The Practicing Writer 2.0: May 2021

Current competitions and calls for submissions. No fees to enter/submit. Payment for winning/published work. Nothing limited to residents of a single city/state/province.

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 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


Greetings, practicing writers:

As usual, I’m writing this note at the very end of the newsletter-prep process. And, as usual, I am running out of space to say much about my own work. But that’s okay.

I’ll just squeeze in two quick notes. First, I’m grateful to the New York Society Library for allowing me to share a poem from Birthright as part of its National Poetry Month activities.

And in other poetry-related news, you can catch me on Thursday evening, May 20, when I’ll be taking part in an online reading celebrating the anthology 101 Jewish Poems for the Third Millennium, hosted by Moonstone Arts Center in Philadelphia.

Wishing you, and your writing practices, a marvelous May,


Hi, Erika! Several months ago, you posted news of a contest for teachers who are writers. The contest invited submissions of an experience of teaching writing virtually. I have been nearly incapable of writing during the pandemic, but I had just finished a powerful experience teaching poetry to my third-graders, so I wrote it up. I was stunned to learn that I was runner-up in the contest, and received a substantial payment. I’m ecstatic, not just to have my piece out there, but also because it features the poetry of eight or nine of my young students. (I shared the prize money with them.) They are beside themselves with excitement at seeing their poetry published. It’s been one of the highlights of this whole year for both them, and for me. A million thanks! Here’s the link to the piece, if you’re interested in reading it. THANK YOU!—Sue Granzella

[Editor’s note: Read the piece! And the prize Sue is talking about here is the Bechtel Prize from Teachers & Writers (T&W) Magazine.]

REMINDER: 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.


Since the last newsletter went out I’ve managed to update my list of fee-free writing residencies.

Opportunities included on this list must charge no fees for application OR attendance. Some of these programs—but not all—also confer stipends.


  • Quick reminder: The MAYA ANGELOU BOOK AWARD (introduced in our March issue) closes on May 3.

    Deadline: May 7. Seeks fictional stories (between 1,800 and 2,000 words), in English or Irish. Open to those “resident on the island of Ireland, or, if living abroad, hold[ing] an Irish passport.” “The overall winner will receive €3,000, while €2,000 and €1,000 will be awarded to the second and third place prize winners respectively. A further seven runners-up will receive €250 each, and all 10 shortlisted stories will be published on and broadcast in a season of new writing on RTÉ Radio 1 in the autumn.”

    Deadline: May 15. For a second book of poetry that is already under contract and scheduled for 2022 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.” Current judges: Mark Bibbins, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Ladan Osman.

    Deadline: May 15. For unpublished stories 1,000 words or fewer. “To celebrate our fifth year, the cash prize is our biggest yet – $500. We’d previously announced a $5 entry fee for the contest but have decided to waive the fee (writers who have already submitted work and paid the fee will be reimbursed via PayPal.) ….As a reminder, one story will be chosen winner and other submitted stories may be accepted for regular publication.”

    Deadline: May 19. Supports “emerging and established writers who write about contemporary visual art. Ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 in three categories—articles, books, and short-form writing—the 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 and experiments with literary styles. As long as a writer meets the eligibility and publishing requirements, they can apply.”

    Deadline: May 19. “On September 6th, 2021 / Rosh Hashanah 5782, with the heralding of the Jewish New Year, the Jewish people will enter the shmita year in our cycle of the seasons. Jewish tradition teaches about a shmita year occurring every seven years, a time of release with Biblical and contemporary applications to our relationships with land, food, debt, work/rest, equity and more….The Shmita Prizes award artists and creatives – from all levels of experience and age groups – for works of art that bring into focus the relevancy and application of shmita values in our contemporary world. These art works will offer creative avenues with which to prepare for, mark and engage with the shmita year….A committee of professional artists will select one artist in each category to be awarded $1800 with three additional awards of $250 each.” Note the category titled “Written Word.”

    Deadline: May 21. From UK-based Renard Press: Seeks “to celebrate this theme of New Beginnings, open to all those who feel their voice was silenced in 2020 – from anyone in the world, any age. We want the resulting anthology – scheduled for September – to be a celebration of the end of the toxic aspects of 2020 and the pandemic, to be a glimmer of hope for the future and a manifesto for change.” Prizes: £200 (1st prize); £100 (2nd prize). “Special mentions at the judges’ discretion. All of the poems on the shortlist will be published in a volume, and everyone included will receive a copy of the book, and will be invited to take place in an online launch event.”

