The Practicing Writer 2.0: January 2020

Or, Tiptoeing into a Newsletter Transition

Supporting the Craft & Business of Excellent Writing

Editor: Erika Dreifus

Welcome to our new readers, and welcome back to the regulars!

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

PLEASE PASS THE NEWSLETTER ON—in its entirety—to your writing friends, students, and teachers. If you’d like to share news about a particular competition or a submission alert with other writers, PLEASE CREDIT THE PRACTICING WRITER for the find. Thanks for respecting the efforts of your volunteer editor/publisher!


  1. Editor’s Note: What’s New

  2. Article/Lessons Learned

  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, practicing writers!

What's new? Well, quite a bit.

If you’re a subscriber coming here via the link provided in what I’ve announced will be the last full newsletter sent via YahooGroups—welcome!

And if you’re just discovering this newsletter for the first time—welcome to you, too!

A brief recap: After just about 16 years of distribution via YahooGroups, The Practicing Writer—a free, monthly newsletter for writers of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction—has relocated to Substack. Thousands of longtime subscribers count on this newsletter for lots of useful information—including, each month, about two dozen timely listings of writerly opportunities that do not charge fees for submission/entry/application and do pay writers for winning/accepted work. But recent YahooGroups changes signaled that it was time to make a move away from that platform. So here we are.

Substack will archive this and future issues, and I’ll continue to share each issue via social media, but the best way to be sure that you receive the newsletter in a timely fashion is to subscribe. (Also: Please bear with me while I continue to learn the how-tos of this platform. Experimentation with formatting and layout may follow. I will try mightily not to anything that will disrupt you [or your inbox]. Please excuse any missteps.)

Here’s hoping that everyone has had a good holiday season. Happy 2020 to all of us—and to our writing practices.


P.S. I’m delighted to round out the year with news from two practicing writers—O’rya Hyde-Keller and Janet Fein—who recently took the time to tell me about some developments in their writing practices. Please join me in congratulating them!

Hi Erika, I wanted to let you know that my short story “The Quickening” was recently published in Slice literary magazine. I saw the submission opportunity in your newsletter. This the first time my fiction has been published, and I am very excited about it! Thanks for everything that you do. Best, O'rya

and, from Janet,

My essay “The Terrible Twins” was published in the Route 7 Review. Your inspiration for writing has given me the courage to submit my writing. I always find something in your newsletter to submit to. Thank you Erika for your inspiration and I will always be grateful to you for acceptance to all who inspire to write.

PLEASE REMEMBER: Your volunteer editor/publisher loves to learn about developments and successes in your writing practice that may result from something gleaned in this newsletter (or on the complementary website). Please feel welcome to share such news with me.


Longtime readers will recall that in the past, I’ve repeatedly invoked the appeal of author Lisa Romeo’s “‘I Did It!’ List.” As Lisa has explained (including in this blog post:

As writers, we are too quick to dismiss our small(er) accomplishments, the small steps or steady strides that carry us forward toward larger goals. Especially at this time of year, we may be tempted to focus on what we didn’t finish, didn’t get done, didn’t accomplish—and then shoot straight to a new MUST-DO list for the coming year, one that too often smacks of recrimination.

First, let’s pause to look back and take note of the ways we’ve already begun moving in the direction of our dreams. The list is a way of noticing ourselves as DO-ERS.

The emphasis on “small steps” and “steady strides” matters: As Lisa also notes: “The list is not (only) about what got published or where, what I earned, what job or gig I nailed. It’s wider, and deeper, or in some cases, shallower than that.” Her list’s more important purpose is “to pause and take note of all the small things, big things, and in-between things I could say I finished, learned, tried, succeeded at, explored, completed, was challenged by, overcame, and took part in over the year.”

In recent weeks, I’ve observed a kind of variation on the “I Did It!” list on social media, with people sharing pretty major professional (and/or personal) achievements for not just the past year, but also the decade. Somehow, that seems a little too daunting to me.

Maybe I’m just a creature of habit, but I’ve been inclined to return to Lisa’s model as I take stock of 2019. And maybe it’s something that you’ll find pleasing, too. Share what you come up with, or keep it to yourself. But give it a go, if it’s not already part of your practice.


