The Practicing Writer 2.0: February 2021

Celebrating *17* years of publication!

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 Stories

  3. Featured Resource

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


  6. Blog Notes

  7. Newsletter Matters


Back in early 2004, I had two favorite discussion topics: a) my infant niece; and b) creative writing.

Flash forward to February 2021. My 17-year-old niece is learning to drive and applying to colleges. And this newsletter has also reached its 17th birthday!

Whether you’re one of the original subscribers or you’re encountering the newsletter for the first time, I’m grateful that you’re here.



I’m delighted to share:

In response to my mention in last month’s issue of a recent piece of mine:

Thanks for sharing your essay on a lost classic short story. It’s always exciting to make such discoveries. I felt that way when I first read “Life in the Iron Mills” by Rebecca Harding Davis and the novel The Street by Ann Petry.

I work part-time for AFAR travel magazine, which has managed to survive this year of nontravel in part by running more news and also more books coverage. Here’s a link to a story you might enjoy.

Although 2020 was not good for me in terms of writing and getting acceptances, I value your Monday listings and monthly newsletter. Keep up the great work.

Best wishes for the new year,
Pat Tompkins

And this message, from a consulting client who is also a newsletter subscriber:

Thank you for this generous and informative newsletter. During these difficult times, you have kept poetry vital and alive.

Your contribution to the writing community keeps us connected and hopeful. Your advice about sending review queries to publications where my poems have appeared has proven fruitful. Blood Memory has been well received with more articles forthcoming. Your knowledge and experience in the world of Jewish writing is well appreciated and priceless.

I wish you all the best for a peaceful and healthy New Year.

Warm wishes,
Gail Newman

And one more:

I’ve been reading your blogs for several years and even had a piece published on The Forward’s Sisterhood page because of a submission call you posted. My father was a Holocaust survivor from Vienna and I own a copy of Quiet Americans. Thanks for keeping up your postings….A number of times, I’ve passed along a link from My Machberet to my Rosh Chodesh group.

Health & Peace,
Heidi Griminger Blanke

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.


I had reason recently to recommend this article from my archive to a correspondent; I figured it might be time to re-up it here, too.

“13 Questions to Ask Before Submitting to a Literary Journal” (Literary Hub)


    Deadline: February 15. Awards $10,000 and publication by Milkweed Editions to a poet residing in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, or Michigan.

    Deadline: February 15. Cash prizes for each of the following awards, all of which are detailed at the link above: the Randall Kenan Prize for Black LGBTQ Fiction; the Jim Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists’ Prize for “LGBTQ-identified novelists of demonstrated ability who show promise for growth in their writing”; the Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction; and the Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers.

    Deadline: February 15. Each year, this program at Harvard University “invites poets, writers, artists, composers, and literary scholars to propose creative projects that would benefit from the resources available in the room and to generate new work that further actualizes the Poetry Room’s collections. In conjunction with the Poetry Room’s 90th Anniversary (in 2021-2022), this year’s fellowship program is encouraging proposals for projects that relate to the library’s nine-decade history.” This year’s award “carries a stipend of $4,500 and a Harvard Library special borrower’s card, as well as in-depth research support from the Poetry Room’s curatorial staff.” NB: “Typically, the Creative Fellow is expected to be in residence for at least 7 days during the academic year (September through April). However, due to the evolving nature of Covid-19, we ask that all applicants include a plan for how their proposed project could be undertaken and fulfilled virtually, if the physical library remains closed for some (or all) of the upcoming academic year.”

    Deadline: February 16. Offers “outstanding scholars, writers and artists the opportunity to be in residence at HBI at different points during the year.” Applications now open for the 2021-2022 academic year; note that HBI “will welcome Scholars in Residence virtually if we are unable to host them in person.” The program is “open to scholars working on any aspect of Jewish women’s and gender studies in order to devote time to their research. These residencies take place during the academic year and range from two months to a full semester. Applications for a full academic year will be considered.” Residencies confer a stipend of $5,000/month. NB: Additionally, “the HBI offers a dedicated residency devoted to research and creations that use the Jewish Feminism Collection in Brandeis University’s Archives and Special Collections.”

