The Practicing Writer 2.0: May 2020

Latest fee-free, paying opportunities—and a celebration of subscriber successes.

Supporting the Craft & Business of Excellent Writing

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

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PLEASE PASS THE NEWSLETTER ON—in its entirety—to your writing networks. If you’d like to share a particular competition or a submission alert with other writers, PLEASE CREDIT THE PRACTICING WRITER for the find. Thanks for respecting your editor’s volunteer efforts!

Image description: Erika Dreifus/The Practicing Writer logo.


  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:

Perhaps more than ever, I’ve drawn a lot of comfort from the routine of preparing this edition of our monthly newsletter. So thank you for all of the encouragement that so many of you so often send my way about this longtime project.

Yet again, I’m readying this intro note at the end of the editorial process, shortly before hitting “send.” And yet again, Substack is warning me that the draft is teetering on the message-length limit. So I’ll keep this bit short.

Take good care of yourselves, and, to the extent that you can, your writing practices. I hope that this newsletter helps.


A postscript about the opportunities listed in this issue: Especially right now, people (and organizations) are scrambling. Plans change. It’s possible that opportunities that still seemed to be welcoming submissions/applications literally yesterday may be postponed or canceled in the hours/days/weeks to come. I’ll do my best to update, but, as always, I don’t claim omniscience/perfection. Verify, verify, verify.


In place of this month’s feature article, I’ve opted to collect and spotlight the many success stories that newsletter/blog readers have shared with me since the last issue was posted. No better time than the present to celebrate and congratulate our colleagues, right?

  • From J.C. Todd: “A few weeks ago, [you] posted a request for poems for the National Poetry Month feature on Parks & Points, a public lands digital newsletter. I submitted, and today my poem, ‘where water has no skin,’ was published. There’s a small honorarium too. Thank you for your newsletter, from which I’ve learned much and been directed to explore many opportunities.”

  • Another Practicing Writer, Fiona Walker Ritchie, also shared news of a Parks & Points publication.

  • Linda Levitt wrote to tell me that after she followed up an alert for one of Christi Craig’s class scholarships, Ms. Craig “kindly awarded” her that scholarship. “I have loved working with her,” says Linda. “The class is about to wrap up but I'm also enrolled in her class next month. It's a lovely community, and I am grateful to have stumbled into it.”

  • And here’s a note from Kay Sexton: “A couple of months ago you listed Greenprints magazine as looking for contributions about gardening. A couple of days later something clicked in my brain, and I dashed off an account of the period in my life where I learned to prune apple trees. It was accepted with just two edits! Thank you for your consistent focus on helping writers achieve success.”

  • From Pat Tompkins: “Here’s the latest of several success stories I've had thanks to Erika's top-notch efforts in publicizing paying opportunities: Her Oct. 7 Monday Markets mentioned ‘Teach.Write.,’ which I’d never heard of. I’m not a teacher but had several poems related to writing. I submitted three and all were accepted recently. I especially appreciated having a bit of good news while stuck home alone these days. So thank you again, Erika.”

  • But, wait! There’s more! Jeanie Greensfelder also wrote in to share news of an acceptance from the Journal of Compressed Creative Arts. I’ll be looking for the piece, “Penance,” online.

  • Last, but by no means least—Nancy Brewka-Clark shared this message: “Erika, I have benefited greatly from your listings, including winning first prize in the Interview section of the 2018 Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors Annual Contest and Anthology, but the most remarkable connection came after I purchased Birthright [editor’s note: my own book of poems]. Kelsay Books has just published Beautiful Corpus: Poems of the Body, Mind & Spirit, my debut collection after an extraordinary number of decades spent writing poems.”

Let’s have a round of virtual applause, shall we?

Image description: the words “well done” written on a chalkboard; image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

And please remember that I love to know about successes that come your way via this newsletter/the blogs. Please keep me posted!


There’s not all that much that I’m able to do at this time to help others directly. But I can research and compile.

So by the middle of March, that’s what I was doing. This website page is the result: Yes, I told you about it last month, but I’ve continued to update it since then. Please check it out and share with your networks.

