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Vote for Kali!!
Marilisa Jimenez-Garcia, research associate at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, CUNY, graduated from the University of Florida with a PhD in English, specializing in American literature/studies, nationalism, and children’s and young adult literature. Marilisa is also a National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) Cultivating New Voices Among Scholar of Color Fellow. She is currently working on a manuscript on U.S. Empire, Puerto Rico, and American children’s culture. She is the recipient of the Puerto Rican Studies Association Dissertation Award 2012 and the University of Florida’s Dolores Auzenne Dissertation Award. Her scholarly work appears in publications such as Changing English: Studies in Culture and Education and CENTRO Journal. She has also published reviews in International Research in Children’s Literature and Latino Studies.
How might the legacy of the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library speak to recent ‘human events’? 2014 was a landmark year with regard to discussions of race, diversity, and young people of color in American society. A game-changing year in which much of the rhetoric of multiculturalism we often use when preparing our young citizens unraveled. Indeed, by summer 2014, events had sparked a campaign by educators looking for new approaches and resources on how to discuss race in the classroom (Marcia Chatelain, “Ferguson Syllabus”). Those of us focused on the narrative and social literacy of young people seem at a place of no return—a place where we must admit that equality is not so in the Promised Land.(1)
As an American literature and childhood studies researcher, I was not surprised that 2014’s list of recurring headlines, including court rulings, protests, and policing, also contained debates about children’s books. What young people read, and the worlds, norms, histories, and people therein, have always mattered in the U.S. Children’s reading materials (e.g. fiction, history, and textbooks) have always been at the forefront of the “culture wars,” particularly after the Cold War. Ethical pleas for kid lit diversity are also nothing new. The start of Pura Belpré’s NYPL career in the 1920s is actually marked by a question similar to Walter Dean Myer’s op-ed in New York Times: “Where are the people of color in children’s books?” In Belpré’s case, she wanted to represent what she saw as the history and heritage of the Puerto Rican child. She began writing her own books as result of finding Puerto Rican culture absent from the shelves. However, considering the contributions by people of color to children’s literature over the last 90 years or so including Belpré, and numerous studies on the lack of representation, we find that calls for kid lit diversity consistently fail. (For further information see Nancy Larrick’s study “The All White World of Children’s Literature” The Saturday Review, September 11, 1965 and also work by the Council for Interracial Children’s Books). Post-2014, what is remarkable about our current moment is the amount of mainstream and field-wide attention the diversity issue has garnered. It also remains to be seen how the incorporation of We Need Diverse Books will impact the literary world.
Conversation instead of compartmentalization. People of color including librarians and storytellers such as Pura Belpré and Augusta Baker were active (1920s and 1930s) when American children’s literature was advancing as a field with its own set of publishers, librarians, and prizes. The African American and Puerto Rican community have a longstanding tradition of employing children’s literature as a vehicle for imagination, cultural pride, and social consciousness.(2) Yet, systemically, people of color are left out of the conversation when it comes to accessing the breadth of children’s literature as an American tradition. Diversity should be understood as a conversation, rather than as a system of containing U.S. populations as compartments (with respective histories, literature, and cultural iconography) that never converge. A compartmentalized view hinders our ability to envision people of color as participants in the imagined landscapes of American history and culture—past, present, and future. Even our prizing system, including the Belpré Medal, tends to follow this logic of best Latino children’s literature, best African American children’s literature, but when it comes to best American children’s literature, people of color have historically fared in the single digits. Prizes such as the Belpré foster cultural pride, solidarity, and a market for Latino authors, yet they also continue the logic of compartmentalization.
Relevant instead of relatable. Belpré’s stories were based on folklore which some Latino/a children might find familiar. But, Belpré’s books are also artistic fiction. In other words, they are just stories to be enjoyed by whoever might enjoy them. As a teacher, I had to check my use of the term “relatable” when discussing literature with young people. Once we were reading The Outsiders (1967) and Nicholasa Mohr’s Nilda (1973) as means of comparing how young people grow up and encounter violence. I always remember one student closing her copy of Nilda, saying, “This is about culture, not about teens. I couldn’t really relate.” I was puzzled seeing that key characters in both books were adolescents. Certainly, when a Latino/a author writes about Latino/a characters, the story is shaped by Latino/a culture—which also varies in terms of racial, regional, gender, and national identity. But, the same is true for any author. Oliver Twist is a mainstream story, but it is also a commentary on 19th century childhood—a celebrated time for some who could afford it—and the conditions for poor, orphaned youth. Stories are always about culture. Yet, what we catalogue as “foreign” or “other” tells us more about ourselves than about the stories we read.
