A multitude of congratulations to Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, class of 2018, whose young adult novel, Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything, is forthcoming in summer 2020. The publisher is Simon Pulse, an imprint of a little ol' book company named Simon & Schuster. And did we mention that her 2018 book, Tales from the House of Vasquez, won the Rattle Chapbook Prize?
UAA grad students can earn practicum credit for attending writing conferences, and fortunately three worthy conferences take place in 2019. Take advantage now of student and/or early registration discounts for these events, listed here in chronological order:
The annual AWP Conference and Bookfair, from March 27-30 in Portland, Oregon, is the country's largest gathering of scribblers. More than 12,000 writers, teachers, students, and publishers will gather in Portland and choose from among 550 panels, readings, and craft lectures. Also, the book fair is to die for. Keynote speakers and featured readers include Colson Whitehead, Tess Gallagher, Camille Dungy, Tayari Jones, Cheryl Strayed, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Lidia Yuknavitch. This year's event will be especially well-attended by Alaskans, s0 look for an announcement about a UAA-sponsored reading. Preregistration for students is $50 and ends Jan. 3.
The North Words Writers Symposium in Skagway features best-selling nonfiction writer Susan Orlean at the 10th annual gathering from May 30-June 1. MFA mentor Nancy Lord, Alaska State Writer Ernestine Hayes (a graduate and former mentor), and UAA grad and professor Don Rearden are among the faculty at this intimate event. Only 40 participants can attend, so register now to avoid the wait list.
The always-popular Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference in Homer from June 14-18 includes poet and essayist Diane Ackerman as well as a stellar faculty, including UAA mentors Erin Coughlin Hollowell, Nancy Lord, Rich Chiappone, and Ishmael Hope. Other invited writers include poet Kazim Ali, nonfiction writers B.J. Hollars and Barrie Jean Borich, and novelist Jamie Ford. In addition to daily panels, talks, and classes, participants can sign up for open mic readings, a manuscript review (fee required), and brief meetings with an agent or an editor. Discount registration is open until May 1. Conference organizers often seek UAA volunteers to lead writing circles, so let Erin or Sherry know if you're interested.
Narrative's Fall Story Contest awards $2,500 and publication for a short story, a short short story, an essay, or an excerpt from a longer work of prose. Second prize is $1,000 and publication. Deadline is Nov. 30 with a submission fee of $26. See guidelines here, and submission details for other contests and categories here.
Creative Nonfiction magazine has its origins in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, the site of the recent tragedy at the Tree of Life synagogue. In response, the magazine is offering two free webinars for anyone writing about grief, loss, and trauma. The sessions will take place Sunday, Nov. 4, and Tuesday, Nov. 8, each at 7 p.m. EST. See here for more details and to register. The magazine also seeks submissions for upcoming issues focused on Games and Memoir.
Submissions are open until Nov. 30 for the Prize for Women Playwrights. The prize is pretty darn good, too: a world premiere production of the play in November 2019, with royalties, and $500. This biennial prize is sponsored by the Kentucky Women Writers Conference.
Black Lawrence Press announces an open reading period through November during which editors will read novels, novellas, short story collections (full-length and chapbook), poetry collections (ditto), and creative nonfiction. If you have the urge to submit your novel for The Big Moose Prize, be advised there's an "early bird" special submission fee of $30 through November. Details for this and other reading periods and upcoming competitions are here.
If none of these publications suit, be sure to check Poets & Writers' database of contests, grants, and awards, several of which have November and December deadlines. So get busy.
In days of yore, literary salons gathered the artistic and the intellectual for vigorous but genteel discussions of the day's provocative ideas and creative work. Most people associate salons with France, but others trace similar traditions to Chinese women in the Hunan province and Arabic women in the pre-Islamic era. Today, the Internet offers its own version of literary salons for those seeking provocative ideas, dispatches from the world of publishing, or a few minutes spent in the company of writers and readers.
Not that you need more reasons to swan around the Internet, but if you're wasting time doing something other than writing, then you might as well read about writing. A few sites worth exploring when you need a literary fix:
Everybody needs a little artistic nudge sometimes. When the blank page is accusingly blank, check out this collection of writing prompts for poets, creative nonfiction writers, and fiction writers, courtesy of Poets & Writers magazine.
For those of you writing genre fiction (science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, or mystery), The Writers' Academy offers a ginormous list of "short story ideas you can use and add to" from around the globe. This one sounds suspiciously like a thesis colloquium: "You awake in a still battlefield, under a pile of bodies, blind in one eye. You recall fighting; nothing else."
The New York Times has created a list of 500--wait, make that 650--writing prompts for narrative and personal writing.
National Poetry Month is over, but here are 30 writing prompts with no expiration dates, courtesy of Washington poet Kelly Russell Agodon. She is also the co-author of The Daily Poet: Day-by-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice.
Now go forth and be brilliant.
Dedicated to anyone who's uttered a primal scream while trying to apply MLA style to a thesis two days before deadline
How to Cite Criticisms of Your Professors Using the MLA Handbook, Eighth Edition
by Molly Collins
McSweeney's Internet Tendency
WARNING: This article includes appropriately inappropriate language.
Nonfiction writer Matt Komatsu, Class of 2017, recently joined the roster of the some of the world's most celebrated and talented writers with the recent publication of his essay "The Buried Stone" in The Paris Review. The essay describes his visit to a tsunami ishi, or “tsunami stone,” in the Japanese village of Yoshihama. The boulder serves as warning and memorial to a series of devastating tsunamis over the centuries, most recently in 2011. Matt's guide was 89-year-old Hanōkizawa, who shared the village's experiences with tsunamis and his own.
The risk of collective memory, unmoored—this is what I see in the barren surroundings of the Yoshihama stone. For if there is a surety, it is this: the tsunami will return.
It's a lovely little essay well worth your time. It also means that those of us who know Matt can entertain ourselves with a literary version of "Six Degrees of Separation."
Carve Magazine has opened its Prose & Poetry contest from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15. The prize in each genre is $1,000 and publication in the April issue. Note the entry fee of $17.
Hurry! The Missouri Review has extended the deadline for the Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize until Oct. 15. Clearly they are waiting for your piece. The prize is $5,000 per genre in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Entry fee is $25. Details here.
New Millenium Writings also sponsors a writing contest for all genres, open through November 30. Submit your best work and $20 here.
Superstition Review, an online literary journal published by Arizona State University, seeks poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art submissions this month, too. Deadline is November 5. See guidelines here.
Creative Nonfiction magazine is accepting essays through Nov. 19 about "the role of games and play in our everyday lives" for a special issue, and through Feb. 25 for an issue dedicated to memoir. Information about these calls for submissions and others is posted here.
Finding good places to submit your poems, short stories, and essays can sometimes seem like more work than writing them in the first place. Fortunately, a few sites aggregate links to publications and other writing opportunities. Good places to begin include:
This unofficial site is part of the Low-Residency MFA program at the University of Alaska Anchorage. It is not officially sanctioned by any officials at the official UAA campus.
David Stevenson, Director
Fiction & Nonfiction
Fiction & Nonfiction
Erin Coughlin Hollowell
Fiction & Nonfiction
Fiction & Nonfiction
Department of Creative Writing and Literary Arts
University of Alaska Anchorage
UAA Graduate School
Alaskan Writers Directory
Advice for Writers
Ten Words You Need
to Stop Misspelling
The American Scholar
With your jokes, links,