May 6, 2016 § Leave a comment
With just weeks to go until submissions are closed, we’ve woken up to the disconcerting fact that some of our earlier blog posts contained erroneous e-mail addresses for certain entry categories. So here we go again. The addresses listed below are up and running and correct (and the gremlins in the interweb pipes have been soundly chastened):
Brevity is excited to announce a special issue to be focused on experiences of race, racialization, and racism … we are looking for work that considers all aspects of race: what it is, what it means, how our understanding of it is changing. We want flash essays (750 words or fewer) that explore how race is learned during childhood, lived over the entire course of a life, and how our changing understanding of race shapes the way we experience ourselves and others. We are very excited to announced that our anchor authors for this issue will be Claudia Rankine and Roxane Gay. The guest editors for this special issue will be Ira Sukrungruang and Joy Castro.
Submissions will be open until May 31st, 2016 and the issue will be published in mid-September. Essay submissions should be sent through our Submittable page.
However, because we are committed to showcasing a variety of lived experiences in this issue, we want to be certain that everyone is able to submit their work. If Brevity’s small submission fee of $3.00 would keep you from submitting, you may submit your work to firstname.lastname@example.org without paying the fee.
We are simultaneously running a student writing contest. For student work, we ask that writing program directors encourage students enrolled in their creative writing program to address our special issue theme and we invite each program to choose the best work (or two best entries if you have both undergraduate and graduate students) from among those submitted. The one or two finalists should be forwarded by the program director directly to email@example.com by May 15, 2016.
May 3, 2016 § 1 Comment
From the good folks at Under the Gum Tree:
Under the Gum Tree invites you to submit today to our first creative nonfiction contest, judged by Brenda Miller! We are so pleased to have Brenda as our inaugural judge for many reasons, and especially because she is a past contributor to Under the Gum Tree. Brenda’s work has received six Pushcart Prizes. Her essays have been published in many journals, including Fourth Genre, Creative Nonfiction, The Sun, Brevity, The Georgia Review, and The Missouri Review. Visit Brenda online at brendamillerwriter.com.
Contest submissions should respond to the theme of (un)seen/(un)heard (see full theme description at underthegumtree.com). Contest submissions are accepted March 30-June 30, 2016. Contest entries must be previously unpublished, submitted blind, and not exceed 5,000 words. One winner will receive a modest $300 cash prize (and more, if submission fees permit!), publication in our January 2017 issue, and a one-year subscription to keep or gift.
The winner also receives the option to guest-edit the features section of a future issue of Under the Gum Tree; in this way, we desire to push the limits of our aesthetic and include more and more voices. Honorable mention(s) will be published and receive a one-year subscription to keep or gift, plus a mystery box of inspirational CNF goodies including books and UTGT schwag. We also hope to publish many finalists and other contest entries, so submit today!
Submissions are accepted via Submittable through underthegumtree.com. Multiple submissions are welcome, though only one manuscript is allowed per submission. Current Under the Gum Tree subscribers submit for free! General submissions bear a $20 reading fee and include a one-year digital subscription to the magazine; a year of the print edition is available for an additional fee. Under the Gum Tree subscribes to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Contest Code of Ethics and provides complete and transparent contest guidelines and process overview at underthegumtree.com.
April 26, 2016 § 6 Comments
Brevity is excited to announce a special issue to be focused on experiences of race, racialization, and racism. For our 53rd issue, we are looking for work that considers all aspects of race: what it is, what it means, how our understanding of it is changing. We want essays that explore how race is learned during childhood, lived over the entire course of a life, and how our changing understanding of race shapes the way we experience ourselves and others.
We are looking for flash essays (750 words or fewer) that explore the lived experience of race, racialization, and racism, show the reader a new way to look at the familiar, or give voice to under-represented experiences. Submissions will be open until May 31st and the issue will be published in mid-September.
The guest editors for this special issue will be Ira Sukrungruang and Joy Castro.