    Deadline: May 30 (11:59 p.m. PT) For “unpublished, underrepresented women. We’re set to discover, mentor, and champion first-time authors, so more diverse stories are seen, heard, and read by all.” Limited to U.S. resident citizens; check site for additional eligibility criteria. Selected participants receive: “an all expenses-paid writer’s retreat where fellows will deepen their craft knowledge as well as learn about the business side; a stipend will also be included”; mentorship; “an exclusive agenting period with agents vetted by Reese’s Book Club”; and “a guarantee of marketing support by Reese’s Book Club when their first book is published.”

    Deadline: May 31 (“free entry for contestants outside U.S., Canada, Western Europe, and those experiencing hardship”). Both contests seek submissions on the theme of “Repair” and confer cash prizes and publication. Judge for poetry: Sonia Sanchez. Judge for fiction: Kali Fajardo-Anstine.

    Deadline: May 31. Posted by Ryan Bollenbach/Heavy Feather Review.: “In thinking about my relationship with my late friend and fellow writer Zach Doss, I often feel nostalgic about my lunches with him (and our subsequent conversations on the walk home); we would talk about writing, publishing, submissions (when we worked together at Black Warrior Review), campy TV series we were watching at the time, gossip about our MFA, or life in general. It was a significant aspect of our friendship. Though we rarely critiqued each other’s work in class, these meals and conversations were important to our relationship as friends and writers. It is with this kind of friendship in mind that I (along with the generous donation of an anonymous donor) am offering a small sum of $50 to four pairs of friend-artists who submit portfolios of work (with a short introduction) intended to be used for the winners to get a meal together, see a movie, get a few drinks together at a conference, etc. The key is being together. In this way, the offering is low stakes—with no expectation of production—yet I also hope to encourage writers to look beyond ideas of individual work and success that most competitions encourage and toward a deliberate investment in their relationship with their creative partner.” (Editor’s note: I’ve been curating literary-competition listings for a long time, and this is one of the loveliest, most meaningful awards I’ve encountered.)

    Deadline: May 31. Open to “emerging writers over 18 years of age and living in the UK with no more than three years’ experience of being published, who feel they would benefit from the support and insight of a more established writer. Applicants should be working, or planning to work, on a specific project, with the aim of publication, and should be committed to participating fully in all sessions offered by the programme. Ten awards are available, providing each successful applicant with up to eight hours of one-to-one mentoring over the course of nine months, as well as ten 90-minute masterclasses, peer support sessions and a bursary of up to £1,500.”

    Deadline: May 31. “We’re excited to announce the seventh annual short fiction writing contest ‘Healthy Together: Innovations for One Health.’ The winner will receive $1000 for first prize. Second prize is $500 and third is $300.” Take time to read about the mission/focus of the sustainability-oriented organization behind this contest.

    Submissions: May 1-31. Cash prizes ($300 for first prizes; $100 for second prizes) and publication in the categories of poetry, prose poetry, creative nonfiction, and poetry.

    Submissions: May 1-31. A $1,000 grant awarded to a writer 50 years of age or older at application time. Grant is “intended to assist such writers who are just starting to work at a professional level.” Be sure to check the capacious definition of “speculative literature.”

    Deadline: June 1 (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. Prizes include cash awards ($150/$75/$50. No simultaneous submissions. (Found this one thanks to @Duotrope.)

    Deadline: June 1. For undergraduates enrolled full time in United States and Canadian universities and colleges for the academic year 2020-2021. “This Prize has traditionally encouraged submissions from students with an Asian background, but we urge all students to enter.” Confers $1,000 and a scholarship to the 2022 Southampton Writers Conference. “Additionally, the winning story will automatically be considered for publication in TSR: The Southampton Review.”

    Deadline: June 1. Welcomes poems “from college-age students, aged 18-23, on any subject or style. Poems with an international focus are especially welcomed, but all poems must be written in English.” Confers $100 and publication in Atlanta Review

    Deadline: June 6. For UK residents only. “Celebrates talented, underrepresented writers who lack opportunities due to mental health issues, disability, health or social circumstance.” Prizes include “£10,000 of cash and top writing development prizes supplied by prominent publishers and development agencies.” The theme for this year’s submissions (in poetry and fiction) is “Essential.” Check the website for more eligibility and additional information.

    Submissions: May 1-June 30. “Eligible submissions include an unpublished manuscript of short stories; two or more novellas (a novella may comprise a maximum of 130 double-spaced typed pages); or a combination of one or more novellas and short stories. Novellas are only accepted as part of a larger collection. Manuscripts may be no fewer than 150 and no more than 300 pages.” 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.” Confers $15,000, publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press, and promotional support.

REMEMBER: Several opportunities featured in last month’s newsletter remain open for submissions.