You may have caught this resource when I shared it last week as a “Friday Find” on the Practicing Writing blog. But in case you missed it: Writer’s Digest and Robert Lee Brewer have re-upped an exceedingly useful list of 100 common publishing terms.


    Deadline: January 15, 2020. “A Public Space is thrilled to announce a new Fellowship program for aspiring editors. The aim of the Editorial Fellowship program is to create a framework for the art of editing, bridging tradition and evolution. It is our hope to support a cadre of editors who will offer a more diverse publishing community—culturally, aesthetically, economically.” Nine-month fellowships will begin March 15; “fellows will be expected to be at A Public Space’s office in downtown Brooklyn fifteen hours per week.” The fellowship confers a $10,000 stipend.

    Deadline: February 1, 2020. “The Art Alliance Writers’ Workshop Poetry Prize celebrates the work of C.K. Williams this year and is presented in conjunction with Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde. Opening January 21, 2020 at the Art Alliance and select venues around Philadelphia, Invisible City is curated by UArts Director of Exhibitions Sid Sachs with Jennie Hirsh, Assistant Curator, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at MICA.” NB: “Any writer residing in the United States is eligible to apply. Two poems will be selected for the prize, one from a poet residing in the greater Philadelphia area, and one from a poet residing elsewhere in the United States. Though submitted poems do not need to reference C.K. Williams or Invisible City directly, we encourage entrants to gather inspiration from the forthcoming exhibition or C.K. Williams’s writings.” Prize: “Poets selected for the prize will receive $100, publication in a future issue of Horsethief Magazine and ten hand-printed letterpress broadside prints of the winning poem. The selected poets will be invited to read alongside poet Daisy Fried at the Art Alliance on Thursday, April 2nd, during a public program celebrating the work of C.K. Williams.”

    Submissions: January 1-February 15, 2020. “The Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry supports outstanding poets from the upper Midwest and brings their work to a national stage. Expanding on the Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry, which was established in 2011, this prize awards $10,000 and publication by Milkweed Editions to a poet residing in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, or Michigan. Selected from a small number of finalists by an independent judge, the prizewinning poet will also receive a standard royalty contract, national distribution, and a comprehensive marketing and publicity campaign. A public book launch and celebration for the winning poet will be held in Minneapolis around publication.”

    Deadline: January 15, 2020. “Letras Latinas, the literary initiative of the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, in partnership with Red Hen Press in Pasadena, CA, is pleased to support the publication of a second or third full-length book of poems by a Latino or Latina poet. The Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize is awarded every other year.” The prize confers $1,000 and publication by Red Hen Press. NB: “Upon publication of the winning book, Letras Latinas will make every effort to secure invitations to read in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C.”

    Deadline: February 1, 2020 (received). Annual prize in the name of the late Larry Levis is awarded for “the best first or second book of poetry published in the previous calendar year.” Prize: $5,000 and an invitation, expenses paid, to present a public reading in the following fall in Richmond, Virginia.

    Deadline: January 15, 2020. Judge: John Murillo. Awarded every other year, this prize “supports the publication of a first full-length book of poems by a Latinx poet. The winning poet will receive $1000 and a contract from University of Notre Dame Press. Upon publication of the winning book, Letras Latinas will extend an invitation to both the winner and the judge to give a joint reading at Notre Dame.”

    Deadline: January 20, 2020. “O’Brien Fellows spend nine months reporting stories with the power to compel change. Backed by Marquette University and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, O’Brien helps news professionals dig deep while mentoring student journalists. The program honors Marquette alumni Alicia and Perry O’Brien." Among the fellowship’s components are a $65,000 salary stipend and a work environment in “the new O'Brien suite at Marquette University's Diederich College of Communication near downtown Milwaukee and the Lake Michigan shore.”

    Deadline: January 15, 2020. “The winning submission in all 3 written genres [poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction] will receive $250 for a story or narrative that raises awareness on any of the issues surrounding mental health, such as homelessness, missed or delayed diagnosis, or loss (of family, husband/wife, jobs), with extra credit given to those who can tie all into our theme of Hope.”

