October 2019 Top Picks: Opportunities for Writers

The October 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, slaying zombies. That matters too.


Contests & Awards


The Arkansas International’s Emerging Writer’s Prize

Fee: $20 which includes a one-year subscription to The Arkansas International; Deadline: October 13th 

Entries for the Emerging Writer's Prize in Fiction should be a single prose work not exceeding 7,500 words. Entrants may submit more than once, but each new entry must be accompanied by a separate $20 entry fee.


Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship

Fee: $0; Prize: $60,500; Deadline: October 15th

An award of approximately $60,500 is given annually to a U.S. poet for a year of travel and study outside of North America. Submit two copies of up to 40 pages of poetry or a published book and up to 20 pages of poetry.


PEN/Faulkner Foundation Award For Fiction

Fee: $0; Prize: $15,000; Deadline: October 31st

A prize of $15,000 is given annually for a book of fiction published during the current year. Four finalists will each receive $5,000. The winner and finalists will also be invited to read in Washington, D.C., in May 2020. Submit five copies (or bound galleys) of a short story collection, novella, or novel published in 2019 by October 31. There is no entry fee.


Boston in 100 Words

Fee: $0; Deadline: November 8th

Boston in 100 Words is a writing contest that invites all Boston residents to write stories of no more than one hundred words depicting everyday life their communities. A team of renown, local authors will select winning stories, which will be published in large format and posted throughout the city for everyone to read and enjoy.


Fellowships, Conferences & Residencies


Pao Arts Center Artist-in-Residence

Fee: $0; Deadline: October 4th 

The Pao Arts Center invites artists of any medium to apply for its Artist-in-Residence Program. Neighborhood engagement is the focus of this four-month residency. Projects should generate discussion on issues important to the neighborhood as well as bridge diverse populations through activities and art making. The Pao Arts Center encourages project proposals that engage the community in issues relevant to Chinatown, Asian and Asian American communities, and/or immigrant populations more generally.


Mass Culture Council’s Artist Fellowship Program 

Fee: $0; Deadline: October 7th 

The Fellowships are direct grants in Drawing & Printmaking, Poetry, and Traditional Arts to recognize exceptional original work. They consider the work of individual artists to be an essential part of their vital communities, and they hope the awards will foster the creation of new art in the Commonwealth.


The SmokeLong Flash Fellowship for Emerging Writers

Fee: $8; Deadline: October 15th 

The winner of the 2020 Fellowship will be considered a virtual “writer in residence” at SmokeLong for four quarterly issues. Each issue will include one flash by the Fellowship winner. The winner of the Fellowship will also receive $1000.00, to be paid as follows: $200.00 on announcement of the winner, and $200.00 upon publication of a story in each of the four issues in 2020.


 The 2020 A Public Space Fellowships

Fee: $0; Deadline: October 15th

The aim of these fellowships is to seek out and support writers who embrace risk in their work and their own singular vision.​ Only writers who have not yet published or been contracted to write a book-length work are eligible. International applicants are encouraged to apply, but they are only able to consider submissions in English. Only one submission per person is allowed. 


Workshops at the TinHouse 

Fee: $30; Deadline: October 16th

For short fiction/novel/nonfiction, Tinhouse asks for one unpublished writing sample of 5,000 words or less. For poetry, we ask for four unpublished poems, totaling no more than ten pages. If you have previously been accepted into a Tin House workshop, please do not apply with the same material (different chapters/excerpts taken from a previously accepted project are fine). If accepted, you will have the opportunity to switch your manuscript. Payment plans are available for the application fee and scholarships are available.


#Muse20 Scholarship Application


Fee: $0; Deadline: October 28th

GrubStreet’s three-day literary conference educates aspiring and emerging writers on the craft of fiction and nonfiction, prepares them for the ever-changing world of publishing and promotion, and creates opportunities for meaningful networking. We offer partial, need-based scholarships--for general audiences, for writers doing great work in the literary community, and for writers from historically marginalized backgrounds. No previous publication or MFA required, and there is no application fee.


