The Practicing Writer 2.0: November 2020

Latest fee-free, paying opportunities—and more.

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

PLEASE SHARE THIS NEWSLETTER—in its entirety—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 [working] link back to this newsletter). Thanks for respecting your editor’s volunteer efforts.

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


  1. Editor’s Note

  2. Success Stories

  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 again, practicing writers:

Interesting times, right?

As atypical as these days/weeks/months have been, there are ways in which life simply goes on. For instance: The December holidays will soon be upon us (believe it or not).

Gentle reminder: Both of my books—Birthright: Poems and Quiet Americans: Stories—make excellent gifts! And you’ll find multiple purchase options listed when you click “Buy the Book” on each title’s page on my website. (If you haven’t yet begun ordering via, which allows you to support independent bookstores with each purchase, there’s no better time to do so than the present.) With each purchase of a new copy of my work, you’ll also support other worthy entities: The Blue Card, in the case of Quiet Americans, and Sefaria, for Birthright.

Enough about that. Let’s move on to the November issue. May the month be filled with potential and possibility—in all ways.



I’m delighted to share these notes:

Thank you so very much for posting information about The Ekphrastic Review a while ago. My poem “Evening at Kuerners, after Wyeth” was accepted and published online in mid-October. As a longtime subscriber I can say without hesitation that your newsletter is invaluable and you deserve a Pulitzer for it.—E.D. Lloyd-Kimbrel

Based on one of your listings, I sent poems to “Pandemic Publications,” and two of those poems were just accepted! I would not have known of this publication (based in Vancouver, BC) if not for you! Virtual hugs from here, and thanks again for your wonderful efforts on behalf of writers.—Carolyne Lee Wright

I guess I should have told you before now that I owe at least four publications to you: my poems published in Fifth Estate, Amsterdam Quarterly, Phoenix Soul, and the big one--in 2018 I won first place in the Keats-Shelley Prize for adult poetry, which included a trip to London to read my poem—I heard about that contest from you. So, thanks, Erika!—Laurinda Lind

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.


Here’s something that I think is just plain fun:’s “Time Traveler”/First Known Use feature: “When was a word first used in print? You may be surprised! Enter a date below to see the words first recorded on that year.” Try your birth year (or any year!).

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

    Deadline: November 10 (free contest entries for Black and Indigenous writers). So to Speak, whose tagline emphasizes “language,” “feminism,” and “art,” holds annual contests. “The winner of each genre will be awarded $500 and publication; finalists may also be selected for publication.” Judges include Roya Marsh (poetry), Natalie Lima (fiction), and Sophia Shalmiyev (nonfiction).

    Deadline: November 15 (for books published in the second half of the year). $20,000 prize “to the author of the short story collection named best of the year by three independent judges” (this year: Ismail Muhammad, Margot Sage-EL, Karen Shepard). Finalists receive $5,000 each. NB: “The Story Prize Spotlight Award is an additional $1,000 prize for the author of an outstanding story collection that merits further attention….Any book submitted for The Story Prize will also receive consideration for The Story Prize Spotlight Award.”

    Deadline: November 16 (received). $10,000 prize recognizes the author “of an outstanding nonfiction book about the visual, literary, media, or performing arts….Intended to help increase access to the arts, the award celebrates prose that is clear, eloquent and inspiring, creating a strong connection with the arts and artists. The prize honors accessible nonfiction books first published in the United States by an author who is living at the time of the book’s nomination.”

    Deadline: November 30. For a metrical sonnet. NB: “As always, we do accept previously published work. Please let us know where the poem was previously published.” No simultaneous submissions. Prizes: $350/$100/$50 (via Paypal only) and publication.

    Deadline: November 30 (opens November 2): A “major annual poetry prize of £3000, aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa….Bernardine Evaristo, writer and Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel, initiated the award in 2012 in order to revitalise African poetry, which at the time was almost invisible on the literary landscape….The Prize works closely with the African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) and since its inception, most of the poets who have been nominated and/or won this award have published chapbooks with the African Poetry Book Fund series of ‘New Generation Chapbook Box Sets’.” Open to “poets who were born in Africa, or who are nationals of an African country, or whose parents are African. It is for ten poems exactly in order to encourage serious poets. These poems may, however, have already been published. Only poets who have not yet had a full-length poetry book published are eligible. Poets who have self-published poetry books or had chapbooks and pamphlets published are allowed to submit for this prize.”

