My nonfiction piece, What It's Like, was nominated by University of San Francisco for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) 2011 national contest! The AWP's Intro Journals Project is "a literary competition for the discovery & publication of the best new works by students currently enrolled in the programs of AWP."
I wrote and revised the story in my MFA program's autobiographical intensive during summer 2010. I submitted it, thinking, "Why not? I've got nothing to lose." The final judge who chose my piece (judged blind, without names) among the three nonfiction finalists also happens to be my current workshop instructor, Associate Professor David Vann. His Sukkwan Island, taken from his book Legend of a Suicide, just won the prestigious Prix Medicis award from France. Vann said he could tell my revision process paid off because the piece was "polished." Graduate school, and diligent work, does make a difference!
Winners (announced in the spring) will receive publication in a participating journal (Hayden's Ferry Review, Mid-American Review, Colorado Review, Puerto del Sol, Controlled Burn, Quarterly West, Tampa Review, and Artful Dodge) and a $100 cash honorarium.
AWP publishes The Writer's Chronicle, which lists information on grants, awards, fellowships, websites, conferences/centers/festivals, & publishing opportunities in every issue. AWP also holds an Annual Conference & Bookfair in a different part of North America "to celebrate the outstanding authors, teachers, writing programs, literary centers, and small press publishers of that region" -- with more than 8,000 attendees and 500 publishers. This year's gathering is in Washington D.C., Feb. 2-5.