Archive for the ‘Andrew’ Category

Literary Magazines and Contests with Deadlines in December

This is it. This is how it all ends. 2014, I mean. Who has the vim, the temerity, and—holy crap—the TIME to apply for these literary contests and still buy and wrap presents? Will it be you?

Sarabande Books – One of my favorite new (-to-me) publishing houses gets top billing here, mostly because they have earned my loyalty by putting out great books. So check out details on their Bernheim Writing Residency, a “two- to six-week residency at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Clermont, Kentucky…given annually to a poet, a fiction writer, or a creative nonfiction writer.” That’s a good look, and this a cool group, so do the right thing. NO ENTRY FEE. Due: December 15

Tethered by Letters Fall Literary Contests – Tethered by Letters is running three contests that close this month: one for the short story (prize: $250), one for flash fiction (prize: $50), and one for poetry (prize: $100). In their own words, TBL is looking for writers with “engaging stories, vivid characters, and fresh writing styles.” Winners of each contest receive publication and finalists earn free professional edits. Details here. Entry Fee: $10 for each short story; $4 for each piece of flash fiction or $10 for three; $5 for each poem or $12 for three. Due: December 15

BoulevardA prize of $1500 is awarded by Boulevard for the best short story of up to 8000 words. The only catch is you can’t have already published a nationally distributed book. So Lorrie Moore, for example, would not be eligible. Nor would George Saunders or Amy Hempel, though hopefully they’ll apply and get disqualified and you can say you bested them in a literary contest. Check it. Entry Fee: $15. Due: December 31

Barbara Deming Memorial Fund – Individual artist grants of “up to $1,500 are given twice yearly to feminist writers” by the Deming Fund. This go-round, they will be awarding fiction writers. Check out the details here and apply before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. Entry Fee: $25. Due: December 31

Lascaux Review – Again, a short story contest? Why not poetry? Because we are your premiere short story outlet. Also because the Lascaux Prize in Short Fiction allows previously published stories, which, if you’ve read as much fine print as I have, you know is rare. The winner receives $1000 and publication. Submit here. Entry Fee: $10. Due: December 31

Mississippi Review – Got a poem or a short story to beat the band, that is up to snuff and passes muster? Then submit it here, though I’d advise you to leave those sayings out unless you promise to use them better than I have. Winners receive $1000 and publication. Go for it! Entry Fee: $15 for mailed submissions, $16 for online submissions. Due: January 1

New Delta Review Chapbook Contest – The New Delta Review chapbook competition will be judged by Michael Martone and is open to manuscripts of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and hybrids. The winner will receive $250 and chapbook publication in Spring 2015! Go ahead, submit. Entry Fee: $17. Due: January 1

Glimmer Train Press – Contest stalwarts GTP are once again opening their floodgates, this time to fiction of every stripe: “all subjects, all themes, and all writers.” The top three entries get cash prizes. Guidelines here. Entry Fee: $20. Due: January 2

by Andrew Wetzel

Two Tin House Books to Love

We’re so pleased to feature two new releases from Tin House Books. During this time of Best-Of Book Lists we wanted to carve out some space for two titles that are stand-alone great. That they happen to be from the same publisher makes it all the more special. Editor Andrew Wetzel reviewed both. (Think, Gifts for writers!)

The World Split OpenThe World Split Open: Great Authors on How and Why We Write

In celebration of the thirty-year anniversary of Portland’s Literary Arts, Tin House Books has put together this collection to honor the nonprofit literary center’s storied lecture series. It collects speeches given by ten well-known authors on literature and craft, with warm words of introduction from Jon Raymond. Though I preferred the speeches that felt playful and biographical, as opposed to theory-heavy, the quality level is uniformly high. Dare I suggest that the unpublished majority find something vaguely aspirational in the very act of reading these essays? It felt like research, the fun kind; you’re combining trade tips and techniques with reading, which I imagine is the favorite activity of most writers. Read the rest of the review here.

esq-loitering-mdLoitering: New and Collected Essays by Charles D’Ambrosio

Eleven original essays appear in this collected work of narrative nonfiction by Charles D’Ambrosio. “I’m glad he went on the hunt for whale meat; it led to astute passages about the freedom to make your own mistakes. I’m grateful that he attended the trial of Mary Kay Letourneau; elsewise, we might not have these scalpel-sharp ruminations on language and intent. Charles D’Ambrosio is a brilliant onlooker, loitering in the doorway, on the outskirts of his stories.”

