September 2021 Top Picks: Opportunities for Writers
The September 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, grabbing the last Lisa Frank folder at the back-to-school sale. That’s important, too.
Contests & Awards
Fee: $25; Award: $1,000; Deadline: September 1st
Judged by Jesse Graves. The winning poet receives a $1,000 advance, a standard royalty contract, and 20 copies of the published book. Finalists will also be considered for future publication. There are no restrictions on the type of poetry they will consider. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Fee: $0; Award: $0; Deadline: September 5th
The Parliament is hosting an Art-Inspired contest. Rather than give you a visual work of art to inspire your writing, this issue’s art is AUDIO. Follow this link to hear the song: https://www.parliamentlit.com/contests-submissions (and then scroll to the bottom to see the PLAY arrow. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Fee: $10; Award: $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. Visit the website for complete guidelines. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Fee: $30; Award: $1,000; Deadline: September 15th
All styles, genres, approaches, and voices are encouraged to submit. All manuscripts will be considered for standard publication. Winner, short lists, and longlists will be announced in December 2021. The selection will also receive a promotional campaign across social media and other ad networks valued at $2000. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Fee: $0; Award: $1,000; Deadline: September 15th
A prize of $1,000 and publication by Jai-Alai Books is given annually for a poetry chapbook by a Black poet. The winner will also give a reading at the O, Miami Poetry Festival in April 2022. Using only the online submission system, submit a manuscript of 25 to 30 pages by September 15. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Fee: $15; Award: $1,000; Deadline: September 23rd
Creative nonfiction may include memoirs, chronicles, personal essays, humorous perspectives, literary journalism—anything the author has witnessed, experienced, learned, or discovered. Pieces may be previously published or unpublished, and simultaneous submissions are accepted. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Fee: $20; Award: $1,000; Deadline: September 23rd
The Megaphone Prize (previously the Own Voices Prize) is an annual contest from Radix Media dedicated to the discovery of timely, urgent, and interrogative collections from debut writers of color.This year, the prize is open to short story collections by debut writers of color. The Guest Judge for this year’s prize is Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Fee: $7; Award: $2,830; Deadline: September 27th
A prize of £2,000 (approximately $2,830) is given annually for a single poem. A second-place prize of £1,000 (approximately $1,415) is also given. Both winners receive publication on the Coffee-House Poetry website. Linda Gregerson and John McAuliffe will judge. E-mail any number of poems of up to 45 lines each and submit a $7 entry fee per poem via PayPal by September 27. Visit the website for complete guidelines. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Fee: $28; Award: $10,000 advance, a standard royalty contract; Deadline: September 30th
Established in 1998, The X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize highlights one full-length collection of poetry per year. Since 2019 the prize comes with a $10,000 advance, a standard royalty contract, and 20 copies of the published book. Judged by Kazim Ali, this contest is open to any poet in any stage of their career. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Fee: $25; Award: $200 & 100 book copies; Deadline: October 30
The Southern Collective Experience announces its Asian American chapbook contest. Lee Herrick is this year’s judge. Entrants must be Asian American or Pacific Islander. Former students and close friends of the judge are not eligible. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Fee: $25; Award: $2,000; Deadline: October 31
Open to all works of fiction and all genres whether categorized as a short story, flash fiction, or self-contained excerpts. You may enter the competition as many times as you wish prior to the closing date. All entries must be accompanied by the $25 entry fee. 1st Place – $2,000. 2nd Place – $1,000. 3rd Place – $500. Honorable Mentions – $50. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Fellowships & Grants
Fee: $0; Award: $250; Deadline: September 1st
This scholarship is to provide financial assistance of $250 to a writer submitting their first book. This year, GASHER is pleased to be able to offer two awards, one for Prose and one for Poetry. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
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 exceptional creative ability. Using only the online submission system, submit a career summary, a list of publications, contact information for up to four references, and a three-page project proposal by September 17. Upon request of the foundation, submit up to three published books by December 10. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Fee: $0; Award: $78,000; Deadline: September 9th
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. Fellows, who are expected to reside in Boston during the fellowship period, which lasts from September through May, also receive $5,000 to cover project expenses. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Fee: $0; Award: One-year, full-time, salaried position (with benefits); Deadline: Their next round of fellowships begin in October 2021.
