The award combines a one-month residency at Blue Mountain Center, an acclaimed writers’ and artists’ colony in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, with a $5,000 prize.”
Deadline: June 28, 2019

“The prize was founded in 2016 to honor author Louise Meriwether by publishing a debut work by a woman or nonbinary author of color….The prize continues this legacy of telling much-needed stories that shift culture and inspire new writers…The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize is open to fiction and narrative nonfiction by women of color and nonbinary writers of color. We do not accept poetry, plays, or academic texts.” The prize confers “a $5,000 advance (half at the time of the initial award and half upon publication) and a contract to publish their book with the Feminist Press in print and digital editions in spring 2021. We expect to work closely with the winner and provide editorial guidance on their manuscript.”
Deadline: July 1, 2019
“The Tufts poetry awards–based at Claremont Graduate University and given for poetry volumes published in the preceding year–are not only two of the most prestigious prizes a contemporary poet can receive, they also come with hefty purses: $100,000 for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and $10,000 for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. This makes the Kingsley Tufts award the world’s largest monetary prize for a single collection of poetry. And for most poets who have just published their first collection of verse, $10,000 should keep the pen scribbling.” The current cycle will recognize works published between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019; the Kingsley Tufts award is for “a book,” while the Kate Tufts Discovery Award is for “a first book”; the Kingsley Tufts award also requires the winner to spend, within six months of the award presentation, “one week in residence at Claremont Graduate University for lectures, workshops, and poetry readings in Claremont and greater Los Angeles.” NB: Self-published books are eligible. Note also: “Work must be original poetry written originally in English by a poet who is a citizen or legal resident alien of the United States.”
Deadline: July 1, 2019
Poetry judge: Tiana Clark; Prose judge: Kiese Laymon

“Since 2015, the Winter Tangerine Awards has honored emerging writers that envision new possibilities on the page and forge avenues of empathy through their literary work. In this context, we define an ’emerging writer’ as one who has not published a full-length collection of poetry or prose, or a novel. We believe reading fees are exclusionary by nature, so entries are always free. We offer a $250 award to the winners and $50 to each of the finalists.”

