WordCraft LA Writers' Resolution Virtual Boot Camp

Following the success of our Writers’ Resolution Boot Camp last year, we’re now offering an expanded 13-week program with separate tracks for fiction and memoir writers. From generating ideas to building an author platform, we’ll help you make significant progress on a writing project and start the year off right! For only $90, you will receive inspiration and motivation in the form of weekly e-mails with craft tips, writing prompts, excerpts from classic and contemporary writers, and links to other resources. Contact us today to get started!

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Submission Sunday 9.22.13

Our consultants can help you edit and prepare your submissions! Individual submission consultation available. 

Boston Review
Aura Estrada Short Story Contest (Deadline October 1 – $1500)

Deadline: October 1, 2013
Judge: Kiran Desai
Prize: $1,500

The winning author will receive $1,500 and have his or her work published in Boston Review, the summer of 2014. First runner-up will be published in a following issue, and second runner-up will be published at the Boston Review Web site. Stories should not exceed 5,000 words and must be previously unpublished. 

Boston Review is a magazine of ideas, independent and nonprofit. We cover lots of ground—politics, poetry, film, fiction, book reviews, and criticism. But a few premises tie it all together: that democracy depends on robust public discussion; that vast inequalities are unjust; that sometimes understanding means going deep; that human imagination breaks free from neat political categories; and that powerful images are worth piles of words. 

Tin House Call for Submisssions (Theme Issue: Memory – Deadline September 27)

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Submission Sunday 9.15.13

Our consultants can help you edit and prepare your submissions!
Individual submission consultation available. 

A Public Space Call for Submissions

A Public Spacean independent magazine of art and argument, fact and fiction—was founded in 2006 to give voice to the twenty-first century.

A Public Space was founded in 2006 to support a new generation of writers. It is a literary forum for ideas and stories about things that confront us, amuse us, confound us, intrigue us. We welcome unsolicited submissions, and recommend that you pick up an issue or two before you submit your work.

Sacatar Foundation LADCA Cultural Exchange International Fellowship (Bahia, Brazil – Deadline October 14)

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Submission Sunday 9.8.13

Our consultants can help you edit and prepare your submissions! Individual submission consultation available. 

The Iowa Review
Call for Submissions
(Deadline November 30)

With 2013, The Iowa Review enters its 43rd year of continuous publication. In brief, we select most of our content from the several thousand unsolicited manuscripts that arrive each year from across the country and abroad. We see our mission as nudging along American literature, being local but not provincial, experimental but not without respect for literary traditions. You may find writers already familiar to you in our pages, but you will surely also come across others who are not. Discovering a new voice, one not heard before but clear and compelling and ready to show us something just beyond what we've known and grown accustomed to—that still seems the magic of our work.

The Iowa Review is published in April, August, and December of each year. We look for the best writing available and are often pleased to introduce new writers. We also sponsor The Iowa Review Awards, an annual contest in our three main genres of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Unsolicited manuscripts are welcome during the fall semester only—September, October, and November. Unsolicited work that arrives at any other time will be returned unread. 

The 2013 Caketrain Poetry Competition (Deadline October 1 – $250)

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Announcing TWO WordCraft Workshops! 

We are pleased to announce two upcoming workshops being offered by our WordCraft consultants. First...

WordCraft LA Workshop on Manuscript Editing
Sunday, September 29 at the West Hollywood Book Fair 

3:00-4:15 PM
West Hollywood Library  
625 N. San Vicente Boulevard  
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Chris Daley, Jennifer Alise Drew, Sacha Howells, and Megan Stephan will help workshop attendees get their ideas across more clearly and confidently. Each attendee will have the opportunity to participate in group writing exercises and a 10-minute individual editing session with one of our consultants. All genres welcome; attendees are encouraged to bring two printed copies of an excerpt of their work, 400 words maximum.

This workshop is free to attend. Please find us in the library shortly before 3:00 PM to sign up.

Then on October 5, Megan Stephan and Chris Daley will offer a college application essay workshop for high school seniors.

