The Practicing Writer 2.0: June 2020

Latest fee-free, paying opportunities—and some tips for our online times.

Supporting the Craft & Business of Excellent Writing

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  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


Greetings, practicing writers:

Yet again, I’m writing this message at the end of the newsletter-drafting process, and Substack is telling me that we’re already “near email length limit.” So, quickly:

There’s so much pain in our world right now. It’s impossible not to acknowledge that. All I can say here is that I hope that whatever you you may be experiencing—body and/or soul, connected to the stories dominating the news or not—this newsletter brings a bit of brightness, however small.

Wishing happier, healthier times—in every respect—for us all,


P.S. Last month’s mega-list of subscriber success stories reminded Virginia Chase Sutton that she hadn’t yet reported in with her own recent Parks & Points publication: “They did a beautiful job with ‘Ten Days on the Water’—and they added a lovely visual….Thank you for the opportunity.” Please remember that I love to know about successes that come your way via this newsletter/the blogs. Please keep me posted!


Image description: laptop with screen bearing an invitation to “Join Us Online.” Photo by Samantha Borges on Unsplash.

Unless you’re actively working to stay offline these days, you’re likely noticing an ever-expanding menu of literary programming in virtual spaces. One recent evening found me clicking from panel to launch party to reading—with each event hosted by an organization in another state. As a “consumer,” I find it amazing and inspiring. But along with appreciating these opportunities to reach new audiences, anyone who is hosting or presenting may be wondering how, exactly, to get those audiences to learn about and register for your events.

Pre-COVID-19, publicists (and savvy authors) would work to place event information in local calendars. But when the world and the laptop are so inextricably linked, geographical boundaries fade. In response, new calendar structures are emerging.

Below, you’ll find some examples. Consider them places to share information about your own upcoming events—and to discover programs that you may be able to attend from afar, supporting other writers and the bookstores and organizations they’re working with.

  • Notable Online: The Rumpus now offers weekly compilations of “notable online” events. Instructions for submitting event info for consideration are included at the end of each weekly post.

  • Poets & Writers Literary Events Calendar: If you’re one of the thousands of writers with a Poets & Writers Directory profile, you can now add (and everyone can now view) online events within the literary events calendar.

  • The Washington Post’s Online Literary Event Calendar: Announced mid-May, this feature offers “a robust literary calendar of streaming events, giving readers a resource for tracking virtual events they can attend around the country. The list is curated by The Post’s Book staff and consists of a continuously updated selection of events from bookstores, libraries, festivals, publishers and individual authors.” Instructions for submitting event information are provided in the announcement linked above.

  • Your Week in Virtual Book Events is a new offering from Literary Hub. (Sample the first and second installments.) Check curator Penina Roth’s May 8 tweet for info-submission instructions.

  • Finally, I’ll share a couple of resources for those of us who are active in the Jewish-literary world: Both JewishLIVE and the Jewish Book Council’s Literary Conversations in Quarantine page are open to receiving event info (look within the linked page for the latter’s instructions).

Closing tip: I’m beginning to notice queries in Facebook groups and elsewhere to the effect of “Where can I pitch myself/my forthcoming book for events?” The pages listed above can also help you locate hosts/series best suited to your work.

Good luck—and catch you online!


If I were planning a full-fledged virtual writing-focused conference, I’d make it a point to spend some quality time with “Here’s (Exactly) How We Organized One of the Largest Virtual U.S. Journalism Events to Date,” co-authored by the Center for Cooperative Media’s Stefanie Murray and Joe Amditis (Nieman Lab).

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

    Deadline: June 8, 2020. “An annual grant of $2,000 for an emerging writer of color,” this award “is intended to support the recipient in crime fiction writing and career development activities….An unpublished writer is preferred, however publication of several pieces of short fiction and/or up to two self-published or traditionally published books will not disqualify an applicant.”

