CNF Wants Weather, Boundaries, Teachers, & Crazy You!!

October 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

bbc weatherSpend a second and review the CURRENT CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS at Creative Nonfiction magazine.  They are reading for two new anthologies from In Fact Books, a special issue of CNF, and the Exploring the Boundaries section of the magazine.

Jan 20

Exploring the Boundaries (section of the magazine)

What to send: Ambitious writing that pushes against the conventional boundaries of the genre, plays with style and form, and makes its own rules.

 Feb 9

Beyond Crazy (a book!)

What to send: Original stories that address–either directly or obliquely–the trials of living with mental illness. 

Mar 9

Becoming a Teacher (another book!)

What to send: Stories by and/or about elementary and secondary school teachers, recalling and reflecting on the most salient moments of their careers.

Apr 13

The Weather (a special issue of CNF)

What’s on the line: $1,000 for best essay; $500 for runner-up; publication in CNF.

What to send: True stories–personal, historical, reported–about fog, drought, flooding, tornado-chasing, blizzards, hurricanes, hail the size of golfballs, or whatever’s happening where you are. We’re looking for well-crafted essays that will change the way we see the world around us.

Welcome to Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies

September 30, 2014 § 1 Comment

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Karen Babine

A guest post from the founder and editor of Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies: Karen Babine:

Here’s something I’ve learned over the past three weeks, since the first issue of Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies went live:  Google Analytics is my new favorite form of entertainment. In realtime, I can watch how many people are on the site, where they’re located, and how much time they’re spending on each page. When I worked for Mid-American Review and we gave away free copies at AWP, it was a thrill to walk by somebody perched in a chair in a hallway, reading the magazine, flipping the pages, and it was always hard to resist the urge to interrupt and ask what they were reading, what they thought about it. There was a conversation happening between page and reader that I could see—and the same is happening here, even though it’s not paper. Google Analytics is my new version of walking-by-somebody-reading—and this is a good thing.

Assay is designed to be a space where all perspectives on the genre are not only welcomed, but celebrated. Nonfiction is claimed by composition and rhetoric, and literature, as much as it is by creative writing. We have more to gain by talking with each other than we do by insisting on a hierarchy of who owns the fourth genre. The seed idea for the journal came out of the realization of just how much critical work is being asked of our creative writing graduate students, especially in PhD programs, with little published nonfiction scholarship for them to draw on—and fewer opportunities to publish what they produce. The idea of nonfiction studies incorporates more than creative writing workshops; it must include nonfiction-as-literature and nonfiction-as-rhetoric/composition, as well as dedicated space to consider the theory and pedagogy of the nonfiction classroom. Often critical introductions are the only place these discussions happen—I’m thinking of Lopate’s introduction to The Art of the Personal Essay, even the state-of-the-art introductions to the year’s Best American Essays—and as a result, they are separate notes, to be played individually. Or, even worse, they are the staccato or tenuto that tells us how the note is to be played, never truly part of the composition.

We take the journal’s name from a quote from Minnesotan essayist Paul Gruchow, who wrote that “There is no brief way to know a place even so small as this.  Places can be claimed but never conquered, assayed but never fathomed, essayed but never explained.  You can only make yourself present; watch earnestly, listen attentively, and in due time, perhaps, you will absorb something of the land.  What you absorb will eventually change you.  This change is the only real measure of a place.” This idea of the essay (to try) and assay (to test) forms the basis for the philosophy of the journal and what we want to see in the work we publish. The goal of Assay is to test and analyze the nonfiction texts we read, to attempt our determinations of their ingredients and quality.

Maybe it’s how my brain works, this core belief that there are many different—and right—ways to explore the questions and curiosities in front of us. Sometimes putting on G.K. Chesterton’s hat feels right—but sometimes, we want to go running after that hat with Derrida or Ursula Heise. We envision Assay to be a space for short pieces that come out of “I never thought about it that way before” moments, musings of the brain on nonfiction subjects and texts that aren’t represented in current publications.  We hear in passing what a colleague is doing in a class, perhaps an old hat like first-year writing or something narrow and specialized, classes we wish we could sit in the back row and observe. Maybe we have heard of Writing Marathons, but we have no idea how to implement them in our classes (stay tuned to the spring issue for this). In another sphere, our TAs often receive excellent pedagogical support for teaching composition, but creative writing pedagogy is much rarer. (It’s a long-term goal to compile a syllabi bank, like ASLE has collated for environmental studies, so look for that initiative in the future.)

A couple of days ago, I posted to Assays blog and asked which volumes of Best American Essays are your favorites—and today, on another Facebook page, Donna Steiner asked who we’d like to see as a future editor. These are the kind of organic conversations that Assay wants to foster, on our blog and discussion boards (as well as Facebook and Twitter), as reactions to what we publish as well as realtime issues and questions within nonfiction studies. (For instance, Derek Hinckley’s Riff on Alison Bechdel appears in our first issue—and Bechdel just won a MacArthur Genius Grant.) To take advantage of these opportunities, we are launching several between-the-issues initiatives, one of which is a dedicated series of guest posts to our blog. Karen Craigo’s guest pedagogy post, on the ethics of teaching your own work, is a good example of what we’re going to be looking for.

Another between-the-issues initiative we’re excited about is our In the Classroom project, and we’re looking to compile pedagogy resources, available to anyone teaching nonfiction, from creative writing to journalism to literature to rhetoric. We are also seeking syllabi for courses in creative writing pedagogy (we are going to be most interested in those geared toward nonfiction, but multi-genre courses are acceptable). We want this to be a community resource, to start and sustain conversations about what we’re doing in the classroom.

