The Practicing Writer 2.0: December 2020

Featuring fee-free, paying opportunities for writers of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. And a few things more.

Welcome, new readers, and welcome back to the regulars.

For updates and additional opportunity listings between newsletters, please check the “Practicing Writing” blog and follow Erika Dreifus on Twitter (@ErikaDreifus) and/or Facebook.

Please share this newsletter with your writing networks! If you’d like to share a particular competition or submission alert with others, PLEASE CREDIT THE PRACTICING WRITER for the find (preferably with a link back to this newsletter). Thanks for respecting your editor’s volunteer efforts.


  1. Editor’s Note

  2. Success Story

  3. Featured Resource

  4. Upcoming/Ongoing Contests, Competitions, and Other Opportunities (NO ENTRY OR APPLICATION FEES; PAYING OPPORTUNITIES ONLY)


  6. Blog Notes

  7. Newsletter Matters


Hello again, practicing writers:

So many opportunities to share with you. A nice way to enter the holiday season.

Substack is telling me that once again, I am “near email length limit.” So let’s get right to it.

With warmest wishes for happy, healthy holidays,

Covers of my QUIET AMERICANS: STORIES and BIRTHRIGHT: POEMS flanking covers of two new anthologies to which I've contributed: THE BEST OF BREVITY and 101 JEWISH POEMS FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM.
Potential gift inspirations: No monies come my way through sales of the new anthologies, but I’m proud to have work within them, all the same. And of course, my own books remain available, too. For those purchase options, please visit my website. And a reminder: If you enjoy an author’s book, please take a few moments to leave reviews online (Goodreads, Amazon, etc.). They can be super-brief; they matter!


I’m delighted to share:

Here is an essay both written and read aloud about my grandfather Schmulka Bernstein, which is now up on the online zine and podcast “The Dirty Spoon.” Thank you Erika, for this listing a while back, which I wouldn’t have known about without you. And thanks for all you do.—Michele J. Clark

Editor’s note: I love learning about ways in which the newsletter/blogs/my resources support your writing practice. Keep me posted! You just may find your own work celebrated here.


Hosted by Allison K. Williams and Ashleigh Renard, THE WRITERS’ BRIDGE PLATFORM & SOCIAL MEDIA Q&A series features free, 60-minute Zoom sessions on platform for writers, 1PM Eastern/10PM Dubai. “Usually every other Tuesday….You will receive an email the DAY IMMEDIATELY PRIOR to the chat. You'll get a reminder email ONE HOUR before the chat….We always follow up with a link to the recorded session, plus links to our previous sessions. Live is more fun, but you’ll get the info either way!”

4. UPCOMING/ONGOING CONTESTS, COMPETITIONS, AND OTHER OPPORTUNITIES OF INTEREST (now listed by deadline, with earliest deadline first)

    Deadline: December 4, 2020. “This fellowship is grounded in our belief that while diversity in the books and authors we publish is vital, it is equally important that the people publishing these books reflect that diversity. As a result, the Fellowship is intended to attract candidates who otherwise would not have access to publishing, and to therefore increase the diversity and inclusivity of the industry….Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fellowship, which has been traditionally based in our Minneapolis office, will now be a remote opportunity. This is a part-time (24 hours per week), non-exempt ten-month position…. Compensation includes $25,000 (paid twice monthly as regular wages), paid time off, and health and dental insurance.”

    Deadline: December 7. “Gilman School, an independent boys’ school, announces its search to award the 25th Tickner Writing Fellowship to an emerging poet, playwright, or writer of fiction or creative nonfiction. The Tickner Fellowship is a two-year position. Responsibilities include teaching one senior elective in creative writing each semester, organizing a series of readings, advising the literary magazine, and working with the Lower and Middle Schools on select writing projects. The Tickner Fellow teaches every other day, affording time for independent writing projects.”

    Deadline: December 15 (received). “Awarded by the Department of English and its MFA in Creative Writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University, the prize is given annually in the name of the late Larry Levis for the best first or second book of poetry published in the previous calendar year….Traditionally, the winner receives an honorarium and [is] invited, expenses paid, to Richmond to present a public reading in the following fall.”

    Deadline: December 15. This award “aims to provide Black women writers (all genres) a restful environment conducive to reflection and writing.” The fellowship includes a 7-day residency; the selected writer “can choose whether to stay at Trillium Arts’ rural ‘Firefly Creek’ apartment in Mars Hills, NC or at E. Patrick Johnson and Stephen Lewis’s ‘Montford Manor’ residence near downtown Asheville, NC. Participants will receive a $700 stipend and transportation to and from Asheville, NC.” Note that “the preferred dates for a ‘Miss Sarah’ Fellowship in 2021 are July 10-17. However, the panel will consider other dates.” (Thanks to for the tip about this one.)

