Publication Opportunities for Writers in January and February 2015

Over 50 publication opportunities for both established and emerging writers.

Please check the relevant websites for all terms and conditions. 

Printer’s Devil Review
is seeking thoughtful, earnest fiction. The editors like stories that ‘make the ordinary unfamiliar, that introduce us to new ways of seeing and being in the world, stories that move us without aiming for stock reactions’. The current reading period is open until 1 January.

Apogee
is a literary journal specialising in literature and art that engage with issues of identity politics: race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and hyphenated identities. Submissions for Issue 5 close on 1 January.

Firewords Quarterly
is a new independent literary magazine with a strong emphasis on design, as well as substance. Launched in Spring 2014, Firewords aims to be a publication where exciting new writers can have their voices heard and remembered. Submissions for Issue 4 are open until 9 January.

Slice Magazine
welcomes submissions for short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The editors are looking for anyone with a fresh voice and a compelling story to share. Submissions are open throughout January and February.

Blank Fiction Magazine
an independent literary magazine publishing intelligent and thought-provoking genre fiction. It is currently seeking submissions of literary fiction up to 10,000 words. Closes 10 January.

Litro Magazine
is seeking submissions for its February 2015 print issue with the theme ‘Diaries’. It accepts short fiction, flash/micro fiction and non-fiction. Submissions close 11 January.

Lifted Brow
is accepting submissions of fiction and non-fiction for its soon to be relaunched print edition; closes 11 January. Entries are also being accepted for its inaugural experimental non-fiction prize. Continue Reading…

Competitions for Writers in January and February 2015

Competitions from around the world for both established and emerging writers.

Please check the relevant websites for all terms and conditions and be aware that entry fees are payable in many cases. 

Glass Mountain Poetry & Prose Contest
is open to emerging writers; current or former students in any graduate program in creative writing are not eligible to submit. Winners in each category will receive US$100, publication in Glass Mountain, and free registration to the 2015 Boldface Conference. Entries close 9 January.

Folio Fiction Contest
is seeking entries up to 5000 words on the theme ‘conflict’. Entries should address how the operation of the theme at the macro level (Climate Change, Racial Injustice, Abductions, Armed conflicts, Surveillance, Consumption, Global Warming, Violence Against Women) interacts with characters, scenes, and events at the intimate, micro level. First prize is US$1000 and entries close 15 January.

Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry
accepts entries of up to five poems. The winner, chosen by Matt Rasmussen, will be featured in CutBank 83 and receive $500. All submissions will be considered for print publication. Closes 15 January.

H.E. Francis Short Story Competition
is open to original, unpublished fiction of 5000 words or less. The winner receives a $2000 cash prize,  publication as an Amazon Kindle Single, an announcement in Poets and Writers, and, with the author’s permission, publication on the H.E. Francis Competition Website. Entries close 15 January.

Montana Prize in Fiction
seeks to highlight work that showcases “an authentic voice, a boldness of form, and a rejection of functional fixedness”. The winner, chosen by Susan Steinberg, will be featured in CutBank 83 and receive US$500. All submissions will be considered for print publication. Entries close 15 January.
Continue Reading…

image

Iceland Writers Retreat is offering one lucky writer a free delegate’s ticket to its April 2015 event.

The winner will receive a full retreat package including accommodation, tours, most meals and all workshops for the duration of the retreat which runs from 8 to 12 April.

To enter, contestants are asked to write a short story or essay of no more than 500 words using the above image of Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center as their inspiration.

The prize does not include flights to Iceland or transfers. Only one entry person is permitted and there is no entry fee. The panel of four judges will be made up of representatives from Iceland Travel, Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature, Promote Iceland, and Iceland Review magazine.

Entries close on midnight on Sunday 25 January. For full entry information visit icelandwritersretreat.tumblr.com.

