Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Our Winter Short Story Award for New Writers Is Open!

It is that time of year again. The days are short, the nights are cold. It is the season to spend time inside with loved ones and good stories. Our Winter Short Story Award for New Writers is open to submissions now through January 15. This is one of our most popular categories. The winner receives $3000, publication on The Masters Review site, and review from multiple agencies. The second and third place stories receive $100 and $200, respectively, publication, and agency review. This is a great opportunity for emerging writers. We have included some guidelines below, but you can find all the details here.

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12 Grants for Writers

Whether you’re an emerging or established writer, grants can be the crucial tool you use to finish a project, deep dive into research, or get a helpful leg up. Here are some grants from a range of organizations, including genre organizations, arts foundations, and national trusts.

Business Development Connection Digital Device Concept

PEN/America Heim Translation Fund Grant

The purpose of the PEN/America Heim Translation Fund Grant, which was established in 2003, is to promote the publication and reception of translated book-length world literature in English. Recipients will be awarded between $2,000 and $4,000 for the completion of a translated work. Applications are currently closed, but will open again in mid-2016. PEN/America also has a great list of other translation-related grants, awards, and residencies on their site.

The Speculative Literature Foundation 

The SLF gives several grants each year targeting traditionally underrepresented writers. The Older Writers Grant is for writers over fifty starting out in their careers (two given at $500 each); the Gulliver Travel Research Grant gives $800 for travel coverage for research; the Working Class Writers Grant gives $750 to a working class, blue-collar, poor, and/or homeless spec fic writer. Their latest two grants are the Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds, which each intend to foster diversity in speculative fiction. Currently, they are accepting applications for the Older Writers Grant—applications are accepted through March 31—but make sure to check their website for all dates and eligibility. 

*Currently accepting!


Masters Review Finalists – Million Writers Award!

Congratulations to Zachary Amendt and John Thornton Williams, whose stories Stay and Twelve in the Black were selected as two finalists for the Million Writers Award, hosted by storySouth.

The goal of the award is to honor and promote the best fiction published in online literary journals and magazines during 2014.

Please follow this link to vote for their stories. The winner will be announced in January 2016!

Short Story Award WINNER: “Hildy” by Tom Howard

Congratulations to Tom Howard and his story “Hildy,” the winner of our Short Story Award for New Writers. “Hildy” follows a brother and sister who lived through a recent epidemic and struggle to survive a newly changed world. Howard’s fresh take on a post-apocalyptic landscape and the tenderness in which he writes about Woody and Hildy as they wander the abandoned boardwalk will dazzle you.

Ferris Wheel


I’m on the pier with Hildy behind the Tilt-a-Whirl and the Himalaya, and all at once I get this feeling like the wind’s whipping over my grave. From the end of the pier you can see for miles, and the same few houses on each block are always lit, all day and all night long. It’s like a constellation you don’t know the name of, you just know it’s always there and it always looks the same. Only tonight it doesn’t look the same. There are dark patches where there never used to be dark patches, like burned-out stars in the sky.

“Hey,” says Hildy. “Woody, hey. Why’s your face look like that?”

“I’m just thinking,” I tell her.

“You’re sure you’re not gonna have a fit?”

“I’m thinking,” I say again. “Can’t I be thinking?”

“Just that you look grim, is all. Sometimes you make that face before.”

“I’m okay,” I say. I try to get back to my thinking, and remembering about the wind whipping over my grave.

“I just don’t think that’s like a normal face,” Hildy says.

“Hmm,” I say.

“It’s just an alarming level of grimness, is the thing.”

“God damn,” I say, and finally look over at her. “It’s okay to be grim sometimes, Hildy.”

She says that’s the truth, with this kind of world-weary sigh, then puts her sombrero back on. All day she’s been wearing that sombrero. Said she found it under the boardwalk. She also has on these gold-glittered sunglasses with a giant eyeball sticker on each lens.

A couple dogs are out prowling the beach in the dark, including the yellow lab Hildy tried to adopt back at the beginning of the summer.

She says, “Well, could be that you just got to poop.”

“I don’t have to poop,” I say. “Jesus, Hildy, it’s just grimness. Why can’t it just be plain old grimness?”

“It can be grimness,” she says. “You don’t gotta yell. I got these ears.”