Submissions for INTO THE VOID’s Issue 13 are being received until June 7: “Until we reach our Submittable-allotted monthly free submissions limit, there is no fee to submit but free submissions fill up extremely quickly.” Pays: $5/printed page. Website: https://intothevoidmagazine.com/.
Twenty-five years after the release of the movie FORREST GUMP, CONTINGENT, “a nonprofit magazine for everyone who asks questions about the past,” plans “a roundtable of sorts on the meaning and influence of Forrest Gump. We are soliciting 250–300 word mini-essays, preferably focusing on a single theme, scene, character, or aspect of the film. Feel free to bring in your own personal history, and don’t worry if you’re not an expert on, say, the 1960s or the Vietnam War.” Pitches are due by June 15. Payment: “We will pay $60 for each essay.” More info: http://contingentmagazine.org/gump/. Note: “Our contributors are largely historians outside the traditional professoriate—adjuncts, museum workers, librarians, park rangers, grad students, high school teachers.” (Thanks to http://twitter.com/weischoice for the lead on this one.)
June is a fee-free submissions month for SPLIT LIP MAGAZINE, “a literary journal of voice-driven writing with a pop culture twist” that publishes online monthly and in print annually. Pays: “Our web payment rate is $50 per author (payable via PayPal) for web. Payment for print is $5 per page, minimum of $20, plus 2 contributor copies and a 1-year subscription.” NB: “Occasionally during FREE submissions months, we may shut early due to an overwhelming response. If the fees are a burden, please get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.” Website: http://www.splitlipmagazine.com/.
RUMINATE’s nonfiction submissions window will close June 30. “We welcome submissions from both emerging and established writers and are looking for creative nonfiction that engages the contemplative spirit of our journal and embraces curiosity and discovery rather than resolution….We accept all styles of creative nonfiction–essays, short memoirs, literary journalism, etc–only requiring that it be in prose form (no line breaks). We only accept pieces that are under 5,500 words. We currently pay nonfiction contributors $20 per 400 words and in contributor copies.” Fiction will remain open for submissions until August 14; poetry, until early 2020. Website: https://www.ruminatemagazine.com/.
FIDDLER’S GREEN PECULIAR PARISH MAGAZINE “is excited to announce a call for submissions for our first all-fiction issue! This special issue will feature a dozen or so illustrated short stories of the magical and fantastic. Publication is anticipated some time in 2020, with a release date to be announced closer to the time….There is no required theme for the stories, although anything to do with the themes usually explored in Fiddler’s Green–such as magic, individualism, or iconoclastic approaches to spirituality–will be most welcome. Stories with word counts between 1500 and 3000 will be considered. Narrative or thematic poetry of any length will also be considered, but we will only be publishing a few poems at most.” Payment: “For each story or poem published in the special issue, the creator will be offered compensation in the form of either $100 or a half-page advertising credit.” NB: “Stories may be new or may have been previously published elsewhere, as long as the author has the rights to offer their work for reprint.” Deadline: July 1, 2019. More information: https://www.fiddlersgreenzine.com/all-fiction-special-issue.
From BARRELHOUSE: “Fiction writers: we are opening for a very brief window for print subs next month. 6/24-7/1, no fees, $50/contributor + a lifetime supply of hearty handshakes (optional), no specific length/content restrictions.” See https://twitter.com/barrelhouse/status/1130890579469066240 for more info.
Also found via Twitter: “Interested in writing for LitReactor? We are looking to expand our roster. We specifically want articles on craft–plot, character, grammar, etc. Also anything on the current state of the publishing industry.” Follow the instructions provided at https://twitter.com/LitReactor/status/1128361737504346113 and note that I was able to ascertain via email that they pay $25/column.
Still-another opportunity gleaned via Twitter: call for pitches from BITTEROOT’s managing editor Maggie Mertens. BITTERROOT is “an online weekly magazine that chronicles the politics, culture, economy, and environment of the Western U.S. with writers and photographers who actually live here. We cover everything from innovation in Silicon Valley to endangered species, always from the perspective of people who live, work, and play throughout the West. Because while every Westerner may be different, there is one value that unites us: We love the place we call home.” Check the short thread at https://twitter.com/maggiejmertens/status/1132064156754911232 and note the assurance that this is a paying outlet.
STONECROP REVIEW, “a journal of urban nature writing, art, and photography,” is open for submissions for its next issue until July 31. “We’re seeking creative non-fiction, fiction, art, and photography that explores the ways in which human animals, non-human animals, and plants have created, adapted to, and thrived in cities. We are particularly keen to publish works that explore nature in cities that have not been as widely represented in the urban nature canon. So, whilst we’ll happily consider pieces about New York, Chicago, and London, we’ll be ecstatic to read your submissions from Sheffield, Calgary, Nairobi, and Chennai!” For the next issue, they are also planning a special section “exploring the theme ‘roots/routes.'” Payment: “We pay a $20 honorarium for each successful submission. We also endeavor to promote your work through our website and social media. We hope to form lasting partnerships with our writers and artists and hope that you will become a regular contributor.” Website: https://www.stonecropreview.com/.
Submissions are now open for a flash-fiction anthology tentatively titled AMERICA AND I: AN IMMIGRANT STORY IN THE AGE OF DISSENT. The anthology will include stories “by first- and second- generation immigrants as well as immigrants to another country as long as the story has a link to America as specified in the submission guidelines. We will consider submissions mostly in English, but will also consider a few stories in Russian if accompanied by an authorized English translation. The anthology will have both print and Kindle editions. Publication is tentatively scheduled for spring of 2020. Though the theme presumes strife and discord, we are not looking specifically for anger or #resistance as defined by Twitter, or anti-Trump–unless, of course, they are germane to the story. As a matter of fact, we are more interested in stories or reconciliation than in fighting (we have more than enough of the latter). That said, the anthology will accept well-crafted stories of any political–or apolitical–orientation, and any emotional character, as long as they don’t call for violence and are respectful to other peoples’ feelings and identities.” Payment: “a token honorarium and a printed copy of the anthology for any accepted story,” although shipping costs will preclude the provision of a printed copy to contributors residing outside the United States. Deadline: August 31, 2019. More information: http://www.vestalreview.org/america-and-i-an-immigrant-story-in-the-age-of-dissent/.
From the UK-based SHORT FICTION: “We look forward to reading your work. From 2019, we will be publishing one story per month as our Featured piece. We will also seek to publish one story per quarter in a new section – “Introducing” – which will be a showcase for excellent new writers; that is, writers for whom this is their first published piece. In both cases we are looking for the best, carefully crafted, deeply considered work.” NB: “We DO accept work that has been previously published in a print medium with fewer than 5,000 subscribers or sales.” Payment: “Payment is 1p per word, to the nearest 100 words, with a minimum of £15 and maximum £50, paid via PayPal. We know your work is worth more than this.” Website: https://www.shortfictionjournal.co.uk/.
Remember: “THE PURITAN seeks submissions all year round, from anywhere in the world. Submissions received between Dec. 26 and Mar. 25 are considered for the spring issue, published in early May. Those received between Mar. 26 and June 25 are considered for the summer issue, published in late early Aug. Those received between June 26 and Sept. 25 are considered for the fall issue, published in Nov. Those received between Sept. 26 and Dec. 25 are considered for the winter issue, published in Feb.” This Canadian publication “pays high bounties for quality work!”–details are available by consulting http://puritan-magazine.com/submissions/ and/or https://puritan-magazine.submittable.com/submit. NB: “Please note that we can only issue payments using PayPal or a cheque in the mail. We also pay in CAD.”

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 and Jobs for Writers (including state/province/city-specific opportunities that are typically omitted from the monthly newsletter)
–Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer
–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 whose own next book, BIRTHRIGHT, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books. She is also 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. Please visit http://www.erikadreifus.com to learn more about Erika’s work.
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