    Deadline: November 30. “In an effort to support equality and accessibility within literary publishing, GASHER Journal and Press is pleased to offer a $250 scholarship to a writer currently submitting their first book manuscript to help cover submission costs for contests and reading fees.” Open to submissions in any genre.

    Deadline: November 30. “The editors of Dappled Things are happy to announce that submissions for this year’s J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction are now open. Named after one of the greatest writers of the 20th century Catholic literary renaissance–often called a writer’s writer–the contest aims to honor his legacy by awarding stories that, like the priests he wrote about in his fiction, have ‘one foot in this world and one in the next.’ The contest awards prizes of $500 to the winner, $250 to its runner up, and publication for any additional honorable mentions at the discretion of the editors.”

    Deadline: November 30. $10,000 prize “recognizing a book that demonstrates exceptional artistry and vision written by a mid-career poet and published in the preceding year. The prize is named after the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), a writer whose work embodies the qualities of ambition, intellectual and imaginative scope, and technical mastery we seek to recognize.” Check eligibility specifics on the website.

    Deadline: December 1. Confers a $1,000 cash prize and support to attend the AJL conference to receive the award. “All works of fiction with significant Jewish thematic content written in English--novels, short story and flash fiction collections--by a single author published and available for purchase in the United States during 2020 are eligible for the 2021 award. Jewish thematic content means an extended grappling with Jewish themes throughout the book, including Judaism, Jewish history and culture, Jewish identity, etc.”

    Deadline: December 1. $5,000 prize “honors the best fiction set in a period when the United States was at war. It recognizes the service of American veterans and military personnel and encourages the writing and publishing of outstanding war-related fiction.” Open to adult and young-adult novels published during the previous year.

    Deadline: December 1. “The Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing provides students the opportunity to interact with a published writer who is writing from the region. The award, which includes a cash prize of $500, recognizes outstanding Appalachian writers in all genres. During the award ceremony readers read from their work and will often present a craft talk, teach a workshop, or speak about writing as an Appalachian.”

    Deadline: December 1. Available “to poets who identify as African American and wish to apply to attend the 17th Annual Virtual Palm Beach Poetry Festival….The fellowship covers Application Fee, Full Participant Tuition and Admission to all Festival Events. The approximate value of the fellowship is $895….Before you apply, please carefully consider your availability for the festival dates to be sure you will be able to attend January 18-23, 2021 virtually if selected. Please only apply for one fellowship.”

    Deadline: December 1 (applications open November 1). Two-year post-graduate residential fellowship at Kenyon College “offers qualified individuals time to develop as writers, teachers, and editors. Fellows will receive a $36,572 stipend, plus health benefits.” Fellows are expected to “undertake a significant writing project”; teach one class per semester; “assist with creative and editorial projects for the Kenyon Review and KROnline”; and “participate in the cultural life of Kenyon College.” Open to applicants with “an MFA or PhD in creative writing, English literature, or comparative literature completed before December 1, 2020 but no earlier than January 1, 2015” and “teaching experience in creative writing and/or literature at the undergraduate level.”

    Deadline: December 1. Awarded annually “to an African poet who has not yet published a collection of poetry. The winner receives USD $1000 and book publication through the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal. The African Poetry Book Fund Editorial Board, including Kwame Dawes, Chris Abani, Matthew Shenoda, John Keene, Gabeba Baderoon, Phillippaa yaa de Villiers, Aracelis Girmay, and Bernardine Evaristo, will judge.” NB: “An ‘African writer’ is taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, who is a  national or resident of an African country, or whose parents are  African.”

    Deadline: December 1. “Since 1998, the Stadler Fellowships have offered recent MFA graduates in poetry the opportunity to receive professional training in editing and literary arts administration. Beginning in the 2021-22 academic year, the program will be divided into two distinct tracks: a fellowship in literary editing and a fellowship in literary arts administration. Applicants can apply to one or the other. Both fellowships are designed to balance the development of professional skills with time to complete a first book of poems. Fellows serve for 20 hours each week during the academic year. The balance of the fellows’ time is reserved for writing. The 10-month fellowships provide health insurance and a stipend of at least $33,000.”