Born in Miami, Joy Castro is the author of The Truth Book: A Memoir, the New Orleans literary thrillers Hell or High Water and Nearer Home, the essay collection Island of Bones, and the short fiction collection How Winter Began. Recipient of an International Latino Book Award and the Nebraska Book Award and finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award, she edited the collection Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family, and serves as the series editor of Machete: The Ohio State Series in Literary Nonfiction. Her work has appeared in anthologies and in journals including Salon, Seneca Review, Fourth Genre, North American Review, Brevity, Afro-Hispanic Review, and The New York Times Magazine. She teaches creative writing, literature, and Latino studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she directs the Institute for Ethnic Studies.
Ira Sukrungruang is the author of the memoirs Southside Buddhist and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy, the short story collection The Melting Season, and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night. He is the coeditor of two anthologies on the topic of obesity: What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology. He is the recipient of the 2015 American Book Award, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, an Arts and Letters Fellowship, and the Emerging Writer Fellowship. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including Post Road, The Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is one of the founding editors of Sweet: A Literary Confection, and teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida.
Because we are committed to showcasing a variety of lived experiences in this issue, we want to be certain that everyone is able to submit their work. If Brevity’s small submission fee of $3.00 would keep you from submitting, you may submit your work to firstname.lastname@example.org without paying the fee. (Should you take this option, however, you need to send a word doc. not a PDF for complex technical reasons too boring to describe here.)
Submissions may be sent through our Submittable page.
April 5, 2016 § Leave a comment
A new opportunity, from a friend with extensive experience in the New York publishing world:
Narrative Jazz will be a branded series of Creative Nonfiction/Narrative Nonfiction books for young adults (age 13+), developed by book publisher Jess M. Brallier, with plans to publish the first of many books in Spring 2018 with a major house.
The list will be diverse, including its authors, subjects, and readers. Narrative Jazz is currently soliciting pitches for 200-page (50-60,000 words) books of the widest range, including memoirs, history, science, contemporary issues, etc. Imagine, for example, books such as Unbroken, Wild, Stiff, Without a Map, My Lesbian Husband, Soldier Girls, etc. , written for the YA reader.
Pitches to be no longer than 500 words, including a link or two sentences regarding the author.
Submit by April 20, 2016 to: NarrativeJazzBooks@gmail.com
March 26, 2016 § 4 Comments
Brevity is excited to announce a contest for writing students in tandem with our special issue focused on experiences of race, racialization, and racism. We are looking for flash essays (750 words or fewer) that explore the lived experience of race, racialization, and racism, show the reader a new way to look at the familiar, or give voice to under-represented experiences. (Full guidelines and instructions for submitting outside of this student contest can be found here.)
For this first-ever student writing contest, we ask that writing program directors encourage students enrolled in their creative writing program to address our special issue theme and we invite each program to choose the best work (or two best entries if you have both undergraduate and graduate students) from among those submitted. The one or two finalists should be forwarded by the program director directly to email@example.com by May 15, 2016.
The winner, who will receive $200 and publication in Brevity, will be announced in September 2016.
Special Projects Editor
March 22, 2016 § 2 Comments
David Wanczyk, editor of New Ohio Review, discusses the sort of nonfiction the magazine is seeking for its inaugural Creative Nonfiction contest and beyond:
Beyond quirks of voice and persona, what draws me in to a personal essay or memoir? I’ve tried—probably in vain—to codify this over the years for, and with, my CNF students. But we’ve come up with a pretty easy-to-remember partial list of three things.
- Intensity. Is the situation the writer explores something that could be called intense? I had a drama teacher who suggested that when you’re watching a play, you’re seeing the biggest moments of the characters’ lives. So, is that happening in a personal piece? Are we seeing signature joys and/or pains? Struggles and/or victories that hurtle us toward the end? In other words, is there some plot-urgency? Think Mary Karr. If no Karrvian intensity, is there. . .
