GrubWrites

May 2021 Top Picks: Opportunities for Writers

The May 2021 edition of "Writing Life Essentials" is a monthly hand-curated list of contests, grants, scholarships, submissions calls, and awards. We try to prioritize 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, soaking up the sun during your ten-minute walk. That’s important, too.

 

Contests & Awards

 

Waterston Desert Writing Prize

Fee: $0; Award: $2,500; Deadline: May 1st

The Prize annually honors literary nonfiction that illustrates artistic excellence, sensitivity to place, and desert literacy — with the desert as both subject and setting. The Prize will recognize one writer with a $2,500 cash award, a residency at PLAYA at Summer Lake and a reading and reception at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

The Backwaters Prize in Poetry

Fee: $30; Award: $2,000; Deadline: May 1st

The winner will be awarded a $2,000 cash prize and the honorable mention will be awarded a $1,000 cash prize. Both winners will be awarded the publication of their book by the University of Nebraska Press under its imprint, The Backwaters Press. The judge for the 2021 contest is Huascar Medina, Poet Laureate of Kansas. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

The Loraine Williams Poetry Prize

Fee: $15; Award: $1,500; Deadline: May 1st

The Loraine Williams Poetry Prize is an award for a single poem, to be published in The Georgia Review. The winner will receive an honorarium of $1,500 and an expenses-paid trip to Athens, Georgia, to give a public reading with the judge. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

International Poetry Contest

Fee: $15; Award: $1,000; Deadline: May 1st

One Grand Prize winner will receive $1000 and publication. Twenty-ish entrants will receive International Publication Awards, with publication in the contest issue, and a free copy. Thirty entrants will receive International Merit Awards, with recognition in the contest issue, and a free copy. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize

Fee: $30; Award: $2,500; Deadline: May 1st

This prize is offered annually to a poet who has not previously published a full-length collection of poems. The prize awards the winner with $2,500 and publication of their first full-length book of poetry by the Kent State University Press. The winner and the competition's judge will give a reading together on the Kent State campus. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

The CookOut Literary Journal Poetry Prize

Fee: $0; Award: $1,000; Deadline: May 2nd

The CookOut Literary Journal serves as a response to the call to amplify Black writers, Black voices and Black stories, as well as to invest into Black communities through supporting Black-led organizations and through The CookOut's $1,000 grand prize. They are seeking poems from Black writers that have a unique vision, a fresh perspective, and a clear passion for language and music. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

National Book Awards

Fee: $135; Award: $10,000; Deadline: May 12th

Four prizes of $10,000 each are given annually to honor books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and young people’s literature written by U.S. writers and published in the United States during the previous year. A $10,000 prize is also given to honor a translated book of fiction or nonfiction by a living writer and translator published in the United States during the previous year. Finalists in each category receive $1,000 each. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

James Laughlin Award

Fee: $0; Award: $5,000; 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 winning poet 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. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Idaho Prize for Poetry

Fee: $28; Award: $1,000; Deadline: May 15th

The Idaho Prize for Poetry is an annual, national competition offering $1,000 plus publication by Lost Horse Press for a book-length poetry manuscript. The winning book and author will be featured on the Lost Horse Press website, along with a list of the finalists, as well as in the print and online catalogs, newsletter, and blog of our distributor, the University of Washington Press. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Cow Creek Chapbook Prize

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

The Cow Creek Chapbook Prize is a poetry chapbook contest brought to you by Pittsburg State University and Emerald City. The winning poet will receive $1,000 and 25 author copies. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Emerging Writer’s Contest

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

In the spirit of the journal’s founding mission, the Ploughshares Emerging Writer's Contest recognizes work by an emerging writer in each of three genres: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. One winner in each genre per year will receive $2,000 and publication in the literary journal. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Raymond Carver Short Story Contest

Fee: $17; Award: $2,000; Deadline: May 15th

Now in its 21st year, the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest is one of the most renowned fiction contests in the world. Featuring prominent guest judges and offering $3,000 across five prizes, the contest delivers exciting new fiction from writers all over the world. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

