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A Taste of AWP

I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2020 AWP Conference in San Antonio, Texas earlier this month. This, of course, was just before all unessential life went into lockdown. Though attendance and participation were small, the conference was a good eye-opener for the many chapbook publications and literary journals that I never knew existed – several of which solely publish works of creative nonfiction. Who knew? Needless to say, I found this to be very exciting news. Today’s essay will discuss two of these publishers who currently have open submission periods or contests that can be submitted to.

Chapbooks. I have to admit that prior to the Spring 2020 semester, I had no idea how much of a “thing” chapbooks really were. This may surprise those of you who know that I am currently an editor for the University of Iowa’s 4th Annual Iowa Chapbook Prize. I went into this class, officially titled a Publishing Practicum, anxious to learn about the various aspects of publishing, with the mindset of, “Chapbooks? That’s kinda neat.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m ecstatic to be one of the editors this year and can hardly wait to finish working on the chapbook that I’m editing right now. (Sorry, no spoilers!) It’s just that I had no idea, (at least according to those who attended AWP), how popular they were.

The Cupboard Pamphlet strictly publishes fiction and nonfiction chapbooks four times per year. Each chapbook is written by one author and can consist of one longer piece or a collection of smaller stories or essays, having a word-count limit of 10,000 words. They are running a contest that ends May 1st. Winners will receive $1,000 and publication in a spring 2021 chapbook. Check out their website at TheCupboardPamphlet.org for more information and a current catalogue of chapbooks available for purchase. I am looking forward to reading Dante’s Cartography by Alyssa Quinn, Remove to Play by Lia Woodall, and Reports by Brian Evenson, all purchased at AWP.

Hippocampus Magazine is an online literary magazine that publishes only creative nonfiction. According to 2019 publications, they put out seven digital issues annually. These can include memoir excerpts, essays, flash creative nonfiction, interviews, and essays about the writing life. Their magazine submission period is March through December, so they are currently accepting submissions. Due to the current life-on-hold living situation and an increased amount of at-home time for many writers, Hippocampus has decided to waive their normal submission fee through the end of May. (Thank you, Hippocampus!) In addition, they will have a contest for creative nonfiction writing that begins on April 1st. For more information about subscribing and submission opportunities, visit HippocampusMagazine.com. Be sure to read their in-depth and thorough submission guidelines before submitting any work. If you happen to have a book-length project in the works, book query submissions will open August 1, 2020. Visit their separate books website for more information.

If you happen to be among the many writers with a little extra free time, I hope you will check out and support these small businesses.

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