- Ambivalence. It’s become clearer to me that one of the things I don’t like in conversation is hearing from someone who’s absolutely sure of everything, even when circumstances seem to demand productive unsureness, probing curiosity, brow-scrunching what-the-heckism, agonized inconclusivity. So, is a personal piece exploring some difficult question, and in a way that seems authentic? (On second thought, sometimes I like when writers/leaders are sure about things. Maybe I could write an essay about the warring factions of. . .). Think Montaigne, or D.F. Wallace. Nothing intense coming to mind? No burning question? Well, what about. . .
- Nostalgia. Hmm, but that word’s not quite right, because it brings to mind the memoir that dwells, or the essay that is potentially reactionary about 1959 (wasn’t it a simpler time?). What I think my students and I mean by nostalgia, though, is this: the piece’s scenes are so lovingly constructed that, put simply, the reader feels overjoyed to be in the presence of a writer who’s bombastically creating the past, a past that might be intense, a past that the essayist might be unsure of, a past that might be important for the writer now. There’s something at stake in the memory. It’s costing something, or inciting a particular pleasure. Not only did the writer have an uncanny romantic experience, but she remembers the skipping Gin Blossoms’ CD (“Hey Jeala-jeala-jeala”), the bowl of Almond Joys on the nearest table she kept around as a futile-sweet memorial to her deceased aunt, and the bizarre smell—Calla Lilies and mushroom soup?—emanating from a heating vent. Maybe that otherwise familiar romantic scene gets a new lease on life because of the odd combination. The writer has gone to the thrift-shop of memory, and those memories, worn together, are stylish.Think Didion’s bloody mary and billowing curtains in “Goodbye to All That.” Nabokov’s heave-hoed father in Speak, Memory. Orwell’s everything in “Such, Such Were the Joys.”
I like every kind of personal story. I’m not a teacher/writer/editor who throws up his hands about “typical grief” or the “clichéd relationship tale.” Everything can be done well. But I do see essays—sometimes written by me—that aren’t enough about charitably communicating with an audience.
Keeping the above list in mind might help me, might help students and CNF writers of all stripes, write their urgent stories: with one eye on the navel and shoe, and one eye on the eager reader, who wants nothing more than to be invited into a complicated, questioning life.
The magazine’s submission period and nonfiction contest continue until Apr. 15th, and subscribers may continue to submit throughout the summer. Check out New Ohio Review if any of this sounds good to you. We’re at https://newohioreview.submittable.com/submit .
March 20, 2016 § Leave a comment
From our friends at Assay:
At Assay, we’ve dubbed Year 3 “Year of Best American Essays.” Our intrepid assistant editor Nick Nelson, who’s been with us since the beginning, has been working to make the reprints and Notables of Best American Essays into a searchable form, and his project will be released in the next several months. He started the project in the fall of 2014, before Assay published its first issue, and the scope has grown considerably as he has pursued it. The project is truly exciting, a wonderful and useful piece of work for our genre, and we are thrilled to share it with the world. Stay tuned for the release date.
2016 is the 30th anniversary of the Best American Essays series and we can’t think of a better gift than attention paid to this institution that forms so much of who we are as a genre. Essay Daily started things off so well with their Advent project in December–and if you haven’t checked it out, you’ll want to. Best American Essays, as a literary series and foundational element of our genre, is such a rich source of conversation. As we also celebrate BAE’s anniversary and Nick’s project, we will devote a section of the magazine in both 3.1 (Fall 2016) and 3.2 (Spring 2017) to interrogating BAE as the standard-bearer of the genre, the pedagogy of teaching with it, analysis of individual pieces, and any other place creativity strikes.
We’re looking for full scholarly articles, we’re looking for informal discussions, we’re looking for pedagogical theory, lesson plans, assignments, and more. The introductions to BAE have long been considered the beginnings of nonfiction theory–where does that put us as a genre? If you’re not sure what you’re working on is something we’d be interested in, please ask us!
We continue to read and accept general submissions, so even if your current work isn’t on BAE, we’d love to see it. Deadline for full consideration for the fall issue is May 1, 2016; deadline for the Spring 2017 issue is December 1, 2016. Click here for the link to the full guidelines.