Free and Financially Rewarding Opportunities for Writers

The June 2019 edition of “Writing Life Essentials,” a monthly hand-curated list of contests, grants, scholarships, submissions calls, and awards, with a focus on opportunities that are at least one of the following: local, free to apply, and/or committed to celebrating and supporting writers from historically marginalized communities. We do the research, so you have more time for what matters: the writing. Or, the summer solstice festivities. That matters too.

Contests & Awards

Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award
Fee: $0; Award: $2,000; Deadline: June 9th Sisters in Crime presents: The Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award is an annual grant for an emerging writer of color. The 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 An unpublished writer is preferred, however publication of several pieces of short fiction and/or up to two self-published or traditionally published books will not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.

2020 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature

Fee: $0; Award: $50,000; Deadline: June 10th, 5pm EDT The Vilcek Foundation is seeking immigrant applicants for the 2020 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Literature. Foreign-born literary artists working across a variety of genres are invited to apply, including fiction (novels, novellas, short stories, and graphic novels); nonfiction (memoir, creative nonfiction, general nonfiction, book-length journalism, and graphic nonfiction); and poetry. Applicants should have published at least one full-length book (not self-published), been born outside of the United States, and be 38 years of age or younger.

Fee: $0; Award: $50,000; Deadline: June 10th, 5pm EDT

Louise Meriwether First Book Prize

Fee: $0; Award: $5,000 & Publication by the Feminist Press; Deadline: June 28thThe Louise Meriwether First Book Prize is open to fiction and narrative nonfiction by women of color and nonbinary writers of color. Poetry, plays, or academic texts are not accepted. One winner will be awarded a $5,000 advance (half at the time of the initial award and half upon publication) and a contract to publish their book with the Feminist Press in print and digital editions in spring 2021.

Key West Literary Seminar’s Emerging Writer Awards

Fee:$12; Award: Full Tuition for January Seminar and Writers’ Workshop Program, Round-trip Airfare, Lodging, A $500 honorarium; Deadline: June 28th

The Marianne Russo Award, Scotti Merrill Award, and Cecelia Joyce Johnson Award recognize and support writers who possess exceptional talent and demonstrate potential for lasting literary careers. The Merrill Award recognizes a poet, while fiction writers may apply for either the Johnson Award (for a short story) or the Russo Award (for a novel-in-progress). Writers of any age who live in the United States and have not yet published a book with a major publisher are eligible to apply.

Drue Heinz Literature Prize

Fee: $0; Award: $15,000; Deadline: June 30th 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 will receive a cash prize of $15,000, publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press, and support in the nation-wide promotion of their book.

28th Annual Hard Times Essay Contest

Fee: $25, Award: Varied for 1st -3rd Place; Deadline: June 30th

In 5,000 words or less, write about a difficult time in your life, how you got through it, and how it changed you. Winning stories will be chosen for originality and creative writing style.

Nowhere’s Spring 2019 Travel Writing Contest

Fee: $20, Award: $1,000, with publication in Nowhere granted under FNASR; Deadline: July 1st Send Nowhere your stories that possess a powerful sense of place. They can be fiction, nonfiction, poetry or essay, but do specify which genre upon submission. Entries should be between 800-5000 words (poetry may be any length) and must not have been previously chosen as a winner in another contest.

Fellowships, Conferences & Residencies

Apply for a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship
Fee: $25; Deadline: June 15th25 VSC fellowships are open to all artists and writers living and working anywhere in the world. These awards are for residencies scheduled between September 2019 and May 2020. Every VSC residency opportunity includes: private room, private studio space, all meals, and full access to evening programs and events.

Apply for a Maine Artist Fellowship

Fee: $0; Award: $5,000; Deadline: June 20th A fellowship is given annually to a poet, fiction writer, or creative nonfiction writer who has lived in the state of Maine for at least one year. The fellow is expected to reside in the state for the year of the fellowship. Writers enrolled in a degree-granting program are ineligible. Using the online submission system, submit up to five poems of any length or up to 20 pages of prose and a resume by June 20th.

Apply for the Fall 2019 Open City Muslim Communities Fellowship
Fee: $0; Deadline: June 28th, 11:59pm EST; NYC-based The Open City Muslim Communities Fellowship is a unique six-month opportunity for emerging writers of color from communities under attack from Islamophobia to publish narrative nonfiction about Muslim communities in New York City. Writers of color based in NYC from Muslim and Arab, South Asian, and North and East African communities are encouraged to apply.

Apply for the Fall 2019 Open City Neighborhoods Fellowship
Fee: $0; Deadline: June 28th, 11:59pm EST; NYC-based
The Neighborhoods Fellowship is a unique opportunity for emerging Asian American writers to publish narrative nonfiction over the span of six months on the vibrant Asian American communities of New York City. The Fellowship offers a $2,500 grant, skill-building workshops, and publishing opportunities.

Fear No Lit’s Submerging Writer FellowshipFee: $0; Award: Publication, Honorarium, Conference Registration, Book Planning; Deadline: July 31st The Submerging Writer Fellowship (SWF) from Fear No Lit will offer one writer chapbook publication, prize money, and more. Dedicated to the writers who feel left behind, down on their luck, and far from emerging, the SWF is here to pull one submerging writer out of the water. You’re eligible to apply if you have not yet had a book published, won no major awards/prizes, and currently not in an MFA/PhD program.

Jobs & Work Experience

Staff Writer Position at Boston College Magazine
Deadline: N/A
Under the direction of the editor, the staff writer will develop, research, and write news and feature-length articles for Boston College Magazine. In addition, the staff writer will help with editing and fact-checking, and develop value-added content for the magazine’s online edition. The qualified candidate should have a bachelor’s degree and at least one year of magazine writing and editing experience.

Beacon Press Internships for People of Color
Deadline: July 31st The Beacon Press Internships for People of Color program seeks to increase diversity and inclusiveness in the book publishing industry. Beacon Press offers internships in the Marketing, Publicity, Digital and Social Media, Production, and Editorial departments.

Education Director Position at MassPoetry
Deadline: July 31st
MassPoetry is seeking to hire an expert manager and experienced educator with a passion for poetry to serve as the full-time Education Director. They will manage MassPoetry’s unique suite of poetry programs, build robust partnerships with middle and high schools across the state, and oversee the expansion of our Poet-in-Residence program, among other responsibilities.

General Submissions

Free Submissions to The Bare Life ReviewFee: $0; Award: $750 for accepted full-length prose pieces and $300 for accepted poems or shorter prose; Deadline: July 31stThe Bare Life Review is accepting unsolicited manuscripts in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Submissions will be judged solely on artistic grounds. Your work may, but need not, deal explicitly with issues of immigration, exile, or refuge.

Free Submissions to Chicken Soup for the Soul

Fee: $0; Deadline: RollingChicken Soup for the Soul seeks submissions for their upcoming topics. Submit an inspirational, true story in the first-person and in 1200 words or less. Please see the story guidelines for more information.

Open Submissions to Kindred BooksFee: $0; Deadline: Rolling Kindred Books aims to put marginalized voices first. Fiction Editor Vanessa Willoughby is actively seeking narratives that make readers reflect and question the world around them. Your electronic submission of a manuscript pitch and 1-2 sample chapters will be accepted at brainmillpress.submittable.com. Up to two manuscripts may be submitted per person.
Call for Pitches: Essays for BMP Voices Column “Makers on Making”Fee: $0; Deadline: Ongoing Brain Mill Press is seeking emotional, radically authentic essays of 750-1,500 words to appear on its online content platform Voices, in the “Makers on Making” column. Brain Mill Press exclusively invites submissions from people of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ writers.

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