My Story, My Song
(featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)
Last night, on PBS’ INDEPENDENT LENS, the documentary “Birth of a Movement,” from producer-directors Susan Gray and Bestor Cram, premiered at 10pm, and is now available online to watch in full.
Based on the book “The Birth of a Movement: How Birth of a Nation Ignited the Battle for Civil Rights” by Dick Lehr, and featuring the contributions of familiar names like Spike Lee, Reginald Hudlin, Jelani Cobb, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and DJ Spooky (who created a new score and remix of the original Griffith film), as well as numerous clips from the technically groundbreaking, but deeply racially problematic epic, the INDEPENDENT LENS documentary is an investigation into how D.W. Griffith’s incendiary 1915 film “The Birth of a Nation” unleashed a battle still being waged today over race relations and representation, and the power and influence of Hollywood movie/tv-making. It tells the little-known story of African American newspaper editor and activist William M. Trotter who, after “Birth of a Nation’s” release, waged a battle against Griffith’s notoriously Ku Klux Klan-friendly blockbuster movie, launching what would become a nationwide movement that sought to denounce the work.
In light of last night’s premiere of “Birth of a Movement” and the telling of William M. Trotter’s mostly-unknown story, I thought it would be appropriate to go back and revisit a piece I wrote 2 years ago, about a film that was intended to be the ultimate answer to Griffith’s movie, and the sad story of why it wasn’t – “The Birth of a Race.”
The history of cinema is littered with ambitious film projects that could have changed the course of art form and industry, but were either not made for various reasons, or so compromised by other factors that the end result was vastly different than what was first conceived. And “The Birth of a Race” is definitely one of those latter films.
If the film that was originally conceived was actually made, it would’ve become one of the most important black films ever produced, still to this day. Instead, the final result was a travesty.
The story began in 1915 when Griffith’s 192-minute epic “The Birth of a Nation” was released to the public. It was the film that single handedly revolutionized movies and movie-making, turning them from an entertaining novelty comprised of mostly short reels, into an art form and business that could make a lot of money for a lot of people (In today’s dollars, “Nation” would easily be in the top ten of the highest-grossing movies in film history).
But “Nation” is also, of course, a vile film.
Griffith, who was a proud Southerner and unrepentant supporter of the Confederacy, rewrote the actual facts of American Civil War history in his film, turning black people into violent savages who were intent on “crushing the white South under the heel of the black South” with “ruin, devastation rape and pillage.” It is up to the film’s heroes, the KKK, who literally ride to the rescue at the last minute to save the day, and put the black villains back in their place.
Needless to say, the film was, and still is today, very controversial. And it should not be surprising that there were numerous demonstrations and protests against it; all of which Griffith, by the way, totally loved since it meant more publicity for his film. And it wasn’t too long before the idea came about to make a film that was to be sort of a response to “Birth of a Nation,” as a way of countering its lies.
At first, the NAACP considered the idea of such a film, but quickly dropped the project, so it was left to Emmett J. Scott (pictured above with his family), who had been the personal secretary to Booker T. Washington, to pick up where the NAACP left off.
His initial idea was very modest. With financing from well-to-do and middle class black people, Scott intended to make a 15-minute short called “Lincoln’s Dream,” that would show the accomplishments of black people, which was intended to be screened before “Birth of a Nation” in theaters.
However, as Scott further developed “Lincoln’s Dream,” bringing in screenwriters and changing the title of the film to “The Birth of a Race,” his project grew larger and grander in scope, to eventually become a 3-hour black film epic that would out-rival “Nation.”
Seeing that the project was getting more expensive than originally planned, Scott tried to get Universal Pictures involved with the financing, but they turned him down. So putting Booker T. Washington’s “do-for-self” philosophy into action, he went out and decided to make his epic film on his own, in Chicago.
Unfortunately, the production was plagued with problems from the beginning.
Scott, at first, was actually able to get film producer Louis B. Mayer (before he went on to found MGM), to provide part of the financing for the film, provided he could find outside investors to fund the rest of the project. Scott, through a Chicago associate, was able to raise some money to make the film, because of the subject and his association with Booker T. Washington, who was considered to be a hero among black people back then. However the associate turned out to be a con-man and ran off with the money. Upon this development, Mayer told Scott, “Good luck” and left the project.
Scott soldiered on with what he had, but the poorly-funded film suffered from inadequate, low rent production values and delays. Furthermore, when bad weather in Chicago caused even more problems, the whole production was forced to move to Tampa, Florida to be completed.
