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December 29, 2015

December 29, 2015






Robin_Coste Lewis 01

Poet Robin Coste Lewis

evokes the black female

form across history

Voyage of the Sable Venus

“Voyage of the Sable Venus,” the first collection from Robin Coste Lewis, is the winner of this year’s National Book Award for poetry. Lewis discussed her debut, her readers and her influences with Jeffrey Brown at the Miami Book Festival. 







fabula press

Fabula Press

Short Story Competition


Every year, we run two short story competitions – Aestas in summer and Nivalis in winter. Aestas runs from 01 July to 30 September annually, and is now closed for submissions. We are currently hosting the Nivalis  short story competition, which will open for submissions on 01 January 2016, and end on 31 March 2016.

The contests are not theme bound. There is no restriction on genre either, and we are happy to read historical fiction, mystery/suspense, and horror. However, for consistency of presentation we cannot accept children’s stories, fantasy, young adult or chick lit; likewise hardcore science fiction is not something we are looking for, but are open to science based/alternative history based literary works. In case of doubt, it is best to query the editorial team before submitting.

Judging is by a panel of four independent judges, comprising literary agents, authors and essayists –  click here to know more about the judges for Nivalis 2016. Based on the aggregate scores from the four judges, three winners are selected and are awarded prizes as detailed in the below guidelines (see ‘Prizes’). In addition, depending on the length and quality of submission, a long-list of stories is drawn up for publication in an anthology, which is sold through leading online bookstores. All published authors will be remunerated as detailed in “Prizes”.

For the Nivalis 2016 detailed guidelines and rules, please refer below:


The  “Nivalis” Short Story Competition 2016
BEGINS  9:00 a.m. Jan 01, 2016 (US Central time) 
ENDS  11:59 p.m. Mar 31, 2016 (US Central time)


The rules below govern the “Nivalis” Short Story Contest 2016 (“Contest”).

Sponsor: The Contest is sponsored by Fabula Press (“the website”), and the Quill & Ink webzine (collectively known as “Sponsors” hereafter).

Eligibility: The Contest is open to all writers 18 years old or above.

Contest and Judging Criteria:

  • Entries must be received by US Central Time 11:59 p.m. March 31, 2016. Submissions should be through the Submissions Manager tool on the website. There is a US$10 entry fee, to be paid through the Submissions Manager.
  • Stories must be written in Englishoriginal and unpublished up to the time the winners are declared on or about June 30, 2016.
  • Stories must be not less than 1500 words and no more than 7,000 words in length.
  • There is no limit to the number of entries per person, but this is not bingo, and more submissions do not necessarily translate into higher chances of winning.
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but the editors must be immediately advised if the story is accepted elsewhere.  Also, where a story has been selected for the Nivalis Short Story Competition 2016 longlist and the author notified by email, a maximum of seven (7) days from the date of such notification will be allowed for the story to be withdrawn – request for withdrawal after such period cannot be entertained.
  • The name of the story and total word count must be printed on the front page of the story.
  • Pseudonyms are not permitted.
  • All submissions are final. No changes or substitutions to a story are allowed once your entry is received.
  • Queries before submission are welcome but must relate to the contest rules or if there are difficulties in submission.
  • By entering the Contest, entrants agree to allow Fabula Press to publish their stories, names and biographical information in all media, including but not limited to newspapers and online websites, without any compensation, save the prizes as detailed under ‘contest rewards’ to the notified winners. However, the above clause shall be null and void if the entry does not make it to the long list after first round of judging, and all rights will revert to the authors.
  • Do not send photographs with entries. Winners will be contacted about a photograph at a later date and must agree to publication of his/her photograph.
  • In connection with your submission, you affirm, represent and/or warrant that (i) you own or have the necessary licenses, rights, consents and permissions to use and authorize Sponsors to use all copyright, trademark or other proprietary rights in and to your submission to enable inclusion and use of the submission in the manner contemplated by these Contest rules.
  • Sponsor reserves the right to reject and disqualify any submission that could be offensive or inappropriate or that does not meet the terms and conditions of these rules.
  • In case of any dispute, the sponsors’ liability is limited to refund of the contest entry fee.