    Deadline: December 15. “This competition is a collaboration between Zone 3 Press and the Goldsmith Press & Rare Type Collection of Austin Peay State University. The winning poem will be featured on a broadside designed by and printed on the letterpress in Austin Peay’s Art & Design department.” Prize includes $100 and five copies of the broadside, plus publication in Zone 3.

    Deadline: December 18. Program for international artists “has three iterations—Fall, Winter, and Spring—and is the central focus of all our in-house activities. Four artists’ studios enable practitioners to pursue their individual artistic goals while also being closely integrated into the organization’s wider community programming during their three-month New York City visit.” (NB: “Artists who are currently based in NY cannot apply to the residency.”) The residency award includes return economy flights and airport transfers to NY and “a monthly stipend of $3,000.00 to offset the costs of accommodation, transport and day-to-day expenses. Amant studios are not residential.”

    Deadline: December 19. Theme: When Reality Hits. Open to all poets writing in English. Prizes: “$300, $200 and $100 will be awarded to 1st 2nd and 3rd place winners who will be invited to read their poems in an online forum on January 13, 2021. The winning poems will be published on the New York Encounter website after the reading.” Guest judge: Angela Alaimo O’Donnell.

    Deadline: December 30. Honors “an outstanding debut novel published in the preceding calendar year.” An award event is arranged “in which the winning author and two others involved in the writing and publishing worlds, typically the author’s agent and editor, appear at a public reading and Q&A session.… Travel to and lodging in Richmond for the author and the additional speakers are provided, and the author receives a cash prize.”

    Deadline: December 31. These awards recognize “outstanding works that contribute to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of cultural diversity. Awards are given for fiction, poetry and nonfiction. Submissions of books published in 2020 are now open.” Prize: “Award recipients traditionally receive $10,000 from the Anisfield-Wolf fund.”

    Deadline: December 31. “For a unified and complete sequence of poems published in America in a print or online journal, chapbook, or book in 2020. Poems in the sequence may have been published in different journals provided that they were published in 2020 and that brought together, they form a complete sequence. The Four Quartets Prize is first and foremost a celebration of the multi-part poem.” Award: “Three finalists will receive $1,000 each. The winner will receive an additional $20,000.” Judges: Carolyn Forché, Donika Kelly, Arthur Sze.

    Deadline: December 31. For a non-fiction book “that best furthers understanding of the American Civil Rights Movement and its legacy.” Confers a prize of $1,000 and an invitation to lecture at the University of Memphis.

    Deadline: December 31. “Lilith Magazine—Independent, Jewish & frankly feminist—seeks quality short fiction, 3,000 words or under, for our Annual Fiction Contest. First prize $250 + publication. We especially like work with both feminist and Jewish content, and are eager to read submissions from BIJOC writers.”

    Deadline: December 31 (must send via postal mail). Open to undergraduates enrolled full time in an American or Canadian college or university. “Poems must be original and unpublished, 39 lines or less, written in English in traditional forms, preferably with regular scansion and rhyme. We welcome up to three poems per student. Winners are announced and published in the Winter issue of The Lyric.” Cash prizes: $500/$150/$100.

    Deadline: December 31 (for intent to apply). “How do authors wish to enact American cultural change? For the Make A Way Book Award, American Editions will publish a polemical nonfiction book-length essay about changing the United States for the better. This opportunity is offered to authors who may not have access to publishing their most radical and pathbreaking ideas. We encourage writing that merges autobiographical reflection with well reported, sourced, and researched ideas. The book’s theme may be healing-oriented, political, environmental, artistic, or another social change-focused investigation.” Eligibility: “American Editions invites progressive American authors to apply. Authors must have a strong, regular social media presence that is free of trolling or bias against marginalized groups.” Award includes $700 (not an advance against royalties), plus publication and royalties.

    Deadline: December 31 “for nonfiction titles published between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.” A Natan Notable book is “a recen­t­­ly-pub­­lished or about-to-be pub­lished non-fic­­tion title that will cat­alyze con­ver­sa­tions aligned with the themes of Natan’s grant­mak­ing: rein­vent­ing Jew­ish life and com­mu­ni­ty for the twen­­ty-first cen­tu­ry, shift­ing notions of indi­vid­ual and col­lec­tive Jew­ish iden­ti­ty, the his­to­ry and future of Israel, and the evolv­ing rela­tion­ship between Israel and world Jewry. Natan Notable Book win­ners receive a Natan Notable Book seal and $5,000 for the author, marketing/​distribution coach­ing and pro­mo­tion from Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and Natan, and cus­tomized sup­port designed to bring the book and/​or the author to new audiences.”

