Three contests coming up. No fees needed to enter.
The prestigious The Commonwealth Short Story Competition is open to entrants. Hurry up, because the deadline is looming: March 1. Top prize 2000 pounds.
The World Bank International Essay Competition 2011 invites essays from people between the ages 18-25 on various challenges related to youth migration.Substantial prize money. First prize is $3000. No entry fee.
The Fountainhead Essay Contest is open to contestants around the world. First prize a staggering $10,000. To enter, you have to have read Ayn Rand’s work. Click link above for details.
Almost six years ago, I stood in front of a classroom and talked to my students about the importance of community involvement. I focused on recycling efforts, boycotts, and letter-writing campaigns in the news that needed young volunteers. My kids seemed eager to get out in the world, apply what they’ve learned, and make a difference.
One of my favorite students wanted to know what I was doing to help.
Stumped for a moment, I then referred to my own stories from the late 1980s and early 1990s, regaling the class with tales of anti-apartheid, animal-rights, and other progressive campaigns. They rolled their eyes and a few yawned.
“What have you done lately?” they asked.
I mentioned my five year-old twin sons, explaining that motherhood is a full-time job. I spoke about my dedication as a high school social studies teacher and devoted wife. Then I mentioned a good book I was reading. What was I supposed to do, I wondered, spend precious free time chained to a nuclear power plant in order to impress my students?
But they were right. If I was asking them to make the world a better place, shouldn’t I practice what I was preaching?
Then it hit me. I could write. I’d had some success writing op-eds for local papers and my letters were routinely published in magazines that raised my ire. Writing was a way of contributing to my community and could be accomplished later in the evening after everyone went to bed. After discussing this idea with the hippest group of seventeen and eighteen year-olds ever assembled, I decided to start a blog and call it Out in Left Field. I envisioned the site as a humorous place, where progressive parenting and politics would meet, and fellow moms could laugh about all is fun and frustrating about our lives.
Before long, local editors and publishers took an interest. My opinions were featured in Tampa Bay newspaper articles about everything from the struggle to find acceptable food during Passover for vegetarian Jews to advice for Britney Spears when she had her second baby. I didn’t let blogging take over my life, or teaching career, but it was a great way to improve as a writer, focus my arguments to make better sense, advocate for what I believed in, and vent about the frustrations of dealing with opinionated children.
These past six years have been terrific, painful, educational, and exciting. I now have two regular humor columns that appear in The Tampa Tribune and Creative Loafing as well as magazines and sites all over the country. I have two self-published e-books, Olivia’s Kiss and Learning Curves, garnering positive reviews and a growing audience. I’ve also acquired an agent who is actively trying to sell my parenting guide: Too Bad About You – How to Raise Kids Worth a Damn.
Not bad for a part-time writer. And all because a couple of teenagers challenged me to get out there and do something.
Film maker Pan Nalin is looking for a story (doesn’t have to be screen play) that is to be the launch pad for a French-Asian actress. Should be a woman centric thriller. If you have a completed manuscript that can do the job, let me know in a private email and I will send you the contact information.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University MFA Program and Serving House Books (SHB) are looking for collection of poetry as well as a fiction manuscript between 40,000 to 75,000 words. Your prize is publication by SHB. Click here for more details.
A couple resources I found that might be of interest to writers of children’s fiction:
The Greenhouse Literary Agency represents exclusively writers of children’s books.
If you’re finding it hard to attract the attention of major publishers, small presses are an option (note: these are different from vanity publishers. Vanity publishers charge you for publishing. With mainstream publishers, you get paid by them).
I have no personal knowledge of these presses. Please investigate before you decide to go with them.
Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital-first imprint, is sponsoring the event. They are looking for books in all genres – romance, erotica, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, women’s fiction, and more.
As always, investigate every contest before you take the leap.