Read more here.

Dysfunction Reigns Supreme – 5 Novels About Dysfunctional Families

Have you ever gone home with a friend for Thanksgiving or another holiday and found their family to be strangely happy and polite? Folded napkins, everyone is excited to see one another, they may even sing carols in front of you. And isn’t it profoundly disturbing when you realize you might have to reciprocate the invite and show your friend the deep dysfunction that plagues your visits home? All the mumbled complaints, the piercing clatter of chipped dishes being stacked, Grandma trying to show off the weal on her neck in the middle of dinner.

Am I projecting? HELL NO, because guess what: WE are the normal ones. Dysfunction reigns supreme. And if you’re reading this thinking, “What? My happy family is completely normal,” then please realize you are wrong and need to speed-read the novels in this reading list if you want to fit in with the rest of us weirdos.

Children’s Books That Still Scare Us Me


It is publicly acknowledged that I am fearless and dread nothing. But that isn’t to say I cannot recognize the creepiness of some children’s books, including some that were actually meant to frighten.

1325218Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark series by Alvin Schwartz (with illustrations by Stephen Gammell)

Supremely unsettling tales of folklore and urban legends, illustrated with spidery, surreal drawings that are guaranteed to creep you out at any age. To the pre-Goosebumps generation, this is the cornerstone text of scary-ass children’s literature. Extra kudos for not only being a frequent guest on the Banned Books list, but having entire stories removed for subsequent editions.  


The_Twits_first_editionThe Twits by Roald Dahl (with illustrations by Quentin Blake)

Dahl has a bevy of beloved bestsellers, but this anti-beard screed about scary neighbors never seemed to be as widely-read as his hits. Which is to say, I was the only one I knew who wrote a book report on it. Because it scared me to death. Mr. Twit eats food out of his beard? They play cruel pranks upon each other for fun? Why are they so goddamned abusive to their pets? And let’s be real here, twit is also clearly one of the greatest words of the English language. It almost sounds like an obscenity but it’s not. TWIT! What a word!

242041The Amazing Bone by William Steig

In The Amazing Bone, a pig named Pearl finds a bone that lets her speak any language. As she walks home, she encounters a number of perilous obstacles. It’s pretty basic stuff, but worth it for the drawings. Steig is someone who I appreciate more now that I’m older, especially for his illustrations. His art is childlike, almost outsider fare, but for some reason it creeps me out big time. Perhaps because of the primitive quality, some illustrations looks like they were scrawled in the witness box by a child who saw their parents tortured. Most importantly, the image at the top of the page really freaked me out when I was young. I wondered if I was supposed to be seeing things like this at such a young age. It seemed R-rated.

lord-of-the-fliesLord Of The Flies by William Golding

Golding’s 1954 novel, set in the midst of an unspecified nuclear war, begins with a plane crashing into a remote island. The only survivors are adolescent boys. Even as an adolescent boy reader, I knew this book was my living hell. Then the kids start to argue and fight with one another, a clash of groupthink mentality and individuality themes that meant nothing to my child mind because, come on, no parents, no girls, and no bathrooms?! It was later assigned for school reading; I distinctly remember everyone in class seemed impressed that I had already read the book. Little did they know my childhood innocence ended when the savages brained Piggy.

