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.


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


E-mail address:

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 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

Contest submissions should respond to the theme of (un)seen/(un)heard (see full theme description at 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 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

Brevity Reading Period Ends in Two Weeks

March 29, 2016 § 1 Comment

Our Submissions Pile

Our Submissions Pile

Brevity magazine will close off submissions for our regular issues on April 15th, though we will continue to accept submissions for our September 2016 Special Issue focused on experiences of race, racialization, and racism until May 31st.

We have filled our May 2016 issue and will resume reading for our January 2017 and May 2017 issues in September.  If you have already submitted and have not yet heard back from us, we will continue to read submissions in our Submittable queue over the next few months. We have not stopped responding.

The Submittable portal for Special Issue submissions will remain open.  Remember also our first ever student contest, also part of the Special Issue on Race.

Brevity Contest for Graduate & Undergraduate Writers

March 26, 2016 § 4 Comments

brevitylogoxxBrevity 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 by May 15, 2016.

The winner, who will receive $200 and publication in Brevity, will be announced in September 2016.

Thank you,
Sarah Einstein
Special Projects Editor
Brevity Magazine

New Ohio Review Seeks Intense, Ambivalent, Stylish Essays

March 22, 2016 § 3 Comments

David Wanczyk being intense, ambivalent, and stylish

David Wanczyk being intense, ambivalent, and stylish

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.

  1. 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. . .
  2. 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. . .
  1. 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 .



New Ohio Review’s Inaugural Creative Nonfiction Contest

March 15, 2016 § 1 Comment

Elena Passarello

Elena Passarello, Judge

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 .


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, SlateCreative 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.


CSU Poetry Center Essay Collection Competition

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.

More information here on eligibility and the submission process.

New Brian Turner Literary Arts Prize: “Bring us the essential oxygen…”

December 8, 2015 § 4 Comments

News from Sierra Nevada College and our friend Brian Turner, giving literary citizenship a good name:

Brian Turner

I’ve decided to pony up some dough and create The Brian Turner Literary Arts Prize. That’s right. I don’t want to wait until I’m dead to try to pitch in and support great work. More details will be posted on the website over the next two months, but for now — I just want to let folks know that I’m looking forward to the work that will be entered into this contest. Here are a few words on what we’re looking for in contest entries:

“Astound us. Spark the kindling and blow fire into the language. Approach the borders of the ineffable. Bring us language and imagination that transports us away from the expected and into our larger selves. Bring us blue jeans and shovels, calloused hands that shine of tenderness, pain, suffering, and love. Tell us stories built of wonder and surprise. And bring us the essential oxygen of our lives, the music of our time, histories that would otherwise be lost.

If you’ve been writing all your life and your relationship to language is one of great joy and great struggle, then this is a contest made especially for you. We want to celebrate your work. Give you some dough so you can pay a bill or two, maybe go out for a fine meal with your friends. Publish your work in a literary magazine to share with a wider audience. And, we’d like to sit down with you for a podcast interview—to talk with you about your work, your process, your thoughts on craft and aesthetics, and more.”

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