Continue Reading…

Aerogramme Writers' Studio's Favourite Books of 2014

We asked some of our wonderful contributors what were the best books they read in 2014. Here are their responses:

EMMANUEL IDUMA

I’m on the final pages of Yvonne Owuor’s Dust, which has brought an excitement and a brokenness I cannot yet name. Earlier I read Maaza Mengiste’s Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, a novel that reads like a dream inserted in Ethiopia’s history. The new book by David Levi Strauss, Words Not Spent Today Buy Smaller Images Tomorrow is a touchstone for me as a fledgling art critic – how do I write with conscience and clarity about photography?  Two books of poems, Tade Ipadeola’s The Sahara Testaments and Dami Ajayi’s Clinical Blues, though different in style, highlighted for me what is at stake in Nigerian poetry. They contain a certain fire, an urgency to name things properly. Finally I have held myself to the standards and vision of two novels: The Hour of the Star, Clarice Lispector’s last book, and Seiobo There Below, Laszlo Krasznahorkai’s newly translated book.

Emmanuel Iduma is co-publisher and creative director of Saraba Magazine. His debut novel, Farad, was published in 2012 by Parresia Publishers. 

KELLY GARDINER

I’m way behind in my reading, so many of 2014’s highlights have been out for a while. I started the year reading Jesse Blackadder’s evocative Chasing the Light – immersing myself in a story of Antarctic exploration while sweltering on a hot beach in the middle of an Australian summer. Other favourites from the exciting new generation of literary historical fiction writers include Hild, in which Nicola Griffith casts a new light on the so-called Dark Ages, and Stella Duffy’s uproarious Theodora, based on the life of the unlikely Byzantine Empress. I loved Paddy O’Reilly’s The Wonders: there’s so much to enjoy and ponder in this subtle story of misfits who become celebrities, and the wondrous world they inhabit. In an era of brilliant young adult fiction, Fiona Wood’s masterful Wildlife is the YA book I loved most this year – her prose and characterisation are just about perfect. In non-fiction, Janet Butler’s Kitty’s War, based on the diaries of Kit McNaughton, is an earthy antidote to recent romanticised narratives around nursing in World War I. There are so many books coming out to commemorate the centenary of the war, it feels like a deluge, and it’s going to feel like that for another five years or so. If you want to try to understand the War to End All Wars, start with the first-hand accounts, some of which are among the best twentieth century writing: Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth, Siegfried Sassoon’s autobiographical novels beginning with Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man, Robert Graves’ Goodbye to All That, and Frederic Manning’s The Middle Parts of Fortune. All are either still in print or have now been republished.

Kelly Gardiner writes historical fiction for readers of all ages, and teaches writing, research skills and digital literacy. She works part-time at the State Library of Victoria. Her latest book is Goddess, based on the life of the seventeenth century swordswoman and opera star, Julie d’Aubigny. 

ANNABEL SMITH

One of the highlights of my reading year was Richard Powers’ Booker-longlisted Orfeo, the story of an avant-garde composer who becomes a fugitive after being falsely accused of bioterrorism. It is the most profound and emotionally affecting book I have read in a long time and the prose is stunning. I find it hard to resist a literary apocalypse tale and was beguiled by Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven, the tautly paced and perceptive tale of a touring troupe of actors and musicians who cross paths with a dangerous cult leader, twenty years after the world we know is destroyed by a pandemic. Finally, for sheer weirdness, Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy  (Annihilation, Authority and Acceptance) is unparalleled. Beautifully written, intensely creepy and utterly baffling, it is a compelling psychological thriller about how a group of bureaucrats, scientists, psychologists and ordinary folk deal with a mysterious and utterly unknowable life-force that transforms part of the Florida landscape.

Annabel Smith is the author of Whisky Charlie Foxtrot, and A New Map of the Universe, which was shortlisted for the WA Premier’s Book Awards. Her latest project is The Ark, a new digital interactive novel/app. 

ROWENA WISEMAN

Maree Dawes’s verse novel BRB or Be Right Back was a surprising highlight this year. She explores the power of words over touch and how an online obsession can become a real world problem. Erik Jensen’s biography Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen is a powerful yet sympathetic portrait of a complex artist that raises the question does good art excuse bad behaviour? This year I also discovered a couple of unforgettable gems, Émile Zola’s The Masterpiece, a true masterpiece, and Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (translated by Matvei Yankelevich), a hilarious introduction to the iconic Soviet-era absurdist writer and poet.