2021 Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Prize

Fee: $10; Award: $1,000; Deadline: May 15th

The Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Prize is awarded annually to an unpublished manuscript of original Anglophone poetry by an author of Asian heritage residing anywhere in the world. The winner receives book publication and $1,000. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize

Fee: $15; Award: $1,000; Deadline: May 16th

The Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize honors the late Stanley Kunitz’s dedication to mentoring poets. The winning poem will appear on the feature page of the September/October issue of The American Poetry Review, and the poet will receive a prize of $1,000. All entrants will receive a copy of the magazine. Poets may submit one to three poems per entry (totaling no more than three pages) with a $15 entry fee by May 15, 2021. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

The New Letters Literary Awards

Fee: $24; Award: $2,500; Deadline: May 18th

Three prizes of $2,500 each and publication in New Letters are given annually for a poem, a short story, and an essay. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Solstice Annual Literary Contest

Fee: $18; Award: $500 - $1,000; Deadline: May 25th

Winners as well as finalists will be published in Solstice's Summer Awards Issue due out in August. All winners and finalists will be cited in future advertisements and announcements. Judges include Whitney Scharer (Fiction), David Mura (Nonfiction), Franklin Einspruch (Graphic Lit), and Tim Seibles (Poetry)Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

The 11th Annual BOA Short Fiction Prize

Fee: $25; Award: $1,000; Deadline: May 31st

Since its founding in 2010, the BOA Short Fiction prize has been awarded to ten of the most exciting and unique voices in American fiction. As with all BOA fiction titles, our prize-winning short story collections are more concerned with the artfulness of writing than the twists and turns of plot. It is our belief that short story writing is a valuable and underserved literary form that we are proud to support, nurture, and celebrate. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Guy Owen Prize

Fee: $20; Award: $1,000; Deadline: May 31st

$1,000 and publication for an unpublished poem. Submit 3-5 poems, (10 pages maximum), $20 entry payable to Southern Poetry Review (includes one-year subscription) between March 1st and May 31st (postmarks). For online submissions, include contact information only with entry form below, not on any poem submitted. Hard-copy submissions, include contact information on separate cover sheet, not on any poem submitted. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Anhinga Prize for Poetry

Fee: $28; Award: $2,000; Deadline: May 31st

The Anhinga Prize for Poetry is open to all poets for a manuscript of original poetry in English. The winner receives $2000 and publication by Anhinga Press. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Max Ritvo Poetry Prize

Fee: $25; Award: $10,000; Deadline: May 31st

Designed to honor the legacy of one of the most original and accomplished poets to debut in recent years—and to reward outstanding poets for years to come—the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize awards $10,000 and publication by Milkweed Editions to the author of a debut collection of poems. Selected by an independent judge, the prize winning poet will receive a standard royalty contract, simultaneous publication of the collection in cloth and audiobook editions, national distribution, and a comprehensive marketing and publicity campaign. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction

Fee: $30; Award: $1,000; Deadline: May 31st

The University of Georgia Press is proud to be the publisher of the Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Award series. More than seventy short fiction collections have appeared in the series, which was established to encourage gifted emerging writers by bringing their work to a national readership. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Emerging Poets Contest

Fee: $16; Award: $1,000; Deadline: June 1st

$1,000 and publication is awarded for the winning group of three poems by a poet who has not yet published a book of poetry with a nationally distributed press. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Stony Brook Undergraduate Short Fiction Prize

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

The author of the winning story will receive $1,000 and a scholarship to the 2022 Southampton Writers Conference Additionally, the winning story will automatically be considered for publication in The Southampton Review. Only undergraduates enrolled full time in United States and Canadian universities and colleges for the academic year 2020-2021 are eligible. This Prize has traditionally encouraged submissions from students with an Asian background, but we urge all students to enter. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Salamander Fiction Prize