WordCraft LA College Application Essay Workshop 
Saturday, October 19 at the Silver Lake Public Library 

11:00 AM–5:00 PM
2411 Glendale Boulevard 
Los Angeles, CA 90039

WordCraft LA is offering a one-day intensive workshop for high school seniors to help you construct a strong personal statement that will let your individual voice shine through. Even if you are not applying to a school that uses the Common Application, the skills you will learn in this workshop can be used for any question on any application.

If you want to write the best college essay you can—one that will make you stand out to admissions readers, because it communicates who you are and what you can offer to their campus—come and join us on October 5 from 11-5 at the Silver Lake Library. Lunch and a light snack will be provided. The cost per student is $225 (payable in advance, please). 

At WordCraft, we are professional teachers, writers, and editors. We have a lot of experience working with high school and college students on all kinds of writing. Our workshop will allow you to get ahead of the application process by giving you the chance to complete a draft of your Common Application essay well before early decision/early action deadlines. 

Contact us at wordcraft@wordcraftla.com to register. This workshop is limited to 12 participants—sign up early.


Submission Sunday 9.1.13

September 1 is a big day for lit mags and journals to start their new fall reading periods. All the venues below are now open for business!

By publishing new fiction, poetry, and nonfiction that is both challenging and inviting, New England Review encourages artistic exchange and thought-provoking innovation, providing publishing opportunities for writers at all stages in their careers.

The selection of writings in each issue presents a broad spectrum of viewpoints and genres, including traditional and experimental fiction, translations in poetry and prose, criticism, letters from abroad, reviews in arts and literature, and rediscoveries. New England Review exists in a place apart from mass culture, where speed and information overload are the norm. Serious writing is given serious attention, from the painstaking selection process through careful editing and publication, where finally the writer’s words meet up with a curious and dedicated readership.

NER was founded by poets Sydney Lea and Jay Parini in New Hampshire in 1978. In the Fall of 1982 the magazine established an affiliation with the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and its new name, NER/BLQ (New England Review/Bread Loaf Quarterly). In 1987, the magazine came under full sponsorship of Middlebury College. In 1990, NER returned to its original name, New England Review, subtitled Middlebury Series.

Southern California Review Call for Submissions (Deadline January 20)

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Submission Sunday 8.25.13

The New Inquiry
Call for Submissions

The New Inquiry is a space for discussion that aspires to enrich cultural and public life by putting all available resources—both digital and material—toward the promotion and exploration of ideas. We welcome short- and long-form pieces from anyone who wants to write. We look for well-written, original posts on ideas, books, art, culture, and more. These posts may contain a fully-formed idea or merely the seed of one; they may be full essays or only a paragraph. We do not accept fiction or poetry.

We are always looking for sharp pieces of criticism to run. Have one? Please submit it. We enjoy providing a visible platform for incisive writing to intervene in public debates. We’re not wedded to the essay as a form, and we don’t have a party line on acceptable topics. We are always looking for sharp pieces of criticism to run. Have one? Please submit it. We enjoy providing a visible platform for incisive writing to intervene in public debates. We’re not wedded to the essay as a form, and we don’t have a party line on acceptable topics. 

The Alarmist Call for Submissions (Issue #4 – Deadline November 1)

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Submission Sunday 8.18.13

3Elements Review Call for Submissions ("Procession, Tandem Bicycle, Ache" – Deadline October 10)

3Elements Review is a quarterly literary journal. It's unique, creative, and quite possibly the best writing prompt you've never heard of. 

3Elements Review, a brand new literary review, is now accepting submissions for its debut issue! This is a great opportunity for up-and-coming writers to be published. Our journal is unique, in that each quarter, we post three "elements" that must be included in your story or poem. This issue's elements are: procession, tandem bicycle, and ache. Artwork and photography are only required to represent one element, although incorporating all three will totally impress us. Stories must not exceed 3,500 words. Poems must stay under two pages. Submissions are due October 10th! 

The American Reader 
Call for Submissions

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Submission Sunday 8.11.13

Harper's Bazaar
 "Spring" Short Story Competition
(Deadline December 13 – Week-long retreat in Scotland)

Enter our short-story competition and win a first-edition book from Asprey's Fine and Rare Books Department, plus a week-long retreat on the private island in Scotland where JM Barrie wrote his screenplay of Peter Pan. The winning story will also be published in the May 2014 issue of Harper's Bazaar.