The lab barely turns his head in our direction as he comes out of the shadows into the glow from the Tilt-a-Whirl and the Himalaya. Hildy takes off the sunglasses and stands up, and calls out: “Reggie, over here! We’re over here! Reggie! Reggie! Reggie! We’re over here! Reggie! We’re over here! Reggie! Hey! Reggie! Look over here! Reggie! Hey! Reggie!”  The whole time she’s standing and waving her arms back and forth like a crazy person. The lab gives a weary look in our direction and then moves on down the beach.

She sits down and says, “I think maybe Reggie can’t hear too good. Like he’s got ear worms maybe. You think he’s got ear worms?”

“Hildy,” I say, “his name’s not Reggie. Just because you call him that doesn’t make it his name.”

She sits back down on the edge of the pier and puts her arms around her shoulders. “I think it’s his name,” she says under her breath. She sets the sombrero down and pushes her hair out of her face, which looks sunburned and dirty and kind of weird in the glow from the Tilt-a-Whirl. She’s got leaves in her hair, too. There aren’t any leaves at the shore anywhere I can think of.

“Where’d you get those glasses anyway,” I say. I go through the backpack again to make sure everything’s still there. Just habit. Most things we keep at the Snack Shack or the house on Poplar, but some things I like to have with us all the time. Flashlight and batteries, a couple books, emergency meds, so on. A drawing Hildy did for our mom on Mother’s Day that she wanted to keep for some reason. Some pictures of the three of us, pre-Cory.

“Pier Three,” she says. “Milk jugs. ’Member?”

“Kinda.” Thinking that we’re running low on antibiotics. And clonazepam, but I already knew that.

Hildy says, “So yeah, I went back and set ’em up and explained the rules to myself. Then I was like, ‘Alright, Hildy, now take your time and whatnot. You can do it. Just concentrate.’ And I’m like—”

“You don’t gotta tell me the whole story,” I say. A heavy godforsaken silence follows. Finally I say, “Jesus, okay, you can tell me.”

“You sure?”

“I’m sure,” I say.

“Well, so then I was like, ‘Dang, I got it, you don’t gotta lecture me, we’re the same age, right?’ And so I went around and picked up the first ball and threw it, but I missed pretty bad. Like I don’t even know where that ball is anymore. But I said not to worry, I said, ‘You’re a natural, kid! You sure you’re only eleven? You sure you’re not a professional ballplayer?’ Friendly at first, but then kind of suspicious. I said, ‘You trying to pull a fast one on me, kid?’ And I’m like, ‘No, sir, I’m eleven.’ I said you’d vouch for me because you were there when I was born, even though you were only two and maybe didn’t remember me being born, because that’d be so weird? But then I was like, ‘Dang, I was just kidding, Hildy, I know you’re eleven. You go on.’ Which was mighty nice, so I said, ‘I appreciate that, sir.’ Being extra polite and whatnot, thinking maybe it would get me an extra ball?”

The dogs are gone now, slipped into the dark beyond the pier. When I look back to the south I can’t even tell which lights are missing anymore. I’m thinking maybe it’s all in my head. Maybe the lights aren’t going out just yet after all. Other than Pier One, which went dark right after we got here in May.

“I’m glad you finally knocked them down anyway,” I tell her. “Just stop saying whatnot.”

“Sorry, yeah. ’Cept I didn’t exactly knock them down, but the thing is that I felt bad for myself, standing there all sad and crazy-looking. And I said, I mean the other one of me said, I could maybe borrow one of the prizes? Just one of the small ones?” She turns the glasses over in her lap. “Guess I can take ’em back. You think I ought to?”

I remind her we should only take what we really need.

Hildy blinks down at the glasses. “Yeah I know,” she says. “Just seemed like I needed ’em.”

“Forget it,” I say. “Let’s go. We need to shut things down.”

“I wish we could just keep everything on all the time,” she says.

I tell her she always says that. Then I get to my feet. “Come on,” I say.

“All right. I’ve got to poop now anyways.”

As we leave I sneak a look back toward Pier One. The wind is picking up and the Ferris wheel’s moving on its own, which makes me unhappy. Makes me think of ghosts. Or like one weird ghost, maybe, who rides a broken Ferris wheel over and over and never says anything, never even looks at you. I think maybe that would be the worst kind of ghost. Just because he’d look so sad and lonely and terrifying at the same time. Also I hate Ferris wheels.

