The Practicing Writer 2.0: October 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. 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: What’s New

  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:

Time marches on. I’ve recently celebrated the Jewish New Year 5781 (shana tova to all the other celebrants out there).

And believe it or not, just a month from now I’ll be marking the first anniversary of the release of my debut poetry collection, Birthright (Kelsay Books). Happily, though, the coverage hasn’t quite ended. The latest: a spotlight on the book through Ruben Quesada’s marvelous “Poetry Today” series over on the Kenyon Review’s blog. Check the September 15 installment to see what Ruben asked me (and Zohar Atkins, author of Nineveh), and the answers.

With that, let’s move on to the new month. I’m wishing everyone an outstanding October.



I’m delighted to share the following communications:

From Sue Granzella: “It happened again—an opportunity which I learned about in The Practicing Writer yielded fruit. Night Shift Storyteller Series just published my piece, entitled “Teacher and Student,” and it's 100% because of you. THANK YOU, ERIKA!!

From Belinda Brock: “I just wanted you to know that I sold my essay [“The Language of the High Holidays”] after submitting it to a few of the sites listed on your blog (actually, I received two offers). Thanks and Shana Tova!

From Dr. Thomas Davison: “I have submitted several poems and CNFs using your newsletter as a source. No success to date. But…I wanted to drop you a line anyway – just to let you know how much your unselfish efforts (not forgetting Trish [Hopkinson] & Cathy [Bryant]) means to me personally. It means I can spend less time surfing the net in frustration looking for a home for my creations, and spend more time writing. This is truly a wonderful gift from all three of you. So please accept my sincerest thanks for what you do!”

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.


If you (or your students) may be in search of post-MFA fellowships, you’ll want to mosey over to this freshly updated list of such opportunities.

I’ve done my best to check and update all the links, and I’ve removed a couple of programs that appear to be “on hiatus.” (Please note that in an effort to be comprehensive, this list does include some opportunities that require application fees.)

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

    Deadline: October 12. “For this contest, we want to read true stories about joy – specifically Black joy: moments, scenes, memories, that celebrate Black families, relationships, culture, and history. We are looking for a vivid story that is transporting and meaningful – maybe funny, maybe poignant, but always with joy at its center. The winner receives $1,000, 2nd Place $750, 3rd Place $500. Submissions must be true stories that are between 500 and 1,000 words. Your work can be in any genre: prose, poetry, or cross-genre. This contest is open to any resident of New England (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine) and New York state.”

    Deadline: October 19. “Something to say? Up for a challenge? Can you get your point across in exactly 55 words, no more, no fewer? Help us celebrate our 55th year of Welter by composing a 55-word story, poem, or piece of creative nonfiction.” Prize: “Winners will receive publication on our magazine’s website and recognition via our social media platforms. The top winner also gets a coincidental $55 in prize money.”

    Deadline: October 30 (midnight, UK time). This contest is open to women of all nationalities. “This year, which is a challenging one for most people, we are looking for a bit of light relief. So please send us your farce, satire, screwball, or any other subgenre that qualifies as comedy. We need the laughs.” Prizes: “The winner will receive an Amazon gift card to the value of £200; two runners-up will each receive Amazon gift cards to the value of £50. The gift cards will be delivered via email. All winning entries will be posted on” (Thanks to @Duotrope for pointing me to this one.)

    Deadline: October 31. “The Barbellion Prize is dedicated to the furtherance of ill and disabled voices in writing. The prize is awarded annually to an author whose work has best spoken of the experience of chronic illness and/or disability. The awarded work can be of any genre in fiction, memoir, biography, poetry, or critical non-fiction from around the world - whether it is in English, in translation, traditionally published, or self-published. The prize is named in homage to English diarist W.N.P. Barbellion, who wrote eloquently on his life with multiple sclerosis (MS) before his death in 1919. It is to be awarded on February 12th 2021, with prize money amounting to £600.” Consult the “How to Submit a Work” subpage for details about eligible submissions (a book published in “the current year”). Thanks to Sian Meades-Williams for the tip about this one.