The literary ambitions of Harper's Bazaar reach back to its inaugural issue in 1867, when the magazine announced its intention to combine fashions from Europe with 'first-class' writing. Both were considered indispensable to the cultivated reader. Bazaar has since published original fiction by Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, Truman Capote, Evelyn Waugh, Zelda and F Scott Fitzgerald, Nancy Mitford, Anita Loos and Dorothy Parker, among others. The Harper's Bazaar Short Story Prize, which honours that heritage and perpetuates its legacy, is open to published and novice writers alike. Entrants should submit an original short story (up to 3,000 words) on the subject of 'spring' by 13 December 2013 to: shortstory@harpersbazaar.co.uk. 

Les Figues NOS (Not Otherwise Specified) Book Contest (Deadline September 15 – $1000)

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Submission Sunday 8.4.13

Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award (Deadline August 31 – $3000)

Red Hen Press is committed to publishing works of literary excellence, supporting diversity, and promoting literacy in our local schools. We seek a community of readers and writers who are actively engaged in the essential human practice known as literature.

 Established in 1998, in honor of the poet Benjamin Saltman (1927-1999), this award is for a previously unpublished original collection of poetry. Awarded collection is selected through an annual competition which is open to all poets. This year’s final judge will be Mark Doty. Award is $3000 and publication of the awarded collection by Red Hen Press.

Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine Call for Submissions 

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Submission Sunday 7.28.13

Nietzsche's Typewriter

Cobalt Review 2013 Writing Prizes (Deadline August 15 – $100)

COBALT is a quarterly literary magazine published online. Each issue will feature fiction, non-fiction and poetry of the highest caliber, as well as interviews with some of the most influential writers in the literary community. We seek to publish quality creative work and promote the literary arts, as well as those who celebrate them.

2013 has been a very busy year for Cobalt. As you may know, we are now utilizing Kickstarter to fund the launching of our book press. We also hosted a baseball writing prize and just released our first all-baseball issue (two parts, on cobaltreview.com). Unfortunately, we didn't have as much time to get the word out for our 2013 Writing Prizes. In an effort to make the contest more competitive, deadlines have been extended for 30 days (August 15) and entry fees have been discounted 25%. Win money, get published, support our new press! Submit today.

Gravel: A Literary Journal
Call for Submissions

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Submission Sunday 7.21.13

Boston Review Aura Estrada Short Story Contest (Deadline October 1 – $1500)

Boston Review is a magazine of ideas, independent and nonprofit. We cover lots of ground—politics, poetry, film, fiction, book reviews, and criticism. But a few premises tie it all together: that democracy depends on robust public discussion; that vast inequalities are unjust; that sometimes understanding means going deep; that human imagination breaks free from neat political categories; and that powerful images are worth piles of words. 

The winning author will receive $1,500 and have his or her work published in Boston Review, the summer of 2013. First runner-up will be published in a following issue, and second runner-up will be published at the Boston Review Web site. Stories should not exceed 5,000 words and must be previously unpublished.

Seneca Review Call for Submissions: Hybrid Projects and Outliers (Deadline October 31)

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Submission Sunday 7.14.13

The Texas Observer Short Story Contest (Deadline August 4 – $1000)

The 2013 Observer Short Story Contest is now open for submissions. The winner receives a check for $1,000 and publication in the magazine and online. We’re very excited to announce this year’s guest judge: Dagoberto Gilb. Mr. Gilb is the author of, most recently, Before the End, After the Beginning. (See full bio below.)

What does Mr. Gilb look for in a short story? “I want nothing but the wildest punk prose,” he tells us. “Or the finest classical verse as prose. I like stories of those who never have stories written about them, or the under-the-rock scurrying of those who seem to have it all. I want the story to be treated as importantly as a novel or a poem, crafted as neurotically about details and punctuation as a jeweler with an eyepiece."