Imperfect characters instead of superheroes. When it comes to young readers, we have a tendency to want to simplify things that we adults even have a hard time understanding. Clearly, cognition is an issue. But our desire to create clear-cut heroes and villains in American history, or any history for that matter, will fail at best. Parents and teachers often battle for the representation of marginalized groups in textbooks. But, they rarely argue over whether or not America is an exceptional nation (Zimmerman).(3) Our approach to teaching and systemizing a heritage of American children’s literature should emphasize that this is a great nation shaped by imperfect people, whether dominant or marginalized. It’s complicated. Those we might see as heroes don’t always win or dominate “the bad guys.” In Belpré’s folklore, she often underlined this sense of imperfection. For example, she showed that even though the Tainos had beautiful values and bravery, they didn’t win every battle against the Spaniards (Once in Puerto Rico, 1977). Even the Medal named in her honor symbolizes this sense of complicated, converging histories in its use of the term “Latino/a.” This one term—which some even within our communities cannot agree upon—stands for those who represent multiple nations, histories, languages, and races. It’s not a perfect term. Nor, as my father always tells me, is this a perfect world. Sooner or later, our young people are going to learn that apart from any storybook or textbook. The pressure to present a perfect America often means that we erase the voices of the marginalized.
Here are some practical ways these principles might play out in the classroom:
For further reading:
Pura Belpré Lights the Storyteller’s Candle: Reframing the Legacy of a Legend and What it Means for the Fields of Latino/a Studies and Children’s Literature by Marilisa Jiménez-García in CENTRO Journal.
The Kenneth and Geraldine Gell Poetry Prize is awarded annually by Writers & Books for an outstanding unpublished book-length collection of poetry. The poet will receive an honorarium of $1000, publication of the collection (in paperback, in the fall following the award, with Big Pencil Press), and a one-week fellowship at the Gell Center of the Finger Lakes. This year, the final judge will be Cornelius Eady.
Eligibility: Open to poets who are citizens or legal residents of the United States, are at least 18 years of age, and are not employees or relatives of employees of Writers & Books, Inc.
• Manuscripts must be postmarked December 1, to January 31, 2015. Any manuscripts mailed outside of that period cannot be accepted.
• Manuscripts cannot be accepted by email.
• Submit a book-length manuscript of poems (no illustrations), 50 to 100 pages in length.
• Download the entry form from www.wab.org, fill it out, and attach it to your manuscript. To receive an entry form by mail, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Writers & Books at the address below.
• Manuscripts must be the author’s own original work. No translations, please.
• Include an entry fee of $25 (non-refundable) by check or money order payable to Writers & Books. If you send more than one manuscript, each must be accompanied by a separate entry form and a separate check.
• As work will be judged anonymously, each manuscript must include two cover pages. The first must have the book’s title, author’s name, and all the author’s contact information. The second must have the book title only, with no author’s name and no contact information. Do not include a bio note, or any other feature that might include the author’s real name or pen name.
• Format: Use regular white 8 ½ X 11” paper, black ink, with font of 11- or 12- points. One poem per page. Absolutely no handwritten manuscripts will be accepted.
• You must notify Writers & Books immediately by phone or by mail if your manuscript wins another competition, or is accepted for publication elsewhere.
• Poems in your manuscript may have been published in magazines, journals, on line, in anthologies, or in a chapbook. But the manuscript as a whole must be unpublished as a single book. Previously self-published books are not eligible.
• Winner will be notified not later than April 7, 2015.
• Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard if you want to be assured that the manuscript has been received.
• Include a self-addressed, stamped No. 10 business envelope if you want to receive contest winner notification.
• Once a book has been sent, do not send changes or new pages for insertion. If your manuscript wins, you will have a chance to make changes before publication.
• Manuscripts will not be returned; do not send postage stamps or mailer for the return of a manuscript.
• The foregoing information is the complete listed guidelines. Do not call Writers & Books for further information.