To read the rest of “Hildy” click, here.

Short Story Award Finalist: “Do You Believe?” by Tina Egnoski

Congratulations to Tina Egnoski and her story “Do You Believe?” which was our third runner up for the Short Story Award For New Writers, a prize that awards payment, publication, and agency review from Katherine Fausset from Curtis Brown to three stand-out stories. “Do You Believe?” follows a mother and son on the hunt for a mythical creature, while navigating a school bully and acknowledging the distance parents must keep while their children grow up.

Do You Believe?
“Do You Believe?”

We’re on our bellies, slithering commando-style through the underbrush of Graham Park. My son, Wesley, has clipped a Nerf Vortex around his torso with an old belt and double-striped his cheeks with greasepaint. Very Army grunt. I’m packing my own plastic pistol, a bright orange two-barrel that fits snugly in my palm. Our foam bullets have suction cup tips. At a time like this—hot on the haunches of the elusive beast—I should be worried about a left-flank ambush or a Blitzkrieg of claws and rabid teeth, but I’m not. We have a better chance of returning home with ticks in our ears than finding what we’re looking for.

Wesley says, “Get down, Mom. He might see you.”

I can’t resist, I say, “How much lower can I go?”

He snorts, his way of letting me know he’s well aware he drew the short straw in the mother lottery.

Our hunt, not the first and certainly not the last, was spurred by the sighting in these woods of an unidentified wild animal. A month ago, at the eastern edge of the park, where a medical building borders the woods, a group of lab workers on a cigarette break spotted a strange, four-legged creature darting among the holly and fern. One of them, a phlebotomist named Beth, described it as a hairless, nuclear rat, with outsize ears and a long tail. “The teeth were as long as fangs,” she said. “The stuff of nightmares.” When the local newspaper ran the story, Beth decided to lure the animal closer. Sliced hot dogs did the trick and she took a picture with her cell phone. The paper ran that the following day, dubbing the animal the New England Chupacabra. The picture is a blurry close-up—maybe her hand was quaking with fear—and all you see is a pair of hunched shoulders and a gnarl of bared teeth.

Since then, Wesley has bled the public library shelves of every book on the supernatural. He has scoured the Internet for sites on the unexplained. Bigfoot and Loch Ness. The Devil Bird of Sri Lanka and the Monkey-man of New Dehli. Skunk Ape, Mothman, Jackalope. At nine, he has the faith of life-long evangelist. With enough research, with a catalog of habits and habitats of similar creatures, he will be the one to discover the truth about our very own monster.

I try, I try, I try to suppress it, but I can’t. I sneeze.

Wesley stands up, unclips his belt and drops his weapon to the ground.

“Great, Mom, now you’ve ruined it.” His mouth is a vexed pucker. These days, in all my dealings with him, I leave a sour taste.

“I’m sorry, it was out of my control. Your nose says sneeze, you sneeze.”

I stand up, too, un-crimping my achy knees.

It’s late afternoon, around four, I’d say, by the angle of the autumn sun. Columns of light, hazy with ragweed pollen, flick between maple trunks. There’s a hundred acres of woods here. The animal could be anywhere. The real chupacabra—I should say, the original—is half-mammal, half-myth, first reported in Puerto Rico in the 1990s after farmers discovered dozens of sheep dead and drained of blood, puncture wounds in their skin. Since then, sightings have been reported throughout South America and Texas, as far north as Maine. Could one have made a home in our small Massachusetts town in 2013?

“Let’s call it a day,” Wesley says.

We holster our weapons.

To read the rest of this Short Story Award winner, click here.

10 Days to Submit! Short Story Award Closes on July 15

There are only ten short days left to submit to our Short Story Award, which closes on July 15. $2000, publication, and agency review from Curtis Brown. Get the details here.

SSA closes soon


Volume III Wins an INDIEFAB Award!

indiefab winner silverForeword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards, judged by a select group of librarians and booksellers from around the country, were announced this weekend at the American Library Association Annual Conference in San Francisco. The Masters Review Volume III with Stories Selected by Lev Grossman won the Silver Award for best short story collection, an incredible honor. Other winners include: Dalai Lama, Chuck Palahniuk, Zack Whedon, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Foreword’s INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards program was created to discover distinctive books from the indie publishing community across a number of genres. What sets the awards apart is that final selections are made by working librarians and booksellers based on their experience with patrons and customers.