But the serious lack of money forced Scott to eventually bring in white backers to help to keep his ship afloat.
Naturally, those new backers weren’t so keen on making a black film (certainly not in response to “The Birth of a Nation), so, little by little, scene by scene, and rewrite by rewrite, Scott’s grand version for a black film epic became a simplistic World War I film about two German-American brothers who find themselves fighting on opposite sides of the war. In fact, with the exception of a few brief scenes with black characters in them, and some stereotyped Africans, there are hardly any black people in “Birth of a Race” at all.
The final result opened in Chicago in December 1918, just a month after the end of WWI, and flopped, quickly disappearing from public view afterward. I don’t know if there’s even an entire print of the film in existence, except for the brief clip below. And although Scott is still listed in historical records as the producer of the “Birth of a Race,” I have no doubt that the final version must have been a great disappointment to him. His grand vision for an epic big screen response to Griffith’s own epic, turned into a disaster.
But by any definition of the word, Emmett J. Scott is a true black film pioneer. Check out a blurry excerpt from “Birth of a Race” below, and then do yourself a favor and watch the INDEPENDENT LENS documentary “Birth of a Movement” immediately on PBS’ website (it’s not embeddable unfortunately, so click on the link). According to the website, “Birth of a Movement” will be available online only until March 9, so catch it while you can.
Adania Shibli’s signature style comes from holding back. The silence in both her novels (We Are All Equally Far From Love and Touch) build an unnerving suspense, all set against the beautiful and troubled scenery of Palestine. And it is through the quotidian that the world erupts violently.
We Are All Equally Far From Love is both love story and tragedy. The novel’s gripping mystery is also at the heart of the elusive depicted within—just like in Touch too, where family dynamics are just as interesting and problematic as the Sabra and Shatila massacre that looms over everything. Violence in Adania’s work ripples without indulging in sentimentality.
That subtlety is also present in her latest short, included in the Freeman’s family issue. It details the time Adania and her family received a strange phone call from the Israeli Army: the message was to evacuate the building they were in because it was about to be bombarded. In three brief pages Adania’s writing emerges urgently without ever neglecting the poetry in the mundane. That’s Adania Shibli: subtle yet alarming, quiet and effective; profound, playful, and potent.
José García: Was it a conscious decision not to be explicit about Palestine in your work? To have the reader disappear into the drama rather than the scenery?
Adania Shibli: Both novels, I would say, are very immersed in the Palestinian landscape and even designed by it. Maybe what seems to be absent is the external view about Palestine, which is so dominant given the constant media coverage.
For instance, the media would reveal a major event like the Sabra and Shatila massacre to the non-Palestinian public in a specific form. Whereas in the Palestinian context it will be experienced differently and in many different ways—that includes the inability to grasp it by child, or parents trying to save a child from such event, which is what parents do daily in Palestine. Touch traces this major and very present act in Palestine; but it is a form of experience that is often absent from the news that reaches those outside Palestine. So the book relates to Sabra and Shatila as a massacre that is incomprehensible for a child. But still this is just one way of experiencing it, and this goes for many other events, political, social, and even economic.
Then in We are All Equally Far from Love, the Palestinian landscape has designed the novel in the very inability of the characters to move. So rather than describing the checkpoints or the prevention of movement, it follows the consequence of these limitations on movement. The characters are confided to claustrophobic spaces or are physically and emotionally paralyzed. And in relation to the latter—the emotional paralysis—the novel delineates the consequence of cruelty of living in a condition of political oppression on the personal level, where the human soul, and its ability to love, is deformed. So rather than exteriorizing the Palestinian experience, by turning it into a spectacle for others, both novels follow the consequences of daily life for Palestinians, on the mundane and the banal.
JG: How did home and nationhood shape your experiences as a child?
AS: As one lives in a place that seems like a punishment for a crime they didn’t commit, it raises harsh questions in relation to simple ideas like justice, or it’s absence, at an early age. As a child you don’t really separate between the two, between the injustice of why some people are more privileged than others.
These were questions that I tried to tackle in different ways also at a young age; either oppose them loudly, or be on the side of the strong, or create your own world where you can imagine different realities—this was the one that repeatedly attracted me the most. Either through reading or through watching silently what I’m witnessing, I turned the events slightly different, imagined other possible worlds. It was an addictive game, and I remember catching myself so immersed in imagining that I felt sometimes ashamed about not remembering the past like others around me did. So maybe the realization of the repeated injustice that one cannot escape in the context of Palestine was the first force to push me early on into literature.