The_Giving_TreeThe Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

You remember this one, of course you do. The beautiful tree gives selfless love to the little boy, providing him a trunk to climb, apples to sell, branches to build a boat with. By the time the book is done, the little jerk has grown into an old man. Having used up every last piece of wood, the old man finds just a stump where his beloved apple tree once stood proud and majestic. Fittingly, and to my eternal horror, he pops a squat on the corpse. This book is like an S/M primer.

by Andrew Wetzel

Magazines and Contests with Deadlines in September

Goodbye summer school, hello normal school. Fall means a wealth of huge literary contests. There might be money; there will almost definitely be publication. But you don’t do it for any of those things, I know. You do it for the mail. So enter some of these here contests. Digital or snail, there will certainly be mail involved.

American Academy In Berlin  Whoa, hit the ground running, eh? How ambitious of you. Though are you sure you want to take time out of your life that could be spent applying to literary journals and contests that might be a better fit for . . . what’s that? They give the Berlin Prize Fellowship recipients a $5000 monthly stipend, airfare, and lodging in beautiful Berlin?! Go ahead, submit. NO ENTRY FEE Due: September 29

California State University – Perhaps this is more our speed: a domestic contest, with prizes that include payment and publication. CSU’s Anhinga Press awards the Phillip Levine Prize in Poetry annually to the best poetry collection. Check it. Entry fee: $25. Due: September 30

Glimmer Train Press – What would a deadlines post be without the Train gang? This month, their Family Matters contest seeks the best stories about “families of all configurations.” All they ask, in no uncertain terms, is that you don’t throw anyone under the bus too flagrantly. Submit here. Entry: $15. Due: September 30

Puritan Magazine  The Thomas Morton Memorial Prize in Literary Excellence is awarded to the single best submission in the respective categories of poetry and fiction. The judges for this year’s prize are Margaret Atwood (for poetry) and Zsuzsi Gartner (for fiction). Submit now! Entry: $15. Due: September 30

Hackney Literary Awards – Thirty bucks by the thirtieth to get dirty and flirty with the Alabama hurdy gurdy. Oh my god, that makes no sense, I’m so sorry. This contest is for an unpublished novel. Peep the deets. Entry: $30. Due: September 30

American Literary Review – “Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in American Literary Review are given annually for a poem, a short story, and an essay.” I know that deep in the heart of Texas they do everything bigger, but the ALR website states some explicit maximum word lengths for this contest. Check out the details here.  Entry: $15. Due: October 1

Zoetrope: All Story – At this point, Zoetrope is a name that is synonymous with quality short fiction. Winning submissions of their Short Fiction Contest are considered for representation by some of the most prestigious literary agencies in the world. Go for it. Entry: $20. Due: October 1

Harvard University – If you simply must know what all the fuss is about, I suggest you apply for one of Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute Fellowships. It’ll net you $75,000 and office space at the Institute. Details are here, in case you’re a world famous writer perusing our lowly deadlines round-up. If that is the case, please also check out the Guggenheim Fellowships, the Cullman Fellowships, or those damn Pulitzers, which are also due at the end of the month in case you have any juice left in your iWatch to send the applications. All of these fall under the category of If You Win, It Goes In Your Obit. NO ENTRY FEE. Due: October 1

The Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize  This is a big one. The Missouri Review awards $5000 to the winning work of fiction, $5000 to the winning poetry submission, and $5000 to the winning essay. This contest is heading into its 24th year and previous champions have gone on to be published in the Best American series, among other publications. Guidelines here. Entry: $20. Due: October 1

Masters Review – “In honor of our favorite month of the year, we’re holding a contest for the best short story that embodies the hair-raising, spine-chilling, disturbing, and scary nature of October.” That’s me quoting the royal We, as in the Masters Review Crew. Which is to say we’re hosting a damned fine writing contest about the damned. There is a $$$ prize and !!! publication for the lucky so-and-so who can bring the pain to our cranial. Enter here. Entry: $13. Due: October 15

by Andrew Wetzel

Author Interview: Arna Bontemps Hemenway

Every now and then a debut comes along that simply stuns us. We felt this way about Arna Bontemps Hemenway’s collection, Elegy on Kinderklavier, out this month from Sarabande Books. Masters Review editor Andrew Wetzel discusses the collection with Hemenway, which is described by his publisher as a disquieting exploration of loss in wartime. What’s clear from our interview is how taken Andrew was with Hemenway’s stories, which should be an indicator to you, dear readers, that this debut is something special, and is a story collection that should not be missed.

