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Welcome to Our November Newsletter

Judy Juanita

We found nearly FIVE DOZEN quality free poetry and prose contests with deadlines between November 15-December 31.
View Free Contests
In this issue: Julian Peters presents "La Chanson de Jean Berger" with translation.

It gives us great pleasure to announce that Judy Juanita has agreed to be the final judge of our 25th annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest. Her collection of essays, De Facto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland (EquiDistance Press, 2016), was a distinguished finalist in OSU's 2016 Non/Fiction Collection Prize. Crab Orchard Review's Allison Joseph said Juanita's fiction "should be required reading for anyone studying the vicissitudes of recent American history." Juanita's debut novel Virgin Soul was published by Viking in 2013. She will be assisted by Lauren Singer. Enter the contest any time between now and April 30.

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Recent Honors and Publication Credits for Our Subscribers

Congratulations to Suellen Wedmore, Lisa A. Koosis, Maggie Koger, James K. Zimmerman, R. Bremner, Annie Dawid, Norbert Hirschhorn, and B.S. Murthy.

Thelma T. Reyna's publishing company, Golden Foothills Press, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support their mission of publishing multicultural literature.

Congratulations to Judy Juanita, our incoming fiction & essay contest judge. Her essay collection, De Facto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland, was published this month by EquiDistance Press. This book examines the intersectionality of race, gender, politics, economics, and spirituality as experienced by a black activist and self-described "feminist foot soldier". Her first reading from the book will take place on Saturday, December 10, 2:30 p.m. Pacific time at the Oakland Public Library Main Branch, 125 14th Street, Oakland, CA.

Learn about our subscribers' achievements and see links to samples of their work.

Have news? Please email it to

The Two Sylvias Press Advent Calendar is filled with surprise prompts to help you write 31 new poems in December

Our online virtual Advent Calendar is easy to use—simply click on the calendar date and a prompt appears. Each prompt is no more than three sentences in length, guiding you with ideas and suggestions for a new poem.

Sample Prompt Once you open a prompt, it remains accessible, so no problem if you skip a day or two—the prompts will be waiting for you. The calendar and all of the prompts will be available through the month of January.

You will receive an access code for the Advent Calendar's web page at the end of November. Your daily surprise prompts will be ready for you to click on December 1.

And, you can give our Advent Calendar as a gift. See our website for more details at

Creative Nonfiction Seeks Essays on "The Dialogue Between Science & Religion"

Deadline: December 12. Science and religion, despite their rich, interwoven history, are too often portrayed as opposites in nearly every way. As part of a larger effort to facilitate dialogue between these two ways of knowing the world, Creative Nonfiction and Issues in Science & Technology magazines are seeking original narratives illustrating and exploring the relationships, tensions, and harmonies between science and religion—the ways these two forces productively challenge each other as well as the ways in which they can work together and strengthen one another.

We welcome personal stories of scientists, religious figures, or (just as important) everyday people seeking to explore or reconcile their own spiritual and scientific beliefs. We also welcome research-based narratives about historical moments in scientific and/or religious discovery; stories by or about contemporary scientists wrestling with the ethical quandaries their work entails; or essays by religious, legal, humanistic, or other experts who have encountered interesting and revealing instances of science-religion dialogue and harmonies.

Above all, we are looking for narratives—true stories, rich with scene, character, detail, and a distinctive voice—that provide a nuanced, thoughtful consideration of the complex interplay and unexplored interdependencies and synergies between science and religion.

Submissions must be 5,000 words or fewer.

$10,000 for best essay; $5,000 for runner-up.

Guidelines at

Creative Nonfiction

The Fountain Essay Contest 2016: I Am an Immigrant

Deadline: December 31
Word count max 2,500. Awards $2,100 in total. Guidelines at

Today, there are more than 65 million people who have had to leave their homes—either as refugees, asylum seekers, or to be displaced in their own countries. This is the highest figure than at any point in human history.

In the context of this current moment in history, The Fountain's 2016 Essay Contest invites you to consider the issues facing today's immigrants. Are you an immigrant, too? Were your parents or grandparents immigrants? Are we all immigrants in this world? How do immigrants contribute to your society? What problems arise with the newcomers? How would you help immigrants thrive?

We're excited to hear your answers to one of the most pressing problems facing our world. Enter online.