    Deadline: February 16. $12,500 grant supports “the work of a promising early-career nonfiction writer on a story that uncovers truths about the human condition.” Memorializes Matthew Power, “a wide-roving and award-winning journalist who sought to live and share the experience of the individuals and places on which he was reporting. Power, a longtime friend of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, died in March 2014, while on assignment in Uganda. The award proceeds from the recognition that many important stories need to be reported from afar, and that publications do not always have the resources to send a writer where the story is.” Note: “The award will not fund proposals to report on armed conflicts where journalists are already imperiled, nor projects that are mainly investigatory. The winner will normally receive visiting scholar privileges at NYU, including library access.”

    Deadline: February 22: Memorializing writer Bronwen Wallace, this award “is for young developing writers of poetry and short fiction. Bronwen Wallace felt that young writers should have more opportunities for greater recognition early in their careers, and so this annual award is given to a writer below the age of 35 who has published poetry or prose in a literary magazine or anthology, but has not yet been published in book form and is without a book contract.” Canadian citizens and permanent residents only. Confers $10,000 to winners and $2,500 to finalists. (UPDATE: Via Jann Everard, I’ve learned that the age cap for this prize has been removed!)

    Deadline: February 28. Each year, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) “honors the best self-published eBooks by an African-American author in the United States in the genres of Fiction and Poetry. These awards acknowledge outstanding achievement in the presentation of the cultural, historical, and sociopolitical aspects of the Black Diaspora.” Confers $500 cash awards and other recognition.

    Deadline: February 28. Residency (July 6 – August 2, 2021) “includes lodging at a beautiful loft apartment on the downtown square in Piggott [AR] over the City Market coffee shop. The writer-in-residence will also have the opportunity to work in the studio where Ernest Hemingway worked on A Farewell to Arms during an extended stay with his wife’s family in 1928. The residency includes a $1000 stipend to help cover food and transportation. If public health conditions allow, the writer-in-residence will be expected to serve as mentor for a week-long retreat for writers at the educational center….The recipient may be asked to hold one or two readings of his/her own work in the region.” Note: “Candidates with an MA or MFA in a relevant field are preferred.”

    Deadline: February 28. Named for a “beloved teacher and advocate of poets and poetry,” this prize is open to undergraduate English majors “currently enrolled at a New England college (2-year or 4-year).” Prize: “$1000 and an invitation to read at the Student Awards Reading at the Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site in June.”

    Deadline: March 1. Awards $10,000 and publication “to the author of a first or second collection of poetry. In the prize’s inaugural year, the winning manuscript will be selected by poet Louise Glück and published by Changes. The prizewinner receives a generous publishing contract, national distribution through PGW, extensive advertising & publicity, 100 free copies of their book, as well as a two-week summer residency at Castello San Basilio (Southern Italy) in 2021 and a fall book launch at McNally Jackson in New York City.” U.S. residents only.

    Deadline: March 1 (for initial cover sheet; check the website for the full application process). Offers “leading contemporary and traditional artists from the United States the opportunity to spend three months in Japan through the U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Program. Artists go as seekers, as cultural visionaries, and as living liaisons to the traditional and contemporary cultural life of Japan. They also go as connectors who share knowledge and bring back knowledge. Their interaction with the Japanese public and the outlook they bring home provide exceptional opportunities to promote cultural understanding between the United States and Japan.”

    Deadline: March 2. Topic: “In 2020 a once-in-a-century global pandemic affected almost all aspects of life, forcing us to change how we relate to the world and to one another. In this historical moment, in what ways has your connection to the natural world changed–and in what ways has it remained the same?” Prize awards $1,500 ($500 for a runner-up) and publication online and in Appalachia. Here, “an emerging writer is considered someone who has a solid writing background or interest, but has not yet published a major work of prose on this topic or been featured in national publications.”