Vela Call for Submissions


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Friday Reads 7.12.13

Chris: Queens of Noise: The Real Story of The Runaways by Evelyn McDonnell

"I'm double-dipping a bit for this Friday Reads. I wrote a review of this book on The Runaways for the LA Times this week, which you can read here. I figured for this blog post I'd mention some random things I learned that I couldn't include in the review: 

Cheap Trick and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers opened for The Runaways in 1977.
Joan Jett was originally blonde and, without The Runaways, would probably have 'gotten a Ph.D. and be bored stiff.'
Miley Cyrus and Joan Jett performed together on Oprah. Kim Fowley had penile dysfunction as a result of suffering from polio as a young man.
Runaways songwriter Kari Krome was twelve or thirteen when she started hanging out at Rodney's English Disco.
Jackie Fox's mom would glue shag carpeting to the fridge.
The Runaways were kicked out of Disneyland for 'lesbian behavior.'
Fowley claimed The Runaways LP 'could win a Nobel Peace Prize.' 
The band 'hated [Patti Smith's] guts.'
In England, spitting on people performing can be interpreted as a gesture of affection called 'gobbing.' 
Rodney Bingenheimer once took members of Queen to see The Runaways play at a middle school in Fullerton, but they were suspected to be dirty old men and refused entry."

In four years the teenage members of the Runaways did what no other group of female rock musicians before them could: they released four albums for a major label and toured the world. The Runaways busted down doors for every girl band that followed. Joan Jett, Sandy West, Cherrie Currie, lead guitarist Lita Ford, and bassists Jackie Fox and Vicky Blue were pre-punk bandits, fostering revolution girl style decades before that became a riot grrrl catchphrase. The story of the Runaways has never been told in its entirety. Drawing on interviews with most of this seminal rock band’s former members as well as controversial manager Kim Fowley, Queens of Noise will look beyond the lurid voyeuristic appeal of a sex-drugs-rock ’n’ roll saga to give the band its place in musical, feminist, and cultural history.

Megan: Drinking with Men: A Memoir by Rosie Schaap

"It’s delightful to read a book by a woman about drinking that isn’t a cautionary tale.

In Drinking with Men (a title I adore and wish I had thought of first), Schaap describes some of the thirteen thousand hours she has spent, by her own calculation, in bars of various types. Her particular favorite is the local—that sometimes slightly down-at-heel but always welcoming neighborhood place where everybody knows your name, but has the good sense not to shout it at you as you walk in the door—and she advocates “equal regularhood rights for women everywhere.” She makes an impassioned argument not for drinking alone, as such, but for cultivating the ability to find conviviality in watering holes without needing to bring a companion with you for camouflage or security. She also tells compelling and funny stories about her history as a drinker, from illicit high-school forays into the bar car on the Metro-North train to Dublin pubs to her current corner bar in Brooklyn."

In Drinking with Men, Schaap shares her unending quest for the perfect local haunt, which takes her from a dive outside Los Angeles to a Dublin pub full of poets, and from small-town New England taverns to a character-filled bar in Manhattan’s TriBeCa. Drinking alongside artists and expats, ironworkers and soccer fanatics, she finds these places offer a safe haven, a respite, and a place to feel most like herself. In rich, colorful prose, Schaap brings to life these seedy, warm, and wonderful rooms. Drinking with Men is a love letter to the bars, pubs, and taverns that have been Schaap’s refuge, and a celebration of the uniquely civilizing source of community that is bar culture at its best.

Sacha: The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

"Ben Winters’s genre-spanning book opens with a killer premise: A planet-smashing asteroid is six months away from making impact with earth. Suicide is rampant, thousands have walked away from their jobs, and even McDonalds has gone out of business, with pirate operations slinging their own burgers at abandoned Golden Arches. But rookie detective Hank Palace refuses to give up in the face of chaos and sticks with his first big case, another suicide that he’s sure is really a murder. Alongside all that, Winters finds room to address big topics like the role of chance, from the likelihood of being hit by a 4-mile wide asteroid to the balance of risk and reward that we all have to face. A smart, tightly written work of existential speculative noir that brings to mind Philip K. Dick and Ray Bradbury. And trust me, I don’t say that lightly."

The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace. He’s investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week—except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares. The first in a trilogy, The Last Policeman offers a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. As Palace’s investigation plays out under the shadow of 2011GV1, we’re confronted by hard questions way beyond “whodunit.” What basis does civilization rest upon? What is life worth? What would any of us do, what would wereally do, if our days were numbered?