JG: Touch and We Are All Equally Far From Love both have a wide array of strong female characters. And I don’t just mean strong as an independent women. But they’re also loud, complicated and sometimes flawed characters. They leap out of the page with their personality and their blemishes. How important is femininity—and female characters—in your writing?
AS: To be frank, I never think of female or male. I would say I never relate to myself as female; it is just a perspective on life. It can be by coincidence that my works have many female characters. This might change, or not.
In my new novel, which is composed of two chapters, each chapter has one protagonist, one is male and the other is female. But you’re right, when I wrote the first chapter with the male protagonist, I was very conscious it was a male, since it was a world of order and power—a world I would not like to be part of. It is entertaining to play it, even in terms of imagination, but not very intriguing. The female character is more hesitant, messy; she stutters and works in vain. I’m more attracted to such characters, like the male character in Buñuel’s Belle de Jour—the male character who has an ugly scar on his face.
I don’t relate femininity to sexuality. Femininity to me is about the opposition to power and order in the sadistic fashion.
JG: There is a lot of silence in your stories. A lot of mystery and quiet intimacy too. How do you balance that thick silence with the action?
AS: One can find the answer in music. Whenever I hear music, I realize that the entire musical action and movements are only possible because of the silence that permeates a musical piece. I’m so attached to that silence and what it does, or what it can do before a sound emerges, or even what it leads to.
JG: Both of your books are very family driven as well. What role does family play in your writing process?
AS: We are born into families, without choosing them, and that is the first experience for many of us. It is that lack of choice that I wonder about: how to live a life you have not chosen, and whether you would eventually choose consciously. I still wonder in fact.
JG: This brings me to your short piece for Freeman’s: Family. What inspired you to approach such a broad topic (family) through that story?
AS: That was actually the moment I realized for the first time that I enforce this lack of choice on someone else, on my kids. Their father and I had the choice of being together or not, not them. So my kids found themselves there, in that moment so extreme—“This is the kind of call made by the Israeli Army when it is about to bombard a residential building. The moment someone answers the call, they relinquish their right to accuse the army of war crimes.” This was a realization prompted by fear: fear for their safety. To this day I wonder how they will relate to that moment, and if they will remember it. The piece in Freeman’sis a testimony for them to go back to, evidence that it happened for my kids to revisit.
JG: I assume that that call was quite unnerving. However, coming from a violent and unpredictable country myself, I understand that one also tends to get desensitized and habituated to violence. What can we do to fight against that “getting used to”?
AS: Can we do anything against it? I wonder.
I always find a place with words to create parallel possibilities where dehumanization thrives. However, in real life, you need to neutralize all your emotions and become numb, but then writing neutralizes that neutralization. Other people don’t have words for their rescue. But something else, a walk, a pavement, a tree, a stone, endless minor objects that turn into the place where they practice their humanity, a place where oppression cannot reach or destroy.
I visited an exhibition this year in Palestine called City Exhibiton 5. It’s dedicated to the idea of “Reconstructing Gaza,” a term that we hear daily since 2014. The participants in the show, students and young people, reconstructed the city with its own rubble. Then they offered the objects that were dear to them to the people of Gaza, from a dry flower to a keychain. It’s fascinating to see what these people chose. One even offered to bring aid to the people of Gaza by offering a book of poetry by an unknown poet.
JG: Do you see the “getting used to” violence as defense mechanism?
AS: I see it is a martial art movement actually. The oppressor wants first to destroy your wish to live, and then you neutralize it by acting as if this is normal. But then you keep a secret hidden zone that the oppressor finds so minor that they wouldn’t bother to destroy. I remember myself being investigated two times by officers from the Israeli Intelligence who wanted to know what I was writing and about what. When I told them it is all about failed love stories they lost interest in me.
JG: How will the US election require a new “getting used to” where you are from, or is it more of the same?
AS: I’m not sure that one can blame the gradual malice we’ve been witnessing recently on the results of the latest elections. I don’t see how, if the results were different, this would be different. The previous US administrations didn’t do much to counteract that malice. Maybe it will get worse, but it has been getting worse and worse for quite some time, to a degree that it seems to me that that malice has its own tempo, its own life, and is somehow unaffected by any elections.
We ended 2016 with a compilation of our best pieces of the year. The first month of 2017 is gone but it wasn’t arid: there was writing that caught our attention, and both the LGBTIQ group 14 and Afreada magazine released beautiful anthologies.