Rowena Wiseman writes contemporary fiction and children’s stories. Her most recent book, Bequest, was published in June 2014 by Tenebris Books.
 
 


1. Careful or You’ll End Up in my Novel T-Shirt

Christmas Gifts for Writers - Careful or You'll End Up in my Novel Tshirt

$22.99, available here.

2. Aqua Notes Waterproof Notepad

Christmas Gifts for Writers - Aqua Notes Waterproof Notepad

$7.33 – available here.

3. Custom Penguin Books Pillow Case

Christmas Gifts for Writers - Custom Penguin Books Pillowcase

$19.50 – available hereContinue Reading…

Five Uncommon Tips on Your MFA Creative Writing Application

A guest post by Nathan Go

A couple of years ago, I made the decision to apply to MFA programs in creative writing. Compared to medical school or law school, the application process for an MFA can sometimes feel like a crapshoot, with the odds of getting into a fully-funded program hovering somewhere below four or five percent (and some programs like Iowa, Michigan, Michener—gulp—even less!). Still, it seems that every year, a few applicants manage to get admitted to a handful of programs, which brings up the question of whether the process is as random as one might initially think.

As a caveat, I’ve never served as a reader for any programs’ admissions committee (for a genuine insider look, follow Elizabeth McCracken’s Twitter and listen to everything she says!), but I happen to have been lucky enough to get accepted to several fully funded schools on my first try. Whenever someone asks me for advice, I get a little queasy, because I barely knew what I was doing back then. However, I’d like to think that I’ve had some time to reflect on the process and have spoken to many people, including students who’ve been accepted and faculty members. I’ve since graduated from my MFA and hold (at the time of writing) a Zell postgraduate fellowship in fiction at the University of Michigan.

I’ll skip the general consensus—polish the writing sample, apply to more than one school, get feedback on your materials, etc. Instead, I’ll offer some less common ones that I thought worked for me. I hope they help with your application, and I’m certainly indebted to many writers who came before me and similarly shed light on their own experiences.

1. Presenting yourself

Most of us writers tend to dislike being pigeonholed, or to accept the idea that there are certain themes or styles we keep reverting to again and again.  I definitely struggled with this (and continue to) but for the application process, presenting ourselves in a way that is unified and meaningful can sometimes spell the difference between sticking out in the pile or not. I write a lot about the Philippines, where I grew up, and this location not only influences the setting of my stories, but also informs my thematic sensibility as well as my identity. My personal statement talked about my background growing up in a predominantly Christian and Chinese-Filipino family, the conflicts at the dinner table as a result of our ethnic and religious upbringing, and how these issues are explored in my work. My fiction samples were chosen with this in mind (of course, they also happened to be my best work at the time), and I imagine my recommendation letters further attested to my experience as an immigrant. As a result, I believe I demonstrated myself as someone who deeply cares about what I write and has something important to say about the world around me. A place or region might not be the element that binds your application materials together. It might be a style, philosophy, or occupation—but whatever it is, it should resonate meaningfully in all aspects of your work (you can even ask your recommenders to talk about it). If readers can come away with the feeling that they know you and what motivates you to write, then you only need to show that you also can write.

2. Range and length of sample

This might sound like a contradiction to the above, but it really isn’t. Rather, this is the part where you get a chance to display your skill and flexibility as a writer. For my sample, I chose three stories with varying styles: fabulist, comedic, and straight realist. They also differed in their lengths: short, medium, and long. What kept them all together was the setting of the Philippines, which again referred back to my personal statement and kept them from feeling haphazardly chosen. You might wonder if this is a good idea, since schools often just ask for 25 to 30 pages of creative sample, and might even say something to the effect that they’re looking for “a demonstration of sustained, quality work.” I debated with myself on the correct approach, and you might not agree with my conclusions: If programs clearly ask for just a single story, and if they feel more traditional in their aesthetics, then perhaps sending a longer story is better. However, the risk of sending one story is the risk of increasing subjectivity, and has to do more with the practical reality of the selection process than anything else. We all know that readers have different tastes, and if for some reason they don’t connect with the first few pages of your work, they most likely won’t read on. If you present them with a shorter work first, they might be willing to read the beginning of the second story, and if they still don’t like that, then the third. If each story is different stylistically, you’re increasing the chances that one of these would be appealing to the readers, and they might reconsider the stories that they passed on the first read.

