April 2020 Top Picks: Opportunities for Writers

The April 2020 edition of "Writing Life Essentials," a monthly hand-curated list of contests, grants, scholarships, submissions calls, and awards, with a focus on opportunities that are local, free to apply, and/or committed to celebrating and supporting writers from historically marginalized communities. We do the research, so you have more time for what matters: the writing. Or, preparing April Fool’s jokes. That’s important too.


Covid-19 Community Resources

Covid-19 Community Resources: So many of us need help and support during this uncertain time. And we’re hearing from others who want to know how to help. The spirit of togetherness we’re seeing from our community is inspiring. We’re sharing a few resources for writers and artists here. And we’re also sharing opportunities (for those who can) to support writers, the writing ecosystem, and the arts in Boston. We’ll be updating this list as we learn of new resources and opportunities.


Contests & Awards


Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

Fee: $0; Award: $1,000; Deadline: April 1st

The Wergle Flomp contest by Winning Writers is looking for today’s best humor poems. There’s no fee to enter. You can submit published or unpublished works. For more details on the prizes and regulations, click here.


F(r)iction Short Story Contest, Spring 2020

Fee: $12; Award: $1,000; Deadline: April 1st

The F(r)iction Short Story Contest is looking for short stories of any genre ranging from 1,000 to 7,500 words. They accept all work, written in English, from anywhere in the world. Writers over the age of thirteen are welcome to submit. Click here to view full rules and regulations.


Oberon Poetry Prize

Fee: $18; Award: $1,000; Deadline: April 10th

Oberon Poetry Magazine's Annual Contest offers a prize of $1,000.00 for the winning poem. All entries are judged anonymously. To view complete submission guidelines and rules, please visit their website.


Omnidawn Single Poem Broadside Poetry Contest

Fee: $10; Award: $1,000; Deadline: April 13th

The winner of the Omnidawn Single Poem Broadside Poetry Contest wins an immediate cash prize of $1,000, letterpress publication of the broadside by Omnidawn, 50 free copies of the broadside, and publication of the winning poem in the Omniverse online journal. For full submission rules and regulations, click here.


The Grouse Grind Lit Prize For V. Short Forms

Fee: $15; Award: $500; Deadline; April 15th

Judged by the PRISM editorial board, their short forms contest is open to writers around the world. Send them your flash fiction and nonfiction, your hybrid forms and experimental work. There are no form limitations for this contest, save for those above that refer to word count. To view all of the contest details, please visit their website.


Yemassee Poetry and Fiction Contests

Fee: $15; Award: $1,000; Deadline: April 15th

Yemassee is now accepting entries for its 2020 Writing Prizes, including the 2020 Fiction Contest. The author of the winning story will receive $1,000 and publication in Yemassee 27.2, the Fall Issue of 2020. Click here for the full rules and regulations.


Paper Nautilus Chapbook Contests

Fee: $5-11; Award: 50-100 copies of chapbook; Deadline: April 20th

The Vella Chapbook contest is open to poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and mixed- or hybrid-genre works (prose poems, flash fiction, a lyric essay bookended by two poems, a short story sandwiched between poems, one long-ish short story or memoir, 24 pages of poems, and any other combination that might be missing in this list). Manuscripts may be between 16 – 24 pages (or less than ~9,000 words for prose). For the complete guidelines, visit their website.


Sixfold Short Story and Poetry Contest 

Fee: $5; Award: $1,000; Deadline: April 23rd

Sixfold is currently looking for short stories and poetry to enter in their all-writer-voted contest. Sixfold three-round manuscript voting is the most rigorous, thorough, fair, and transparent editorial selection process available. For a full rundown of the rules and submission guidelines, click here.


Beacon Street Prizes

Fee: $10; Award: $1,000; Deadline: April 30th

Redivider seeks previously unpublished works from new, emerging, and established artists and writers. For their Beacon Street Prizes they are currently looking for fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Click here to view all of the contests submission guidelines.


The Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry

Fee: $15; Award: $1,500; Deadline: April 30th

The Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry is looking for unpublished poems, any style, up to a maximum of ten pages per entry. Simultaneous submissions are welcome. Please visit their website for the full details and complete guidelines.


Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction and Essay Contest

Fee: $20; Award: $3,000; Deadline: April 30th

For this contest, a story is any short work of fiction, and an essay is any short work of nonfiction. Please submit as many entries as you like. All themes accepted. Entries may be published or unpublished. Length limit: 6,000 words maximum. No restriction on age of author. Complete overview of submission guidelines can be found on their website.