Hemenway.ElegyKinderklavierAlthough the stories in your debut collection Elegy on Kinderklavier (Sarabande Books, 2014) focus on war and the shadow it casts on the individuals involved and their families, you certainly don’t stick to one writing style or category. “The IED,” my favorite piece in the book, manages to subtly combine a handful of angles and writing styles without feeling gimmicky. Another outstanding story, the Tartar Steppe-esque “The Territory of Grief,” leaves the present reality and veers into, I don’t know how one might categorize it, PoliSciFi? Is varying your style important to your writing approach, or was it a necessity in writing a themed collection?

Well, basically, I think when I started writing these stories, I was really tired of a certain kind of short fiction—both reading it and trying to write it. A great deal of what I was seeing (in magazines, in anthologies, in workshop) seemed to have been bled of its imagination (meant here as a kind of appetite), more or less. I began to notice that the fiction that really interested me as a reader was in some way alive to the modern possibilities of style and form. I wanted to write stories that were responsive to that potential, if that makes sense.

But also, I had developed a strong belief that in order to write meaningful, realistic fiction about something as definitively modern as a twenty-first century war, you really had to try to escape the way people had been writing short stories for the last fifty years. It started that way: Iraq as a subject struck me as fundamentally different than anything that had ever come before, so it required at least the attempt to form one’s stories differently.

I think this idea sort of expanded in my head to include all modern trauma. I’ve heard that The Tartar Steppe was important for Coetzee in writing Waiting for the Barbarians; one thing those books are about, for me, is questioning the reader’s narrative expectation, or maybe highlighting the discrepancy between a reader’s narrative expectation and an honest fiction about the current age. That they are also, in many ways, very strange books is not incidental. For my own stories, I wanted to try and get out into that territory that is maybe not dictated by what has become traditional narrative expectation. One of my teachers at the time, Kevin Brockmeier, helped a lot, as did reading the work of a couple of my classmates who seemed interested in something similar and were doing it a lot better than I was.

But, to be honest, a lot of my varying of style or approach probably just comes from how quickly I get sick of myself. (more…)

The Five Best Books To Read While You Are Camping

It’s camping season. The lakes beckon, the rope swings are practically screaming your name, and your tent poles are politely gathered in a trusty rucksack just waiting to be assembled in bleary-eyed haste after everyone has had a chance to pee on the campfire. But you’ll have time to kill between morning swims and toasted s’mores, so let’s find you something to read.


Walden – Although Thoreau admits his cabin was a couple miles from town and not a brutal three-week hike in, as your college roommate used to assume, this pleasant tome on the beauty and importance of nature and self-reliance has spurred many a failed back-to-the-land commune.

A Walk in the Woods – After moving back to his native US, travel writer Bill Bryson became fascinated by the segment of Appalachian Trail running through his hometown. He recruits an out-of-shape pal to tag along on his quest to tackle the entire 2200-mile trail, recounting his hilarious undertaking while also waxing rhapsodic on the AT’s history and the general disappearance of wilderness and greenways.

Wild – Let’s take the previous book and flip it to the West Coast: Cheryl Strayed’s mega-bestselling memoir details the author’s 1100-mile hike down the Pacific Crest Trail after a series of personal traumas, much to the delight of Oprah and everyone’s respective aunts. But don’t be reductive! Oprah and everyone’s respective aunts were spot-on when it came to Jonathan Franzen. Respect is due.

The Monkey Wrench Gang – Sure, all the meat eating and casual littering from the “heroes” of this 1975 novel might steer your Earth Liberation Front friends away, but Edward Abbey’s novel of a group of disparate misfits hellbent on stopping the logging industry from paving over the American West’s forested majesty basically remains the founding text for the direct action eco-defense movement. Bring-your-own-caltrops.