Jennifer: Karen by Marie Killilea 

"Published in 1952, Karen is a mother’s story of raising her third daughter, who was born three months premature in 1940 and later found to have cerebral palsy, a condition that was little known at the time, and seldom treated. The book became a bestseller, along with a 1963 sequel, With Love from Karen, and both are still widely read and discussed. Killilea’s story was groundbreaking for its time: she refused to send her daughter to an institution and instead sought out medical advice and therapies that would help Karen lead a full life. Killilea was also instrumental in bringing awareness to other families raising—as she calls them—C.P.s, which some of the first book details, and she later co-founded the National United Cerebral Palsy Foundation. In fact, according to online reviews, Killilea’s writings inspired generations of people to become doctors, nurses, and physical therapists, and for a time in the early 2000s, readers attempted to find out what happened to this large Catholic family—someone set up a Yahoo group to share information, and one user reportedly crashed a Killilea funeral, in an attempt to get a glimpse of Karen. Karen is a fascinating read, partly for the time in which it is set. Everyone smoked, even over the examination table on which young Karen lay. The language—Killilea refers to using the bathroom as ‘going to visit Mrs. Murphy’—sometimes leaves the reader wondering what other ‘unseemly’ topics are left out, but on the whole, given that disability was seen as unseemly in 1952, the book deserves the long-standing admiration it received, and has a valuable place in the evolution of thinking about people with disabilities."

A small girl's struggles to overcome the handicaps of cerebral palsy are related by her mother.


Submission Sunday 7.7.13

Sustainable Arts Foundation Awards for Writers with Families (Deadline August 31 – $6000)

The Sustainable Arts Foundation is a non-profit foundation supporting artists and writers with families. Our mission is to provide financial awards to parents pursuing creative work. Too often, creative impulses are set aside to meet the wonderful, but pressing, demands of raising a family. The foundation's goal is to encourage parents to continue pursuing their creative passion, and to rekindle it in those who may have let it slide.

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Submission Sunday 6.23.13

Richard J. Margolis Award of Blue Mountain Center (Deadline July 1 – $5000 + one month residency)

The Richard J. Margolis Award of Blue Mountain Center combines a one-month residency at Blue Mountain Center with a $5,000 prize. It is awarded annually to a promising new journalist or essayist whose work combines warmth,  humor, wisdom and concern with social justice. The award was established in honor of Richard J. Margolis, a journalist, essayist and poet who gave eloquent voice to the hardships of the rural poor, migrant farm workers, the elderly, Native Americans and others whose voices are seldom heard. He was also the  author of a number of books for children. Blue Mountain Center is a writers and artists colony in the Adirondacks in Blue Mountain Lake, New York.

Northern Colorado Writers Creative Nonfiction Contest
(Deadline June 30 – $1000)

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Submission Sunday 6.16.13

Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest: Mistakes (Deadline November 1 – $1000)

For an upcoming issue, Creative Nonfiction is seeking new essays about mistakes—major or minor, tragic or serendipitous, funny or painful. We’re looking for stories about poor decisions, missteps, or miscalculations; we want to read about embarrassing boo-boos, dangerous misjudgments, or fortuitous faux pas in well-crafted stories that explore the nature and outcomes of human fallibility.

Essays must be vivid and dramatic; they should combine a strong and compelling narrative with an informative or reflective element, and reach beyond a strictly personal experience for some universal or deeper meaning. We’re looking for well-written prose, rich with detail and a distinctive voice; all essays must tell true stories and be factually accurate.

Writers Tribe Review Call for Submissions: Humor Issue (Deadline August 30)

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Submission Sunday 6.9.13

Palooka: A Magazine of Underdog Excellence Call for Submissions

Palooka is an international nonprofit literary magazine of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, drama, graphic short stories, graphic essays, comic strips, artwork, photography, and multimedia. We offer print and electronic versions of the magazine and offer samples of the published materials online. We're determined to find those writers and artists who are hungry and relevant, flying under the radar, producing great works that are going unnoticed. We read absolutely everything sent to us, word-for-word, right down to the very last juicy sentence. This is a magazine for everyone, but we're really into publishing the up-and-comer, the underdog in the literary battle royale. Give us your best shot. We dare you.

