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.
March 15, 2016 § 7 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 from March 15th- May 31st and the issue will be published in mid-September.
In concert with this special issue, we are announcing our first-ever student writing contest. Students enrolled at the graduate or undergraduate level will be invited to flash essays on the theme through their writing programs, and the winner will receive a $200.00 prize and publication in the issue. (Don’t send yet. There will be more details on this contest released soon.)
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 begin today on our Submittable page.
March 15, 2016 § 1 Comment
From the good folks at New Ohio Review:
We’re excited to read your inventive, explosive, irreverent, erudite, impish, expletive-laced (well, maybe not) essays and literary memoirs.
This year’s judge is Elena Passarello. The winner will receive $1000, and the essay will be published in September. Essays that aren’t selected will still be considered for publication.
The contest continues until April 15th, and you get a 1-year subscription to the journal as part of your $20 entry fee. Please check us out on submittable at https://newohioreview.submittable.com/submit .
Elena Passarello teaches courses on writing and reading the nonfiction essay. Her own essays discussing pop culture, music, the performing arts, and the natural world have appeared in Oxford American, Slate, Creative Nonfiction, Normal School, Ninth Letter, Iowa Review, and the music writing anthology Pop When the World Falls Apart (Duke University Press, 2012).
Her book Let Me Clear My Throat (Sarabande, 2012) won the gold IPPY medal for nonfiction and was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. More essays are forthcoming in the anthologies After Montaigne (U. of Georgia Press, 2015) and I’ll Tell You Mine: 30 Years of Nonfiction from the University of Iowa (U. of Chicago Press, 2015), as well as in a collection of criticism and literary essays on cat videos, Cat is Art Spelled Wrong (Walker Art Center/ Coffeehouse Press, 2015).
A recipient of fellowships from Oregon State University’s Center for the Humanities, the MacDowell Colony, the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts, and the University of Iowa Museum of Art, she is currently developing her second book, a bestiary of celebrity animals.
February 17, 2016 § 3 Comments
The Cleveland State University Poetry Center is accepting full-length submissions for their Essay Collection Competition, to be judged by Chris Kraus. The winner will have their book published in a series that serves as a home for innovative, lyric, literary, or experimental nonfiction collections. The first year’s selection, Lily Hoang’s A Bestiary, which was chosen by Wayne Koestenbaum, will be published this spring.
Judge: Chris Kraus
Submission Dates: January 1 – March 31, 2016
Winners will receive $1,000, publication, and a standard royalty contract.
February 17, 2016 § Leave a comment
People sometimes think that Brevity and Creative Nonfiction magazine live under the same roof, but in fact we don’t. Not at all. We are just good friends. Ignore any other rumors you hear.
But we like what they do, and we like to share what they are doing next. Here is their latest call for submissions:
DEADLINE Mar 7
Siblings (a book)
What to send: True stories that capture the complexities and comforts of sibling relationships. We hope to represent the widest possible variety of these relationships—whether adoptive or biological, step or full, human or animal, one or many.
Joy (a special issue of CNF)
What’s on the line: $1,000 for best essay; $500 for runner-up; publication in CNF.
What we’re looking for: Well-crafted narratives that explore the brighter moments in life, those that teach and enlighten us through their beauty or humor. Send us your true stories of once-in-a-lifetime moments, finding pleasure in small things, or seeking out the joy in the midst of otherwise difficult circumstances.
What to be joyful about: No reading fee for current subscribers!
Pitch Us a Column
What we’re looking for: Have an idea for a literary timeline? An opinion on essential texts for readers and/or writers? An in-depth, working knowledge of a specific type of nonfiction? Pitch us your ideas. We’re always accepting query letters for the non-essay sections of the magazine. We’re especially interested in pitches related to upcoming themes: Childhood and Learning from Nature.