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark – Alvin Schwartz’s collection of urban legends and scary folk tales probably won’t affect you the way it did in elementary school, but holy crap have you checked out Stephen Gammell’s illustrations in the last ten years? They’re terrifying, the perfect accompaniment to this classic children’s series. If the Vinder Viper has stuck with you, I think that means this deserves a reread. When I have children, I’m going to make them read these books by flashlight when they misbehave on camping trips.

by Andrew Wetzel

Literary Links: Magazines and Contests with Deadlines in July

Hope you had a hearty Fourth. Let us now put these fireworks in our rearview and phoenix our way into the guts of summer. Don’t be the only kid at camp (or Iowa Writers’ Workshop, or wherever) who hasn’t applied for these lit contests! A handful of these are short notice, so look sharp.

New GuardThe New Guard literary review awards $1000 prizes and publication to the winners of their Machigonne Fiction and Knightville Poetry contests, though the submission period ends soon, so by the end of this sentence you should already have planned your next move starting noooooooow. More details hereEntry Fee: $15. DUE DATE: July 14th

Tethered by LettersTethered by Letters offers generous prizes and free professional edits for every finalist. PLUS a website positively chockablock with helpful resources. They’re accepting submissions in multiple categories: Short Story ($250 prize), Flash Fiction ($50), and Poetry ($100). But the deadline is hella soon. So don’t knock the hustle. Please don’t knock it. Remember that I asked you not to.  Apply hereEntry Fee: $4-12. DUE DATE: July 15th

Rattle – Listen, if you became a writer in order to make money . . . you should talk to some writers. But maybe just maybe you’re in it for the glory of the written word, the fear of the blank page, the adrenalin-pumping thrill of pressing SEND on your entry to the Rattle Poetry Prize, which just happens to include a $5000 purse. And I mean purse in the pugilist sense, not the haute couture handbag sense. Did I mention there were runner-up prizes too? Entry Fee: $20 (includes subscription). DUE DATE: July 15th

The Cincinnati Review – The Robert and Adele Schiff Prose and Poetry Awards are given to the best poem and prose piece (fiction or creative nonfiction). Another day, another mid-July deadline. Check itEntry Fee: $20, includes subscription. DUE DATE: July 15th

Sixfold Sixfold is a writer-voted journal. You pay the criminally low entry fee of $3 to submit your story or poem for their upcoming contest. Then you can read the rest of the entries and vote on what piece should win and who should be included in the next Sixfold publication. Which, natch, is completely free for anyone to read. This is what democracy looks like. Submit hereEntry Fee: $3. DUE DATE: July 24th

Glimmer Train – Okay, you know the deal. This is the beloved triannual publication that is faithfully running contest after contest. Perhaps that is why they are so beloved. This time it is for their Very Short Fiction Award (max length: 3000 words). Entry Fee: $15. DUE DATE: July 31st

Journal Of Experimental Fiction – The Kenneth Patchen Award was reinstated in 2011 after a years-long hiatus. The Journal Of Experimental Fiction (or JEF, perhaps) bestows the prize upon the most innovative novel of the previous calendar year. Please visit their website if you would like to read inventive, boundary-pushing descriptions of inventive, boundary-pushing fiction. Go ahead, apply. Entry Fee: $25. DUE DATE: July 31st

Narrative – Last but not least, the nonprofit organization Narrative is closing their submission period for the Spring 2014 Story Contest at the end of this month. They are looking for stories with “a strong narrative drive, with characters we can respond to, and with effects of language, situation, and insight that are intense and total.” Entry Fee: $22. DUE DATE: July 31st

by Andrew Wetzel

Literary Links: Magazines and Contests with Deadlines in June

Deadline time is every time. Once again, a collection of deadlines for magazines and writing contests. Most of these end June 30th/July 1st, but make sure to double-check the corresponding websites for any updated information.

