Competitions for Writers in April and May 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. 

North American Review’s Torch Prize for Creative Nonfiction
offers a first prize of $500. Writers may submit only one piece of creative nonfiction, no longer than 30 pages. Entries close 1 April.

Grain Magazine’s Annual Short Grain Writing Contest
offers prizes for both fiction and poetry and is open to writers worldwide. A total of CA$4500 in prize money is on offer. Entries close 1 April.

Historical Novel Society’s New Novel Award
with a prize of £2000 (or US$3000), is for an outstanding unpublished or self-published novel. In a change from the 2013 Award, unfinished novels are now eligible for entry, though they must be completed by 1 October 2015 to be considered for the prize. Closes 1 April.

To the Lighthouse & Clarissa Dalloway Book Prizes
are awarded annually to one woman’s unpublished poetry collection and one woman’s “everything but poetry” manuscript. Winners of both prizes receive US$1000 and publication by Red Hen Press. Entries close 1 April.

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For the third year in a row, literary magazine The Paris Review is offering one writer the chance spend three weeks free of charge at The Standard Hotel in New York City’s East Village.

The program is open to writers of prose or poetry, fiction or nonfiction. In order to be eligible, the writer must have a book under contract.

Each application should include:

  1. A description and sample of the work-in-progress, not exceeding fifty pages total.
  2. A letter from the publisher confirming that the work is under contract (books may not be self-published).
  3. A brief letter from the writer explaining how this residency would benefit his or her work-in-progress.

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 Opportunities for Writers in April and May 2015

Over 60 publication opportunities for both established and emerging writers.

Please check the relevant websites for all terms and conditions. 

Granta
is one of the world’s most prestigious literary magazines. It publishes fiction, non-fiction and poetry. There are no strict word limits, though most prose submissions are between 3000 and 6000 words and the editors advise they are unlikely to read more than 10,000 words of any submission. Closes 1 April.

Irish Literary Review
is an online publication for new poetry and short fiction from Ireland and around the world.  Flash fiction should be under 500 words, fiction should be no shorter than 1500 words and no longer than 3000 words and poems should not exceed 40 lines. The current reading period closes 1 April.

Masters Review
will reopen submissions for its ‘New Voices’ series on 1 April. New Voices are published online and a number of stories from new authors are featured each month. Submissions are open to any new or emerging author who has not published a work of fiction or narrative nonfiction of novel length and writers are paid 10 cents per word up to $200.

Glass Press of the Future
is seeking submissions to publish on flash drives. The editors will consider anything that can go on a flash drive, but the project specialises in poetry, screen shots, gifs, video, and found text.

BBC Writersroom
is accepting unsolicited comedy scripts until 2 April.  Writers may be non-British-born, but must be a current resident of the UK or Republic of Ireland.

Cordite Review and The Lifted Brow
are accepting submission of flash fiction (up to 500 words) and poetry for special issues of both publications. These issues will feature original works selected by guest editor Luke Davis, as well as re-worked, translated, covered, adapted or wholly reconsidered versions of those initial works done by a new author, artist, auteur, game designer etc. Submissions close 5 April.

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Seven Fellowships and Mentorship Programs for Screenwriters

Please check the relevant websites for full entry terms and conditions.

Film Independent’s Screenwriting Lab
is an intensive five-week program that runs two to three evenings a week in Los Angeles every Autumn. It is designed to help screenwriters develop and express their unique voices as writers and to take their current scripts to the next level. Lab Fellows connect with various established screenwriters and explicate their films, learn about their careers, and discuss the writing process. Additionally, Screenwriting Fellows have one-on-one meetings with established screenwriters, producers, and other industry professionals who act as advisers on the Fellows’ projects. Applications close 13 April.

Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting
awards up to five fellowships of US$35,000 each year. This international screenwriting competition is open to writers based anywhere in the world, regardless of citizenship. All entrants must be aged over 18.The final entry deadline is 1 May.

Sundance Screenwriters Lab
is a five-day writer’s workshop that gives independent screenwriters the opportunity to work intensively on their feature film scripts with the support of established writers in ‘an environment that encourages innovation and creative risk-taking’. The next Screenwriters Lab will be held in January 2016, just before the Sundance Film Festival. Applications open on 15 March and close on 1 May.

