November Top Picks: Opportunities for Writers

Welcome to the November 2017 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 coaxing your cat to lie on your keyboard for a candid photo op.  That matters too. 


Contests & Awards

Fee: $6; Award: $500; Deadline: Nov 30.
This contest explores the porous genre boundaries between flash fiction, flash nonfiction, and prose poetry. We also welcome other experimental forms including, but not limited to, brief drama, graphic narrative, illustrated poetry, and more. At its core, this contest aims to nurture and celebrate commonality, difference, and distinction in literature. 

Free Submissions to the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize for poets of color.

Fee: $0; Award: $250 & publication; Deadline: Dec 31.

Poets of color who have not previously published a book-length volume of poetry. Winner must be available for a reading in Chicago in January of 2019.

Fee: $25; Deadline: Jan 31.
Black writers who are full-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs, including low-res MFAs, at any university in the United States are eligible. Fiction or poetry. Must be enrolled at the time of submission. 


Fellowships & Residencies

Fee: $0; Location: Columbus, OH; Stipend: $5,000; Deadline: Nov 30.
four-week residency at the historic home of author, humorist, and New Yorker cartoonist James Thurber. The winner stays in a two-bedroom apartment at Thurber House and must be available for at least three community outreach opportunities. Fiction, or creative non-fiction, including memoir. Applicant must have had a book published by a traditional publisher within the last three years and have another work under contract or in progress.

$ Application to the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Writing Fellowship. 

Fee: $50; Location: Provincetown, MA; Stipend: $750 per month & accommodation; Deadline: Dec 1.

Fellowships are awarded to five poets and five fiction writers a year, and are open to writers in the emerging stages of their careers. Fellows may be citizens of any country. The Fine Arts Work Center actively seeks applicants from diverse cultural backgrounds.


Free Application to the 2018 Winter Tangerine Fellowship.

Fee: $0; Location: online; Honorarium: provided but not specified; Deadline: Dec 1.

Applicants must not be an alumni of or currently enrolled in any MFA Writing program. The fellowship is open to both poets and prose writers who have not published a full-length manuscript in any genre. The fellowship is open internationally. Fellows must commit to the twelve-month responsibility.


Free Application to the Andrews Forest Writers' Residencies. 

Fee: $0; Location: Blue River, OR; Stipend: $250 & accommodation; Deadline: Dec 1.

Creative writers whose work in any genre reflects a keen awareness of the natural world and an appreciation for both scientific and literary ways of knowing are invited to apply for up to a two-week residency at the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest.


Free application to the BuzzFeed Emerging Writers Fellowship.

Fee: $0; Location: New York, NY; Stipend: $14,000 for 4 months; Deadline Dec 4.

Aimed at diversifying the broader media landscape by investing in the next generation of necessary voices. Designed to give writers of great promise the support, mentorship, and experience necessary to take a transformative step forward in their careers. Includes career mentorship and editorial guidance. Intended to open the gates to writers traditionally locked out of opportunities in media.

Fee: $0; Location: Montpelier, VT; Stipend: varies; Deadline: Rolling
Vermont College of Fine Arts is waiving the application fee for their residential MFA in Writing and Publishing for the GrubStreet community! Program is industry-facing with fieldwork and internships in publishing at the core of the immersive experience. 100% of students receive partial funding, and the Emerging Writers Scholarship includes full tuition plus housing. To get your application fee waived, email [email protected] and use the subject line GrubStreet.

General Submissions

Fee: $0; Deadline: Nov 30.

Following the success of Everywhere Stories Volumes I & II, we are now preparing Volume III for publication in the Fall of 2018. Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet (Edited by Clifford Garstang, published by Press 53) is an anthology of short fiction (short stories of any length, short shorts, and flash) set around the globe, including the United States. Volumes I & II both consisted of 20 stories by 20 authors set in 20 countries with Volume II not duplicating any countries in Volume I.

Fee: $0; Honorarium: $20-$50; Deadline: Dec 31.
Literary fiction up to 8,000 words.
Fee: $0; Honorarium: $1,000 for fiction & $400 per poem; Deadline: Dec 31.
Committed to publishing work exclusively by immigrant and refugee authors. Fiction up to 8,000 words. Non-fiction up to 6,000 words. Up to three poems no more than forty lines long.
Fee: $0; Honorarium: $85 for prose & $35 per poem; Deadline: Rolling.
Defines queer literature and arts as works created by LGBTTQI people, rather than works which feature queer content alone. Accepts literary fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, reviews, interviews, and novel excerpts. Fiction and Nonfiction up to 5,000 words, poetry up to 10 pages. 
Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.
Short stories, investigative reporting, reviews, essay and memoirs, flash fiction, poetry, journalism, short documentary film, and visual arts. Offer editor feedback for small fee. 
Fee: $0; Award: $20; Deadline: Rolling.
Nonfiction submissions up to 6,000 words that feature authentic voices speaking to cultural concerns. No more than four poems. Looking for new and under-published voices. 
Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.
Fiction under 10,000 words, nonfiction under 6,000 words, or 3-5 poems. 
Fee: $0; Honorarium: up to $200; Deadline: Rolling.
Open to any new and emerging author who has not published a work of fiction or narrative nonfiction of novel length. Fiction and nonfiction of less than 7,000 words.
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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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