Fee: $15; Award: $1,000; Deadline: June 1st

$1,000 and publication in Salamander is awarded for a short story. Yiyun Li will judge. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Halifax Ranch Fiction Prize

Fee: $20; Award: $2,500; Deadline: June 1st

The winner will receive a $2,500 prize and publication in an upcoming issue of American Short Fiction. In addition, the winner will receive a week-long all-expenses-paid writing retreat (optional—dates TBD) at the Tasajillo Residency, which neighbors the Halifax Ranch just outside of Austin in Kyle, Texas. The residency must be scheduled within a year after the winner is announced. All submitters will receive a copy of the prize issue. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Fellowships & Grants

 

The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) | Fully-Funded Fellowships

Fee: $50; Deadline: May 15th

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, VCCA is proud to offer a rotating selection of fully-funded fellowships at each of our three annual application deadlines (January 15, May 15, and October 15).

 

At each deadline, applicants will be considered for a VCCA residency and as many fully-funded fellowships for which they are eligible; only one application with a single $50 application fee is required per deadline. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Teaching Fellowship for Black Writers

Fee: $0; Award: $20,000; Deadline: May 25th

GrubStreet’s Teaching Fellowship for Black Writers provides financial and professional development support to two self-identified Black writers interested in teaching classes, participating in events, and working with our instructors and staff to deepen our curriculum. The fellowship includes compensation of $20,000, artistic mentorship, and access to the GrubStreet community and the Muse and the Marketplace conference. In time, the program aims to offer sustainable support to Black Writers and create a cohort of fellows who have direct access to GrubStreet resources, classes, and events. We also hope the fellows can influence GrubStreet’s pedagogy and cultural vision based on their experience and feedback. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants

Fee: $0; Award: $3,000; Deadline: June 1st

The PEN/Heim Translation Fund provides grants to support the translation of book-length works of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or drama that have not previously appeared in English in print or have appeared only in an outdated or otherwise flawed translation. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

PEN/Jean Stein Grants for Literary Oral History

Fee: $0; Award: $15,000; Deadline: June 1st

The PEN/Jean Stein Grants for Literary Oral History recognize literary works of nonfiction that use oral history to illuminate an event, individual, place, or movement. For the 2022 grant cycle, we will confer two PEN/Jean Stein Grants for Literary Oral History with cash prizes of $15,000 each. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

PEN/Phyllis Naylor Grant for Children’s and Young Adult Novelists

Fee: $0; Award: $5,000; Deadline: June 1st

The PEN/Phyllis Naylor Grant for Children’s and Young Adult Novelists is offered annually to an author of children’s or young adult fiction for a novel-in-progress. Previously called the PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, the award was developed to help writers whose work is of high literary caliber and assist a writer at a crucial moment in their career to complete their novel. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Work Experience

 

Finance and HR Associate, GrubStreet

Boston, MA | Full-Time

The Finance & HR Associate role is responsible for assisting with the day-to-day financial and human resources operations of the organization. This includes communicating with students, instructors, and vendors regarding payments; managing accounts payable and receivable; supporting with monthly reconciliations processes; helping to coordinate onboarding, reviews, and other HR processes; and supporting both the Finance and HR teams in payroll and benefits. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Muse Conference Manager, GrubStreet

Boston, MA | Full-Time

The Muse Conference Manager role is responsible for managing the organizational planning and execution of GrubStreet’s national writing conference, which is our largest convening of the year. The Muse Manager develops and improves systems for processing large volumes of conference information, manages broad communications with all attendees and presenters, manages and works closely with members of the seasonal Muse Team, and brings creativity and a commitment to equity to the work in ways large and small. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Temporary Marketing Coordinator, GrubStreet

Boston, MA | Full-Time | July 2021 – November 2021

The Temporary Marketing Coordinator role is responsible for assisting with the day-to-day coordination of marketing activities and initiatives. This includes writing and building social media posts and email newsletters; designing images for social media and other marketing collateral; researching and building blog posts; updating marketing reporting; and other tasks related to general marketing for the organization. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Commonwealth Corps Service Internship Program, Teens in Print (WriteBoston)