Salamander – This Boston-based nonprofit literary organization (with ties to Suffolk University) publishes a magazine twice a year. Their 2014 Fiction Prize will be judged by Jennifer Haigh. The reading fee includes a one-year subscription. The mid-month deadline is creeping up. More details here. Entry Fee: $15. DUE DATE: June 15

 Writer’s Digest – WD’s Annual Writing Competition was in last month’s list but they’ve extended their deadline, which gives you a bit more time to polish and submit your work of memoir, poetry, YA, genre shorts, literary shorts, etc. The Grand Prize is a whopping $3000 and includes an all-expenses-paid trip to the next Writer’s Digest Conference. Submit now. Entry Fee: $30 for the first manuscript; $25 for each additional entry. DUE DATE: June 16th 

Literary Arts – The Portland non-profit literary center is responsible for bringing some of the world’s best writers to Portland to read as well as sharing Portland’s best writers with our public high schools through their Writers In The Schools outreach program. And they also offer Oregon Literary Fellowships, a prize of $2500 awarded to Oregon writers who “initiate, develop, or complete literary projects in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.” They also offer the annual Women Writers Fellowship to “an Oregon woman writer of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction whose work explores experiences of race, class, physical disability, or sexual orientation.” More details here. No Entry Fee. DUE DATE: June 27th

Glimmer Train – This triannual writing journal, which also shares our hometown, has a fiction contest for June that is open to all writers, subjects, and themes. First prize gets you $2500 and 20 copies of the issue in which you’ll be published. Considering every issue sells out, that’s a generous detail. There are second and third prizes as well. Entry Fee: $20 per submission (three max). DUE DATE: June 30th

Red Hen Press – The Short Story Award is given annually by this LA-based literary press. It includes a $1000 prize and publication in the Los Angeles Review. This is a bliNd read, sO doN‘t leAve identifying inforMation in your EntrieS, winkwink. Go ahead, apply. Entry Fee: $20 per two-story submission. DUE DATE: June 30th

National Poetry Review Press – We’ve gone local, we’ve gone West Coast. Now we go national (even though they’re based in CA), with the National Poetry Review Press’s Book Prize, given every year for a poetry collection. This year’s judge is C.J. Sage. Manuscripts should be between 45 to 80 pages. Check it out. Entry Fee: $25. DUE DATE: June 30th

Bellevue Literary Review – Ooh boy, BLR is bringing the heat in terms of judging caliber. Their annual prizes of $1000 are awarded to a poet, a fiction writer, and a creative nonfiction writer for works “about health, healing, illness, the body, and the mind.” The Marica and Jan Vilcek Prize for Poetry will be judged by Major Jackson, the Goldenberg Prize for Fiction by Chang-Rae Lee, and the Felice Buckvar Prize for Nonfiction by Anne Fadiman. Submit now! Entry Fee: $20 (the $30 rate includes a subscription). DUE DATE: July 1st


Submit! Magazines and Contests with Deadlines in May

Deadlines for various end-of-the month contests and reading periods are upon us once again. Put your last bit of polish on those long-percolating projects. Entry fees, freebies – it’s all below. 

Glimmer Train – “Come on, ride the Train. Hey, ride it.” And thusly did the Quad City DJ’s bring forth this month’s fiction submissions. First Prize for the Short Story Award for New Writers nets you a cool $1500 and publication in Glimmer Train. Details can be found on their website, though I’ll note right off the bat that the contest is open to any writer whose fiction (no novels, poetry, or stories written for children, please) has not appeared in a print publication with a circulation greater than 5000. Them’s the rules. DUE DATE: May 31, 2014. Entry Fee: $15

American Short Fiction – “Only God can judge me,” you say? That’s perfect, because ASF got God — a.k.a. Amy Hempel, modern master of the form — to judge. It’s a blind read, so make sure to leave any identifying information off of the manuscript itself. More details here. DUE DATE: June 1, 2014. Entry Fee: $20 per submission.