    Deadline: February 19, 2020. “The Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award is a grant of $12,500 to support the work of a promising early-career nonfiction writer on a story that uncovers truths about the human condition. In 2020 we will again offer a runner-up prize of $4,000. Offered for the first time in 2015, the Award has been endowed by individuals and organizations touched by the life and work of 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. The money need not be used exclusively for travel, but we expect that most successful applications will include such expenses.” NB: “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 1, 2020. “Named for Bucknell’s renowned literary alumnus and initiated in the fall of 1993, the Philip Roth Residence in Creative Writing offers up to four months of unfettered writing time for a writer working on a first or second book of fiction or literary nonfiction. The residency provides lodging in Bucknell’s ‘Poet’s Cottage” and a stipend of $5,000. In the spring semester of 2020, the Stadler Center will accept applications for the 2020-21 Philip Roth Residences (August-December 2020 and February-May 2021).” NB: “The Roth Residence is no longer awarded to poets; only writers of fiction and/or literary nonfiction are eligible.”

    Deadline: February 3, 2020 (11am, presumably GMT). “The Spread the Word Life Writing Prize in association with Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre was established in 2016. Open to emerging writers living in the UK aged 18 or over, the Prize was established to celebrate and develop life writing in the UK thanks to a generous donation from Joanna Munro. Blake Morrison is Patron of the Prize. Free to enter, the Prize aims to find the best life writing from emerging writers from across the UK. The Prize defines life writing as ‘intended to be true’, reflects someone’s own life journey or experiences and is not fiction. The competition is open to writers who have yet to publish a full-length work or have a literary agent.” Prize details: “One writer will be chosen to win the first prize of £1,500, an Arvon course of their choice (subject to availability), a writing mentor, two years’ membership with the Royal Society of Literature, and an optional development meeting with an agent and an editor. Their winning piece will be published on Spread the Word’s website and in the Life Writing Prize booklet. Two highly commended writers will receive £500 each, a writing mentor and an optional development meeting with an agent and an editor. The writing mentors will be assigned to each writer by the Spread the Word team after a conversation with the writers. Three writers will be shortlisted, and six longlisted."

    Deadline: February 2, 2020. “Tent: Creative Writing welcomes aspiring and practicing writers in their twenties and thirties to the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, to workshop, read, and talk about craft and literary history. The program offers workshops on fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, taught by authors such as Sam Lipstye, Lisa Olstein, and Eileen Pollack. Participants discuss classics of modern Jewish literature by authors from Sholem Aleichem to Adrienne Rich with literary scholar Josh Lambert and consider the roles played by Jews in the creation of literary modernism and postmodernism. Each accepted participant receives a full scholarship, covering the cost of the workshop as well as room and board. Lodging will be provided if required, and most meals will be provided. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from Amherst.”


  • Open (to new fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and translation) throughout the month of January: NASHVILLE REVIEW. Pays: “We are proud to pay our contributors: $25 per poem and $100 for prose and art pieces.”

  • Also open throughout January: TIMEWORN LITERARY JOURNAL, which is looking for historical fiction set before 1996 and “from the fringe”: “Work with a bend toward the surreal, the dream-like, the strange. The offbeat kind of story that settles into your heart long after reading. That said, we also value beauty and warmth and a generally well-written story with soul. Romance, Mystery, Crime and the Gothic are all acceptable. Speculative elements strongly encouraged.” Pays: “Payment of $25 will be sent to authors upon acceptance + print contributor copy upon publication.”

  • Open through January 15: GREAT WEATHER FOR MEDIA, which “seeks poetry, flash fiction, short stories, dramatic monologues, and creative nonfiction for our annual print anthology.” Pays (USA-based writers): “one contributor copy, plus $10….To help towards shipping costs, international writers receive one copy.”

  • Also closing January 15: CARTE BLANCHE, which is currently “looking for work that considers the theme VISIBLE/INVISIBLE.” They’re open to submissions in comics, poetry, fiction, photography, and translation (creative-nonfiction submissions are limited to Quebec residents only). Payment: “carte blanche pays a modest honorarium per submission. We hope to increase the amount in the future.”

  • Submissions for the summer 2020 issue of THE STINGING FLY will close January 16. THE STINGING FLY publishes “new, previously unpublished work by Irish and international writers. We have a particular interest in promoting the short story. Each issue includes a mix of poetry and fiction, alongside our Featured Poets and Comhchealg sections, commissioned essays, occasional author interviews and novel extracts. We also welcome submissions of poetry and prose in translation.” Payment: €25/magazine page for fiction and nonfiction; €40 for a single poem/magazine poem; €200 for “featured poet.”