Send manuscript, check, and entry form to:
Writers & Books
740 University Ave.,
Rochester, NY 14607
CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY POETRY CENTER BOOK CONTESTS
Here is the first newsletter for Crystal Pen Publishing, the new publishing name for my Kindle books. Hope you like it! Please give me some feedback about what you would like to see in the next issue!Add a Comment
The big New Year's event in the childlit blogosphere is the announcement of the Cybils Award finalists. I have two New England SCBWI colleagues on the Nonfiction for Elementary & Middle Grades list, Melissa Stewart and Loree Griffin Burnes. One of the books I read during my Cybils reading binge, The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern, made the Middle Grade Fiction list.
Congratulations to all the nominees and finalists. The winners will be announced Valentine's Day.
Zac’s Destiny, winner of The Book Awards for a Kindle title 2014!
Available on Kindle from Amazon worldwide.
Caution: Witch in Progress, The Book Awards runner-up for printed book of the year and gaining highest number of votes for a fiction title 2014!Add a Comment
The Journal's Non/Fiction Collection Prize
The Ohio State University Press, The OSU MFA Program in Creative Writing, and The Journal are happy to announce that we are now accepting submissions for our annual Non/Fiction Collection Prize (formerly The Short Fiction Prize)! Submit unpublished book-length manuscripts of short prose.
Each year, The Journal selects one manuscript for publication by The Ohio State University Press. In addition to publication under a standard book contract, the winning author receives a cash prize of $1,500.
We will be accepting submissions for the prize from now until February 14th. Further information about the prize is below. Best of luck!
Entries of original prose must be between 150-350 double-spaced pages in 12-point font. All submissions must include a $20.00 nonrefundable handling fee.
Submit an unpublished manuscript of short stories or essays; two or more novellas or novella-length essays; a combination of one or more novellas/novella-length essays and short stories/essays; a combination of stories and essays. Novellas or novella-length nonfiction are only accepted as part of a larger work.
All manuscripts will be judged anonymously. The author's name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript.
Prior publication of your manuscript as a whole in any format (including electronic or self-published) makes it ineligible. Individual stories, novellas or essays that have been previously published may be included in the manuscript, but these must be identified in the acknowledgments page. Translations are not eligible.
Authors may submit more than one manuscript to the competition as long as one manuscript or a portion thereof does not duplicate material submitted in another manuscript and a separate entry fee is paid. If a manuscript is accepted for publication elsewhere, it must be withdrawn from consideration.
The Ohio State University employees, former employees, current OSU MFA students, and those who have been OSU MFA students within the last ten years are not eligible for the award.
See the full guidelines and a list of past winners here.
Submit online through Submittable.
The 2015 San Francisco Book Festival has issued a call for entries to its annual program celebrating the best books of the spring.
The San Francisco Book Festival will consider non-fiction, fiction, biography/autobiography, children's books, compilations/anthologies, young adult, how-to, cookbooks, science fiction, business, history, wild card, gay, photography/art, poetry, unpublished, technology and spiritual/religious works. There is no date of publication restriction.
Grand prize for the 2015 San Francisco Book Festival winner is $1500 cash appearance fee and a flight to San Francisco for our gala awards ceremony on May, 2015. Exact date TBD.
Submitted works will be judged by a panel of industry experts using the following criteria: 1) General excellence and the author's passion for telling a good story. 2) The potential of the work to reach a wider audience.
Deadline submissions in each category must be received by the close of business on April 25, 2015. Winners in each category will be notified by e-mail and on the web site.
Read more at our website.
Writers, use some of your free time this holiday season to give us the gift of reading and considering your work! Prairie Schooner is always on the lookout for poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews. Click here to visit our Submittable page.
The Prairie Schooner blog is currently looking for special submissions on the theme of Women and the Global Imagination to be featured online in January and February. Deadline for submissions is January 15. Click here for more info.
Finally, if you've been working on a fiction or poetry manuscript, get it ready, because the Prairie Schooner Book Prize begins accepting submissions on January 15, 2015. Winners receive $3,000 and publication through the University of Nebraska Press. Click here for all the details.
Great News! Zac’s Destiny won the online People’s Book Awards for the month of October 2014! Thank you so much to everyone who voted.
This award winning Sword & Sorcery fantasy is available to purchase from Amazon worldwide.
The Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize (formerly the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize) is a collaboration between Persea Books and The Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Project. This annual competition sponsors the publication of a poetry collection by an American woman poet who has yet to publish a full-length book of poems. The winner receives an advance of $1,000.00 and publication of her collection by Persea.
In addition, the winner receives the option of an all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center, a renowned artists retreat housed in a fifteenth-century castle in Umbertide, Italy.
Submission and Eligibility Guidelines:
• Entrants must be women with American citizenship.
• Submitted manuscripts should include two title pages: one containing the author's name, the author's contact information, and the title of the collection; and another containing only the title of the collection.
• Submitted manuscripts should be at least 40 pages. They should be paginated, with the title of the collection included on each page as a header or footer, and fastened with a clip. Please do not staple or permanently bind submissions.
• Submissions may include a page of publication credits. However, they should not include other sorts of acknowledgments, thank-yous, or dedications.
• Submissions must be primarily in English to be considered. Translations are not accepted.
• For the purposes of this contest, a previously published full-length book is defined as a volume of at least 40 pages in an edition of 500 or more copies that has been made readily available through trade distribution (i.e. local and/or on-line booksellers, including Amazon.com). Any woman who has published a book that meets these criteria is ineligible.
• Simultaneous submissions are accepted. Please contact us immediately if you must withdraw your manuscript(s) from consideration.
• Submissions must be postmarked between September 1st and October 31st (or the first weekday thereafter if October 31st falls on a Sunday). They should be sent to:
The Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize, c/o Persea Books
PO Box 1388
Columbia, MO 65205
and should include a check (in U.S. funds) in the amount of $25.00, made payable to the order of The Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Project. Please do not send submissions to Persea’s New York City office.
• Entry fees are nonrefundable.
• Submissions should be sent via USPS First Class, Priority, or Express mail. We reserve the right to disqualify submissions sent by other methods (e.g. USPS Media Mail) should they reach us after the postmark deadline.
The winner is chosen by an anonymous selection committee and announced on Persea's web site in January. Submitted manuscripts will not be returned.
2014 Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize, Black Balloon's annual award of $5000 and a book deal for an outstanding fiction manuscript.
We are accepting submissions October 1st - 31st, 2014, and we are hoping you and your department colleagues will share news of this prize with your faculty, students, alumni, and social media communities. There's no reading fee to submit, and any previously unpublished, original, and completed fiction manuscript over 50,000 words in length is eligible. There isn't another prize like this awarded by an independent publisher, and we are proud to help talented writers find their readership!
Next month, Black Balloon will publish Fat Man and Little Boy, the novel by Mike Meginnis that won the 2013 Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize. The book has already received great early buzz, with The Sisters Brothers author Patrick deWitt calling the novel “beguiling, strange, and strangely lovely,” Publishers Weekly proclaiming it "imaginative...both surprising and incisive," and the Brooklyn Book Festival naming Meginnis one of "the year's most impressive debut novelists."
Details at our website.
2015 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction
Awarded to an outstanding, unpublished collection of short fiction.
Reading Fee: $30
Award: Publication of winning short story collection, $1,000 cash advance, travel expenses and lodging for a special reading and book signing party at Press 53 headquarters Winston-Salem, North Carolina, attendance to the 2015 Press 53/Prime Number Magazine Gathering of Writers, and ten copies of the book.
Enter: September 1–December 31, 2014; finalists announced March 1, 2015; winner announced on May 3, 2015 (National Press 53 Day). Complete details at our website.
New Rivers Press Many Voices Project Prize for Prose and Poetry
New Rivers Press is now taking submissions for our Many Voices Project Prize for PROSE and POETRY. Deadline November 1, 2014. Each winner (one for prose, one for poetry) will win $1000, a standard book contract, national distribution, and complimentary copies. This year's finalist judges are Naomi Shihab Nye for poetry and Alan Davis for prose. Recent judges include John Dufresne, Leif Enger, Richard Hoffman, Tim Seibles, Debra Marquart, and Elizabeth Searle.
The Many Voices Project is our distinguished annual competition (since 1981) to find new and emerging writers. (An emerging writer has not published more than two books of creative writing with a commercial, university, or national small press.)
