Study Writing and War with Iowa’s International Writing Program

The University of Iowa’s acclaimed International Writing Program is offering a new free online course this July.

Open to all who are interested in the topic, Whitman’s Civil War: Writing and Imaging Loss, Death, and Disaster will explore how writing and image can be used to examine war, conflict, trauma, disaster, and reconciliation — in Walt Whitman’s time and today.

Classes will be led by Ed Folsom, a Whitman scholar and University of Iowa Roy J. Carver Professor of English, and Christopher Merrill, Director of the International Writing Program and a University of Iowa Professor of English.

Continue Reading…

Opportunities for Writers July and August 2016

Each month we aim to provide a helpful round-up of writing competitions, fellowships, publication opportunities and more for writers at all stages of their careers. 

For new writers, or for anyone seeking a refresher, we highly recommend reading How to Submit Your Writing to Literary Magazines.

Deadlines and details do sometimes change, so please check the relevant websites (linked in bold) for all the latest details. For more opportunities and regular updates follow Aerogramme Writers’ Studio on Facebook and Twitter.

Two Cities Review
is seeking fiction, non-fiction and poetry on the theme ‘Dystopia’ for its fall issue. General submissions are also being considered and there are no reading fees throughout the (norther hemisphere) summer.

WhiskeyPaper
is an online literary magazine founded by husband and wife team Loran Smith and Leesa Cross-Smith. WhiskeyPaper had nine mentions on the 2014 Wigleaf Top 50 & Longlist which highlights the best short fiction online. The magazine publishes short fiction up to 1000 words and submissions reopen in late June.

Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award
is designed to motivate non-American novice writers under the age of 30, and offer them the recognition and encouragement that might lead to a successful career in television scriptwriting. Entrants are asked to create a completed half-hour to one-hour English-language television drama script. The award winner receives $2500, a trip to New York City, and an invitation to the International Emmy® Awards Gala in November. Closes 1 July.

Post Road
publishes twice yearly and accepts unsolicited poetry, fiction, nonfiction, short plays and monologues and visual art submissions. Submissions for the Summer issue open on 1 July.

NANO Prize
is open to previously unpublished works of fiction of 300 words or fewer. The contest will be judged by Kellie Wells and the winner will receive publication and $1000. Entries close 1 July.

Blueshift Journal
is tri-annual, international publication, with two online issues and one print issue published each year. Submissions of poetry, prose and art are open until 1 July.

Creative Truth
is accepting submissions for its first volume. The editors are looking for creative non-fiction including short stories, personal essays and memoirs up to 2000 words. 

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
founded in 1949, was the original publisher of classics like Stephen King’s Dark Tower, Daniel Keyes’s Flowers for Algernon, and Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz. It features short fiction, reviews and humour pieces by writers and cartoonists. Submissions reopen 4 July.

Ledbury Poetry Festival Poetry Competition
offers a first prize of £1000 cash and a course at Ty Newydd, The National Writers’ Centre for Wales. There are also prizes on offer for children and entries are invited for local and international poets. Closes 7 July.

Continue Reading…

A post by Rebecca Makkai

You probably knew, when you started writing, that you’d signed on for murder. I was warned well in advance: One of my favorite childhood books was Lois Lowry’s The One Hundredth Thing About Caroline, in which the title character finds the notebook of the man her mother is dating. “Eliminate the kids,” one note says. She and her brother swing into crime-fighting mode, only to discover in the end that this man, a writer, was talking about editing characters out of his work-in-progress.

Later, as I studied writing, I’d hear authors lament the characters they’d had to erase from draft two, the ones who “felt like real people” to them. Or they’d talk about the ones they kept around because, despite the fact that they served no real purpose in the narrative, they’d become old friends.

Continue Reading…

Image by Tess Follett Photography

Image by Tess Follett Photography

A review by Shu-Ling Chua

Encouragement, at its heart, represents an attempt to make others feel that they have the strength, wisdom, courage, and ability to solve their problems themselves: it aims not to provide specific solutions but to make others believe that they can find those solutions on their own.