Here are our must-read selections, an unranked list.
They’re all online so click on and start reading.
| By Chibundu Onuzo
| Daily Express
With her second novel Welcome to Lagos just reviewed by Helon Habila, Chibundu Onuzo opened 2017 with this straightforward tale of romance that touches just about every Millennial obsession from Instagram to weight-watching to Netflix to hashtags to Marvel movies to social media stardom. “At 11.59pm, the music went off and I counted down into the New Year with Aramide’s hip pressed into mine, the flesh of her arm and thigh warm against my side.” Brief and poignant.
| By Namwali Serpell
| Triple Canopy
Namwali Serpell’s short story about the 2015 McKinney, Texas pool party incident in which a police man tackles and restrains a 15-year-old black girl is a compendium of chatty, lyrical prose. “The heat rises up, sings against the skin.” “All of this beauty, all of this rolling, dipping brown flesh, like desert dunes in the shadow or desert dunes in the sun.” It is divided into three parts: “Summertime,” told by the tackled girl; “Perseus,” told by the tackling police officer; and “What Was Said,” a collection of on-the-spot reactions. In deciding to also present the officer’s perspective, Serpell allows the incident to take full shape, its implications starker: “Just as an eagle spies in an empty field a snake sunning itself and strikes from the rear, securing with eager claws the writhing scaly neck lest the snake turn with its deadly fangs—thus do I, swooping headlong through the void, attack her from behind.”
| The Guardian UK
Fresh from winning the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize for Homegoing, Gyasi answers questions on the story behind her novel, the inspiration of her family, the continuous trauma of slavery, and what home means for her. “Slavery,” she says, “affects us still.”
4. “Obama” | By Ben Okri
| The Guardian UK
In 694 words of poetry, Ben Okri’s eulogy for Barack Obama collects insights into the significance of his presidency. “Sometimes the world is not changed/ Till the right person appears who can/ Change it. But the right person is also/ In a way the right time.” His words are familiar, the thoughts they codify beautiful.
| By Chibuihe Obi
| 14: An Anthology of Queer Art:
Volume 1: We Are Flowers
Chibuihe Obi’s remarkably-structured poem examines the making of a man’s loneness as well as his adaptation to it. “1. I’ll begin by teaching my body the language of grief,” he begins, “how to love loneness like black coffee or/ black chocolates or black suds or soda/ (/add/ black/ naked/ bodies/).” It is a song of need. “15. that distance is a bird with broken wings and migrating south in summer will not save a body/ bent on burning out itself with the naked images of strange men/ (add/black/naked/male/bodies).”
| By Pwaangulongii Daoud
| Brittle Paper
Modeled on Binyavanga’s iconic Granta essay, “How To Write about Africa,” Pwaangulongii Daoud calls out the monochromatic representation of Northern Nigeria in literature. “Your main character should be an imam, or a beggar, or farmer, or a herdsman…an illiterate and a Muslim,” he satirizes. “You must avoid complex plot(s) and toughened language: the Northerner is simple in thought, frail in worldview and philosophically poor, and should not be portrayed in “high Literature”. Use: ‘Childish’, ‘innocent’, ‘victim’, ‘Docile’, ‘Frivolous’, ‘Trifling’, and maybe ‘Silly’ to describe him.”
| By Umar Turaki
| Afreada Photo-Story Book
Umar Turaki’s imagination of the life of a hawker-girl in a photo is rendered with wholeness and in beautiful prose. “It undresses itself in a graceful dance,” he begins, describing the peeling of an orange, “twirling round and round, shedding off skin in one endless strip of yellow curl, until it is a perfect ball of whiteness.” It won Afreada‘s photo-story competition.
| By Rapum Kambili
| 14: An Anthology of Queer Art:
Volume 1: We Are Flowers
Grounded in wit, Rapum Kambili’s personal essay in We Are Flowers grapples with the divisive attitudes of the gay community, from the internalized-yet-subtle homophobia to the lack of apology about their identity. “Someone once asked, ‘Have you ever faced rejection upon coming out?’ The worst I’ve gotten: ‘We have to pray about it. It’s not of God.’ The bad: ‘I don’t believe you.’ The good, from an older friend, a spiritual mentor when I was still in the spirit, a wise lady: ‘I will listen just as you have asked me to.’ The better: ‘I kept thinking about it, and you’re still Rapum.’ The best, from my brother, Ulonna: ‘Is that your boyfriend @ dp?’” An often-humorous read.