    Deadline extended to December 6. “This year, the City of Boston declared September 12, 2020 Black Joy Day. Created with the help of City Councilor Julia Mejia and non-profit leader, photographer, and community activist Thaddius Miles, Black Joy Day is a day to appreciate and celebrate our power to uplift ourselves and others despite the challenges we face in our world today. We want to hear true stories from you about joy—specifically Black joy: moments, scenes, memories, that celebrate Black families, relationships, culture, and history. Black joy is perseverance, Black joy is healing, Black joy is laughter, and Black joy is critical to our survival. It is a reminder that our laughter, the things we love, our unapologetic joy fuels our liberation. The winner will receive $1000, 2nd place $750, and 3rd place $500. All three prize essays will also be published on our blog.” Eligibility: “Open to any resident over the age of 18 in New England (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine) and New York state.” Judge: Lauren Wilkinson.

    Deadline: December 9. “Two J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Awards in the amount of $25,000 are given annually to aid in the completion of a significant work of nonfiction on a topic of American political or social concern. Recognizing that a nonfiction book based on extensive original research often overtaxes the resources available to its author, the project envisions the award as a way of closing the gap between the time and money an author has and the time and money that finishing a book requires. Applicants for the award must already have a contract with a U.S.-based publisher to write a nonfiction book.”

    No deadline indicated; opens November 1. “Through this editorial fellowship, we’re committed to expanding the roster of people we work with and to discovering new BIPOC voices to amplify and empower. Selected fellows will receive a $1000 honorarium and will curate a selection of published work in a genre of their choosing for a single issue of Shenandoah, working with the Shenandoah staff to guide the work to publication. This opportunity will give fellows the chance to learn about all aspects of a small literary publisher and forge connections with peers and potential future employers in the industry and in academia.”

REMINDER! A number of opportunities listed in last month’s newsletter close on November 1 or shortly thereafter.


  • BLUE MESA REVIEW re-opened for submissions in October. “In general, we are seeking strong voices and lively, compelling narrative with a fine eye for craft.” Fiction/nonfiction/poetry. Pays $25. NB: “International submissions are accepted and are eligible for publication, but we are not able to process contributor payments outside the United States.”

  • NINTH LETTER has initiated “a submission fee of $3 per submission for online submissions to our print journal during the months of September, October, January, and February. Online submissions to our print journal will be free in November and December. We will also continue to take submissions to our print edition via USPS, postmarked between 9/1 and 2/28.” Also: Until November 3, they’re accepting (fee-free) submissions of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for a special online edition to be published in Winter 2021. “The theme for this issue is Touch. When was your last? The question is particularly evocative (and provocative) at the present moment, when physical and social touch seem so restricted. With this in mind, the theme is necessarily constellatory.” Payment for this edition: “a small honorarium ($25 per poem, $75 per story or essay) and a complimentary 2-­year subscription to Ninth Letter.” 

  • GATEWAY LITERARY PRESS will be open for submissions November 1-30. They publish “collections of short fiction exclusively, primarily those with a magic realist bent….Our press is primarily interested in surrealist, fabulist, and magic realist stories. This does not typically include hard science fiction, high fantasy, or post-apocalypse and dystopian fiction, but collections of primarily surrealist stories with one or two of those sorts of stories are okay. Though we are highly interested in work centered on LGBTQ+ characters or written by members of that community, we are happy to read work by and about people from all walks of life. Due to budgetary constraints, we can only consider work from writers living in the US.” Compensation: “a modest advance plus royalties and author copies.” NB: “Our Submittable account only allows us to receive a certain number of submission each year; if there are no categories open by which to submit, that means we have reached our quota and are closed at this time.”

  • UK-based SALT PUBLISHING is also open for manuscript submissions during the month of November. They publish fiction (novels and short stories), narrative non-fiction, poetry. “We particularly welcome submissions from women, BAME, disabled, working class and LGBTQ+ writers.”

  • BENNINGTON REVIEW opens for submissions on November 1. “We aim to stake out a distinctive space for innovative, intelligent, and moving fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, film writing, and cross-genre work. In the spirit of poet Dean Young’s dictum that poets should be ‘making birds, not birdcages,’ we are particularly taken with writing that is simultaneously graceful and reckless.” 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.”

  • You have until November 14 to send work in to ONE STORY, which seeks literary short fiction “between 3,000 and 8,000 words.” Pays: “$500 and 25 contributors copies for First Serial North American rights.”