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Friday Reads 6.7.13

Chris: "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold" by Gay Talese

"In our survey of classic essays this term, my creative nonfiction classes read Gay Talese's iconic 1966 profile of Frank Sinatra for Esquire, often referred to as a model of New Journalism. Remarkably current in its pop culture references, this intriguing pursuit of the elusive star provides insight into the nature of celebrity (barely changed at all), masculinity (changed a ton), class and ethnicity (chronicling Sinatra's rise from Hoboken to Hollywood), and journalism (new). It's extremely entertaining in its details. Readers learn that Sinatra referred to his gentleman parts as his "bird," that he owned so many pants as a youth Hobokeners called him "Slacksey O'Brien," that there is a chair in a bar in Manhattan where no one else is allowed to sit, that he owned sixty toupees wrangled by an old lady who was paid $400 a week, that he once started a bar fight with Harlan Ellison over boots, that he had forcep scars on the side of his neck, that he controlled the menu of every Italian restaurant in Los Angeles, and much, much more."

In the winter of 1965, writer Gay Talese arrived in Los Angeles with an assignment from Esquire to profile Frank Sinatra. The legendary singer was approaching fifty, under the weather, out of sorts, and unwilling to be interviewed. So Talese remained in L.A., hoping Sinatra might recover and reconsider, and he began talking to many of the people around Sinatra -- his friends, his associates, his family, his countless hangers-on -- and observing the man himself wherever he could. The result, "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold," ran in April 1966 and became one of the most celebrated magazine stories ever published, a pioneering example of what came to be called New Journalism -- a work of rigorously faithful fact enlivened with the kind of vivid storytelling that had previously been reserved for fiction. The piece conjures a deeply rich portrait of one of the era's most guarded figures and tells a larger story about entertainment, celebrity, and America itself. 

Megan: Everything Is Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford

"I’m a late adopter, which means that I only recently activated my Twitter account—and that I only recently heard of Kelly Oxford, who scored a huge book deal on the strength of her popular Twitter and Tumblr posts. Funniest Canadian stay-at-home mom ever, apparently (although she now lives in LA and has multiple TV and movie writing gigs on the go). Unfortunately, what works in 140-character bites doesn’t necessarily translate into a full-length memoir (if Everything...can be classed as memoir). Oxford sets a good scene, and delivers the occasional absurdly effective one-liner, but her essays ramble and dawdle and carry on long after their potential for hilarity has dried up. I don’t know whether to be impressed or depressed about the fact that Oxford has been heralded as one of the funniest women writing today. I admire her for pulling off an exceptional feat of twenty-first century media marketing, and I’m always happy for the world to celebrate a genuinely funny woman, but alas, she doesn’t make me laugh."

The beautiful - and hilarious - Kelly Oxford has been one of the most hysterical voices on the Internet since it was still a series of tubes. In 1997, she began sharing stories of her life as a young wife and mother on a Geocities page, then on an anonymous blog, then on a MySpace account; eventually she found her metier in the widely followed Tumblr blog "Eject" and in her raucous, often filthy, always hilarious Twitter feed, which has garnered more than 300,000 followers (adding 1,500 more each week), with frequent retweets from heavy-hitting fans such as Roger Ebert, Jessica Alba, Tony Hawk, Diablo Cody, Kevin Nealon, Susan Orlean, Ann Curry, Adam McKay, Mindy Kaling, and Jonathan Ames. Straight-talking and riotously funny, Kelly Oxford has garnered an incredible following through her trademark blend of biting wit, self-deprecation, and a knack for seeing the hilarity in the everyday. Now, Kelly has written a side-splitting book of essays that shine her blindingly sardonic light on life as she sees it. From childhood to motherhood, from the zany to the tearjerking, Kelly covers it all: from My Soldier Face: Or how I awkwardly broke into modeling by ignoring adults who thought I was weird; I Peed my Pants and Threw up on a Chinese Man: Tales of a gas station accident and getting drunk for the first time, in ten minutes flat; To Aid and Abet: Interning in a video store and how to handle a man in a wheelchair jerking off in the porno section; Finding Leo: Or how to stalk pre-Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio in L.A. on less than $200, but still end up driving a Mercedes; and An Open Letter to the Nurse Who Gave Me an Enema Bottle and Told Me to Do It Myself While I Was High on Morphine. Is Kelly the next David Sedaris? The next Chelsea Handler? The next Sloane Crosley? No - they were the last Kelly Oxford.