    Deadline: June 15, 2020. Open to submissions in multiple genres. No theme. “The Winner of the Spring 2020 contest will receive $30 and a book in the genre of their choosing (the book is US-only, but if you live in another country we will make sure to send you another delightful surprise).” NB: “All finalists will be published on”

    Deadline: June 20, 2020. “The Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship was established to enable a mid-career editorial writer or columnist to have time away from daily responsibilities for study and research” and includes a cash award of $75,000.

    Deadline: June 30, 2020. Confers a $1,000 prize “to the author of an exceptional first novel published in the previous calendar year. Conceived and funded by former board member Neal P. Gillen, the McLaughlin-Esstman-Stearns Prize honors three dedicated writers and members of The Writer’s Center faculty—the late Ann McLaughlin, Barbara Esstman, and Lynn Stearns—each of whom unselfishly nourish and inspire students and fellow writers.”

    Deadline: June 30, 2020. “Poems can be rhyming or non-rhyming, although we find that non-rhyming poetry reads better. We suggest that you write about real emotions and feelings and that you have some special person or occasion in mind as you write.” Cash prizes ($350/$200/$100) and online publication.

    Deadline: June 30, 2020. For poems “somehow related to the perioperative setting.” Awards a $500 prize and publication, “along with other finalists,” in the “Mind to Mind” section of Anesthesiology.

    Deadline: June 30, 2020. “The prize was founded in 2016 to honor author Louise Meriwether by publishing a debut work by a woman or nonbinary author of color, between 30,000 and 80,000 words. The prize is granted to a manuscript that follows in the tradition of Meriwether’s Daddy Was a Number Runner, one of the first contemporary American novels featuring a young Black girl as the protagonist.” Welcomes fiction and narrative nonfiction by “women of color and nonbinary writers of color who are: residents of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia, and US territories and possessions; 18 years of age or older at time of entry; and who have not had a book published or have a book under contract at the time of submission.” Prize: “a $5,000 advance (half at the time of the initial award and half upon publication)” plus a contract for publication with the Feminist Press in print and digital editions in spring 2021.

    Deadline: July 1, 2020. “Fitzcarraldo Editions, Giramondo and New Directions are pleased to announce The Novel Prize, a new biennial award for a book-length work of literary fiction written in English by published and unpublished writers around the world. The Novel Prize offers $10,000 to the winner, and simultaneous publication of their novel in the UK and Ireland by the London-based Fitzcarraldo Editions, in Australia and New Zealand by Sydney publisher Giramondo, and in North America by New York’s New Directions. The judges will be looking for novels which explore and expand the possibilities of the form, and are innovative and imaginative in style. The Novel Prize will be managed by the three publishers working in collaboration. Submissions will be open from 1 April to 1 July 2020, with Fitzcarraldo Editions reading submissions from Africa and Europe, Giramondo from Asia and Australasia, and New Directions from the Americas.”

    Deadline: July 1, 2020. Based at Claremont Graduate University and given for poetry volumes published in the preceding year, these prizes confer $100,000 (Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award) and $10,000 (Kate Tufts Discovery Award). The current cycle will recognize works published between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020; the Kingsley Tufts award is for “a book,” while the Kate Tufts Discovery Award is for “a first book”; the Kingsley Tufts award also requires the winner to spend, within six months of the award presentation, “one week in residence at Claremont Graduate University for lectures, workshops, and poetry readings.” NB: Self-published books are eligible. Note also: “Work must be original poetry written originally in English by a poet who is a citizen or legal resident alien of the United States.”

    Deadline: July 15, 2020. “The Poetry Coalition, a network of 25+ poetry organizations coordinated by the Academy of American Poets, is pleased to announce that it has launched the Poetry Coalition Fellowship program, a three-year pilot program that will offer paid fellowship positions to five fellows per year (a total of fifteen fellows) who will each assist a different Poetry Coalition organization for twenty hours per week over the course of a forty-week period. The fellows will also receive professional development opportunities. In consideration of the Covid-19 pandemic, these positions will be remote. The five organizations hosting the inaugural Poetry Coalition Fellows beginning this year are CantoMundo, Cave Canem, Kundiman, Mizna, and Split This Rock.” Check specific descriptions/application instructions for each organization which are linked on the general announcement page.