3. Potential

I’ve heard anecdotes of applicants being turned down because the admission committee thought they were “overqualified” to be studying in an MFA program. This probably doesn’t apply to most of us, but the principle remains: administrators are looking for people they believe can get something out of the two-to-three-year experience. In other words, they’re looking for writers’ potential as much as writers’ ability. I can certainly speak to this. When I applied, I’d barely taken any creative writing workshops. I’d just started writing literary fiction and I was unpublished. I took screenwriting as an undergrad (a related field, I know) but I still emphasized the things I anticipated learning from an MFA, including the benefit of being in a community. I did not downplay my background in screenwriting (and as it happened, also journalism), but I was able to articulate how each tradition influenced me as a writer. You might be someone who’s majored in creative writing as an undergrad and knew for a long time that you want to write literary fiction. That’s okay (in fact I think that’s great!). But you still have to find a way to communicate your limitations while playing to your strengths. To a large extent, it seems to me more of an attitude check: nobody wants to be with the writer who feels privileged and entitled to a seat at the MFA table.

4. Preparedness

Sometimes, perhaps because I got in on my first try, I wonder if my acceptance was a fluke, and if I was really ready for the MFA experience. Of course, I’ve heard many people who felt similarly, some who even have a lot of creative writing background under their belt. The impostor syndrome aside, I do think that it’s good to gain as much exposure to the literary world as possible before applying to an MFA program. This not only gives you a better sense of why you write and what you write (going back to my first point), but moreover it increases the likelihood that once you are accepted, you’ll know how to make the most out of your time and the resources being offered. I had a wonderful experience at the University of Michigan—indeed, I’ve never read or written more in my life than I did at that point, and I could not have asked for a better set of cohort or mentors. I have grown exponentially as a writer. Rightly or wrongly, though, I did consciously set myself apart as someone who was a beginner, who had the most to learn about writing literary fiction. This attitude has enabled me to develop in leaps and bounds. At the same time, I could see how—had I been further along in my progress—I could’ve used the MFA in a different way: writing that novel I’ve always wanted, giving more thought to the direction of my career, the business side of the industry, finding an agent, etc. I think there’s something valiant and admirable about finding yourself as a result of experimenting during the MFA years, but it might also be worth considering and being aware of the different trajectories in entering a program. As a suggestion for preparing yourself pre-MFA-application, I highly suggest going to a conference (the Napa Writers’ Conference, Wesleyan Writers Conference, and the Key West Literary Seminar being some of the more well-known ones I’ve personally attended and recommend).

5. On success

My final note on the application process is less of a tip and more of a reminder. When the time comes around to February or March, and should you find yourself not getting into the programs of your choice, recuperate from the rejections and take them in stride. View the result both as a sobering reminder of the odds stacked up against anyone applying for an MFA, and also as an opportunity to become better prepared, so that if you do get in later, you will be in an improved position. Similarly, should you be fortunate enough to get into your top programs, view the achievement as the means to an end, and not the end in itself. If a study were to be conducted on MFA admittances, I’m almost sure that the findings would show that acceptances to programs are in no way predictive of future success in publishing. Only diligence and perseverance are positive indicators of writerly success, and in this sense, we all can take comfort in the fact that all of us have a fair shot if we’re in it for the long haul.

Nathan Go holds an MFA in fiction from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. Previously, he was a PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow. He is currently at work on stories and poems about the Philippines. Follow Nathan on Twitter.

This article was originally posted on Michigan Quarterly Review blog; reproduced with permission.


Founded by artists in 1984, the Vermont Studio Center is the largest international artists’ and writers’ residency program in the United States. Each month the Center hosts 16 writers from across the country and around the world, as well as 24 painters/mixed-media artists, 12 sculptors/mixed-media artists, 2 printmakers and 2 photographers.

The residencies take place on an historic 30-building campus along the Gihon River in Johnson, Vermont, and run for between 2 and 12 weeks.

Continue Reading…