Being online gives us a platform to engage with each other in ways that traditional paper does not—though I did not want to lose the link to paper, so we include printable PDFS with each piece we publish. While there’s no way to track how many people read a particular work printed on a book’s page, I can see exactly how many hits a particular page gets and know that 300+ people have read Wendy Fontaine’s article on the neuroscience of memory and its effects on memoir. Ned Stuckey-French’s terrific essay-on-the-essay has (as of this posting) received more than 1800 hits, according to Google Analytics.

So, welcome to the first issue of Assay! We’re very excited about the depth and breadth of perspectives and voices, from traditional literary scholarship to looser forms, from interviews to pedagogy. Submissions are open for the spring issue, which will go live on March 1st, 2015, and there are a lot of truly exciting submissions coming in already—and we hope that you will add us to your list of publishing venues, for yourself as well as for your students. Forward us to colleagues in your department outside of creative writing, whoever might be teaching nonfiction texts. We’re looking for representations that come out of ethnic literature courses, critical theory courses, and other sources of conversations we should all be a part of. If you have a great class discussion, write it up for Assay (or suggest to a student that s/he do so). While we don’t have a firm submissions deadline for the spring issue, January 1st is a good benchmark.

In the meantime, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to the magazine on the website. Feel free to let us know what you’d like to see in future issues, how we can better serve your work as a writer and reader, as teachers and students.

Qu Up for Qu

September 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

quWe thought it might be a good idea to Qu you in to a new publishing opportunity:

Qu: A Literary Journal will be accepting nonfiction submissions (as well as fiction, poetry and script excerpts) from September 15-December 15.

Qu is the magazine of the Queens University’s MFA program. We publish and online and spring edition each spring, and we look for writing that is provocative, original and reflective of contemporary culture.
Since our program is low-residency, we will also include articles on subjects that are of interest to working writers. Tentatively titled “The Writing Life,” this series could address the challenges almost all writers face in trying to balance their craft with everyday demands.

To submit, visit Qu.

JStor Daily Hits the Digital Stands

September 2, 2014 § 3 Comments

J_Mag_275x275We recently ran across an interesting new nonfiction market (still in beta, in fact) that we wanted to share. JSTOR Daily is a paying market, looking for feature, columns, and bloggers. If you’ve used JSTOR, the digital database of scholarly journals, you’ll recognize the name. According to the editors:

JSTOR Daily is an online magazine that offers a fresh way for people to understand and contextualize their world. It features topical essays that draw connections between current affairs, historical scholarship, and other content that’s housed on JSTOR, a digital library of scholarly journals, books, and primary sources. In addition to weekly feature articles, the magazine will publish daily blog posts that provide the backstory to complex issues of the day in a variety of subject areas, interviews with and profiles of scholars and their work, and much more.

The magazine makes the content on JSTOR, which most people access via university libraries or other institutions, freely available to the general reader by highlighting timely or otherwise compelling content, and providing free links to that content.

Think of JSTOR Daily as a cross between The American Scholar, Arts and Letters Daily, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Pacific Standard, and a general culture magazine like The Atlantic or the New Yorker. It will embody a Lingua Franca, but will not take the Academy as its subject. Rather, the subjects the magazine takes up will draw on the research that’s been conducted by scholars and archived on the JSTOR platform.

See what they’ve posted so far for a better idea. The notion of accessible narratives pointing to deeper research and scholarship is an interesting one, and we’re curious to see where it leads.

Bluestem Seeks Nonfiction Submissions

August 19, 2014 § 1 Comment

logoAn announcement and call for submissions from the editors at Bluestem, a literary journal that New Pages praises for publishing “refreshing and strong” work ina broad spectrum of styles and aesthetics”:

We are pleased to announce our new Nonfiction Editor, Daiva Markelis, professor of English at Eastern Illinois University. Her short stories and creative nonfiction have been published in the New Ohio Review, Cream City Review, Other Voices, Oyez, Pank, Crab Orchard Review, The American Literary Review, and Fourth River, among others. Her memoir, White Field, Black Sheep: A Lithuanian-American Life, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2010.

Bluestem submissions open September 1st.  Bluestem welcomes submissions across the full range of creative nonfiction: memoir, personal essay, profile, travel writing, etc. We value the thought-provoking, the entertaining, the lyrical, and the finely crafted. We look forward to reading your best work. Please visit our website for more details: http://www.bluestemmagazine.com/submit/.

 

Remember In November Nonfiction Contest

July 21, 2014 § 3 Comments

Tin can stiltsThriving indie journal Hippocampus announces their fourth annual Remember in November Contest for Creative Nonfiction. Entry fee is $10 and judging is blind. There’s a $500 prize for the winner and smaller cash prizes for runner-up, honorable mention and reader’s choice, as well as some literary swag to the Participation Award winner.

(You know, when I hear Participation Award, I want to go back in time to Field Day, strap on my soup-can stilts and awkwardly stomp my way across the elementary school playground into eleventh place. I’m pretty sure my mom still has that ribbon. Thanks for the memory, Hippocampus!)

Check out the full rules and details here.

That Summer! Flash Essay Contest

July 8, 2014 § 2 Comments

86684ad914c128476e14b7a80626f8aeOur friends at Biographile have joined with Paste to launch a nifty flash essay writing contest with the theme “That Summer!”

Paste is looking for nonfiction essays between 500 and 600 words long. To enter the contest, send Paste your summer story by July 23rd, but first read the full contest rules here.

If you are looking for inspiration, by the way, Biographile has recruited fifty celebrated authors to share their own summer tales, and they’re running them all month.

Some Highlights So Far

When Driving Was Everythingby Jojo Moyes

Suddenly One Summer: Ireland, Whiskey and the Devil’s Disguiseby Thomas Cahill

A Call Center, a Camper, and One Vampire Weddingby Alissa Nutting

Stromatolites and Crime in the Canadian Arctic, by Margaret Atwood

 

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