May 2019 Top Picks: Opportunities for Writers

The May 2019 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, the memorial-day-weekend trip planning. That matters too.


Contests & Awards

The 2019 Frontier Digital Chapbook Contest

Fee: $20; Award: $2,000; Deadline: May 15th

Chapbooks are a huge milestone for emerging poets, and we’re always looking forward to the Frontier Digital Chapbook Contest—where we get to find that one electric bundle of poems that rocks our world in less than 30 pages. The winner of the FDCC will receive $2000 and publication of the free, downloadable chapbook on Frontier. Most exciting of all: the chapbook will also be distributed to tens of thousands of readers, influencers, editors, agents, and magazines through our newsletter. Jericho Brown will guest judge this year's contest.


Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize

Fee: $20; Award: $1,500 and Publication; Deadline: May 15th

A prize of $1,500 and publication in Ruminate is given annually for a poem. Craig Santos Perez will judge. Using the online submission system, submit up to two poems of no more than 40 lines each with a $20 entry fee, which includes a copy of Ruminate, by May 15. Visit the website for complete guidelines.


Ploughshares' Emerging Writer’s Contest

Fee: $24 ; Award: Publication and $2,000; Deadline: May 15th

The Emerging Writer's Contest is open to writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry who have yet to publish or self-publish a book. fiction and nonfiction must be under 6,000 words, and poetry must be 3-5 pages.


James Laughlin Award

Fee: FREE ; Award: $5,000, FREE weeklong residency; Deadline: May 15th

Offered since 1954, the James Laughlin Award is given to recognize and support a second book of poetry forthcoming in the next calendar year. The award was endowed in 1995 by a gift to the Academy from the Drue Heinz Trust. It is named for the poet and publisher James Laughlin (1914-1997), who founded New Directions in 1936. The winner receives a prize of $5,000, an all-expenses-paid weeklong residency at The Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, and distribution of the winning book to approximately one thousand Academy of American Poets members.


Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award

Fee: $0; Award: $2,000; Deadline: June 9th

Sisters in Crime presents: The Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award is an annual grant of $2,000 for an emerging writer of color. This grant is intended to support the recipient in crime fiction writing and career development activities. They may choose activities that include workshops, seminars, conferences, and retreats, online courses, and research activities required for completion of the work. An unpublished writer is preferred, however publication of several pieces of short fiction and/or up to two self-published or traditionally published books will not disqualify an applicant.


2020 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature

Fee: $0; Award: $50,000; Deadline: June 10th, 5pm EDT

The Vilcek Foundation is currently seeking immigrant applicants for the 2020 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Literature from now until June 10, 2019 at 5pm EDT. Foreign-born literary artists working across a variety of genres are invited to apply, including fiction (novels, novellas, short stories, and graphic novels); nonfiction (memoir, creative nonfiction, general nonfiction, book-length journalism, and graphic nonfiction); and poetry. Applicants should have published at least one full-length book (not self-published), been born outside of the United States, and be 38 years of age or younger. Three winners will each receive a $50,000 unrestricted cash prize and will be honored at an awards ceremony in New York City in April 2020.


Fellowships, Conferences & Residencies

The Inkwell Project Summer Residency

Deadline: May 12th

This is the first annual Inkwell Project Summer Residency at Noepe Center for Literary Arts at Martha’s Vineyard. This residency will provide lodging at the Narragansett House in Oak Bluffs to one writer of color who would like to attend Naomi Jackson’s workshop “This Summer, You Write Your Novel.” Deadline for applications is midnight (EST) on Sunday, May 12th. Finalists will be notified by May 19th and the winner will be announced on June 2nd. Please note that the award covers lodging only. The winner will still be required to pay for travel and workshop fee.


City of Boston’s Artist Fellowship Award

Fee: $0; Award: $10,000; Deadline: May 17th

The City of Boston will offer five fellowship awards, each worth $10,000 in 2019. Awards will be distributed across artistic disciplines, and the number of awards per discipline will vary according to the applications received and the recommendations of the review panel. Awards will be distributed throughout Boston to artists from a diverse range of backgrounds who live and work in different neighborhoods throughout the city. This year, the Artist Fellowship is geared toward artists who are mid-career or emerging artists who are experienced enough that further support at this moment could help push their career more into a "mid-career" phase. 


Jobs & Work Experience

MIT Press Summer 2019 Internship

Location: Cambridge, MA

The MIT Press seeks enthusiastic summer interns in various departments. These paid internships are a chance for people who love books and journals to learn about publishing and see how a busy university press functions. Successful interns will make valuable contacts and gain experience at one of the nation's largest university presses.


EDGE Editorial Intern

Location: Boston, MA

EDGE publishes news and entertainment information targeted to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community. We are a rapidly-growing company offering benefits for full-time workers and a fun, diverse corporate climate. The position of Editorial Intern is a Part-Time position.


General Submissions

Call for Submissions: Gay Magazine

Deadline: Rolling, May 17th (first quarterly issue), August 17th (second quarterly issue)

Gay is a new publication partnership between Roxane Gay and Medium. “What we love and want: cultural criticism; thoughtful, clever and beautiful personal essays; short fiction; original artwork and photography. We do *not* want even the best hot take you can imagine, and we will not publish news. We do not want you to cannibalize yourself. We are interested in provocative work but we are not interested in senseless provocation.” They pay $1 a word for work up to 3,500 words in length. Please note that they will publish many more short essays (in the 1,200 word range) than longer (3,500 words) ones.


AGNI: Call For Submissions

Deadline: May 31st

Submit to Boston University’s Literary Magazine, AGNI. They are looking for poetry, fiction, and non-fiction


Storyscape Journal  Seeks Submissions

Fee: Optional $4 Tip Jar; Deadline: May 1st for Regular Submissions, All year for Tip Jar

Storyscapes seeks genre-bending stories. The premise of the journal is to expand the notion of what stories are while shaking up the labels we use to define them. Because they believe stories are lurking everywhere, they are actively looking for unique modes of storytelling that fall outside conventional boundaries while still maintaining the core essence of "story."


Call for Submissions: Climate Change Issue for Breakwater Review

Fee: $0-$3  Deadline: May 15th

Submit to UMass Boston’s Breakwater Review for their 2019 Summer issue with the theme on climate change. Submit up to 5,000 words of prose or 3 poems per reading period. Deadline is May 15th.


Submit to Chicken Soup for the Soul

Fee: $0 Deadline: Rolling

This long-running anthology is always looking for submissions for their upcoming topics. A Chicken Soup for the Soul story is an inspirational, true story about ordinary people having extraordinary experiences. Aside from stories, they’re looking for poems that tell a story. Please see the story guidelines before submitting.

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About the Author

Hannah is a third year student at Northeastern University studying Theatre and English with a minor in Writing. She's able to combine the subjects she studies when she writes plays, but she's also interested in directing as well. The work she chooses to write and/or direct is written with an intersectional feminist lens. When she's not writing plays and poetry, you can be sure to find her in the kitchen whipping up a tasty treat or two. Other interests include eating said tasty treats, hiking, and searching for the best thrift shops in Boston and beyond.

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