  • CARTE BLANCHE welcomes submissions for its 40th issue until November 17. “Send us your Comics, Fiction, Photography, Poetry, and Translations.” The theme for this issue is open; “please be advised that for issue 40, the fiction section will only be considering submissions from Canadian residents.” Pays: “modest honorarium.”

  • Submissions for CLAW & BLOSSOM’S December Solstice issue remain open through November 28. Recall that this publication seeks pieces “that explore human striving with an awareness of the larger context. To that end, your work MUST contain some element of the natural world. The natural world need not be the main focus, but it should have a distinct and relevant narrative presence.” Pays: “$25 USD per acceptance upon publication via PayPal only.”

  • SPARTAN, which “considers literary prose submissions of fifteen hundred words or less,” remains open for submissions through November. NB: “We do not accept multiple submissions, except in the case of linked micro fictions and/or prose poems.” Pays: “$20 for each published story or series of micro fictions and prose poems. Those included in the print journal [which compiles work published online] receive a free contributor’s copy.”

  • THE BALTIMORE REVIEW will close its current submissions window on November 30. “Payment for general submissions is Web exposure and a copy of the compilation in which the author's work appears. In addition, we are now able to provide contributors with a small payment for their work ($40 Amazon gift certificate or $40 through PayPal, if preferred).”

  • FREEFALL remains open to submissions (from Canadian writers only) until November 30. Pays: “$10/page prose up to $100 and $25 per poem plus a copy” (payment in Canadian dollars).

  • Also with a November 30 deadline: THE NEW SOUTHERN FUGITIVES, which strives “to promote diversity, reach a broad audience, and cultivate the new Southern voice of the New Millennium.” Pays: $40 per book review, $40 per poem, $40 per photograph or piece of visual art, $15 per page for prose (min $45 and max $105).”

  • Reminder: Make it a habit to check the CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL website, where titles in development are posted. Among the current projects is a “Cats” volume, with a deadline of November 30. “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.

  • ARTIFICIAL DIVIDE “is an own voices anthology by Blind and visually impaired writers….It will feature a diverse array of short stories with protagonists that are visually impaired. For this anthology, edited by Robert Kingett and Randy Lacey, we’re looking for short stories between 500 and 8,000 words….The story need not be about being visually impaired or blind, and can be any genre of fiction.” Deadline: December 1. Payment: 0.06CAD/word (note that “priority will be given to Canadian writers and writers from diverse backgrounds, though we are open to authors from around the world”).

  • SLICE magazine is receiving submissions until December 1, 2020, for Issue 26: “Levity,” slated for release in fall 2021. “We look for work that plays off the theme, particularly in unexpected ways.” Payment: “$400 for long stories and essays, $150 for flash fiction, and $100 for poems.”

  • Until December 5, SOMEWHERE WE ARE HUMAN: AN ANTHOLOGY ON MIGRATION, SURVIVAL, AND NEW BEGINNINGS, edited by Reyna Grande and Sonia Guiñansaca, seeks “bold personal non-fiction essays and poems from migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and displaced people with experience in the United States. We are especially interested in essays and poems from those in the midwest and Border towns. We are centering and giving priority to essays and poems from Indigenous migrants, Black migrants, Asian Pacific Islanders, and Arab communities.” For this anthology, which will be published by HarperCollins in English and Spanish, “contributors will be compensated (a min. of $800).”

  • SEATTLE STORY PROJECT, featuring “bold first-person reflections on life and resilience” for NPR member station KUOW, “is seeking stories that offer an unflinching glimpse into what it means to be human. Writers don’t have to be currently based in Seattle, but you should be linked to our Emerald City or the surrounding Puget Sound region in some meaningful way. We are especially interested in hearing from writers whose voices are underrepresented in the media.” NB: They seek true, first-person essays that run 800-1200 words, and there’s no deadline indicated. Payment: “$450 for previously unpublished work. $200 for stories that have been posted elsewhere.”

  • THE WORKSHOP “provides clear, actionable advice and community for emerging creative writers. The literary industry can be opaque, with who you know mattering more than raw talent. Workshoppers are culture shifters and true believers, a supportive community of people who foster each other’s success.” Submission categories include “The Grind: Alternative Career Advice for Writers” (payment: $50) and “The Tower: Navigating Academia” (payment: $30).

AND ANOTHER REMINDER! If you didn’t catch them last month, you’ll find several still-open calls listed in the October issue, too.


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.

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 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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