    Deadline: November 1. Awarded for “the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words). Regional winners each receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £5,000. As well as English, stories are accepted in the Bengali, Chinese, French, Greek, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil and Turkish languages. Translated entries from any language into English are also eligible.” Open to “any citizen of a Commonwealth country who is aged 18 and over.”

    Deadline: November 1. “What is a Flash Suite, you may ask. Our team defines, albeit loosely, a flash suite as follows, ‘A series of at least three flash fiction works that correlate, and build to something greater.  Recurring characters, extended motifs, harmonious subject matters, and/or sustained narrative are such correlations– but we encourage innovation and new ideas.’” Prizes include $75 to the winner and $60 to a runner-up.

    Deadline: November 1. Awarded “to the best book (works of fiction and nonfiction are eligible) published that calendar year that either is about New York City or takes place in New York City. The winner will receive $50,000. Selections will be reviewed by an independent jury with the winner selected by the prize’s co-founders/ funders. The first prize will be awarded in December 2020.” Nominations due by November 1. “Books about or set in New York City slated to be published between November 1 and December 31 should be sent to the jury before publication to be considered.”

    Deadline: November 1 (NB: free contest entries for writers of color only). “The winners will each receive $1000 and publication in the Issue 102 of Quarterly West. Two runners-up will each receive $250 and all entries will be considered for publication.” Judges: Natalie Scenters-Zapico (poetry) and Jen George (prose).

    Deadline: November 1. A total of nine fellowships of $35,000 will be awarded in April 2021 for 2021-2022 in the fields of creative nonfiction and history. “Our support is particularly intended to augment paid sabbatical leaves. In the case of independent artists or scholars, or those without paid leaves, we would expect that a Howard Fellowship would enable them to devote a substantial block of time to the proposed project.”

    Deadline: November 1. Administered in Las Vegas by The Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute, which is also home to The Believer magazine, these residential fellowships are for “emerging and distinguished writers who have published at least one book with a trade or literary press.” Among other benefits (detailed on the webpage), fellowships confer a $20,000 stipend over a four-month period.

    Deadline: November 1. For “exceptional poems that help make real for readers the gravity of the vulnerable state of our environment at present. Established in 2019 with generous support from Treehouse Investments, the prize will honor three poets. First place will receive $1,000; second place, $750; and third place, $500. In addition, all three poems will be published in the popular Poem-a-Day series, which is distributed to 500,000 readers. Poems may also be featured in the award-winning education series Teach This Poem, which serves 35,000 educators each week. Judges: Camille T. Dungy and Katharine K. Wilkinson.

    Deadline: November 1. For stories that are “weird, strange or odd” that are “related to any winter holiday (Christmas, Hannukha [ED note: that’s one spelling I haven’t seen before!], Kwanza, solstice celebrations, ‘Yule,’ etc.). You can include other holidays like Halloween or Easter, but it still needs a strong connection to the winter season’s celebrations.” Stories should run 350 words, maximum. Cash prizes: $50 first prize, $25 second prize. $5 for every “honorable mention” (10-12).

    Deadline: November 9. “The £30,000 Prize is awarded to the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under.” Note that the “published literary work” must be “a commercially published original volume of English language poetry, collection of short fictional stories, fictional novel or novella, radio script or screen play.” Also: “Each of the authors shortlisted for the prize (other than the winner of the prize) will be awarded a Runners-up Award of £500.00.”

REMINDER! These deadlined opportunities, listed in last month’s newsletter, remain open.


  • From October 1-30, KISSING DYNAMITE will be open for submissions of poetry microchap manuscripts “for print publication in late spring 2021. We’re happy to consider a diverse range of poetic styles and themes, so send us work that represents you! We are committed to publishing two titles from this round of submissions and will publish more if finances at the time allow us to do so.” Compensation: “an honorarium of $50 USD and 10 complimentary copies of the microchap. Additional copies are available to authors at the cost of printing.”