Otosirieze Obi-Young was shortlisted for the 2016 Miles Morland Scholarship. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and his Transition story, “A Tenderer Blessing,” was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize while his unpublished story, “You Sing of a Longing,” is currently on the 2016 Gerald Kraak Award shortlist. His essays appear in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays and Brittle Paper where he is Submissions Editor. He edited Enter Naija—The Book of Places, an anthology of writing, photography and visual art about places in Nigeria created to mark Nigeria’s 56th Independence anniversary. He blogs popular culture at naijakulture.blogspot.com.
Peter Abrahams, a South African writer whose journalism and novels explored, with sensitivity and passion, the injustices of apartheid and the complexities of racial politics, died on Wednesday at his home in Kingston, Jamaica. He was 97.
The death was reported in the Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner.
Mr. Abrahams spent most of his adult life in Britain, France and Jamaica, but his moral center of gravity was located in the country he left at the age of 20.
“I am emotionally involved in South Africa,” he told the trade magazine Wilson Library Bulletin in 1957. “Africa is my beat.”
He added: “If I am ever liberated from this bondage of racialism, there are some things much more exciting to me, objectively, to write about. But this world has such a social orientation, and I am involved in this world and I can’t cut myself off.”
He first attracted notice in 1946 with “Mine Boy,” a powerful, sparely written novel about the trials of a naïve young black South African who leaves his home in the north to work in the gold mines near Johannesburg and falls in love with a mixed-race woman. It is often cited as the first African novel in English to draw international attention.
Two years later, Mr. Abrahams published “The Path of Thunder,” about a black South African who returns to his native village to open a school. It established him as an important literary voice.
“Beside Richard Wright’s name as a Negro novelist, set that of Peter Abrahams,” the critic Lewis Gannett wrote in a review of the book for The New York Herald Tribune. “Or beside that of Alan Paton as a South African novelist, set Peter Abrahams.”
Over the decades, in his reporting and in his fiction, Mr. Abrahams addressed the promises and the perils of black rule after colonialism, the possibilities of a postracial society and questions of personal identity. Those he felt acutely as a mixed-race South African — “colored,” under the country’s apartheid system — married to a white woman, and as an exile for most of his life. Above all, the spectacle of racial injustice in his homeland spurred him to write.
The novelist Nadine Gordimer, in an introduction to his memoir “The Black Experience in the 20th Century: An Autobiography and Meditation” (2001), wrote, “Abrahams is an African writer, a writer of the world, who opened up in his natal country, South Africa, a path of exploration for us, the writers who have followed the trail he bravely blazed.”
Peter Henry Abrahams Deras was born on March 3, 1919, in Vrededorp, a colored and Asian slum near Johannesburg. His father, James Henry Abrahams Deras (sometimes spelled De Ras), was an Ethiopian who settled in Johannesburg to work in the gold mines. His mother, the former Angelina DuPlessis, was colored, the daughter of a black father and a white French mother.
His father died when Peter was quite young, and the family struggled. Before entering school at 11, he sold firewood and worked for a tinsmith. After a white woman in the tinsmith’s office read the story of Othello to him from Charles Lamb’s book “Tales From Shakespeare,” he became determined to attend school.
He completed a three-year course at a colored school in Vrededorp in one year and won a scholarship to the Diocesan Training College in Grace Dieu, near Pietersburg, where he began contributing poems to the magazine Bantu World. While working at the Bantu Men’s Social Center, he encountered the works of black American writers.
“I read every one of the books on the shelf marked American Negro literature,” he wrote in “Tell Freedom: Memories of Africa” (1954). “I became a nationalist, a color nationalist, through the writings of men and women who lived a world away from me. To them I owe a great debt for crystallizing my vague yearnings to write and for showing me the long dream was attainable.”
He later studied at St. Peter’s, an elite school for blacks in Rosettenville, outside Johannesburg, and became a Marxist.
In 1939, while working as an editor at a socialist magazine in Durban, he found work as a stoker aboard a freighter and made his way to London. There he was hired as a dispatch clerk at a socialist bookstore and did editing for The Daily Worker, the newspaper of the British Communist Party.
He soon became involved in London’s African political community, befriending the Trinidadian pan-Africanist George Padmore and two future postcolonial leaders, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. This milieu provided the material for his 1956 novel, “A Wreath for Udomo,” about an English-educated African who returns to rule his native country with tragic results.