Boston, MA | Internship

The mission of the Commonwealth Corps service internship program is to engage Massachusetts residents of  all ages, backgrounds, and identities in direct service to strengthen communities, address critical needs, and  increase volunteerism. Through hands-on experience, Commonwealth Corps members gain professional skills  and valuable knowledge while positively impacting diverse communities in our state. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Fiction Editor, Pangyrus

Cambridge, MA

Pangyrus is seeking a skilled and ambitious editor to shape its publication of contemporary short stories, flash fiction, and other narrative arts. Alongside our senior fiction editor, and with the support of our associate fiction editor, you will be responsible for soliciting literary-quality fiction, evaluating fiction submissions, and setting the direction for special projects, author interviews, and features on craft and career. The position is currently estimated to require five to seven hours per week and is on a volunteer basis. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Associate Nonfiction Editor, Pangyrus

Cambridge, MA

Pangyrus is seeking an associate nonfiction editor to work alongside the nonfiction editor in shaping our online and print publication of essays, memoir, reviews, and all varieties of nonfiction narrative.  This position includes opportunities to develop independent projects including author interviews and book reviews, as well as to solicit writing from authors in your own areas of interest. The position is currently estimated to require five hours work per week and is on a volunteer basis. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Marketing & Communications Manager, Project for Public Spaces

New York, NY | Full-Time Remote

Project for Public Spaces is seeking a Marketing & Communications Manager to become a core member of its emerging development team. Reporting to the Director of Development, this role is responsible for developing marketing materials and proposals, as well as producing content for Project for Public Spaces’ blog, newsletters, social media, and external outlets. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Beauty Writer, Nylon

New York, NY | Part-Time Remote

Nylon is seeking a remote, part-time Beauty Writer to join the team. Nylon readers are experimental when it comes to beauty and are curious about all sorts of beauty-related news and trends, so interested applicants should be, too. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

 

Submissions

 

Submissions to midnight & indigo (Short story and Narrative Essay and Speculative/Horror Submissions)

Fee: $0; Deadline: May 2nd

midnight & indigo is a literary platform dedicated to publishing short fiction and narrative essays by Black women writers. View complete submission guidelines here.

 

Submissions to AGNI

Fee: $0; Deadline: N/A

AGNI looks for writing that catches experience before the crusts of habit form—poetry and prose that resist ideas about what a certain kind of writing “should do.” They seek out writers who tell their truths in their own words and convince us as we read that we’ve found something no one else could have written. View complete submission guidelines here.

 

Submissions to The Puritan

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling

The Puritan seeks submissions all year round, from anywhere in the world. Regular submissions to the magazine are free of charge and should fall under one of four categories: fiction, essays, poetry, and reviews. Unless we are soliciting your work, all submissions must be previously unpublished (this includes self-publishing, publishing on blogs, and in chapbook format). View complete submission guidelines here.

 

Submissions to Embark Literary Journal

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling

Embark accepts submissions from all over the world and have no geographical constraints. However, all submissions must be written in English (or translated into English from another language, in which case both the author and the translator must be credited). They do NOT accept submissions of memoirs or other nonfiction works. Only the openings of novels (works of fiction 50,000 words or longer) will be considered. View complete submission guidelines here.

 

Submissions to Frontier Poetry

Fee: $0; Award: $50 per poem, up to $150; Deadline: Rolling

Submissions for Frontier Poetry’s New Voices poetry category are open year round to any new and emerging poet who has not published more than one full-length collection of poetry. View complete submission guidelines here.

 

Submissions to Voyage YA

Fee: $0; Award: $200 per accepted story; Deadline: Rolling

Voyage YA simply aims to publish good work and provide a space for new and established voices. To get an idea of what they publish, please read their archives. General submissions are open year-round and there is no fee to submit to their general categories. New work is published weekly. View complete submission guidelines here.