    Month-long fee-free submissions (for submissions using the specified prompt) end December 31. Contest will award a first prize of $1,000; second prize of $500; and three finalist prizes of $150 each. Be sure to click through to “contest rules” for details on the fee-free submissions during December. NB: They seek “fiction that will appeal to young readers from age 11 and even to full-on grown-ups.” Guest judges: David Galef and Karen Heuler.

    Deadline: January 1, 2021. “We are most pleased to now offer 300 U.S. dollars to a single winner of a Lengthy Poem Contest.”

    Deadline: January 1. “Stacy Doris was a poet, translator, and an Associate Professor in San Francisco State University’s Department of Creative Writing….Following upon her spirit of creative invention, engaging wit and ingenious playfulness, discovery in construction, and radical appropriations based on classical forms, pastiche, etc., and love, the Stacy Doris Memorial Poetry Award is given to a poet with a truly inventive spirit.” Prize (for one poem, 3-10 pp.) includes $500 and publication in Fourteen Hills.

    Deadline: January 2. “Offers emerging writers of any age and background the opportunity to pursue a significant writing project while in residence at SJSU [San Jose State University].….Fellowships include a stipend of $15,000. Residency in the San Francisco Bay Area is required during the academic year….Currently, SJSU offers one-year fellowships in Steinbeck scholarship and in creative writing, including fiction, drama, creative nonfiction, and biography. Applications in poetry will not be accepted.” NB: “The creative writing fellowship does not require that there be any direct connection between your work and Steinbeck’s.”

    Deadline: January 8. Aims “to promote and support fiction, poetry, and literary non-fiction writing in the emerging genre of climate literature.” Confers an award of $1.000 and publication with Homebound Publications. Open to U.S. and U.K. authors.

REMINDER! A number of opportunities listed in last month’s newsletter close on December 1 or shortly thereafter.


  • “In December only, NEWFOUND accepts unsolicited chapbook-length manuscripts from writers who have not yet published a full-length book. Our open submission period aims to advance the careers of emerging writers by printing their work in beautiful, hand-bound editions. Submissions are open to finalists, but not winners of Newfound prizes. One chapbook per year is selected by Newfound staff, more when our budget allows.” Selected poet receives 25 contributor copies and a royalties contract (25% print/50% digital).

  • Ireland-based SOUTHWORD opens for poetry submissions on December 1. Pays: €40/poem. “Payments to contributors outside Ireland can only be made through Paypal.”

  • Canada-based PRAIRIE FIRE’s call for submissions on the theme “For the Love of Animals” also closes on December 4. Check their site for detailed payment info.

  • INTO THE VOID, also Canada-based, is receiving submissions for its Issue #18 until midnight (Pacific time), December 7. NB: “Until we reach our Submittable-allotted monthly free submissions limit, there is no fee to submit but free submissions fill up quickly.” Pays: “At present we are only able to offer a token payment of $10 per poem, flash fiction or visual art piece, and $20 per long-form prose piece, plus a contributor copy and one-year online subscription.”

  • FUNICULAR “publishes quality fiction and poetry that shocks, surprises, moves, and tickles us. Maybe all of those things in a single piece. We are a Canadian magazine and we want to publish Canadian voices, but don’t be shy if you aren’t Canadian. We love sharing international writers with our readers too.” Fee-free submissions close December 8. Pays (for print publication only): “$25 per work of flash fiction and poetry and $10 per printed page of short fiction (to a maximum of $100).”

  • December 15 is also a deadline for THE JOURNAL OF COMPRESSED CREATIVE ARTS: “2020 has forced us to reevaluate ourselves, our relationships, our world views; in short, everything. The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts is looking for fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry about topical issues. We’d like to read stories that highlight the rapidly changing world; it can be forefront or background if it is present in the submission.” Pays: $50. Note that “for fiction and creative nonfiction, the word count limit is 1000 words; for poetry, please submit no more than 30 lines” and that “for the current reading period, we are looking for work from writers previously unpublished” by this journal/its press.

  • Another December 15 deadline: “CATAPULT is accepting pitches for columns. We encourage you to check out a few of our previously published columns to get a feel for the type of work we’d like to see from our regular contributors. We pay for all pieces that are published.”

  • For a Book*hug Press essay collection titled GOOD MOM ON PAPER, editors Jen Sookfong Lee and Stacey May Fowles seek pitches (no more than 500 words) or complete essays “that thoughtfully explore the fraught, beautiful, painful, and complicated relationship between the creative process and motherhood. The book will gather multiple viewpoints from a wide variety of diverse writers and thinkers, examining what systems are in place that prevent mothers from personal expression and success, looking at what systems nurture them, and asking how we can better support and celebrate mothers’ creative work.” Essay pitches are due December 15; full essays may be submitted until February 15, 2021. Payment: $200 (presumably in Canadian funds) and two copies of the finished book.