Click here for a full list of the winners searchable by category, publisher, title, and author.

CONGRATULATIONS to our Volume III authors and guest judge! You can buy a copy of the award-winning anthology here. To learn more about our fourth volume, guest judged by Kevin Brockmeier and forthcoming this fall, click here.

One Month Left! Short Story Award for New Writers Deadline is July 15

Friends, our Short Story Award is open for submissions until July 15, which means you have just under a month to put the polish on your best piece of fiction and submit it for consideration. Details on submission guidelines can be found here. If you have a story ready, SUBMIT NOW. No preferences, just your best story under 6000 words. The winning story will receive $2000 and publication online in addition to agency review by Curtis Brown Literary. Second and third place stories will also receive agency review and will be awarded $200 and $100 respectively.

Cactus  and water pot on wood table


The Best of the Net Anthology is Live!

botnCongratulations again to Masters Review author Megan Giddings, whose story “The Brothers WHAM!” was chosen for publication alongside only six other stories for Sundress Publication’s The Best of the Net in fiction. The full list of finalists in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, culled from hundreds of participating journals, can be found here:

In his letter to readers, Editor Darren C. Demaree had this to say:

“The pieces that were nominated and included in the Best of the Net this past year were innovative, passionate, and at certain points jaw-dropping. What might have been most stirring to me were the challenges that these works undertook—gender, sexual orientation, politics, the home construct, language creation and language barriers. All of these things were approached with an ecstatic touch. There was real adrenaline in the work that I read, and even if it all wasn’t flawless, there was enough of a current that I would find myself writing pieces that answered or joined the discussion. Mine is the ultimate position for a literature fanboy, and I feel privileged I got to spend the time I did with so many new and growing voices. Last year’s work held real brilliance, and I’m excited to share what I believe to be an excellent representation of that in this year’s Best of the Net Anthology.”

Congratulations to Megan and to all the writers and journals selected!

“The Boy and The Bear” Selected For The Best Small Fictions 2015

Boy Bear_best small fictionsBig CONGRATULATIONS to Masters Review New Voices author Blake Kimzey and his story “The Boy and The Bear,” which was selected for publication in The Best Small Fictions anthology by Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Olen Butler! The collection showcases the best pieces of short fiction (1000 words or fewer) written over the last year and is produced by Queens Ferry Press. “The Boy and The Bear” can also be found in Kimzey’s chapbook Families Among Us, published by Black Lawrence Press.

Congratulations, Blake!

INDIE FAB Award Finalist

IndieFab_finalist-awardAn enormous thanks to Foreword Reviews for selecting The Masters Review Volume III with stories selected by Lev Grossman as a finalist for their INDIE FAB awards in both the anthologies and short stories categories.

The INDIE FAB awards aim to acknowledge strong writing by independent presses. It is wonderful to be considered and among such a strong group of finalists.

Their site says: “After 17 years, our awards program has become synonymous with quality because our editors set such a high bar on the finalist round, which makes it especially tough for the judges who select the winners,” said Victoria Sutherland, publisher of Foreword Reviews. “In every genre, our judges will find an interesting, high-quality selection of books culled from this year’s entries.”

Winners announce in the upcoming months.

“The Brothers Wham!” Selected for Best of The Net Anthology 2014

Brothers-What1Congratulations to Megan Giddings and her New Voices story “The Brothers Wham!” It was selected for publication and will appear in The Best of the Net Anthology 2014, a project that promotes the diverse and growing collection of stories published online.

“The Brothers Wham!” by Megan Giddings

It’s easy to assume that when people hear George Michael sing and sigh, “that’s a voice that can raise the dead,” they’re just complimenting him. It’s not a compliment. It’s true. I experienced it. His voice is an alarm clock urging all dead within hearing distance to rise.

It was a little over five years since I’d died when his voice penetrated through the soil and my casket’s lid. My bones started clanking, reforming, growing solid. The coming together shook loose the ant colony that had burrowed into the cardboard. It ejected the maggots and broke off the long-ends of my fingernails. Flesh grew back. My face became firm again and my eyelids filled out, thin and crepey. I heard the satisfying slurp of my spleen growing back crimson and full. My heart played a cadence and then returned to a steady rhythm. Rapids of blood flowed from it, making my body whole.

Read the rest of the story, here.