The literary scholar Harvey Curtis Webster, in Saturday Review, called “A Wreath for Udomo” “the most perceptive novel that has been written about the complex interplay between British imperialism and African nationalism and tribalism.”
Several stories Mr. Abrahams wrote when he was still in South Africa were collected in “Dark Testament” (1942), and a small press run by Dorothy Crisp, a right-wing political figure, brought out his first novel, “Song of the City,” in 1945.
A trip to South Africa and Kenya in 1952 generated a book of reporting, “Return to Goli” (1953). A few years later, the British colonial office commissioned him to write a popular history of Jamaica, published in 1957 as “Jamaica: An Island Mosaic.”
He liked what he saw. “In Jamaica, and in the stumbling and fumbling reaching forward of its people, is dramatized, almost at laboratory level, the most hopeful image I know of the newly emerging underdeveloped world,” he wrote in Holiday magazine in 1963. That was several years after he had relocated to the island with his second wife, the former Daphne Miller, and their three children, Anne, Aron and Naomi. There was no immediate word on his survivors.
For four decades, Mr. Abrahams broadcast political commentaries on Radio Jamaica. He wrote one novel with a non-African setting: “This Island, Now” (1966), about a political radical who comes to power in an unnamed Caribbean country after the death of its first postcolonial leader.
South Africa remained his subject. It was the setting of his political thriller “A Night of Their Own” (1965). He worked backward to it in the transgenerational novel “The View From Coyaba” (1985), a tale of black struggle in the Caribbean, the American South and Africa. He relived it in his second volume of memoirs.
By then, history had brought relief. “I became a whole person when I finally put away the exile’s little packed suitcase,” Mr. Abrahams told Caribbean Beat in 2003. “When Mandela came out of jail and when apartheid ended, I ceased to have this burden of South Africa. I shed it.”
Each year the Society awards cash and honorary prizes for poems in any style entered duing an open submissions period. Awards are presented at the Union Square Barnes & Noble (New York City) in April. If a report is available, you may access it by clicking on the name of the judge.
Guidelines for 2017 Yeats Poetry Prize
Deadline: February 15, 2017
Alfred Corn, Judge
The WB Yeats Society of NY poetry competition is open to members and nonmembers of any age, from any locality worldwide. Poems in English on any subject, up to 60 lines, not previously published, may be submitted. Type each poem (judged separately) on an 8.5 x 11” sheet without author’s name; attach 3×5 card with name, address, phone, e-mail. Entry fee is $15 for first poem, $12 each additional. Mail submissions to 2017 Poetry Competition, WB Yeats Society of NY, National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY 10003. Include S.A.S.E. to receive judge’s report. List of winners posted on YeatsSociety.org about March 31. First prize $1,000, second prize $500. Winners and honorable mentions receive two-year memberships in the Society and are honored at April event in New York City. Authors retain rights to their poems, but grant the Society the right to publish their winning entries. These are complete guidelines; no entry form necessary. We reserve the right to hold late submissions to following year.
Judge’s Reports and Winning Entries
2015 Jessica Greenbaum
2014 Jessica Greenbaum
2002 Harvey Shapiro
1998 Campbell McGrath
1997 L.S. Asekoff
1996 L.S. Asekoff
2017 New Ohio Review Contest
Announcing the 2017 New Ohio Review Contests!
Fiction: Colm Toibin
Nonfiction: Phillip Lopate
Poetry: Rosanna Warren
Contest submissions opened open January 15, 2017 and run until April 15, 2017
Entry Fee: $20 (with a one-year subscription included)
Prizes: $1,000 prize in each genre
Entrants may submit up to six single-spaced pages of poetry or 20 double-spaced pages of prose. If you are submitting through our online system, we prefer Microsoft Word documents (.doc or .docx). Contest entries are judged blind, so please include your name in your cover letter only. No names should appear on contest manuscripts. Past contest winners may not enter again. Electronic submissions may be submitted via:
If subscribers wish to mail to our contest, submissions must be postmarked by April 15th and should be sent to:
New Ohio Review
360 Ellis Hall
Athens, OH 45701
All contest submissions will be considered for regular publication.
2016 New Ohio Review Contest Winners
Fiction (Selected by Charles Johnson)
Winner: Leslie Rodd, “Audition.”
Nonfiction (Selected by Elena Passarello)
Winner: Gail Griffin, “A Creature, Stirring.”
Poetry (Selected by Tony Hoagland)
Winner: Michael Pearce, “Henry’s Horses,” “The Boy on the Ridge,” “The Pale Man.”