    Deadline: July 15, 2020. “Singapore Unbound’s SP Blog is holding its sixth annual poetry contest. We are looking for poems that include the word ‘Singapore’ (or its variants) in some creative manner. The poems do not have to be about Singapore; in fact, we prefer it if the poems are not about Singapore. They just have to use the word ‘Singapore’ in a way significant to the poems’ own subject and method. ….And here’s another wrinkle: the contest is only open to poets who are NOT a Singaporean citizen or permanent resident in Singapore. Awards of USD100, 50, and 20 will go to the top three winners. The winning poems will be published on SP Blog; non-winning poems will be considered for publication as well. The judge is the editor of SP Blog, Jee Leong Koh.”

    Deadline: July 15, 2020. From Origami Poetry Project. “We want to read poems that give insight and perspective on the qualities that make us better companions to one another.” Prizes: $100/$50/$25. (HT Trish Hopkinson)

    Deadline: July 31, 2020. Annual poetry book contest from Platypus Press. 2020’s judge is Kaveh Akbar. For books between 35–50 pages in length. Awards publication, 10 copies of the published book, and $250/£200. Finalists will be considered for publication. Open internationally.

Reminder: You’ll find COVID-19-related emergency grant and other information available at, the page that I published in mid-March and have been updating since then.


  • SMOKELONG has re-opened for general submissions of flash fiction. The guest editor this quarter is Sara Lippmann. Pays: “$50/story, upon publication in the quarterly issue. Payment will be issued via PayPal, and the writer may be responsible for any associated fees if applicable.”

  • THE MCNEESE REVIEW re-opens for poetry and fiction submissions for its print journal on June 1. Payment: “All print contributors receive one contributor copy. We are pleased to also offer a $50 honorarium to print contributors within the U.S. Contributors outside of the U.S. will receive two additional author copies in lieu of the honorarium.”

  • June 14 is the submission deadline for THE SEVENTH WAVE’S Issue 12: “Before After”: “For this issue, we want to examine the truths and the lies that we’re uncovering amid this global pandemic.” Payment: “While it can vary by submission, generally speaking, we offer $75 for prose, film, plays, multiple poems, and multiple pieces of artwork; for individual poems, images, artwork we offer $40.”

  • The current submissions window for Matter Press’s JOURNAL OF COMPRESSED CREATIVE ARTS closes June 15. “We accept fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, mixed media, visual arts, and even kitchen sinks, if they are compressed in some way.” Pays: “$50 per accepted piece and signed contract.”

  • Another June 15 deadline: “HUMAN/KIND PRESS seeks submissions of craft essays for an anthology exploring connections between identity and narrative craft. How can a marginalized identity bring a new perspective to how writing works? How can a marginalized identity challenge and/or complicate an old idea about how writing works? Essays should explore the connection between at least one marginalized identity and one craft element of fiction (such as characterization, interiority, or verisimilitude). This anthology seeks to give a platform to writers of diverse backgrounds and identities, including but not limited to queer writers, writers of color, and disabled/chronically ill writers.” Pays: “Contributors will be paid $20.”

  • Until June 20, UK-based VERVE POETRY PRESS is open for submissions of “pamphlet and collection manuscripts. Those that are successful will either be published in 2021 or early in our 2022 season.” Pays: royalties.