Vox Media’s one-year fellowship program trains and elevates promising talent in their industry, and develops their skills and careers. The fellowship program is intended for people early in their careers, or who are interested in transitioning into media. The fellowship provides extensive training and mentorship, intensive feedback from managers, sessions featuring leaders across Vox Media, and other professional development. They are offering fellowships in advertising/revenue, audio, design, video, and more. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Fee: $0; Award: Mentorship; Deadline: December 31st
The fellowship is funded by a grant with the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s (DDFIA) Building Bridges Program. The mission of the Building Bridges Program is to support national efforts, working with U.S. Muslims, to increase mutual understanding and well-being among diverse populations for the benefit of building stronger, inclusive communities. The fellowship aims to further that bridge-building mission by creating space for more diverse, authentic Muslim narratives for children and young adults, and by addressing common misperceptions of those narratives in the children’s publishing industry. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Academic Studies Press in Brookline, Massachusetts, is seeking applicants to the position of Marketing Associate. The Marketing Associate will work in collaboration with authors, series editors, acquisitions editors, and sales and marketing team to develop and execute marketing plans for individual titles, book series, and journals; manage social media platforms; develop and update company website and book-specific websites; and more. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
826 Boston is currently seeking candidates to fulfill their full- and part-time positions: Writers’ Room Coordinator at the Boston Teachers Union School and Writers’ Room Coordinator at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School. They also have one student position open: Youth Literary Advisory Board Member. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Tucson, AZ (Remote)
The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) is seeking a Membership & Development Coordinator. The Membership and Development Coordinator will be responsible for communicating with current and interested members, coordinating fundraising campaigns, and developing and maintaining relationships with donors. The candidate will also play a key role in the redesign of ALTA’s website. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
New York City, NY (Remote)
Poets & Writers is seeking applicants to the part-time position of Advertising Assistant. The Advertising Assistant’s responsibilities will include selling, processing, and formatting all classified advertising and job listings for Poets & Writers Magazine and pw.org; providing customer service and processing orders for all classified advertising; coordinating proofreading of the classifieds section with freelance proofreaders; and more. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
New York City, NY (Remote)
Kweli Journal, the premier literary online journal and community for writers of color, seeks a part-time Development Manager. The Development Manager will play a key role in generating contributed income, overseeing individual giving and an active foundation, corporate, and government grants program. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
The Georgia Review, based at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, is seeking an Associate Prose Editor. The Associate Prose Editor will be responsible for performing high-quality editorial work dealing primarily with screening of submissions from the online submissions manager program, selecting and preparing works for potential publication, and attending acquisitions meetings in which such manuscripts are evaluated. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Graywolf Press is seeking a Publicist. This position serves as publicist for four to five titles per season, with a particular focus on poetry and works in translation. The Publicist will lead media outreach for their assigned titles, as well as the planning and logistics for author tours. They will also create the majority of content for Graywolf’s social media channels. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Fee: $0; Deadline: September 1st
In this special issue of Guernica, edited by Michele Moses, they want to examine dirt at the intersection of the societal, the personal, and the ecological—dirt as metaphor and dirt as substance. They are looking for submissions—essays, journalism, poetry, fiction, illustration, and beyond—that explore the emotional, interpersonal, and political meanings that hide inside our ideas about uncleanness and hygiene. View complete submission guidelines here.
Fee: $0; Deadline: September 5th
The Autumn Equinox honors the harvest. This is a sacred time of the year to reflect on growth and expansion. In this collection, Plants & Poetry Journal will explore growth, harvest, and balance. The balance between light and dark as our days begin to transition. The day and night are equal length, marking the start of autumn. They’re accepting poems, prose, creative nonfiction, & mixed media. View complete submission guidelines here.
Fee: $0; Deadline: September 5th
Autumn is, of course, a time for ghosts of the past to rise; for smoke and mirrors; and for hauntings. And The Parliament Literary Journal is conjuring them all for their newest issue. As they continue to marry the psychological with the literary, their theme for Fall 2021 is “Masks & Manes”, and some introspection (if not a little projection or displacement) will be key. View complete submission guidelines here.
Fee: $0 - $3; Deadline: September 15th
The Song Between Our Stars seeks writing and art that explores themes evident in current events, or is focused on contradictions and divisions: within ourselves, within and between communities, and the various ways that individuals and groups nevertheless overwhelm their separateness, or maintain individuality amidst pressures for homogeneity. View complete submission guidelines here.
Fee: $0; Deadline: September 15th
Apple Valley Review considers short stories, flash fiction, prose with genre elements (e.g., fabulism/magical realism), personal essays, poetry, and prose poetry. Please send work that is original, previously unpublished, and in English. Translations are welcome if permission has been granted. View complete submission guidelines here.
Fee: $3; Deadline: September 30
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.
Fee: $3 - $10; Deadline: October
Redivider seeks previously unpublished works from emerging and established writers. They welcome general submissions year-round. View complete submission guidelines here.
Fee: $3; Deadline: October 15th
Pangyrus publishes well-crafted, thought-provoking writing, comics and visual art in every genre online and in one to two print editions per year. They’ll be keeping an extra sharp eye out for pieces that reimagine our relationship to place and history and ecosystem, that challenge our ideas, that offer both warnings–and solutions. View complete submission guidelines here.
Fee: $0; Deadline: October 31st
In French, it’s called “Cadavre Exquis,” but you might know it as “exquisite corpse.” It’s a game where each participant contributes to a piece until an entire story emerges. In a new experiment, we are starting with this story (http://www.zoeticpress.com/palindromes). The NonBinary Review is looking to you to tell them more about this person. View complete submission guidelines here.
Fee: $0; Deadline: November 1st
Foglifter is a biannual compendium of the most dynamic, urgent queer and trans writing today. It’s a space where LGBTQ+ writers celebrate, mourn, rage, and embrace. Foglifter welcomes daring and thoughtful work by queer and trans writers in all forms, and they are especially interested in cross-genre, intersectional, marginal, and transgressive work. View complete submission guidelines here.
Fee: $3; Award: $40; Deadline: November 30
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.
Fee: $3; Deadline: January 15th
Ploughshares welcomes unsolicited submissions of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction during our regular reading period, which runs from June 1st to January 15th. The literary journal is published four times a year: mixed issues of poetry and prose in the Spring and Winter, a prose issue in the summer, and a longform prose issue in the Fall, with two of the four issues per year guest-edited by a different writer of prominence. View complete submission guidelines here.
Fee: $3; Deadline: Rolling
The Los Angeles Review is open for submissions year-round. All submissions will be considered for LAR Online and for the new best-of print edition to be released yearly in the Spring. View complete submission guidelines here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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