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

    Submissions: May 1-31, 2020. Judge: Reginald McKnight. “This creative writing contest for U.S. military veterans and active duty personnel is hosted by The Iowa Review and made possible by a gift from the family of Jeff Sharlet (1942–69), a Vietnam veteran and antiwar writer and activist. The contest is open to veterans and active duty personnel writing in any genre and about any subject matter. Prizes: First place: $1,000 plus publication in an issue of The Iowa Review. Second place: $750. Three runners-up: $500 each.”

    Deadline: May 15, 2020. For a second book of poetry forthcoming in the next calendar year (already under contract and scheduled for 2021 publication). “The winner receives a prize of $5,000, an all-expenses-paid weeklong residency at The Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, and distribution of the winning book to approximately one thousand Academy of American Poets members.”

    Deadline: May 20, 2020. Supports “both emerging and established writers who are writing about contemporary visual art. Ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 in three categories—articles, books, and short-form writing—these grants support projects addressing both general and specialized art audiences, from short reviews for magazines and newspapers to in-depth scholarly studies. We also support art writing that engages criticism through interdisciplinary methods or experiments with literary styles. As long as a writer meets the eligibility and publishing requirements, they can apply.”

    Deadline: May 31, 2020. Offers cash prizes ($300 for first prizes; $100 for second prizes) and publication for work in the categories of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, short-short (fiction), and humor.

    Deadline: June 1, 2020. Open to undergraduates enrolled full time in United States and Canadian universities and colleges for the academic year 2019-2020. This Prize has traditionally encouraged submissions from students with an Asian background, but we urge all students to enter.” The award confers $1,000 and a scholarship to the 2021 Southampton Writers Conference. “Additionally, the winning story will automatically be considered for publication in TSR: The Southampton Review.”

    Deadline: June 1, 2020 (5pm CDT). “Entries must be original works of fiction of no more than 5,000 words that illuminate the role of the law and/or lawyers in modern society. The winner will receive a prize of $3,000. Entrants must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.”

    Deadline: June 1, 2020. “Dan Veach was the founding editor and publisher of Atlanta Review from 1994 to 2016. Through his vision, Atlanta Review gained an international reputation for publishing excellent and luminous poetry, and has published Poet Laureates and Nobel Laureates, often before they were famous. The Dan Veach Prize for Younger Poets solicits poems from college-age students, aged 18-23, on any subject or style. Poems with an international focus are especially welcome, but all poems must be written in English.” Prize: “The winning poet will be published in the Fall/Winter  issue of Atlanta Review and will receive a $100 prize.”

    Deadline: June 1, 2020. For contemporary international poetry translated from other languages into English. Four winning translated poems will be co-published on Words Without Borders, the digital magazine for international literature, and in Poem-a-Day, the popular daily poetry series produced by the Academy of American Poets, throughout September, which is National Translation Month. The winning poems will be selected by acclaimed poet David Tomas Martinez, along with the editors of Words Without Borders. The winning poets and translators will be awarded $150 each. (In the case of multiple translators, the translator award shall be split evenly.)”

    Deadline: June 1, 2020. “An annual award aimed at identifying candidates who are in the early stages of careers devoted to the humanities and whose work shows extraordinary promise and has a significant public component related to contemporary culture. The opposite of a lifetime achievement award, the Hiett Prize seeks to encourage future leaders in the humanities by: 1) recognizing their early accomplishment and their potential 2) assisting their ongoing work through a cash award of $50,000.”

    Deadline: June 8, 2020. For Canadian citizens/permanent residents who have published at least one book. “Four writers will be selected to live and work for three months each in Dawson City, Yukon, in the childhood home of noted Canadian author Pierre Berton. Residents will receive a $9,000 honorarium, part of which may be covered by the Canada Council for the Arts’ Research and Creation grant program. (Successful Berton House applicants are required to apply to the Research and Creation program before receiving an honorarium from the Writers’ Trust.) Housing and travel costs are covered by the Writers’ Trust.”

    Deadline: June 10, 2020. “A&U Magazine is currently accepting entries for the eighth annual Christopher Hewitt Award. Named in honor of A&U’s first literary editor, the award showcases outstanding responses to the AIDS pandemic and the realities of individuals living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in the genres of fiction, poetry, drama, and creative nonfiction.” Prize: $75 (per category). “Winners and named runners-up will be published in upcoming issues of A&U.”