Ploughshares – If you can type or polish fast, and are a new or emerging writer, Ploughshares invites you to submit up to 6000 words by May 15, for a chance to win $1000 and publication in this very prestigious journal. If you have not yet published a book, you qualify, so submit up to one piece of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Here are the details. DUE DATE: May 15. ENTRY FEE: $24 includes subscription.

Southern Indiana Review – Here’s a Creative Nonfiction contest to mix it up. The winner of the Thomas A. Wilhelmus Editors’ Award receives $2000 and publication in SIR. This contest is open to anyone, be they published or unpublished. DUE DATE: June 2, 2014. Entry Fee: $20 for first submission, $5 for each additional submission.

BOA Editions – If you have an entire collection of short stories that you believe to be the bees’ knees, then check out BOA Editions’ contest. Their Short Fiction Prize includes a $1000 honorarium and publication. Submission guidelines here. DUE DATE: May 31, 2014. Entry Fee: $25.

Graywolf Press – Here’s another Nonfiction prize for those who crave truth over beauty. If you have a project that “tests the boundaries of literary nonfiction,” look their way. The only major catch for indie non-profit Graywolf’s contest this month is that you must have already published a book (in any genre). Inquire withinNo Entry Fee. DUE DATE: May 31, 2014. 

University of Georgia Press – UGA Press gives out the annual Flannery O’Connor Award for outstanding collections of short fiction. That can include longer stories or novellas, as long as the entry does not go over 75,000 words. Contest details hereDUE DATE: May 30, 2014. Entry Fee: $25.

Writer’s Digest – WD’s Annual Writing Competition promises one heckuva payout: $3000 for first place and an all-expenses-paid trip to the next Writer’s Digest Conference, where you can meet one-on-one with editors and agents. Plus, they’re not too picky about the type of work they’re looking for; memoir, poetry, YA, genre shorts, and literary shorts are all game. Submission guidelines. DUE DATE: June 2, 2014. Entry Fee: $30 for the first manuscript; $25 for each additional entry submitted during the same transaction. 

Agent Interview: Bree Ogden



Many thanks to Bree Ogden of D4EO Literary Agency for sitting down with us to talk about her experience as an agent. D4EO represents a broad range of writing with six agents and over 1000 books under contract. In addition to acting as an agent, Bree operates children’s magazine Underneath the Juniper Tree and teaches classes at Lit Reactor. She seemed like the perfect someone to inform us about an agent’s perspective on publishing.

How did you start working in the publishing industry?

The “how” is really quite random. I had just graduated with my masters in journalism, during which they spent a lot of time telling us how journalism was a dying career and that we needed to be well versed in citizen journalism. Essentially training us in a degree that would yield no job prospects and or no money. So I had pretty much decided I wasn’t going to be a journalist even before I finished school.

I came back home to Bainbridge Island and started looking for any internship with the word “literary” in it. I basically just wanted to work with words. Sharlene Martin of Martin Literary Management had an office on the Island and posted for an intern. I’ll be honest, I barely knew what a literary agent was. But the posting had words like “reading” “writing” and “books” in it, so I was sold. After interning for Sharlene for about 9 months I took on my first client. I truly believe the entire situation was kismet. In 9 months I went from not knowing what the job was to utterly falling in love with the business. (more…)

Notes From The Slush Pile

notes from..We asked editor Andrew Wetzel to offer some insight, a summary of sorts, of the types of things he’s seeing in submissions. Here is what he had to say:

Entries have typically run between 2500 and 4500 words, but it seems like 3500-4000 has been the sweet spot for a lot of the stronger submissions. Anything longer becomes an act of diminishing returns; stories have seemed to waver as the writer tries to pull it all together past that 5000 mark.

I’ve also found that the shorter ones, the flash fiction-length (500-1500 words) entries have a harder time proving themselves. The best of them can capture a feeling, a moment in time, but with the shorter submissions I’ve read I’ve found it harder to gain purchase, so to speak. (more…)