Sacha: The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich

"The Orange Eats Creeps throbs with feral, fucked-up energy, and it can be dizzying to read more than a few pages at a time. At first that’s exhilarating—hypnotic and thrilling and car-crash tense—but as the images sprawl over each other, it stops growing into something alive and piles up, oddly inert. The boys in the narrator’s gang are indistinguishable, and the rapes and degradations quickly bleed (and vomit) into (and onto) one another. Steve Erickson, a dystopian master whose first books are among my very favorite, champions Krilanovich loudly. He taught her at CalArts, published her three times in his influential journal Black Clock, and, in an introduction he wrote for the book, says, 'If a new literature is at hand then it might as well start here.' That seems just a bit hyperbolic.  But if she can channel her rage and her twisted stranglehold on words into something that adds up to more than the sum of its raw, bleeding parts? Then we’re in for it."

It's the '90s Pacific Northwest refracted through a dark mirror, where meth and madness hash it out in the woods. . . . A band of hobo vampire junkies roam the blighted landscape—trashing supermarket breakrooms, praying to the altar of Poison Idea and GG Allin at basement rock shows, crashing senior center pancake breakfasts—locked in the thrall of Robitussin trips and their own wild dreams. A girl with drug-induced ESP and an eerie connection to Patty Reed (a young member of the Donner Party who credited her survival to her relationship with a hidden wooden doll), searches for her disappeared foster sister along "The Highway That Eats People," stalked by a conflation of Twin Peaks' "Bob" and the Green River Killer, known as Dactyl. With a scathing voice and penetrating delivery, Grace Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps is one of the most ferocious debut novels in memory.

Jennifer: The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

“There is something that happens to juvenile writers’ brains that makes them think children don’t need good grammar, or magic. I just spent twelve dollars on The Invisible String because I hoped it would help my son with separation anxiety; the book is a bestseller, widely used to help children grieve all kinds of serious things. But why harp on dialogue tags like ‘Mommy, Mommy!’ they cried out as they ran to her—? I suppose the imaginative flair lies in the examples Karst chooses for how far the invisible string connecting all of our hearts might reach: to an astronaut out in space (not out in space!) to a jungle-explorer (why the hyphen?) to a ballerina in France (even France?!) to (let’s all speak quietly) Uncle Brian in Heaven. It ends with the biggest lie known to mankind, and also, verb tense issues: As they slept, they started dreaming of all the Invisible Strings they have, and all the strings their friends have, and their friends have, and their friends have, until everyone in the world was connected by Invisible Strings. And from deep inside, they now could clearly see . . . no one is ever alone. But seriously, somebody please get me Bill Peet!”

In this heartwarming story, Karst ("God Made Easy") delivers a very simple approach to overcoming the fear of loneliness or separation from parents, written with an imaginative flair that children can easily identify with and remember.


Personal Statements: Making Sense of the New Common Application Prompts


A total of 488 colleges and universities, from Adelphi to Yale, now rely on the Common Application, or Common App for short. If you are a rising high-school senior planning to apply to a selective college during the 2013-2014 academic year, you are likely to be applying to one or more schools that use it—and you will be among the first students to have to come up with compelling responses to its newly revamped essay prompts.

This is not as scary as it may sound, however. In fact, the new essay prompts are more clearly worded, more straightforward, and more easily distinguished from one another than the old choices were. You will also now be able to use a maximum of 650 words, rather than 500. Some have lamented the loss of the so-called “essay of your choice” prompt from the old version of the Common App, but that wide-open option—in my opinion, at least— tended to create more problems than it solved when students were staring at a blank computer screen, wondering where to start.

Here are the new essay prompts:

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Submission Sunday 5.26.13

Boulevard Poetry Contest for Emerging Poets (Deadline June 1 – $1000)

Boulevard strives to publish only the finest in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. While we frequently publish writers with previous credits, we are very interested in less experienced or unpublished writers with exceptional promise. If you have practiced your craft and your work is the best it can be, send it to Boulevard.

$1,000 and publication in Boulevard awarded for the winning group of three poems by a poet who has not yet published a book of poetry with a nationally distributed press. 

The Collagist Call for Submissions

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