Creative Nonfiction Seeks Essays on "Adaptation"

Deadline: January 9, 2017. For the summer 2017 issue, Creative Nonfiction magazine is seeking submissions for a special issue devoted to the theme of "adaptation"—original essays illuminating the ways in which the need to keep up with a rapidly-changing world drives the work of scientists, designers, thinkers, innovators, farmers, soldiers, medical professionals, teachers, and others and affects the lives of prisoners, patients, refugees, students, travelers, and other citizens. As the world changes, so, too, do humans—whether in our approach to building things, developing new technologies (and adapting to the ways those technologies change our society), learning how to eat different kinds of foods, or learning how to dress differently. And of course adaptation is hardly limited to humanity; numerous other species—everything from viruses to plants and animals—have had to adapt to rapid changes in both global and local habitats.

The special issue of Creative Nonfiction will feature new nonfiction narratives by and/or about professionals whose work helps humans adapt to a changing world. The issue may also feature original work focusing on other, less concrete types of adaptation—for example, how changing demographics affect the development of new technologies; the personal and/or social impacts of shifting attitudes towards gender and sexuality; and the implications and possibilities of new types of media.

We welcome personal stories as well as profiles, and we're open to a very wide range of experiences and circumstances. Above all, we are looking for narratives—true stories, rich with scene, character, detail, and a distinctive voice—that offer unique insight into the theme.

Submissions must be 4,000 words or fewer.

$3,500 for best essay.

Guidelines at

Creative Nonfiction

Prosperity by Jenna Leigh Evans, a North Street Book Prize winner

Prosperity by Jenna Leigh Evans

"Prosperity combines speculative fiction, political protest, and dark humor, in the tradition of George Saunders and Kurt Vonnegut…one of the most original and ambitious books we read this year."
~ Jendi Reiter, judge, North Street Book Prize sponsored by Winning Writers

What readers are saying on Amazon and Goodreads:

  • "…A prescient, scary page-turner…it's also, surprisingly, laugh-out-loud funny in places, as well as suspenseful."
  • "Clever, quotable and thought-provoking…I wish it was a series I could binge watch for weeks on end!!"
  • "…Rarely is a book with a political conscience this warm-hearted, funny, and smart."
  • "…A great mix-up of Beckett and Thelma and Louise."
  • "It reminded me of Kafka on an acid trip."
  • "Exciting, excellent read!"

Buy Prosperity on Amazon.

Two Natures Shortlisted for Book Awards

Two Natures

Two Natures by Jendi Reiter was recently shortlisted for two book awards. It is currently a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book Competition and an Honorable Mention winner in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. Final results of both contests will appear in December.

In her 5-star Amazon review of Two Natures, Rainbow Awards sponsor Elisa Rolle called it "super fantastic" and said "Jendi has built a great world within these pages. It is heart-breaking and yet satisfying in the end. It is a well-done, well-written book, one that will leave you wanting more out of it. The protagonists, as well as all the people involved within the pages, are quite likable and the reader is simply involved as part of the story."

Buy Two Natures at Amazon.

C. Hope Clark: Murder on Edisto

Book One in the Edisto Island Mystery Series by C. Hope Clark

Her husband murdered by the Russian mob, Boston detective Callie Jean Morgan relinquishes her badge to return to the family vacation home in South Carolina. But the day they arrive on Edisto Beach, Callie finds her childhood mentor murdered. Her fragile sanity is threatened when the murderer taunts her and repeatedly violates what was to be her sanctuary home. Callie loses her fight to walk away from law enforcement as she becomes the only person able to pursue the culprit who's turned the coastal paradise into a paranoid patch of sand where nobody's safe. But what will it cost her?

"Undeniably addictive, this is a book you won't want to put down. Replete with well-drawn characters, this is a read that won't disappoint as Clark's penchant for rapid-fire prose grabs you by the scruff of the neck and refuses to let go."Rachel Gladstone, Dish Magazine

Buy Murder on Edisto now at Amazon.

Spotlight Contests

Some contests are best suited to writers at the early stages of their careers. Others are better for writers with numerous prizes and publications to their credit. Here is this month's selection of Spotlight Contests for your consideration:

Emerging Writers
Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers. High school sophomores and juniors throughout the world are invited to submit one poem. Prize is tuition to The Kenyon Review's two-week summer seminar for writers aged 16-18; winner and runners-up also published in the highly prestigious journal. Due November 30.