  • NASHVILLE REVIEW is open for submissions in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and translation during May. “We welcome submissions in Art and Comics year-round. Currently, we are not accepting unsolicited reviews or interviews.” Pays: “$25 per poem and $100 for prose and art pieces.” NB: “If you are unable to view Poetry or Fiction as an option to submit, that means we have reached our submission cap and are no longer accepting submissions in that category.”

  • Canada-based 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 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.” Note that they’ll close early if their Submittable caps are reached.

  • Also closing May 15: LAMPLIGHT, “a quarterly magazine of dark fiction.” Pays: .$03/word (up to $150) for unpublished fiction; $.01/word for reprints. Take note: “We can only get 300 submissions a month through Submittable.”

  • OUTLOOK SPRINGS seeks “your weird, wobbly wordwork: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry” until May 15. Pays: “$10 per poem, $10 per flash piece (under 1,000 words), $25 for short fiction and essays (over 1,000 words). Payment via PayPal or Venmo.”

  • Scheduled to re-open May 15: SHORT STORY TOWN, which “wants stories from new, emerging and established writers that evoke memories of when stories were wholly stories, with all or most of the elements (characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution) present, when the rules of grammar were understood by writers, and evocative images and minute details were important to painting a picture of words for the readers….Give me the best you’ve got in the general/literary or magic realism genres, or a narrative poem that reads like a short story, but is poetic.” Pays: “$10.00 per story or poem” via Paypal. (Thanks to Pamelyn Casto’s newsletter for leading me to this one.)

  • CLAW & BLOSSOM, “a seasonal online literary journal of prose and poems” that features “work that is touched by the natural world,” welcomes submissions for an issue on the theme of “Screens” until May 23. Pays: “$25 USD per acceptance upon publication via PayPal only.” NB: The journal has a monthly cap for free submissions.

  • 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 (or when caps are reached). 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.”

  • CONTEMPORARY VERSE 2, a Canadian quarterly literary journal “that publishes poetry and critical writing about poetry, including interviews, articles, essays, and reviews,” remains open for submissions through May. Note: “CV2 welcomes poetry submissions in French, as well as translation projects, including both French to English and English to French.” Pay rates, as well as some specific notes for writers outside Canada, are detailed on the website.

  • HIDDEN TIMBER BOOKS is “looking for literary fiction or narrative nonfiction in the form of a novel, a memoir, or a collection (short stories, essays, or hybrid)” until May 31.

  • The LEAGUE OF CANADIAN POETS plans an anthology featuring work by disabled poets (“Canadian citizens and poets living and/or practicing in Canada”), edited by Stuart Ian McKay, who seeks work “that celebrates the struggles, the victories, the joys and mysteries of the disabled experience.” Deadline: May 31. Pays: $25 honorarium per selected poem.

  • PRAIRIE FIRE, also Canada-based, welcomes submissions on the theme “Roots & Routes” until the end of May. Pay rates detailed online.

  • TINDERBOX POETRY JOURNAL is open for submissions until May 31. Pays: “$15, regardless of how many poems are selected.”

  • PAPER BRIGADE, “the annu­al print jour­nal of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil, pro­vides a snap­shot of the pre­vi­ous year’s Jew­ish lit­er­ary land­scape while also explor­ing the his­to­ry of Jew­ish lit­er­a­ture in Amer­i­ca and abroad.” They’re open for nonfiction submissions until June 1, and “all authors are paid for original work.” 

  • UNCHARTED MAGAZINE “is the newest platform from the team behind The Masters Review, CRAFT Literary, Fractured Lit, and The Voyage Journal. Using the skills and expertise we developed to bring those magazines to life, we hope to uplift writers of the stories that we always fall back upon when we seek a thrilling escape, a surprising new world, or a brain-twisting mystery.” They’re open to “crime, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and thriller short stories.” Payment: $200, via check or PayPal.

  • GROUP CHAT REVIEW, a new “caring home for poetry and flash fiction,” pays $25 dollars for each accepted submission. (Thanks to @Duotrope for leading me to this one.) 

  • ABANDON JOURNAL “exists to showcase writing and artwork that has been created with abandon. That term is free to be interpreted liberally, but ideally it is the kind of work that takes risks, created in a space wherein the artist doesn’t care what anyone else thinks or what everyone else is doing. We’re open to hybrid work, genre, visual art, and more. Each issue we showcase work that ‘abandons form,’ and every other issue will be a variation on a theme of abandon.” Pays: “At the moment, we are paying authors a humble honorarium for their work ($15 per piece), and in the future we hope to provide more substantial compensation as our resources permit.” (@Duotrope also guided me to this one.)

  • 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. Among upcoming project deadlines:

REMEMBER: Several calls from last month’s newsletter remain open for submissions.


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.

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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.”