    Deadline: March 8. Provides “support, guidance, and one-on-one instruction to a developing writer from an established writer. The program is sponsored by RBC’s Emerging Artists Project.” Three mentors (one each for fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction) select one mentee from the applicant pool. “Beyond instruction, mentees will also receive $2,500. The mentorship period runs May-September 2021.” Mentor bios, applicant eligibility, and other info detailed at the website.

    Deadline: March 10. The U.S. National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowships program “offers $25,000 grants in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) and poetry to published creative writers that enable recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement.” Currently, prose fellowships are available.

    Deadline: March 15. “Though Ruby Pickens Tartt worked for the Works Project Association in collecting slave narratives in Alabama, and though she was published in several literary magazines, her work was only collected under her name and published posthumously. Accordingly, we are hoping to give a beginning fiction writer a chance for publication. All styles considered: we are in the South, not particularly of it.” Winning short story collection will be published by Livingston Press at the University of West Alabama. “Winning entry will receive $1000, plus our standard royalty contract, which includes 100 copies.”

REMINDER! Several opportunities listed in last month’s newsletter remain open for entries/applications.


  • Opening February 1: the Association of Writing Programs (AWP)’s THE WRITER’S CHRONICLE, “a forum for the best writing on the craft and art of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.” Pays: “$18 per 100 words for accepted manuscripts.”

  • SHENANDOAH will receive poetry submissions from February 1-15. Payment: $100/poem.

  • The POETRY FOUNDATION seeks “several independent contractors to write short (150-300 word) reviews of new poetry books for the soon to be launched Harriet Books component of the Poetry Foundation website.” Payment: “We offer competitive pay at $175 per review + $35/hr for meetings.” Deadline: February 2.

  • FIRESIDE MAGAZINE is receiving short-story and poetry submissions until February 5 (6 p.m. EST). Pays: 12.5 cents/word for fiction; $100 flat rate for poems.

  • THE NEW GOTHIC REVIEW is open for submissions until February 7. “We’re looking for previously unpublished short stories that embrace and reimagine Gothic fiction for the 21st century.” Pays: $30.

  • Until February 15, an interdisciplinary project (dance video, poetry, and live performance) called (home)BODY seeks poems “that speak to ideas around home and body in personal, experimental, and/or topical ways….For example, the body in question can be the personal/individual body, the communal/community body, the body politic, and/or the synecdochal body.” Payment: “Four selected poets will each receive a $500 honorarium for an original work. Five additional poets will receive honorable mentions and one or more of their poems will appear on the project’s webpage.” (Found this one via @Duotrope.)

  • Submissions close February 15 for THE BEST NEW TRUE CRIME STORIES: CRIMES OF PASSION, OBSESSION & REVENGE. Query first. Pays: “USD $130, and 2 print copies of the book.”

  • THE SPECTACLE is open until February 15 for submissions of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Pays: $50.

  • THE FIDDLEHEAD will reopen on February 15 for submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. “Pay is $60 CAD per published page, plus two complimentary copies of the issue with your work.”

  • CLAW & BLOSSOM is open until February 21 for submissions on the theme of “Water.” Recall that for this journal, “your work MUST contain some element of the natural world.” Pays: “$25 USD per acceptance upon publication via PayPal only.”

  • At SPECULATIVE CITY, submissions are open until February 24 for an issue on the theme of “Sound.” Publishes “provocative works that are centered within a cityscape,” in fiction, poetry, and essays. Payment: $20-$55.

  • February 26 is the deadline at LUCENT DREAMING, where they seek “retellings,” via fiction, poetry and artwork, for an issue focused on “new tales for new times.” Pays: “£10 and a free contributor copy.” (This tweet provides a bit more clarification.)

