February 2020 Top Picks: Opportunities for Writers

The February 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 at least one of the following: 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, buying the candy that goes on sale after Valentine’s day. That matters too.

 

Contests & Awards

 

Book Awards
Fee: $0; Award: $1,000; Deadline: February 1st

Two prizes of $1,000 each are given annually for books of poetry and fiction published during the previous year. The Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award is given for a poetry collection of at least 48 pages. The John Gardner Fiction Book Award is given for a novel or a short story collection. Publishers or authors may submit two copies of books published in 2019 by February 1st. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

 

Paterson Poetry Prize
Fee: $0; Award: $1,000; Deadline: February 1st

A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a book of poetry published in the previous year. The winning poet is expected to participate in an awards ceremony and give a reading at the Poetry Center in Paterson, New Jersey. Books of at least 48 pages are eligible. Publishers may submit two copies of books published in 2019 by February 1st. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

 

Harold Morton Landon Translation Award
Fee: $0; Award: $1,000; Deadline: February 15th

A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a book of poetry translated from any language into English and published in the United States during the previous year. Collaborations by more than two translators and self-published collections are ineligible. Daniel Borzutzky will judge. Publishers may submit three copies of books published in 2019 by February 15. There is no entry fee. See the full guidelines and entry form here.

 

Ambroggio Prize
Fee: $0; Award: $1,000; Deadline: February 15th

A prize of $1,000 and publication by Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe is given annually for a book of poetry originally written in Spanish by a living writer and translated into English. The poet and translator will split the prize. Pablo Medina will judge. Using only the online submission system, submit a poetry manuscript of 48 to 100 pages in the original Spanish along with the English translation by February 15. There is no entry fee. Click here to see the complete guidelines.

 

Nelson Algren Short Story Award
Fee: $0; Award: $3,500; Deadline: February 17th

A prize of $3,500 is given annually for a short story. Using only the online submission system, submit a story of up to 8,000 words by February 17. There is no entry fee. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Self-Publishing Literary Awards
Fee: $0; Award: $500; Deadline: February 28th

Two prizes of $500 each are given annually for a poetry e-book and a fiction e-book by an African American writer self-published in the United States during the previous year. The awards honor books that depict the “cultural, historical, and sociopolitical aspects of the Black Diaspora.” Using only the online submission system, submit an e-book self-published in 2019 by February 28. There is no entry fee. See the full guidelines here.

 

Flash Fiction Prize
Fee: $15; Award: $1,100; Deadline: February 28th

A prize of €1,000 (approximately $1,100) and publication in the Fish Publishing anthology is given annually for a short short story. Tania Hershman will judge. Submit a story of up to 300 words with a €14 (approximately $15) entry fee by February 28. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Fellowships, Conferences & Residencies

 

Philip Roth Residencies
Fee: $0; Award: $5,000; Deadline: February 1st

Two four-month residencies, which include a stipend of $5,000 each, at the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University are given annually to fiction and nonfiction writers working on a first or second book. Writers over the age of 21 who are not enrolled in a college or university are eligible. Using only the online submission system, submit up to 20 pages of prose, a curriculum vitae, and three letters of recommendation by February 1. There is no application fee. For more information about the guidelines, click here.

 

Grubstreet Emerging Writer Fellowship
Fee: $0; Award: Tuition-free access to GrubStreet classes and Muse & the Marketplace conferences; Deadline: February 10th

This fellowship is open to anyone 18 and older with a passion for writing. The fellowship specifically aims to assist writers in need of financial assistance in reaching their writing goals. We particularly encourage writers of color, ethnic minorities, those who identify as LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and other members of communities historically underrepresented by the literary community to apply. See here for full details about the application process and Fellowship.

 

Voices of Color & Leonard A Slade Jr Fellowship
Fee: $0; Award: Tuition & Lodging for the Week; Deadline: February 14th

The fellowships provide support for writers of color. Application for these fellowships is open to all writers of color, ages 18 and older. The awards provide funding to attend a week of choice at the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Four First Prize recipients (two in poetry and two in fiction/CNF) will receive the full retreat package, covering tuition and lodging. Two Second Prize recipients (one in each genre) will receive $500 credit toward the cost of tuition. Click here for complete guidelines.