  • At last check, POETRY magazine was “closed for submissions until October 1, 2020.” You may want to check in after that date.

  • October 4 is the deadline for sending work for possible inclusion in SANS. PRESS’s first anthology, for which the prompt is “tell us a story about a secret.” They seek “prose that manages to capture magic in unexpected places, that trick of light that reveals something out of the ordinary. We are not requesting any specific genres for this edition, so they are all welcome – sci-fi, literary, fantasy, romance, horror, noir, non-fiction – as long as they reveal a piece of reality that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.” Payment: “a flat rate of €10, as well as a digital copy of the The Secret Lives Anthology….We are also interested in producing an on demand print edition of the anthology, but this possibility is still TBA due to current restrictions.”

  • October 15 is the deadline for general submissions of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction at THE SPECTACLE. NB: “If we exceed our Submittable quota of free submissions, we'll be instituting a small submission fee.” (ED note: This typically translates into advice to submit early in the month.) Compensation: “Publication in Issue No. 9 includes a $50 honorarium.”

  • October 15 is also the submission deadline for Canada-based poetry magazine ARC 94, which will be “an issue dedicated to writing by trans, Two-Spirit, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people.” Guest editors for this “Polymorphous per Verse” issue: Trish Salah and Ali Blythe. Payment: $50/page, plus one copy.

  • Submissions for Issue 5 of poetry journal UNDERBLONG also close October 15. Pays: “For the first time, we are offering a modest $20 for each contributor.”

  • LONELY CRYPTID MEDIA seeks submissions of prose and poetry for its second anthology, to be published in September 2021. “Theme: Resist with every inch and every breath.” Pays: $25 ($15 for reprints). Timing/deadlines: A priority window is open until October 31 “for historically marginalized authors including those who are Black, Indigenous, people of color, migrants, queer, disabled, women, working class, currently or formerly incarcerated, and/or living in poverty.” Open submissions “for all authors” begin November 1 (and close December 31).

  • November 15 is the submission deadline for THE PINCH’S GLISH: VARIETY ENGLISH POETRY PROJECT. “Submit poetry written in or regarding variety Englishes, to be published in Spring 2021 Issue (41.1). Poems in Singlish, Konglish, Spanglish, AAVE, and other English-associated linguistic forms will be considered for publication. Poets may be asked to contribute supplementary linguistic information to facilitate publication.” Compensation: “Accepted pieces will be awarded $150 for publication."

  • New call for submissions from Gen-X women from the HERSTORIES PROJECT, responding to the question: “WHAT DOES THIS MOMENT MEAN TO YOU?” They’re seeking personal essays about how writers’ “lives and emotions have been affected by this historical moment….in the weeks before one of the most consequential elections of the modern era.” Deadline: “Submissions will be accepted and published on an ongoing basis through November.” Payment: $50 for essays that run 750-1200 words.

  • News from BERKELEY FICTION REVIEW: “We now offer a $25 payment for accepted stories and continue to offer a complimentary copy of the Issue in which your story appears.”

  • THE DIRTY SPOON RADIO HOUR AND JOURNAL “welcomes contributors, "first time authors, established writers, chefs, servers, food industry workers, farmers, foodies, non-foodies, and everyone in between to pitch or submit your full-length writings.” They’re interested in nonfiction only, “essays, interviews and articles about people who work in our consumable culture.” Payment: “honorarium of $50 upon publication via Paypal or mailed check.”

  • From the FOREVER imprint at GRAND CENTRAL PUBLISHING: “We believe in celebrating diverse views. To help give voice to typically underrepresented stories in the romance and women’s fiction genres, we are opening our inbox to unagented submissions exclusively to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) authors.”

  • 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.” Among current listings is a call for a “Tough Times” project, closing October 31. Pays: $200 plus 10 free copies.

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