September 2020 Top Picks: Opportunities for Writers
The September 2020 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, trying on sweaters. That’s important, too.
Contests & Awards
Dogwood Literary Awards
Fee: $5; Award: $500; Deadline: September 5th
Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose is currently accepting submissions for its 2021 literary prizes until September 5th. Dogwood will offer three $500 prizes, one in each of the three genres of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. The best poem, story, and essay will win and be published alongside all finalists for the prize, chosen in a blind review process. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website.
2020 Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize
Fee: $0; Award: $500, publication, residency, and feature reading; Deadline: September 15th
The Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize is dedicated to the discovery of exceptional chapbook-length manuscripts by Black poets. The will receive $500, publication by Jai-Alai Books in 2021, 10 copies of the chapbook, 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. All unpublished, original collections of poems written in English by Black writers are eligible. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website.
Coffee-House Poetry’s Troubadour International Poetry Prize
Fee: $7; Award: $2,548; Deadline: September 28th
A prize of $2,548 is given annually for a single poem. A second-place prize of $1,274 is also given. Both winners will receive publication on the Coffee-House Poetry website. Mona Arshi and Mark Doty will judge. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website.
The Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award
Fee: $0; Award: Publication; Deadline: September 30th
Two awards of publication by University of Iowa Press are given annually for first collections of short fiction. Any writer who has not previously published a volume of prose fiction is eligible to enter the competition. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website.
Boulevard’s Nonfiction Contest for Emerging Writers
Fee: $16; Award: $1,000; Deadline: September 30th
$1,000 and publication in Boulevard awarded to the winning essay by a writer who has not yet published a book of fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction with a nationally distributed press. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website.
Black Poetry Review’s 2021 Discovery Prize
Fee: $0; Award: Publication, mentorship, and a gift worth $400 from GrubStreet; Deadline: September 30th
Black Poetry Review is an online micro-journal of poetry by poets of the Black diaspora. Submit 1-3 poems and your bio to [email protected]. The prize is specifically for poets from the Black diaspora and includes publication, mentorship, and a gift worth $400 from GrubStreet. For more details, please visit their website.
Winning Writers’ Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contests
Fee: $15; Award: $3,000; Deadline: September 30th
Two prizes of $3,000 each and publication on the Winning Writers website are given annually for a poem in any style and a poem that either rhymes or is written in a traditional style. Jim DuBois and Soma Mei Sheng Frazier will judge. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website.
Lascaux Review’s Prize in Creative Nonfiction
Fee: $15; Award: $1,000; Deadline: September 30th
Creative nonfiction may include memoirs, chronicles, personal essays, humorous perspectives, literary journalism—anything the author has witnessed, experienced, learned, or discovered. Winner receives $1,000, a bronze medallion, and publication online in The Lascaux Review. The winner and all finalists are published in the annual print edition of the journal. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website.
Ghost Story’s Supernatural Fiction Award
Fee: $20; Award: $1,000; Deadline: September 30th
The Supernatural Fiction Award includes a prize of $1,000 and publication on the Ghost Story website and in the Ghost Story print anthology, 21st Century Ghost Stories. They are looking for fine writing, fresh perspectives, and maybe a few surprises in the field of supernatural fiction. Story length should run between 1,500 and 10,000 words. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website.
Dzanc Books’ Diverse Voices Prize
Fee: $0; Award: $3,000; Deadline: October 1st
Established in 2020, the Dzanc Books Diverse Voices Prize seeks brilliant, daring, and imaginative book-length manuscripts of fiction or nonfiction by writers from minority, underrepresented, or marginalized communities. The winning submission will be awarded a $3,000 advance and publication by Dzanc Books. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website.
Carlow University’s Patricia Dobler Poetry Award
Fee: $0; Award: $2,500; Deadline: October 1st
The Patricia Dobler Poetry Award is an annual contest open to women writers over the age of 40 who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, currently living in the U.S., who have not published a full-length book of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. The winner will receive a prize in the form of $2,500 as well as publication in Voices from the Attic. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website.
2020 WNBA Writing Contest
Fee: $15-20; Award: $250, publication on WNBA’s website & anthology; Now OPEN for submissions
The 2020 WNBA Writing Contest is now open! Do you want to show the world your writing? Does the chance to win a cash prize and to get published excite you? Then enter the 2020 WNBA Writing Contest! You can enter your work in four categories: fiction, creative nonfiction, flash prose, and poetry. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website.
Fellowships & Grants
Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute Fellowships
Fee: $0; Award: $78,000; Deadline: September 10th
Fellowships of $78,000 each, office space at the Radcliffe Institute, and access to the libraries at Harvard University are given annually to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers to allow them to pursue creative projects. 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. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website.
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation’s Writing Fellowships
Fee: $0; Award: $50,000; Deadline: September 17th
Fellowships of approximately $50,000 each are awarded annually to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers on the basis of achievement and exceptional promise. Citizens and permanent residents of the United States and Canada with a significant and appropriate record of publication are eligible. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website.
New York Public Library’s Cullman Center Fellowships
Fee: $0; Award: $75,000; Deadline: September 25th
The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers is an international fellowship program open to people whose work will benefit directly from access to the research collections at the New York Public Library. The fellows will each receive $75,000, an office at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library’s main branch in Midtown Manhattan, and full access to the library’s collections, from September 2021 through May 2022. For complete submission guidelines, please visit their website.
Editor / Staff Writer / Editorial Intern at Temple Indigo (Eleven25 Media)
Eleven25 Media (E25) is an independent Black women’s media company uplifting authentic aspects of Black feminine experience. They are looking for a part-time editor, two staff writers, and an editorial intern for their new lifestyle and wellness platform, Temple Indigo. For complete details of roles and responsibilities and the application process, please visit their website.
Contributor to Life & Thyme
Life & Thyme is a platform for culinary storytelling, curated from a global network of contributors. Their stories aim to share and connect through food journalism and relationships on an international level. They are currently looking to expand their global network of contributors and correspondents. For more information, please visit their website.
Staff Writer (News) at The Root
Remote / New York, NY
The Root, the leading online source for African American news and opinion at G/O Media with more than 8 million global monthly readers, is looking for a Staff Writer whose primary focus will be covering breaking news, politics, and social justice through the lens of the multi-layered and complex African American experience. For more information, please visit their job posting.
Submissions to Graydon House
Fee: $0; Accepting submissions from now until September 8th
Graydon House is accepting unagented submissions from Black writers. They publish high-concept book club fiction and upmarket women’s fiction, including—but not limited to—historical, suspense, family dramas, friendship stories, and more. Send your query letter and first 30 pages to [email protected]. You’ll receive personalized editorial feedback within 90 days. Read more about Graydon House here.
Submissions to Love in the Time of… (A Song Cycle Project)
Fee: $0; Award: An honorarium of $250; Deadline: September 25th
Boston Opera Collaborative seeks submissions of short poems in English to be used as the text for a newly composed song cycle entitled Love in the Time of.... Writers will receive an honorarium of $250 per text accepted for this project. View more 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 A Call for Joy
Fee: $0; Accepting submissions now until November 1st
Author and creator Kwame Mbalia is launching a call for submissions with the hope of finding two writers to be published in a to-be-announced Middle Grade anthology (i.e. targeted towards readers age 8-12) that will center the joy of Black boyhood. View complete submission guidelines here.