The Essay: Brave, Engaged, Inventive

April 21, 2017 § 1 Comment

ned-stuckey-french1-230x345Redivider, the journal of new art and literature out of Emerson College, is  accepting submissions for the 2017 Beacon Street Prize through the end of April. Redivider’s nonfiction editor, Paul Haney, recently interviewed this year’s nonfiction judge, Ned Stuckey-French, also known as “the most interesting man in the world, when it comes to discussing the essay.”

Stuckey-French touches on Montaigne, Bacon, Adorno, the lyric essay, Eula Biss, the 1980s essay renaissance, and his time spent living “a kind of double life as a janitor and undercover trade union organizer.”

Here’s an excerpt from the interview, but the smart thing to do would be to follow the link to read the whole thing:

Reading essays is kind of like going out to dinner in Manhattan or some other big city. There’s always a great family restaurant that introduces you to new décor and food and presentation and wine and service. In judging this contest I’m hoping for an unexpected dining experience.

I also like to think that my tastes are broad, democratic, and always expanding (though I’ve never been a big fan of anchovies). I like essays that use humor and research. I like essays that make me say, “Wow, I’ve felt that or sensed that, but never heard it put into words.” I like essays that are brave and engaged, essays that tackle big issues though they may go after those issues via a small, quiet, and personal opening. I like essays that are formally inventive but that don’t indulge in form for form’s sake, but use form instead to reveal something about a subject in such a way that when you’ve finished reading the essay, you think, “Of course, that’s the way to say that.” I like essays that are skeptical and unafraid of the contradictions of life. I like essays that recognize that history is sly and we don’t have the universe all figured out even as they try to figure things out. I like essays that describe the beauty of our world – be that beauty wild, natural and inhuman, or urban, constructed, and social.

Here’s the link to the full interview.

Under the Gum Tree Annual CNF Contest to be Judged by Kwame Dawes

April 7, 2017 § Leave a comment

From the folks at Under the Gum Tree:

kwame-dawesUnder the Gum Tree invites you to submit today to our annual creative nonfiction contest, judged by Kwame Dawes. Dawes is the author of dozens of books of poetry, essays, fiction, and criticism. His most recent nonfiction work is the essay collection he edited, When the Rewards Can Be So Great: Essays on Writing & the Writing Life, and his essays have appeared in numerous journals including Bomb Magazine, The London Review of Books, Granta, Essence, World Literature Today, and Double Take Magazine. He is Editor of Prairie Schooner and teaches at the University of Nebraska and the Pacific MFA Program.  He is Director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival.

Contest submissions should respond to the theme of (dis)empowered (see full theme description at underthegumtree.com). Contest submissions are accepted March 30-June 30, 2017. Contest entries must be previously unpublished, submitted blind, and not exceed 5,000 words.

Winner and any honorable mention(s) will be announced in Fall 2017. One winner will receive a $500 cash prize, publication in our January 2018 issue, and a one-year subscription in 2018 to keep or gift. The winner also receives the option to guest-edit a 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.

New Ohio Review Seeks Lopatian Essays for Annual Contest, While Wondering What That Means . . .

March 9, 2017 § Leave a comment

mr lopate

Sir Lopate

A guest post from New Ohio Review editor David Wanczyk:

Last year, I wrote a post for Brevity about what I seek in Creative Nonfiction as the editor of New Ohio Review. It was 605 words, but it could have been three: Intensity, Ambivalence, Nostalgia.

Essentially, is there a conflict in the essay/memoir? Is there hard thinking and debate with oneself? And are there detail-rich descriptions that enliven a scene (potentially from 1986)?

I thought I’d been somewhat clever, laying out a writing schema that was not quite as general as a daily horoscope or as specific as an Ikea manual.

But it turns out that these three key concepts were only the product of cleverness inasmuch as they were basically cribbed from Phillip Lopate, one of my favorite writers, and New Ohio Review‘s 2017 Nonfiction Contest judge.

On intensity/conflict, he writes, “I was always waiting for life to become tragic, so that I would merely have to record it to become a powerful, universal writer,” and in that recognition of a desire for dramatic struggle, which he plays as partially naive, he reveals that it isn’t necessarily conflict that makes a good piece of nonfiction.

On ambivalence, he writes, “Personal essayists converse with the reader because they are already having dialogues and disputes with themselves,” and there he teaches me that self-debate helps us communicate; but at the same time, Lopate writes with absolute directness, refusing to dwell in any muddle. He’s not speaking from a place of ambivalence for the sake of it; the thing he’s chewing on is what’s important, not necessarily the mode of chewing.