  • From the 21st through the 28th of each month, you can send work to NIGHT SHIFT RADIO’S STORYTELLER SERIES. “What do we want? Engaging stories. Real people writ large on the page. Anything that reads with tension and excitement. Fiction, non-fiction, memoir; it’s all okay. Just no fan fiction, please. We may read it, but we won’t publish it.” Pays: “We choose two stories to publish each month. One story will be chosen for the Full Cast Audiobook treatment; that author will receive $50 for audio rights and non-exclusive print rights. A second piece will be chosen for our mid-month print only piece. The author of that piece will be offered $25 for exclusive worldwide electronic rights for 120 days.” (HT @Duotrope)

  • RUMINATE, “a nonprofit magazine helping people slow down and encounter nourishing art and stories that awaken hearts,” remains open for general fiction and nonfiction submissions until June 30. Payment: “$20/page of poetry (with a maximum of $80 per poem), $20/page for visual art pieces, and $20/400 words for prose.”

  • Another June 30 deadline (in this case, midnight GMT): AND LATELY, THE SUN is receiving submissions for a climate change-focused e-anthology of short stories: “We want to see stories which thoughtfully investigate potential futures under our changing climate.” Pays: AUD$80 per accepted story. “One story will receive an ‘editor’s pick’ payment of AUD$500. All authors will receive a contributor copy of the e-book….Payment is made within 30 days of publication via PayPal.” (HT Andrew Scobie)

  • Attention, Canadians! CLOUD LAKE LITERARY seeks submissions. “We currently publish fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and children’s literature (ages up to and including YA). In addition to written work, we seek and accept submissions of visual art from artists across Canada.” Receives submissions year-round, but work received by June 30 will be considered for the fall 2020 issue. Payment: $50 CAD per page to a maximum of $150 CAD for writing; $50 CAD per submission for visual art. (HT @Duotrope)

  • “Writer Shed Press is open to submissions of short prose to be considered for WRITER SHED STORIES, a Kindle-only e-journal that can be read on computer, tablet, or any mobile phone through the Kindle App. We are looking for stories that leave lasting impressions, and in 2020 we are considering fiction, personal essays, and this year, poetry that is directly or loosely linked to the theme of LOVE AND SACRIFICE.” Deadline: July 1. Payment: $20 (Venmo only).

  • Another July 1 deadline: Canada-based CARTE BLANCHE invites poetry, translations, photography, and comics for an issue themed “Anxiety.” Pays: “a modest honorarium.”

  • July 1 is also the deadline for current submissions at JAGGERY, “a DesiLit arts and literature journal” that “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.)” Payment: “$100 for fiction, $25 for nonfiction/poetry/art/reviews.”

  • FRACTURED LIT is open year-round and is available to all writers. We currently feature two separate submission categories, based on the length of the work submitted: Micro Fiction, for work under 400 words; and Flash Fiction, for work 401-1,000 words.” Pays: “We pay our authors $50 for original micro fiction and $75 for original flash fiction.” (The Submittable page also shows a “Micro Series” category which pays $75 for an unpublished series of micro fictions.)

  • WAX NINE is open for poetry submissions on a rolling basis. We publish each Wednesday, so long as you send us cool things. Take a look at what we’ve published so far to get a sense of what submissions we love. Because this is a poetry journal built on a record label’s pre-existing website (translation: not especially text friendly) it is currently hard for us to make uniquely formatted pieces look great & true to form - although we do our best when we accept them. (Redesign someday that will allow for more interesting paragraph options, we promise.)” Pays: “$50, paid via PayPal on date of publication.” (HT @Duotrope)

  • “Are you interested in publishing essays on LONGREADS? It’s important that you read these new submissions guidelines before pitching. Recently we’ve undergone some budget cuts due to the Coronavirus pandemic and some other changes. As a result, we’re publishing fewer pieces than we used to, and selecting most of those based on whether they fit within a few specific series we’ve developed. While there will still very occasionally be room for some more general broader interest pieces, we’ll be mainly focusing on the following series for now.” Those series: “Life in the Time of COVID,” “What I Did for Love,” “Down to Earth” (climate change), and “Fine Lines: Writing About Age.” Pays: $500.

  • Reminder: Make it a habit to check the CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL website, where titles in development are posted. “So whether you are a regular contributor or new to our family, please share your [true] story or poem with us. 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 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! 

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.

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: 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 assistant 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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