Intermediate Writers
UNT Rilke Prize. The University of North Texas will award $10,000 for a published book by a mid-career poet. Prize includes travel expenses for readings at UNT in April of the following year. Entrants must have published at least two previous books of poetry (excluding chapbooks) and be US citizens or legal residents. Due November 30.

Advanced Writers
Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. The Cleveland Foundation will make at least two awards of $10,000 each: one for a book of fiction or poetry, the other for a book of nonfiction. This award honors books that have made important contributions to the understanding of racism or the appreciation of cultural diversity. Due December 31.

See more Spotlight Contests for emerging, intermediate, and advanced writers within The Best Free Literary Contests database.

Search for Contests

Calls for Submissions

PSA: Introducing the New ProLiteracy Education Network

The ProLiteracy Education Network is a comprehensive collection of online courses and resources for adult literacy and ESOL instructors, program staff, trainers, and adult learners.

  • The network helps instructors learn new techniques and strategies for teaching reading, writing, math, citizenship, and basic life skills.
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  • It offers trainers online courses and other resources they can incorporate into their pre-service and in-service tutor training.
  • And finally it offers students online resources and resources they can print out that help them practice and strengthen the literacy skills they are developing in their local program.

Learn more at ProLiteracy.

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Julian Peters: "La Chanson de Jean Berger"

An adaptation of a song written in 1709 by Montreal painter, money forger, and jailbird Jean Berger (1681-?). Jean Berger was suspected of being involved in the beating of Saint-Olive, the town apothecary, and of providing the two assailants with clubs and disguises. For authoring this little ditty, which mocked the judicial authorities of the fledgling city for their handling of the case, Berger was condemned to be pilloried in the town square, but he broke out of his prison cell before the sentence could be carried out.

Jean Berger's Song

Gather round, young and old,
People of Ville-Marie [Montreal],
We shall now recite
This pretty song
Which we have written in this tone
The better to entertain you.

On St. Mathias' Day,
The unfortunate Saint-Olive,
While passing in front of the hospital, ran into
Two unknown ruffians
Each of whom, with his club,
Set him dancing very much in spite of himself.

At each blow he received
This monstrous fellow
Cried out, "Messieurs, spare me
For it is very cold
And I beg your pardon,
Messieurs, have mercy on me."

After he had been well clubbed,
They left him on the ground
And with great difficulty he made it
Back home, in a great fury,
Crying out in a pitiable tone,
"They've smashed my back to bits."

He immediately sent out
For the justices of the peace,
Giving out money by the fistful
To ensure they be punished.
These gentlemen declared without further ado:
"In prison they will go!"

The next day, bright and early,
One could witness the foolish actions
Of the judicial officers, pen in hand,
Making applications,
Issuing summons
To people who were in their beds.

Right away all of the summoned
make their way to the hearing.
There they are interrogated
On their good conscience:
"We were all in our homes
While that weakling was being beaten."

Those who will have profited the most
From this pleasant affair,
The honourable judges and clerks,
The judicial officers and the notaries,
Will all go drinking at Lafont's,
And have a good laugh at his [Saint-Olive's] expense.

As for you, my poor Dauphinois [Saint-Olive was from Dauphiné in France],
How I pity your sorry state,
To have allowed yourself to be clubbed
Without discovering the culprits.
It will cost you a great deal of coin,
Not to mention all the pain you may be suffering.

As for myself, I declare and conclude
That, if you want my opinion,
Having not contented himself with being beaten,
He should pay the fine
For making false accusations,
All of which will teach him not to lie.

Reprinted by kind permission of Julian Peters. Visit Julian Peters Comics to learn more.

The Last Word

What Country Is This?
This morning in the bluest of blue states, I took courage from the survival of queer, Jewish, and African-American people through hundreds of years of oppression. I remembered growing up in the 1980s with the constant fear that President Reagan would push the red button and destroy the planet in a nuclear war. I was inspired by the memoirs I am reading this winter for the Winning Writers self-published book contest, about Jews who escaped Nazi Germany and African-Americans who migrated north in the Jim Crow era to seek equal opportunity. And I re-committed myself to upholding the humanity of all people through my work as a writer and publisher.

[read more]

Jendi Reiter is the editor of Winning Writers. Follow her on Twitter at @JendiReiter.

Jendi Reiter
One of the 101 Best Websites for Writers (Writer's Digest)