The submission period for the 2014 MVP competition, a search for book-length unpublished manuscripts by new or emerging writers, is Sept. 15 - Nov. 1, 2014. The prize is open to anyone writing in English. There is a $25 entry fee. The winning titles will be published in fall 2016 by New Rivers Press.
Online submissions are being accepted now at our submissions portal.
To send your manuscript by regular mail, please visit our website for guidelines.
Zac’s Destiny, my Sword & Sorcery fantasy, has been entered into an award for Kindle books! I would be eternally grateful if any of you could offer your votes? Thanks so much if you can.
No need to sign in or give any details. Just click on the number of stars you think my book deserves to vote!Add a Comment
The Department of English at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and GRASSROOTS,SIUC's undergraduate literary magazine, are pleased to announce the 2015 Devil's Kitchen Reading Awards.
One book of poetry (book-length work or single-author collection of poems), one book of fiction (novel, novella, or single-author short fiction collection) and one book of prose nonfiction (literary nonfiction, memoir, or single-author essay collection) will be selected from submissions of single-author titles published in 2014, and the winning authors will receive an honorarium of $1000.00 and will present a public reading and participate in panels at the Devil's Kitchen Fall Literary Festival at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois.
The dates for the 2015 festival will be October 21-23, 2015. Travel and accommodations will be provided for the three winners.
Entries may be submitted by either author or publisher, and must include a copy of the book, a cover letter, a brief biography of the author including previous publications, and a $20.00 entry fee made out to "SIUC - Dept. of English." Entrants wishing to submit entry fees electronically should e-mail a request to:
grassrootsmagATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )
and they will be sent a link to pay by PayPal or credit card.
Entries must be postmarked December 1, 2014 - February 2, 2015. Materials postmarked after February 1 will be returned unopened. Because we cannot guarantee their return, all entries will become the property of the SIUC Department of English. Entrants wishing acknowledgment of receipt of materials must include a self-addressed stamped postcard.
Judges will come from the faculty of SIUC's MFA Program in Creative Writing and the award winners will be selected by the staff of GRASSROOTS. The winners will be notified in May 2015. All entrants will be notified of the results by e-mail in June 2015.
The three awards are open to single-author titles published in 2014 by independent, university, or commercial publishers. The winners must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and must agree to attend and participate in the 2015 Devil's Kitchen Fall Literary Festival (October 21-23, 2015) to receive the award. Entries from vanity presses and self-published books are not eligible. Current students and employees at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and authors published by Southern Illinois University Press are not eligible.
The Waywiser Press is now accepting first and second book manuscripts for the tenth annual Anthony Hecht Poetry prize. The winning manuscript will be honored with £1750 or $3000, publication by Waywiser in both the UK and USA, and a reading with the judge at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.
Past judges include Richard Wilbur, Mary Jo Salter, Charles Simic, and Heather McHugh.
For submission details, visit our website.
The deadline is December 1, 2014.
Contest for Fiction, Poetry, and Cross-Genre Manuscripts
The deadline for the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prizes is 30 November 2014.
This year two manuscripts will be chosen, rather than one. In addition to publication, each author will receive $1000 ($500 cash, $500 book-tour expenses) plus 25 copies.
Books will be published in Spring 2016, in time for AWP Los Angeles. Submission fees are sliding scale, $20-30, and each entrant is eligible to receive a free TS book from our catalogue in return for an SASE.
Individual works in manuscript submissions are also automatically considered for publication in Tarpaulin Sky Literary Journal.
Founded in 2002 as an online magazine, Tarpaulin Sky Press began publishing books in 2006, focusing on cross-genre / trans-genre / hybrid forms as well as innovative poetry and prose. Although known for their staunch refusal to fit neatly into genre conventions, Tarpaulin Sky Press titles are nonetheless reviewed positively in a wide variety of popular venues, including After Ellen, Huffington Post, The Nation, NPR Books, Publishers Weekly, Time Out New York, and VICE, as well as in small-press venues such as American Book Review, Bloomsbury Review, Bookslut, HTML Giant, Hyperallergic, Iowa Review, Review of Contemporary Fiction, The Rumpus, and TriQuarterly.
Please see the 2015 Book Prizes guidelines page for full details.
Great News! Zac’s Destiny won the online People’s Book Awards for the month of October 2014! Thank you so much to everyone who voted.
This award winning Sword & Sorcery fantasy is available to purchase from Amazon worldwide.