  • For an upcoming issue, UNDERSTOREY MAGAZINE “invites your stories of laughter, humour, and comedy” until February 26. Co-editors Natalie Meisner and Katherine Barrett will consider poetry, personal essay, fiction, or visual art. NB: “Open to writers & artists, new & experienced, who identify as women or non-binary and maintain a close connection to Canada.” Pays: “$150 for writers and $75 for artists” Paperwork requirements for processing payment provided on the site.

  • February 28 is the deadline for submissions (poetry, fiction, nonfiction) at BLUE MESA REVIEW. Pays: $25. Note: “International submissions are accepted and are eligible for publication, but we are not able to process contributor payments outside the United States.”

  • SOUTHWORD’s deadline for poetry submissions is also February 28. Pays: €40/poem. “If the writer lives outside of Ireland, they will be paid by PayPal.”

  • Also open until February 28: PROSPECTUS, which “welcomes submissions from unpublished or little-published poets [check the site for eligibility] as well short prose pieces and fine-art images.” Pays: “$25 for each published piece. In addition, you will receive 5 copies of the journal plus a 15% discount on additional copies.”

  • TAHOMA LITERARY REVIEW also closes February 28. “We offer free submissions to authors and poets from historically marginalized groups. We have a limited number of these submissions available each month, so plan to submit early.” Pays: “$55 for flash prose and short poems; $135 for longer prose and poems. TLR defines the term ‘longer’ as 1,500 to 6,000 words for prose, and any poem that is seven pages or longer.”

  • March 1 is the deadline at THE BLUE ROUTE, “an international literary journal for undergraduate writers.” Pays: $25.

  • CAROUSEL is also receiving submissions (of fiction and poetry) until March 1. Payment: “Accepted contributors will receive an honorarium upon publication (paid in CDN currency, via Paypal or eTransfer) according to the following 2021 Fee Schedule: Poetry: $20 per poem — Fiction: $40–$80 per story — Experimental Reviews: $20–$40 per review.” Note that review submissions are open year-round. Note also that “we only have a limited number of free submissions per month; if we exceed this number (which is 200), our free submissions categories will close for the remainder of the month.” 

  • March 1 is also the deadline at TEACH. WRITE. (“a writing teachers’ literary journal”). The work submitted need not be about teaching/learning. Payment: “$15 for short stories, creative non-fiction, and essays; $10 for all other categories, upon or soon following, publication, payable via PayPal.”

  • UPSTREET will also receive fiction and nonfiction submissions until March 1. Note: “Work whose theme or topic is political, or which contains partisan political references, will not be considered.” Payment: “between $50 and $250.”

  • Until March 5, new publication WHITE ENSO seeks “original, unpublished short fiction, essays, creative non-fiction and artwork that explores the Japanese experience.” Pays: “a small honorarium for work that is accepted." (Via email, I've confirmed that payment will be at least $20.)

  • New publication POETRY ONLINE is “committed to publishing work made accessible to all....We offer an online venue to share poems alongside audio, captioned video, and screenreader accessible images, so every reader is included….We publish authors on a rolling, weekly basis. We have no strict poetry style or theme. We accept both poetry and visual poetry, traditional and experimental.” Pays: “$15 per poem, by Venmo or Paypal, after acceptance.” (Thanks to @Duotrope for leading me to this one.)

  • PUSHED OFF PRESS, LLC is seeking “exciting and entertaining crime and mystery stories….We are looking for stories between one thousand and four thousand words with great twists, gritty atmosphere and solid action. We love crime and mystery stories in general, but especially love ones set in rural areas, or in the snow, or on a border, anywhere intriguing….Pushed Off Press is based in Salt Lake City so stories set in Utah especially catch our eye!” Pays: $25/story.

  • “Launched amid the tumultuous summer of '20, STANCHION is a quarterly zine, printed on thick, elegant uncoated paper and featuring short stories, flash fiction, poetry, evocative thoughts, drawings and black & white photography from some of the most talented artists working today.” Pays: “$10 and one complimentary copy.” (Discovered via @Duotrope.) 

  • Reminder: Make it a habit to check the CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL website, where titles in development are posted. “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.


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.”