August Top Picks: Opportunities for Writers

The August 2018 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, the running after the ice cream truck for three blocks to get a much-deserved popsicle. That matters too.



Contests & Awards

Fee: $0; Award: $10,000; Deadline: Aug 15.

African-American authors (with U.S. citizenship) who are published but not yet widely recognized for their work. Works of fiction (novel or collection of short stories) that will be published in 2018. Self-publication not accepted.


Fee: $0; Award: $10,000; Deadline: Aug 15.
The submitted project must be the work of a single individual, an unpublished work-in-progress of English-language literary nonfiction (no scholarly or academic writing). Oral history must be a significant component of the project and its research.


Free submissions to Platypus Press' Broken River Prize.
Fee: $0; Award: $250 and publication; Deadline: Aug 31.
Submit poetry chapbooks between 20 and 40 pages in length. All finalists will be considered for publication. This year's judge is poet and teacher Eduardo C. Corral.


Free submissions to the Sustainable Arts Foundation Award for Parent Writers.
Fee: $0; Award: $5,000; Deadline: Aug 31.
Artists and writers with at least one child and a strong portfolio of polished work are welcome to apply. Half of SAF awards are made to applicants of color.


Fee: $18; Award: $1,000 advance and contract; Deadline: Aug 15.
Fiction manuscripts only (novels and short story collections). The selected manuscript will be promoted by The Publishing Laboratory at the University of New Orleans.


Fee: $18; Award: $500 and publication; Deadline: Aug 15.
55-85 pages. Open to all poets over the age of 18 who write in English. Diode will consider translations and welcome collaborations.


$ Off the Grid Press Prize for Poets over Sixty.
Fee: $25; Award: $1,000; Deadline: Aug 31.
Submit up to 50 pages of prose and up to 35 pages of poetry. Off the Grid Press is looking for work by poets over sixty, ripened in craft and vision, and sufficiently sprightly to promote their work through readings and other networks.


Free submissions to the New Visions Award for Authors of Color and Native nations.
Fee: $0; Award $2,000 and publication; Deadline: Aug 31.
The New Visions Award is given annually to an unpublished Native/Indigenous author or author of color for a middle grade or young adult manuscript. Winners receive a cash prize and a contract with Lee & Low Books.


Free application to The Author Accelerator Diverse Voices Scholarship for Writers of Color.
Fee: $0; Award: coaching and mentorship; Deadline: Aug 31.
Open to unpublished writers of color who have met certain criteria. Scholarship starts Jan 2019.


Fellowships & Residencies

Fee: $0; Award: $5,000; Deadline: Aug 15.
Candidates must be writers of children’s or young adult fiction in financial need who have published one or more novels for children or young adults that have not generated sufficient income to support the author. The writer’s previously published book(s) must be published by a U.S. publisher (not self-published). Not eligible: picture books, graphic novels.


General Submissions

Fee: $0; Award: publication at industry-standard rates; Deadline: Aug 10.
Pitches of personal essays about stories that made you. Under 2,000 words. This edition's editor is Oona Miller. Brain Mill Press strongly encourages submissions from people of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ writers.


Fee: $0; Deadline: Aug 31.
Nowhere Magazine publishes literary travel writing; anything with a strong sense of place, character or time—nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.


Free submission to Proximity Issue 20: Aging.
Fee: $0; Deadline: Aug 31.
Submission length varies by category. Proximity encourages submissions from women, writers of color, and marginalized individuals, including gender-nonconforming and LGBTQ writers. Previously unpublished submissions only (exceptions apply). Multiple submissions welcome. Issue 20's guest editors are Leonarda Carranza, Danielle Daniel, and Maria Turner.



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About the Author

Colwill is an instructor and manuscript consultant at GrubStreet, an associate editor at Bat City Review, and an MFA candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. After graduating a scholarship awardee of GrubStreet’s Novel Incubator program, Colwill found representation for her first novel, Before We Tear Our Selves Apart, with Robert Guinsler of Sterling Lord Literistic, which is currently on submission to publishing houses. She is the recipient of the Wellspring House Emerging Writer Fellowship, the Henry Blackwell Essay Prize, and a Crawley-Garwood Research Grant, and has received fellowships and support from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The University of Texas at Austin, Boston College, Kansas State University, the Anderson Center for Disciplinary Studies, and GrubStreet. She was a finalist for the 2019 Tennessee Williams Fiction Prize, the 2019 Reynolds Price Award, the 2019 Far Horizons Fiction Award, the 2019 Disquiet International Literary Prize, and the 2019 Lit Fest Emerging Writer Fellowship. Colwill’s fiction is forthcoming in Granta and is anthologized in Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet (Press 53). She has served on the editorial team for Post Road magazine, The Conium Review,  Solstice Literary Magazine, and Pangyrus magazine. Colwill is a founding member of the  Back Porch Collective, a Boston-based group of writers. With members connected to Cuba, India, Albania, Atlanta, Bosnia, Miami, Jamaica, and the UK, they bonded over a common passion for global narratives and literature’s potential to create empathy and understanding across all geographical, political, and cultural borders. Hailing from Yorkshire, in the north of England, Colwill is determined to introduce the word “sozzard” to the American vernacular. For a full list of publications, projects, and services, please visit

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