  • Re-opening for submissions on January 15: COPPER NICKEL, which accepts poetry, fiction, essays, and translation folios. NB: “Our Submittable account can receive only 1800 discrete submissions in a given month—after which the account will close until the new month. Please submit early each month to avoid being shut out.” Pays: “$30 per printed page + two copies of the issue in which the author’s work appears + a one-year subscription. (Per-page payment could vary slightly from year to year based on funding. And international writers please note: all payments sent overseas are subject to a 30% tax, which is withheld on the front end. This is beyond our control.)”

  • Poetry journal FOUNDRY is open for general submissions until January 31. “Foundry publishes a range of styles and forms, from short lyric poems to prose poems and longer narratives. We are drawn to poems that feel as much as they think.” Pays: “We pay $20 per poem via Venmo or Paypal shortly after publication. We also promote our authors on social media and submit nominations for prizes.”

  • Open until February 1: “VOLNEY ROAD REVIEW is a biannual literary magazine based in Youngstown, Ohio. We have decided to dedicate the magazine to the Youngstown great, Volney Rogers, whose actions led to the creation of Mill Creek Park. VRR is also dedicated to Volney Road, a historical neighborhood in Youngstown, which contains some amazing home—hidden gems of the city. Our goal is to give a platform to the unpublished gems hidden within the repertoires of established and emerging authors. Send us the work that you think will change the world. We publish during the fall and spring seasons.” Pays: $10/accepted piece (via Paypal).

  • Also closing February 1: “BELMONT STORY REVIEW seeks to publish new and established writers passionate about their craft, fearlessly encountering difficult ideas, seeking to explore human experience in all its broken blessedness. We feature works of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.” Payment: “Belmont Story Review pays honorariums in the form of a check in US dollars ($50 for prose, $25 for poetry). If you are unable to receive payments in this form, we will be unable to afford you payment for your piece. We make no exceptions to this rule.”

  • Also open until February 1: PORT YONDER PRESS/EASTERN IOWA REVIEW, which is receiving lyric and hybrid essays and prose poetry. “What we seek: Place-based themes, literary vitality, moral consequence, the sharply beautiful and achingly honest but without a lingering on the darkness. Your submission should be considered ‘crossover’ work: that is, suitable for most ages, though certainly not dumbed down or soft or overtly religious.” Pays: $10 (via Paypal).

  • Opening for submissions on January 1 (and remaining open until July 30): PAPER ANGEL PRESS's call for submissions for an anthology: “Life at sea presents many challenges, and finding (and keeping) love is one of the biggest. HEARTWRECK: ROMANTIC DISASTERS AT SEA is a collection of true and semi-true stories about love gone wrong on the high seas, curated by Melanie Neale, Emily Greenberg, and Laureen Hudson, and published under our Unruly Voices imprint. Rough weather, small spaces, long days in the boatyard, and an eclectic mix of personalities make personal relationships among the seafaring community challenging and rife with struggles. We’re looking for personal essays and memoir/creative nonfiction pieces about your experiences. Be real, be honest, be funny, be brave. Maybe a relationship fell apart and you got stuck with a boat you didn’t think you wanted. Maybe, after five days at sea with a partner and five months to go, you realized you can’t possibly live with that person on a small boat. Whatever the disaster, if it happened on or around boats, we want to read about it.” Payment: “0.02 per word + two (2) contributor copies.” No simultaneous submissions. Will consider reprints.

  • Also reopening for submissions in January: THE THREEPENNY REVIEW. No simultaneous submissions. Consult the website for additional information and pay rates.


The newsletter is published just once each month, but there’s always something new at our Practicing Writing blog: fresh market news, current contest and job listings, links to writing-related articles, newly-discovered craft and business resources, and so much more. Regular blog features include:

  • Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers (including state/province/city-specific opportunities that are typically omitted from the monthly newsletter)

  • Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

  • Friday Finds for Writers

  • Sunday Sentence

Please visit, and comment! 

And for those of you practicing writers who are 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 to the best of our ability 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.

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

About the editor: Based in New York City, Erika Dreifus is a writer, teacher, and literary consultant whose latest book is Birthright: Poems, published by Kelsay Books. She is also the author of Quiet Americans: Stories, which was named an American Library Association Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title for outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. Please visit to learn more about Erika's work.