The Thomas Morton Memorial Prize in Literary Excellence

September 9, 2015 § 1 Comment

puritan-man-flipThe Puritan is well-known to Canadian writers and readers, maybe less so down in the 48 states, but the magazine is consistently strong in selecting excellent work and the Morton prize is open to all. We’ve turned over the blog today to let The Puritan talk about their contests and literary contests in general:

For every literary magazine, a prize. Our lit culture’s thick with ’em. Whether you’re an ardent submitter, see them as a necessary evil to keep literary ships afloat, or you love to hate them, writing awards can often feel more common than the periodicals they support.

Here at The Puritan, we’ve got our own—The Thomas Morton Memorial Prize in Literary Excellence (yes, intentionally long-titled)—and it’s in its fourth successful year. However, we like to think of ‘The Morton’ as slightly more intriguing, slightly more appealing than many other honors from many other magazines—even those that grant a bit more money.

That’s because we see The Morton as a real writer’s prize. Sure, we give away $1000 cash to each winner in the fields of fiction and poetry. We toast each work with publication in our journal and at our annual fete, Black Friday (a must see, if you’re in Toronto). And we’ve enlisted the assistance of established literary voices to help select the winners—last year’s judges were Zsuzsi Gartner and Margaret Atwood, and this year we’ve got the amazingly talented Ian Williams (poetry) and Miriam Toews (fiction) at the helm.

But what also makes our prize is especially suited to writers because, at the core, every writer is a rabid, omnivorous, and compulsive reader. So each winner gets a prize package of books, generously donated from a growing list of stalwart Canadian presses, that grants a small library to a few lucky people. This year, the package is bigger than ever: we’re donating $950 worth of books for each winner, donated from the following rock-steady presses (now breathe in deep and try to say the entire list with one breath):

Anvil Press, BookThug, Brick Books, Brindle & Glass, Caitlin Press, Chaudiere Books, Coach House Books, Cormorant Books, Coteau Books, Dundurn Press, ECW Press, Freehand Press, Guernica Editions, House of Anansi, Goose Lane Editions/icehouse poetry, Mansfield Press, Mawenzie House, Pedlar Press, Quattro Books, Random House/McClelland & Stewart, Talonbooks, Turnstone Press, Véhicule Press, and Wolsak & Wynn!

For international or American winners, this is an irreplaceable dose of titles that often rarely crosses the border. For all winners, it’s a fantastic snapshot of a year in Canadian literary publishing. And, besides helping The Puritan keep chugging along (we don’t get paid around here—this is a true-blue labor of love), the small donation fee also helps us keep strengthening ties to the web-like family of Canadian cultural producers, who could never succeed or continue alone.

But don’t trust our word alone; we’ve also got a few ringing endorsements from our past winners.

For Daniel Scott Tysdal, our 2014 fiction winner, the Morton Prize “was an ideal way for me to get this new work out there and signal this fresh direction … it also came with a shelf of incredible books that will keep me busy and inspired for years.”

For Laurie D Graham, our 2014 poetry winner, the best thing was all about feeling recognition from last year’s guest judge, Margaret Atwood. “The craziest thing about … winning the Thomas Morton Prize is knowing Margaret Atwood had not just read the poem, but had penned a few words in response to it. That’s one thing prizes do for you as a writer: they lend outside legitimacy to this work you do alone, at your desk, for no wage, in a society where wage is everything and vocation nearly incomprehensible. People who don’t know about the world of poetry (and even people who do) hear the words ‘prize’ and ‘Margaret Atwood,’ and it now makes a little more sense that I choose to hang out at my desk and not draw wages for this many hours (years!) at a stretch, arranging words on a page.”

As for the nitty-gritty, winners will be announced in late October or early November 2015, and will be invited to our annual Black Friday celebration and year-in-review party in Toronto, Ontario. Next year’s award will be announced in early 2016 and will feature even more awesome prizes, another set of sweet judges, and even more love.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed by the sheer mass of contests out there, be a real puritan (ha, not really, they were horrible). But submit to a prize specifically designed for writers, and help us commemorate the undying memory of Thomas Morton (may he rest in peace).

Brevity Submissions Portal is Open

September 4, 2015 § 1 Comment

poolWe stopped reading for the summer because of the excellent backlog of essays, and because someone put a kiddie pool in the break room, and just because, but we are back open now.