  • The current submissions window for JAGGERY will also close December 15. This DesiLit arts and literature journal “connects South Asian diasporic writers and homeland writers; we also welcome non-South Asians with a deep and thoughtful connection to South Asian countries, who bring their own intersecting perspectives to the conversation. (By South Asia we mean Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, The Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.) Our hope with Jaggery is to create a journal that offers the best writing by and about South Asians and their diaspora.” Pays: “$100 for fiction, $25 for nonfiction/poetry/art/reviews.”

  • SPLIT LIP MAGAZINE, “a literary journal that’s totally bonkers-in-love with voice-driven writing, pop culture, and the kind of honesty that gets you right in the kidneys,” remains open for fee-free submissions from Black writers in all genres until December 31. “We pay (via PayPal) $50 per author for poems, memoirs, flash, fiction, and art, and $25 for interviews/reviews for our web issues. Payment for print is $5 per page, minimum of $20, plus 2 contributor copies.”

  • Book queries/proposals are welcome at HIPPOCAMPUS MAGAZINE AND PRESS LLC until December 31. Categories include memoirs, essay collections, literary journalism, and craft of writing books. I also caught this magazine-focused mention in a HIPPOCAMPUS newsletter: “Each December, we waive submission fees; and it’s also the last month to submit essays and flash pieces. We’re closed for submissions during January and February and reopen March 1.” Hippocampus publishes “memorable creative nonfiction” and, per its guidelines, pays $40 (via Paypal).

  • ADVENTURES IN IDEAS “is an online literary journal that explores the intersection between travel and ideas. Because travel is as much an intellectual affair as it is a physical one, we believe that travel writing is most enriching when it engages with the world of ideas.” For its first issue, submissions are invited on “the theme of movement and stillness. We welcome travel narratives, essays, features, articles, etc. that explore the ideas of movement and/or stillness, broadly understood.” Payment: “We are happy to be in a position to offer each contributor an honorarium of $75 for their contribution upon publication in our themed journal issues. Honoraria are awarded via PayPal. Unfortunately, book excerpts and blog posts do not qualify for honoraria.”

  • Submissions of “honest personal essays about contemporary relationships” for possible inclusion in The New York Times’s MODERN LOVE are welcome through the end of December. There is payment, though no specific amount is indicated on the site.

  • You’ve also got until the end of 2020 to send work to THE CINCINNATI REVIEW for this cycle, too. Pays: $25/page for prose; $30/page for poetry.

  • DOROTHY, A PUBLISHING PROJECT “is an award-winning feminist press dedicated to works of fiction or near fiction or about fiction, mostly by women.” Open for submissions until January 1. (Thanks to @Duotrope for the tip.)

  • Reminder: Make it a habit to check the CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL website, where titles in development are posted. Among projects recently announced is I’m Speaking Now: Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and Hope: “We’re looking for everything from the serious to the silly. There will be 101 stories, so we can go wide and deep, and we’d like to share stories from Black women of all ages, from late teens to women in their nineties.” The deadline for this project is January 15, 2021, “but submissions will be reviewed as they come in, so please don’t wait until the deadline.” Submissions must be true. “If this is your first time, please visit our Story Guidelines page, which will answer many of your questions about subject matter, length, and style.” Pays: $200 plus 10 free copies.

AND ANOTHER REMINDER! If you didn’t catch them last month, you’ll find several still-open calls in the November issue, too.


The newsletter is published just once each month, but there’s always something new on the Practicing Writing blog:

  • (Monday) Markets and Jobs for Writers (including opportunities that don’t make it into the monthly newsletter)

  • Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

  • (Friday) Finds for Writers

  • Sunday Sentence

Please visit, and comment! 

Interested in matters of specifically Jewish literary and cultural interest? Please also visit the My Machberet blog (“machberet” is the Hebrew word for “notebook”).


Information contained in The Practicing Writer is collected from many sources, with the purpose of providing general references. It is researched carefully but readers should verify information when necessary and appropriate. The Practicing Writer and its editor disclaim any liability for the use of information contained within. Thank you for subscribing/reading.

We value our subscribers, and we protect their privacy. We keep our subscriber list confidential.

About the editor: Erika Dreifus is a writer, teacher, and literary consultant whose books include Birthright: Poems and Quiet Americans: Stories. A Fellow in the Sami Rohr Jewish Literary Institute and an adjunct associate professor at Baruch College, she lives in New York. Please visit to learn more about her work and follow her on Facebook and/or Twitter, where she tweets “on matters bookish and/or Jewish.”

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