Fellowships, Conferences & Residencies


Writing Fellowship for New Parents

Fee: $15; Award: $1,000; Deadline: April 17th

One talented writer who is the parent of at least one child under 10 years old will receive $1000 to further their writing career, a year of mentorship, and will be offered the opportunity to read their winning story at the Pen Parentis Literary Salon in New York City on Tuesday, November 10th, 2020. For complete guidelines on how to apply, click here.


Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships

Fee: $0, Award: $25,800; Deadline: April 30th

Five Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships in the amount of $25,800 each will be awarded to young poets in the U.S. through a national competition sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. Established in 1989 by the Indianapolis philanthropist Ruth Lilly, the fellowships are intended to encourage the further study and writing of poetry. To learn how to apply, visit their website.


Work Experience


Program Assistant at Harvard 

The program assistant at Harvard will coordinate health policy course and research seminar series, including, but not limited to, arranging logistics, scheduling speakers and their travel, attending classes/lectures, gathering/analyzing evaluations, preparing notes, and general record keeping for the course/lectures. To read the full logistics of this position, click here.


Freelance Research Writer for Wonder 

Wonder is now looking for bright minds to join their freelance research network! As a Wonder Analyst, you'll choose where and when you want to work, learn about new topics, and develop useful professional skills. Best of all, you'll get paid for each research request you complete. Click here to view the entire job listing.


Associate Editor in Nonfiction for Page Street Publishing 

Page Street Publishing is looking for editors who will lend a hand in all things editorial, including acquisitions, copywriting and more. This person must be a strong and clear writer (a short writing test will be given). It is important candidates are savvy to current trends in cooking, house and home, crafts, other hobbies, health, and/or parenting. Please provide evidence of active participation in one or more of these categories, like selling goods through an Etsy store, or connections to the restaurant industry, for example. View the entire job description here.




Submissions to Puerto del Sol

Fee: $9; Award: $500; Deadline: April 2nd

For half a century, Puerto del Sol has been dedicated to providing a forum for inventive and fresh fiction, poetry, reviews, criticism, and (less frequently) visual art from emerging and established writers and artists. Click here to learn more and submit.


Submissions to The Harvard Review

Fee: $3; Deadline: April 7th

Harvard Review publishes short fiction, poetry, essays, drama, and book reviews. Writers at all stages of their careers are invited to apply, however, they can only publish a very small fraction of the material they receive. For complete submission guidelines click here.


Submissions to The Sun 

Fee: $0; Award: $100-$2,000; Deadline: Rolling

The Sun is a reader-supported ad-free magazine. They have been described in many ways: celebratory, fierce, unflinching, thoughtful, truthful, dark, darkly funny, tender. They publish personal essays, fiction, and poetry. Personal stories that touch on political and cultural issues are welcome. They encourage submissions from writers of color. View more submission guidelines here.


Submissions to The American Poetry Review

Fee: $3; Deadline: Rolling

The American Poetry Review is currently accepting poetry, essays, book reviews, and interviews. For complete guidelines, please visit their website and click on the category you are interested in.


Submissions to Craft

Fee: $0; Award: $100-$200; Deadline: Rolling

CRAFT explores the art of fiction, celebrating both emerging and established writers. They focus on the craft of writing and how the elements of craft make a good story shine. They feature new and republished fiction, critical pieces on craft, interviews, book annotations, and much more. For more submission guidelines click here.


Submissions to Solstice

Fee: $3; Deadline: Rolling

Solstice welcomes experimental or traditional pieces of fiction, nonfiction or poetry, and also photography. Nonfiction for Solstice includes the essay as well as memoir. They also consider excerpts from novels or nonfiction books, especially if the piece can stand alone. Controversial topics are fine with them. To view the complete submission guidelines visit their website.


Submissions to Sutra Press

Fee: $0; Award: $200; Deadline: Rolling

Sutra Press’ mission is to publish emerging writers that hunger for truth. They believe that good poetry should nourish the spirit. While they identify as a poetry press, they strive to publish cohesive and experimental manuscripts. 


Submissions to The Margins

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling

Every Tuesday, the Margins publishes the work of emerging and established Asian American poets. They are currently accepting submissions for their Poetry Tuesday feature. Visit their website for full submission guidelines and information.

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About the Author

Mia is the Spring 2020 Marketing Co-Op at GrubStreet. She is currently studying English at Northeastern, and minoring in East Asian Studies and Japanese. When Mia isn't at GrubStreet, she likes to study languages, read, write, sing a little, and spend some of (read: all of) her time with NU Barkada, Northeastern's Filipino American student association.

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