    Deadline: June 12, 2020. A second-book award “for black poets of African descent, offered every other year. This award celebrates and publishes works of lasting cultural value and literary excellence.” Prize confers $1,000, publication, 15 copies of the book, and a feature reading in New York City. Judge: Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon.

    Deadline: June 15, 2020 (received). For a “promising emerging writer who is an American citizen aged 39 years or younger at the time of application. In addition to a $30,000 cash award, the winner receives an appointment as writer in residence at Bard College for one semester, without the expectation that he or she teach traditional courses. The recipient gives at least one public lecture and meets informally with students.” NB: Application requires submission of multiple copies “of the published book” applicants feel best represents their work, so this is not an opportunity for unpublished writers.

    Deadline: June 15, 2020. This prize “recognizes outstanding original nonfiction by undergraduates. The contest is open to students age 17 and above who are enrolled in an accredited 2- or 4-year college or university during the 2019-2020 academic year. Three cash prizes of $1,000 apiece will be awarded in 2020 for coursework submitted during the academic year, one in each of the following three categories: writing by a first-year student in a 2- or 4-year college or university; writing by a student in a 2-year college or university; writing by a student in a 4-year college or university. Submissions must be between 1,000 and 3,000 words in length. Literacy narratives, literary and other textual analyses, reports, profiles, evaluations, arguments, memoirs, proposals, multimodal pieces, and other forms of original non-fiction will be considered if written by a student age 17 or above in fulfillment of an undergraduate course requirement at an eligible institution.”

    Deadline: “Manuscripts must be received during May and June 2020. That is, they must be postmarked on or after May 1 and on or before June 30.” (Presumably, the same dates apply to Submittable submissions.) The Prize “recognizes and supports writers of short fiction and makes their work available to readers around the world. The award is open to authors who have published a book-length collection of fiction or at least three short stories or novellas in commercial magazines or literary journals….Winners receive a cash prize of $15,000, publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press, and support in the nation-wide promotion of their book.”


  • NASHVILLE REVIEW is open to fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and translation submissions during the month of May. NB: “We cap the number of submissions to be considered at 750 per section to ensure a reasonable response time,” which would suggest that you should try them sooner rather than later. Pays: “$25 per poem and $100 for prose and art pieces.”

  • KANSTELLATION MAGAZINE, which “presents a thematic collage of what it means to be human in the digital age,” is receiving submissions of poetry and prose for its fourth issue through May 4. This issue “asks for reflections around the theme of what digital families and communities mean to you.” Payment: “$30 for each accepted submission, paid upon acceptance via PayPal only.”

  • BENNINGTON REVIEW’s submissions window will close on May 8. Pays: “$100 for prose of six typeset pages and under, $200 for prose of over six typeset pages, and $20 per poem, in addition to two copies of the issue in which the piece is published and a copy of the subsequent issue.”

  • Published four times per year, GRAIN MAGAZINE “is an internationally acclaimed literary journal that publishes engaging, surprising, eclectic, and challenging writing and art by Canadian and international writers and artists.” Current submissions deadline: May 15. Pays: “$50 per page to a maximum of $250, plus 2 copies….Visual work published inside the magazine (reproduced in black and white) and on the cover (in colour) is paid at the same page rate as text contributions to a maximum of $500.”

  • Also Canada-based, CONTEMPORARY VERSE 2 is receiving submissions until May 15 for work responding to a call themed, “Hope or do we have one: poetry for uncertain times”: “We are undoubtedly living in strange and tumultuous times, having to confront what seems like a new crisis each day: climate change, rising inequalities, large-scale conflict, political corruption, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. What role does poetry play in responding to the simultaneously personal and global challenges that we are presented with today? How do our words help us navigate times of uncertainty? CV2 is looking for submissions of poetry, essays (including personal experience essays), and reviews about the contributions that poetry makes in difficult times.” NB: Regular submissions will close at the end of the month. Pay rates are detailed on the website—take note of the info for “unsolicited overseas contributors (from outside of Canada and the USA) whose fee is $40.00 or less (one poem or review),” who “will receive only their two contributor copies as payment….The only exceptions to this new policy are Canadians living abroad who give a Canadian address for mailings. These contributors will be compensated according to guidelines for regular Canadian contributors.”