 

Submissions to So to Speak Blog

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling

The So to Speak Blog is unique in that it opens itself up to multiple forms of storytelling. Hybrid works, reviews, interviews, and visual art are welcomed submissions. View complete submission guidelines here.

 

Submissions to The Sun 

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

The Sun publishes 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 Hippocampus Magazine 

Fee: $3; Award: $40; Deadline: Rolling

Looking for a literary magazine that accepts personal essays? Hippocampus Magazine enthusiastically considers unsolicited, previously unpublished creative nonfiction submissions in the following categories: memoir excerpt, personal essay, flash creative nonfiction, and more. View complete submission guidelines here.

 

Submissions to Solstice Magazine’s Features Blog: Anti-Oppression Theme

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling

Solstice Magazine is looking to feature the voices of previously unheard and also established writers who write to make us see, to clarify injustice, and to move us to action. View complete submission guidelines here.

 

Submissions to Redivider

Fee: $0 - $3; Deadline: Rolling

Redivider seeks previously unpublished works from emerging and established writers. They welcome general submissions year-round. View complete submission guidelines here.

 

Submissions to Boston Accent Lit

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling

Submissions to Boston Accent Lit are always open on a rolling basis. They accept works in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art. Issues are published six times per year online. View complete submission guidelines here.

 

Submissions to Boston Poetry Magazine

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling

Boston Poetry Magazine accepts submissions year-round. They accept both previously published material and simultaneous submissions. View complete submission guidelines here.

 

Submissions to Raising Mothers

Fee: $2; Deadline: Rolling

Raising Mothers celebrates and examines the realities of parenthood for Black and brown mothers. Raising Mothers publishes experimental and traditional pieces of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, interviews, book reviews, photo essays, comic and graphic narratives that explore what it means to identify and coexist as a parent on the margins. View complete submission guidelines here.

 

Submissions to PoArtMo Anthology (Volume 2)

Fee: $6 – $15; Deadline: Rolling

The PoArtMo Anthology (Volume 2) celebrates the most positive / inspirational art created in 2019-2021. Types of art: six word stories, essays, flash fiction, short stories, photography, paintings, drawings, and poetry. Ages 17 and over. Submission fee: $6 per piece or $15 for 3 pieces. Payment: ongoing royalties + complimentary PDF copy of anthology. Deadline: December 31, 2021. View complete submission guidelines here.

 

Submissions to Written in a Flash Anthology: A Collection of Positive Stories

Fee: $6 – $15; Deadline: Rolling

Written in a Flash Anthology: A Collection of Positive Stories is a new project that seeks to highlight the most inspirational / positive short stories and flash fiction pieces created in 2019-2021. Genres accepted: thriller, mystery, fantasy, science-fiction, historical fiction, contemporary fiction, young adult, humor, and nonfiction. Ages 17 and over. Submission fee: $6 per piece or $15 for 3 pieces. Payment: ongoing royalties + complimentary PDF copy of anthology. Deadline: December 31, 2021. View complete submission guidelines here.

About the Author

GrubWrites is a space for the writing and reading community to share ideas and seek advice, a place where writers at the very beginning of their careers publish alongside established authors. Book lovers, we bring you reviews, recommendations, and conversations with exciting new authors to keep you up to speed on all things lit. Writers, this is your one stop shop for expert craft talk, opinions on how we learn and teach writing, and essential advice about the publishing industry.

Plus, we want to hear from you! Our ongoing call for submissions is open to literary community members of all types and persuasions. We want to hear from students, teachers, authors, readers, editors, agents, publicists, and any devotee of the written word. If you have something to say about writing, reading, the publishing industry, or anything related to the literary world, this is the place to voice it. We’re particularly committed to advocating for a diverse range of voices in the literary marketplace and raising the visibility of writers from under-represented communities.

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