Also, here is an interview with Brevity editor Dinty W. Moore articulating what Brevity seeks in its submissions, in case that is helpful.  Dinty tends to be long-winded, so feel free to skim.

SolLit: A Magazine of Diverse Voices — Call for Bloggers

July 28, 2015 § 1 Comment

From our friends at SolLit:
In the wake of the tragic church shooting in Charleston, SolLit: A Magazine of Diverse Voices has launched a new blog series — Dialogue on RACE, CULTURE & CLASS. As a literary magazine promoting diversity of all types, we must have a voice in times of crisis.

We have recently posted our third guest blog submission and  are looking for more writers to add to the conversation. You can read the blogs as well as our full blog submission guidelines here (all submissions go through Submittable).

In addition to these blog entries, we publish nonfiction and welcome flash nonfiction submissions as well. (The submission period for the magazine itself will begin again on September 1.)  Please share this call with anyone who you think might be interested. Thank you.

Last Call for Nonfiction at Profane

July 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

TestCover3Profane is accepting creative nonfiction submissions through the end of July.

We’re a print and audio journal featuring the best and bravest writing we can find. We record every poem and piece of prose we publish in the author’s own voice, along with a short interview.

Only in our second year, our contributors already include Maggie Nelson, Alex Lemon, David Clewell, Devin Murphy, and Deborah Thompson, among many other incredibly talented writers.

We tend to like nonfiction that mixes research and narrative, that teaches us about the world we live in while telling an essential story.

For a sample of what we like, Read and Listen to Elizabeth Horneber’s personal essay, “Contagion,” at All the work from our inaugural issue is currently being archived on our website.

We look forward to reading your work!

For more info, you can check us out at

Redux, Recycle

July 2, 2015 § 1 Comment

From our friends at Redux, the online journal of previously published work:

Redux is accepting submissions of fiction/poetry/essays during an open reading period: July 5 to July 31.  We’re looking for literary work of high quality that has been previously published in a print journal but that is not available elsewhere on the internet.  Our mission is to bring deserving work to a new, online audience.  Preference will be given to older pieces (i.e. published before 2012).

No novel excerpts, poems that appear in chapbooks, or pieces published in anthologies…even if these books are presently out-of-print.

Please read our guidelines for important submission information.  If your work is accepted, you will also be asked to write a short “story behind the piece” essay a la the Best American series. Pieces must be available in a Microsoft Word file.

Authors we’ve published include Margot Livesey, Sandra Beasley, Robin Black, R.T. Smith, Michelle Boisseau, Kelle Groom, Erica Dawson, Catherine Chung, Walter Cummins, Lee Martin, Dave Housley, and Terese Svoboda.

We look forward to seeing your work!


Submission guidelines:

Questions: reduxlj AT gmail DOT com

The 2015 Barthelme Prize for Short Prose

June 24, 2015 § 2 Comments

Steve Almond

Gulf Coast is now accepting entries for the 2015 Barthelme Prize for Short Prose. The contest is open to pieces of prose poetry, flash fiction, and micro-essays of 500 words or fewer. Established in 2008, the contest awards its winner $1,000 and publication in the journal. Two honorable mentions receive $250 and will also appear in issue 28.2, due out in April 2016. All entries will be considered for paid publication on the Gulf Coast website as online exclusives.

Steve Almond will judge this year’s contest. Almond is the author of eight books of fiction and non-fiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His short stories have appeared in the Best American and Pushcart anthologies. His most recent collection, God Bless America, won the Paterson Prize for Fiction and was short-listed for The Story Prize. His journalism has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and elsewhere.

Entries are due August 31, 2015. The $17 entry fee includes a year-long subscription to Gulf Coast.

The folks at Gulf Coast will accept submissions via an online submissions manager and via postal mail.

Visit for more information.

River Teeth Book Prize Opens Submissions

June 23, 2015 § 2 Comments

River Teeth

Though the final judge has not yet been announced, the River Teeth book prize has opened for submissions.  They have published some fine books these past years, and likely will once again:

River Teeth‘s editors and editorial board conduct a yearly national contest to identify the best book-length manuscript of literary nonfiction. All manuscripts are screened by the head editors of River Teeth. The winner will receive $1,000 and publication by The University of New Mexico Press.

All entrants receive a one-year subscription to River Teeth with their submission fees.

Deadline for Submissions: October 15, 2015

More details here.

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