September 2019 Top Picks: Opportunities for Writers

The September 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, stocking up on new stationery. That matters too.


Contests & Awards


The Toni Beauchamp Prize in Critical Art Writing

Fee: $0; Award: $3,000 & publication; Deadline: September 15th 

The Beauchamp Prize will consider submissions of work that has been written (or published) within the last year. A variety of creative approaches and formats to writing on the visual arts are encouraged, and can include thematic essays, exhibition reviews and scholarly essays. There will be one first place prize of $3,000 and two runners-up awarded $1,000 each.


The 2019 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize

Fee: $12; Award: $500; Deadline: September 30th

The Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize is dedicated to the discovery of exceptional chapbook-length manuscripts by Black poets. All unpublished, original collections of poems written in English by Black writers are eligible. The winner will receive publication by Jai-Alai Books in 2020, a Residency in Early April at The Writer’s Room at The Betsy Hotel in Miami, and a Feature Reading at the O, Miami Poetry Festival.


The Juniper Literary Prize

Fee: $30; Award: $1,000 and publication; Deadline: September 30th

The Juniper Literary Prizes showcase distinctive and fresh voices and share their work with a wide array of readers. Every year, faculty-judges from the distinguished University of Massachusetts MFA program select two winners in poetry, two in fiction, and one in creative nonfiction. Winners receive an honorarium of $1,000 and a publication contract with the University of Massachusetts Press.


Southwest Review Morton Marr Poetry Prize

Fee: $5; Prize: $1,000; Deadline: September 30th 

A prize of $1,000 and publication in Southwest Review is given annually for a poem or group of poems by a writer who has not published a poetry collection. Submit up to six poems in a traditional form (such as a sonnet, sestina, or villanelle). 


Boston in 100 Words

Fee: $0; Prize: $100-$500; 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 renowned, 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


The Edith Wharton Writers-in-Residence Program

Fee: $0; Award: $1,000 and lodging; Deadline: September 7th

Two-week residencies during the month of March are offered to two women poets, fiction writers, or creative nonfiction writers at the Mount, Edith Wharton’s former home in Lenox, Massachusetts.


Radcliffe Institute Fellowships at Harvard University

Fee: $0; Award: $77,500; Deadline: September 12th

Poets who have published a full-length collection or at least 20 poems in magazines or anthologies in the last five years and who are in the process of completing a manuscript are eligible. Fiction and creative nonfiction writers who have a book-length manuscript under contract for publication or at least three shorter works published are eligible.


MacDowell Winter/Spring 2020 Fellowship

Fee: $30; Award: Travel Grants as well as Need-Based Stipends; Deadline: September 15th

About 300 artists in seven disciplines are awarded fellowships each year and the sole criterion for acceptance is artistic excellence. There are no residency fees. Travel grants as well as need-based stipends are available to open the residency experience to the broadest possible community of artists. Writers of novels, short story, graphic writing, journalism, essays, biography, creative nonfiction, memoir, poetry, and translation into English are accepted.


2019 Granada Writers-in-Residence Program

Fee: $0; Award: One Month Residence in Granada, Travel Expenses, and Cost of Accommodation; Deadline: September 20th

Granada UNESCO City of Literature and the University of Granada are setting up this program to foster contacts and forge bonds between writers from Granada and those from other cities and countries all over the world, to extend the international reach of Granada-based writers, to build international awareness of the cultural fabric of the city of Granada, and to promote Granada as a city of the arts that welcomes talent from abroad with open arms. The Granada Writers-in-Residence Program is targeted at emerging writers, residing in any country in whichever language they write. 


Berlin Prize Fellowship

Fee: $0; Award: $5,000 and residency; Deadline: September 23rd 

Residential fellowships are given annually to fiction writers and creative nonfiction writers to spend an academic semester in residence at the Hans Arnhold Center at the American Academy in Berlin. Fellows receive a $5,000 monthly stipend, lodging, partial board, and round-trip airfare.


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.


Freelance Weekend Writer/Editor, The Root

Remote; Deadline: None

Gizmodo Media Group is looking for a sharp writer with a strong voice and a keen eye for great stories that speak to the intersection of blackness and culture, politics, entertainment, and sports, among other pertinent issues. Write clean, accurate news stories, find unique angles on the big narratives of the day, and craft original critiques on African American news and opinion that will speak to The Root’s dedicated audience. 


General Submissions


Dogwood Literary Prizes

Fee: $10; Prize: $1,000; Deadline: September 5th 

Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Dogwood are given annually for a poem, a short story, and an essay. Submit up to three poems totaling no more than 10 pages or up to 22 pages of prose with a $10 entry fee by September 5. 


Iowa Short Fiction Award

Fee: $0; Deadline: September 30th 

Two awards of publication by University of Iowa Press are given annually for first collections of short fiction. Writers who have not published a book of fiction are eligible. Submit a manuscript of at least 150 pages. Award-winning manuscripts will be published by the University of Iowa Press under the Press's standard contract.


Boulevard Nonfiction Contest for Emerging Writers

Fee: $16; Prize: $1,000; Deadline: September 30th 

A prize of $1,000 and publication in Boulevard is given annually for an essay by a writer who has not published a full-length book in any genre with a nationally distributed press. Submit an essay of up to 8,000 words.


Submit to Brian Mill Press Kindred Books

Fee: $0; Deadline: none

Inspired by the unrelenting ambition, perseverance, and trailblazing vision of MacArthur Fellow and sci-fi writer Octavia Butler, Kindred Books aims to put marginalized voices first.  They are seeking narratives that make readers reflect and question the world around them, and particularly in emotionally raw, coming-of-age stories concerning young people of color, especially black girls and women. 


Brian Mill Press Call for Pitches: Essays for "Makers on Making"

Fee: $0; Deadline: none

Brain Mill Press seeks emotional, radically authentic essays of 750-1,500 words to appear on Voices, their online content platform, in the "Makers on Making" column. They exclusively invite submissions from people of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ writers.

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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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