 

Olive B. O'Connor Fellowships
Fee: $0; Award: $42,745; Deadline: February 15th

Two nine-month residencies at Colgate University, including a stipend of $42,745, health benefits, and travel expenses, are given annually to poets, fiction writers, or nonfiction writers. The 2020-2021 fellowships will be given to a poet and a nonfiction writer working on their first books. Each fellow will teach one creative writing course per semester and give a public reading. Writers who have recently completed an MFA, MA, or PhD in creative writing are eligible. Using only the online submission system, submit up to 20 pages of poetry or 30 pages of prose, a résumé, and three letters of recommendation by February 15th. There is no application fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Raiziss/De Palchi Book Prize
Fee: $0; Award: $10,000; Deadline: February 15th

A fellowship of $10,000 is given biennially for a book of modern Italian poetry translated into English and published in the United States during the previous year. Maria Frank, Giorgio Mobili, and Michael Palma will judge. Publishers may submit four copies of a book published in 2019 by February 15th. Publishers may nominate one title or more. There is no entry fee. To see full requirements, click here.

 

Queer Writer Fellowships
Fee: $0; Award: Tuition & Lodging for the Week; Deadline: February 28th

Established in 2019, these fellowships assist with our commitment to increasing philanthropic support for LGBTQ+ writers and expanding the American literary canon. Application for these fellowships is open to all queer-identified writers, ages 18 and older. The awards provide funding to attend a week of choice at the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Full Fellowship recipients will receive the full retreat package of tuition and lodging for a week of choice at this year's MVICW Summer Writers' Conference. Runner-Up Fellowship Recipients will receive $500 towards the cost of tuition. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Jobs & Work Experience

 

Cultural Investment Portfolio (CIP), Program Officer
Eastern Massachusetts

The primary purpose of Mass Cultural Council’s Cultural Investment Portfolio (CIP) is to strengthen the cultural sector as a whole by helping cultural organizations build capacity and deliver public value. CIP provides unrestricted general operating and project support to organizations, in addition to technical assistance designed to help organizations build internal capacities, build sustainable models of operation, and ultimately, help create effective organizations.

 

Society19 U.S. Lifestyle Magazine Writing Intern
Boston, Massachusetts

Society19 is a digital magazine for college students and young adults, specializing in all things lifestyle, covering topics including fashion, beauty, relationships, college life, food, and more! The online magazine Society19 is hiring editorial interns to help write articles for the magazine and grow the reach of the publication in the US. They offer the opportunity for you to earn academic credit.

 

General Submissions

 

Sutra Press
Fee: $0; Submissions open February 1st

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. 

 

After the Art
Fee: $0; Deadline: February 15th

After the Art seeks personal review essays that explore the ways reading can enrich the experience of looking at art. Each essay must be about a piece of art as well as a written text.

 

Apply to Speak at TEDxRoxbury
Fee: $0; Deadline: February 18th

Given its rich legacy of innovation and activism, TEDxRoxbury seeks to highlight and showcase what Roxbury has to offer by letting the world hear our "ideas worth spreading" and providing a platform for the innovative, yet unheard voices in the community.

 

After Happy Hour
Fee: $0; Deadline: February 29th

The After Happy Hour Review is an online journal produced in Pittsburgh, PA. They gravitate towards work that is quirky, accessible, and unconventional. An ideal piece might cover a subject few people write about or cover familiar subjects from an unexpected angle. They also accept visual art, be it digital photos, paintings, or collages, as well as comics.

 

Asian American Writers' Workshop: 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.

 

Jellyfish Review
Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling

Jellyfish Review is an online journal committed to publishing new flash fiction. Every week, they publish two new stories of 1,000 words or less. Although there are no hard and fast rules about what they publish, they do have a soft spot for beautiful things with stings.

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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.

See other articles by Mia Narciso

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