Adina Talve-Goodman Fellowship


Fee: $0; Deadline: November 1st

Together with the Talve-Goodman Family, One Story is happy to open submissions for the Adina Talve-Goodman Fellowship. This educational fellowship offers a year-long mentorship on the craft of fiction writing with One Story magazine. Their hope is to give a writer outside of the fold a significant boost in their career.

HUES Foundation Fellowship


Fee: $0; Deadline: November 1st

The HUES Foundation is an educational non profit organization that is committed to creative expression and innovation among artists, writers, musicians, and poets of color. HUES will officially launch in 2020 but is currently seeking a Poetry Fellow and a Creative Nonfiction OR Hybrid Art Fellow. HUES 2020 Fellows will receive a monetary grant of $1000 each to be distributed over the course of their fellowship. 


Jobs & Work Experience


Finance Manager at GrubStreet

Boston, MA; Deadline: None

GrubStreet is seeking an experienced Finance Manager to join our team. Reporting directly to the CFO/COO, the Finance Manager will manage and maintain the organization’s day-to-day financials. Duties include accounting operations, financial analysis, payroll and benefits administration, grants management, scholarships and payment plan tracking, and year end audit assistance.


Donor Communications and Events Coordinator at GrubStreet

Boston, MA; Deadline: None

GrubStreet seeks a Donor Communications and Events Coordinator to help with ongoing fundraising appeals, our capital campaign to build a Narrative Arts Center, and events. This temporary position is 30 hours a week from September 2019 through December 2020, with the possibility of continuing employment. Some evening work is required. This person works collaboratively in our fast-paced, friendly Boston office, and reports to the Senior Development Manager.


General Submissions


Submit to Lost Balloon

Fee: $0; Deadline: October 7th

Lost Balloon publishes flash fiction, flash nonfiction, and prose poetry (all 1,000 words or less). We publish one new piece every Wednesday. There are no theme or genre restrictions, but we want your best. Give us work that entertains and challenges, that pushes boundaries and breaks hearts.

Submit to Hunger Mountain 

Fee: $2; Pay: $50 for prose, $25 for poetry; Deadline: October 15th 

The editors of Hunger Mountain share Vermont College of Fine Arts’ belief that the arts are central to the human experience & have the ability not only to reflect reality but also to create it. The theme for Issue #24 will be Patterns. They accept general submissions.


Submit to the Indiana Review 

Fee: $0; Pay: $5 per page; Deadline: October 31st 

The Indiana Review publishes 6-10 stories, 40-60 pages of poetry, 2-4 nonfiction pieces per issue, as well as occasional art inserts and special folios. They look for poems, stories, and nonfiction that are well-crafted and lively, have an intelligent sense of form and language, assume a degree of risk, and have consequences beyond the world of their speakers or narrators. 


Submit to Storyscape

Fee: $0; Deadline: November 1st

Storyscape are accepting submissions of prose of up to 5,000 words. You may submit simultaneously, just let them know if your piece is accepted elsewhere. They do not accept previously published stories, however, upon publication in Storyscape, the right to republish is yours.


Submit to the Transpacific Literary Project

Fee: $0; Deadline: October 7th

Submissions are accepted in any language of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. All contributors, writers and translators, will be paid. A new folio of the Transpacific Literary Project will celebrate the disobedient and porous nature of language, and interrogate authoritarian attempts (and failures) to control the complex formations of self, family, school, and nation.  


Submit to Transition Magazine

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling

Transition aims to speak to the broader intelligentsia and the educated lay public through jargon-free, readable prose that provides both insight and pleasure. They accept submissions year-round on a rolling basis.  They generally respond to all submissions within four months. Transition publishes writing by and about Africa and the African diaspora, with an eye towards a global perspective.


Submit to Barnstorm 

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling

Barnstorm publishes only previously unpublished work in nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. They welcome submissions in multiple genres, but please wait to hear from them before submitting twice in the same genre. Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please withdraw your piece as soon as your work is accepted elsewhere.


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About the Author

Maura is a third-year student studying English and Communications at Northeastern University. She's from Long Island, New York and in her free time loves watching movies, listening to music, and rock climbing.

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