On nostalgia, he writes, “One has to guard against the tendency to think of one’s youth as a time when the conversations were brighter, the friends truer, and the movies better.” With this, he would seem to pooh-pooh my suggestion that essayists should infuse their work with a sense of wonder about the past, and yet he consistently writes, in a lovely way, as though he were a documentary filmmaker of his own memory, even admitting that he occasionally felt like a cameraman when he was young: “I wanted life to have the economy and double meaning of art,” he admits. “But more often I simply felt torn by a harsh, banal pain that had no cinematic equivalent.”

Lopate’s work—searching, funny, and sometimes uncomfortable—stays in that space between artistry and banality, and because of that, we feel like we’re with a friend on his smartest day, a friend who, like us, doesn’t quite fit in.

“I believe in the aesthetically impure as an accurate reflection of reality,” he wrote in his book Getting Personal, and, as I look back at Lopate’s work I’m happy to go along with that idea, too. For this year.

Intensity, Ambivalence, and Nostalgia? Eh, maybe.

But for all you Scorpios and Tauri out there in the Brevity community, maybe we should shoot for an impure reflection of something true, first and foremost?

If this sounds intriguing, please send New Ohio Review and Phillip Lopate your brightest impurities, your canniest reflections, your things-that-don’t-fit.

Deadline: April 15th

Prize: $1000 and publication in NOR 22.

All submissions will be considered even if they don’t win, and the entry fee—$20—gets you a one-year subscription to the magazine. We’ve also got fiction and poetry contests, and we’re at https://newohioreview.submittable.com/submit

Call for Narrative Essays: Science & Religion

November 16, 2016 § 4 Comments

galileo-galilean-satellitesA note from The Think Write Publish Science & Religion project:

As part of our effort to facilitate dialogue between these two ways of knowing the world, Creative Nonfiction and Issues in Science and Technology magazines are seeking original narratives illustrating and exploring the relationships, tensions, and harmonies between science and religion—the ways these two forces productively challenge each other as well as the ways in which they can work together and strengthen one another.

We welcome personal stories of scientists, religious figures, or (just as important) everyday people seeking to explore or reconcile their own spiritual and scientific beliefs.

Editors of both magazines will award up to $17,500 in prizes, plus publication.

With little more than a month to go before the deadline of December 12, I hope you’ll consider sending in work, as well as sharing information about this opportunity with others.

https://www.creativenonfiction.org/submissions/dialogue-between-science-religion

 

Quarter After Eight’s Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest

October 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

 

flashA prize of $1,008.15 and publication in Quarter After Eight is given annually for a prose poem, a short short story, or a micro-essay. Ander Monson will judge. Submit up to three pieces of no more than 500 words each with a $15 entry fee, which includes a subscription to Quarter After Eight, by November 15. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Deadline:  November 15, 2016

Entry Fee:   $15

Website:  http://www.quarteraftereight.org/contest.html

E-mail address:  editor@quarteraftereight.org

Quarter After Eight, Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest, Ohio University, 360 Ellis Hall, Athens, OH 45701.

 

The 2016 Barthelme Prize for Short Prose

July 1, 2016 § 7 Comments

28-1From our friends at Gulf Coast:

Gulf Coast is now accepting entries for the 2016 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 29.2, due out in April 2017. All entries will be considered for paid publication on our website as online exclusives.

Jim Shepard will judge this year’s contest. Shepard has written seven novels, including The Book of Aron, published in 2015, which won the Sophie Brody Medal for Excellence in Jewish Literature and the PEN/New England Award for Fiction, and four story collections, including Like You’d Understand, Anyway, a finalist for the National Book Award and Story Prize winner.  His previous novel, Project X, won the Library of Congress/Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction as well as the ALEX Award from the American Library Association.  His short fiction has appeared in, among other magazines, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope: All-Story, Playboy, and Electric Literature, he’s won a Guggenheim Fellowship, five of his stories have been chosen for the Best American Short Stories, two for the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and one for a Pushcart Prize.   He teaches creative writing and film at Williams College.

Entries are due August 31, 2016. The $18 entry fee includes a year-long subscription to Gulf Coast.

We will accept submissions both via our online submissions manager and via postal mail.  Visit https://gulfcoastmag.org/contests/barthelme-prize/ for more information,.

Under the Gum Tree Inaugural Anniversary Contest

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.

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