Alex Lickerman, The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self

Use Your Words is all about encouraging others to see themselves as writers and more importantly, to actually write. It doesn’t matter whether you show your writing to anyone; you just need to write. Those who already write may itch to skip ‘Part one: The truth about writing’ but it’s worth being reminded that even writers as prolific as Catherine Deveny – eight books, over 1000 newspaper columns, hundreds of stand-up comedy gigs and counting – share our struggles.

The actual writing is easier than you think. It’s dealing with the emotional stuff around the writing that’s tough. But I’ll give you some reality pills to help you handle it. I’ll bust the myths.

And bust the myths she does, with panache. Deveny knows her stuff and having taught Gunnas Writing Masterclasses for over two years, she addresses the obstacles you’re mostly likely to face.

Continue Reading…

The Moth International Short Story Prize 2016

The Moth International Short Story Prize is currently accepting entries from writers around the world. First prize is €3000 (US$3300), second prize is a week-long writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France (including €250 for travel expenses) and the third prize winner will receive €1000. All three stories will be published in autumn issue of The Moth.

Eligible stories may be up to maximum of 6000 words and all entries must be previously unpublished (including self-published). The judge of the 2016 prize is novelist and short story writer John Boyne. Boyne is the author of bestselling The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and, most recently, The Boy At The Top Of The Mountain.

Continue Reading…

Why Your Rejection Letter Means Nothing

Dan Burgess, editor-in-chief of literary magazine Firewords, shares an editor’s perspective on the loathed but unavoidable reality of rejection letters.

At a recent book fair, we were talking to several writers about their experiences of submitting to literary journals. It was surprising to hear that they had all given up trying after receiving rejections.

We were aghast and quickly reassured them that they shouldn’t take rejections personally. We know (first hand!) that rejections are hard to take, which is why we try to give personal feedback to every single submission we receive, even though it makes our job infinitely harder (we’ll go into our reasons for giving feedback in a later blog).

Continue Reading…

Taking Your Notebook for a Walk An A to K of Places to Write

What to do there and why it’s good for you

A guest post by Shaun Levin
The second half of the A to Z of Places to Write can be seen here.

I like taking notes. I believe in the importance of notebooks. If you don’t trust me, listen to Joan Didion. A notebook is like a dream diary but for when you’re out of bed. It doesn’t need a plan or a story or a novel that’s being worked on; just an openness to what’s out there, and a quiet faith that whatever gets written will find a place in the greater project that is your work. Below are a few more places to write, with suggestions of what to do there. Many of the suggested exercises would work in other places, too.

“The habit of note taking is obviously compulsive . . . Our culture’s need to pigeonhole everything is defeated in these notebooks. Spontaneity rules here. The writer incorporates chances and makes do with the unforeseen.”
Charles Simic

A is for Art Gallery

What to do there: Pick a painting to work with. Go for something figurative. Tell its story in detail as if you’re describing a scene. Stay within the frame. Focus on describing what you see before moving into “story”. When you’ve written for at least 20 minutes, allow yourself only one reference to what’s going on beyond the frame. Come back to describing what’s in the frame. For inspiration on ways to use your description in a story, read Don Delilo’s story ‘Baader-Meinhof’.

Why it’s good for you: Discipline. Playing with restrictions. Ekphrasis expands your repertoire.

A is also for: Aviary, Amusement Park, Airport,

B is for Beauty Salon

What to do there: Write about bodies and body language. Write about different parts of the body and how they are treated: nails, hair, body hair, the face. Notice how people touch each other and avoid touching. Write about what people do to their bodies and have done to them. Follow one person and record what they do. Later, rewrite this as a set of actions or instructions to an understudy. For an example of how it’s done, read Jamaica Kincaid’s story ‘Girl’.

Why it’s good for you: Observing body language. Experimenting with list stories. See also Joe Brainard’s book I Remember.

B is also for: Bus, Boat, Bookshop, Bakery, Barbers, Bank.

Continue Reading…