  • For its current submissions cycle (with a deadline of May 15), the blog of the NATIONAL RESEARCH CENTER FOR PARENTS WITH DISABILITIES is seeking “essays that focus on the experiences of parents with disabilities during the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic, including adaptive strategies, relationships, support needs, and barriers and challenges.” Pays: $100. 

  • The SCOTTISH WRITERS’ CENTRE invites submissions for its second chapbook, on the theme “City, Town and Village.” They’ll consider poetry (maximum 25 lines) and flash fiction (maximum 300 words), “written in any of the languages of Scotland.” Deadline is May 24, 2020. Open to “writers living in Scotland, or writers writing about Scotland. Whether professional, part-time or just starting out – we’d love to hear from you!” Pays: £10 plus a copy of the chapbook.

  • ONE STORY remains open for literary-fiction submissions until May 31. “Because of our format, we can only accept stories between 3,000 and 8,000 words. They can be any style and on any subject as long as they are good. We are looking for stories that leave readers feeling satisfied and are strong enough to stand alone.” Payment: “One Story pays $500 and 25 contributors copies for First Serial North American rights.”

  • BALTIMORE REVIEWs submissions window also closes May 31. Publishes fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Pays: “Web exposure, a copy of the annual compilation in which the author's work appears, and a small payment ($40 Amazon gift certificate or $40 through PayPal, if preferred). We hope to continue this as long as funding is available.”

  • CATAPULT is “reading pitches and submissions for our Bodies series” until May 31. The series “features examinations about how our bodies move through the world—how they are understood and seen (or unseen) by others and ourselves, the forces they ride and fight, the complications and joys of tending to these things that allow us to live and write. Often, the essays we publish are a mix of memoir, cultural criticism, and/or reporting, though we welcome new formats as well.” Pays: “Writers will receive compensation for accepted magazine pieces.”

  • From HIPPOCAMPUS’s BOOKS DIVISION: “Our anthology series, The Way Things Were, reflects on the things we miss. The good ol’ days (or not). It’s about nostalgia. Our first title, Air, celebrates pre-digital radio. Book two, Dine, focuses on diners. Main (focusing on mom and pop shops) and Ink (focusing on local newspapers) are forthcoming 2020. We’re now looking for essays to include in our 2021 titles, which will be themed ‘Road’ (seeking true road-trip stories) and ‘Corner’ (featuring pieces “that are set in or revolve around a corner bar/dive bar [or small pub or tavern]).” Deadline: June 15. Payment: $50 plus two copies. Will consider reprints.

  • THE HERSTORIES PROJECT is seeking “personal essays about the ways in which the COVID-19 virus has affected your life as a Gen X woman.” Pays: $50. No deadline indicated when I last checked.

  • CARE (Covid Art REsource) “is an online journal dedicated to visual art and writing produced during the outbreak of Covid-19. The work is not required to specifically mention Coronavirus, nor does it need to directly mention current events (however it certainly may!). The only requirement is that it must be new work produced in the past few months. We are currently accepting submissions in visual art, poetry, flash fiction, non-fiction, and hybrid/experimental work. Pays: on a sliding scale up to $30, via Paypal. “Please indicate in your email whether you would like to receive payment or not.”

  • SHORT FICTION “is a high-quality online journal (previously also in print, since 2006), publishing some of the finest short stories from around the world.” NB: “We publish one story per month as our Featured piece. We will also periodically seek to publish one story in a new section - ‘Introducing’ - which will be a showcase for excellent new writers; that is, writers for whom this is their first published piece. In both cases we are looking for the best, carefully crafted, deeply considered work.” Payment: “2p (£0.02) per word, to the nearest 100 words, with a minimum of £30 and maximum £100, paid via PayPal. (For those without a PayPal account, we can work out an alternative method of payment.)”

  • 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 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: 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, she lives in New York. Please visit to learn more about her work and follow her on Twitter @ErikaDreifus, where she tweets “on matters bookish and/or Jewish.”

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