CBS Diversity Institute’s Writers Mentoring Program
aims is to provide access and opportunities for talented and motivated diverse writers. The program is held in Los Angeles but writers do not need to be American residents to apply (there are no travel grants or subsidies though). Applications close 1 May.

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Teaching Creativity: Born That Way or Waiting for the Muse?

If you’re not born with creativity, do you have to struggle to acquire it?

By Josephine Scicluna, Lecturer in Professional and Creative Writing at Deakin University

Recently one of my Masters students, a filmmaker from the Czech Republic, told me his friends back at home were completely baffled that he was in Australia studying creative writing. You were either creative or you were not, they told him. It wasn’t something you could be taught. Although not voiced in such an emphatic way by my undergraduate students, I’ve still encountered many who hold the suspicion that maybe it’s all just fluff.

What I’ve come to understand is that teaching creativity is not about dishing out a set of instructions how to do it, but much more about helping students to identify the kinds of situations or conditions they need for this receptiveness to occur. From there, they can learn to harness this creativity in exciting ways. But first I have to deal with the resistances.

Much of the resistance I’ve come across bears the vestiges of an 18th-century Romantic view of the artist as a genius, “a one of a kind, a great original” as Margaret Atwood describes in her book on writing, Negotiating with the Dead (2003).

You’re either born that way or not. Or, you have to wait for inspiration, divine or otherwise, to hit you from above, below or sideways. In either case, creativity appears as something outside of your control.

Misconceptions about originality are another factor in my students’ resistance and this can create a real confidence block. If they emulate others, they feel that this doesn’t count as creativity or else if they can’t think of something “completely new”, they think they can’t even begin and freeze up altogether.

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Ploughshares Emerging Writer's Contest 2015

Ploughshares literary magazine was established in 1971 and is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious magazines in the United States. Its writers have frequently been recognised by The Pushcart Prize and selected for The Best American Short Stories.

Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest 2015 is open to writers of fiction, nonfiction and poetry who have yet to publish or self-publish a book. The winning story, essay and poems from the 2015 contest will be published in the Winter 2015-16 issue of Ploughshares, and each writer will receive $1000.

The contest is open to fiction and nonfiction pieces up to 6000 words; poetry entries must be between 3 and 5 pages.

The winners of the 2014 Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest can be read in full online: Tomiko M. Breland’s Rosalee Carrasco (fiction); Eliese Colette Goldbach’s In the Memory of the Living (nonfiction) and Rosalie Moffett’s Three Poems.

Entries for the Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest open on Sunday 1 March and close on Friday 15 May 2015.

For full entry details visit the Ploughshares website. Writers are also encouraged to subscribe to the magazine’s email newsletter for advice and exercises from the Ploughshares blog to help in the writing process.

For more competitions, see our latest Opportunities for Writers post.

 

Stephen King's Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully in Ten Minutes
We came across the following article by Stephen King a little while ago. We believe it was originally published in a 1986 edition of The Writer magazine and republished in the 1988 edition of The Writer’s Handbook. We reproduce it here for educational purposes; copyright remains with Mr King.

I. The First Introduction

THAT’S RIGHT. I know it sounds like an ad for some sleazy writers’ school, but I really am going to tell you everything you need to pursue a successful and financially rewarding career writing fiction, and I really am going to do it in ten minutes, which is exactly how long it took me to learn. It will actually take you twenty minutes or so to read this essay, however, because I have to tell you a story, and then I have to write a second introduction. But these, I argue, should not count in the ten minutes.

II. The Story, or, How Stephen King Learned to Write

When I was a sophomore in high school, I did a sophomoric thing which got me in a pot of fairly hot water, as sophomoric didoes often do. I wrote and published a small satiric newspaper called The Village Vomit. In this little paper I lampooned a number of teachers at Lisbon (Maine) High School, where I was under instruction. These were not very gentle lampoons; they ranged from the scatological to the downright cruel.

Eventually, a copy of this little newspaper found its way into the hands of a faculty member, and since I had been unwise enough to put my name on it (a fault, some critics argue, of which I have still not been entirely cured), I was brought into the office. The sophisticated satirist had by that time reverted to what he really was: a fourteen-year-old kid who was shaking in his boots and wondering if he was going to get a suspension … what we called “a three-day vacation” in those dim days of 1964.

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