Judging and notification: 

  • The Fabula Press team will complete the first round of selections. The finalists’ entries will then be judged by the Fabula Press Nivalis Short Story Contest 2016 judges’ panel, who will select the First, Second and Third prize winners based on a 9 point scoring matrix on plot, quality of narrative, and characterisation. Final decision will be based on the sum total of the scores from the judges.
  • The winners will be contacted by email by the Sponsors, and must reply within two working weeks to maintain eligibility. If the winner(s) cannot be contacted within this time period or fail(s) to respond to any attempted contact, such winner(s) will be disqualified, his/her entry will be declared null and void and the Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to select another winner based on the judging criteria, in which event these provisions shall apply to such other eligible entry.

Contest Prizes: Apart from publication of long listed authors in an anthology, the following prizes will be awarded.

  1. First Prize:       US$250
  2. Second Prize: US$150
  3. Third Prize:     US$100

All longlisted entries (top 10-15) will be published in an anthology, and non-prize winning published entries will be paid US$50 each. Payment will be through paypal. If paypal does not work in your country, get in touch with the sponsors before entering the contest to discuss alternative payment channels.

Ownership/Use Rights: Entrants retain the copyright to their stories. However, by entering the contest and on being selected for the longlist after the first round of judging, you grant the Sponsors a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to publish and reproduce in part or full in print or online media, and to display your full name, short story and photograph in connection with Sponsors’ business, through print or online media channels. For the avoidance of doubt, the scope of full reproduction / full publishing is limited to publishing the story in the anthology and / or e-book format. However, before we commence with the exercise of such license, you will be allowed seven days’ time from the date of the longlist notification delivered to you by email to decide on whether you are agreeable to retain your participation in the contest.

The longlisted entrants will also be contacted separately for publication in the print anthology.

Indemnity: By participating in this Contest, you agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless the Sponsors, and their office bearers from any and all damages, injuries, claims, causes of action, or losses of any kind (including but not limited to lawyers’ fees) arising from your participation in the Contest, your violation of any term of these Contest rules, your violation of any third party right, including without limitation any copyright, property, or privacy right; or any claim that your submission caused damage to a third party.

Banning: The Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, prohibit any person from entering the Contest whom it believes to be abusing the rules. Such abuse includes but is not limited to falsification of information and/or identity, plagiarism, racial discrimination and bigotry.

Force Majuere clause: The Sponsors are not liable for failure to perform their obligations under these rules if such failure is as a result of Acts of God (including natural disasters), Acts of War, civil unrest, usurped power or confiscation, terrorist activities, prevention by statutes, or interruption or massive and sustained failure of electricity, internet or telephone service.

Any extension / reduction of contest and / or the judging window will be at the sole discretion of the organisers, and will be notified on the website if extended.

To submit, click here. For queries relating to the contest, mail us at










pinch journal

The 2016 Pinch Literary Awards

Sponsored by the Hohenberg Foundation


December 15, 2015 – March 15, 2016

1st Place in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry each receive $1000. 

Click here to view winners and judges from previous contests.

Fiction Judge: Leslie Pietrzyk

Nonfiction Judge: Nicole Hardy

Poetry Judge: Alex Lemon



All entries are considered for publication. First, second, and third place winners will be selected from each category. The first place winners will be published in the Spring issue following announcement. Second and third place winners will be given high-priority consideration for publication, but because of space, cannot be guaranteed. Due to the high volume of submissions, any prize-winners will be ineligible for contest participation for three years.

Only unpublished work will be considered. Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but notify us immediately if work is accepted elsewhere. No refunds will be issued. Manuscripts will not be returned. You may submit entries online via the link below or via snail mail. Please note that emailed and/or electronically delivered entries will NOT be considered; we are only able to accept online entries through our Submittable platform at this time.



$20 for the first entry of 1-3 poems or prose of up to 5000 words ; $10 for each subsequent entry. The $20 entry fee also includes one issue of The Pinch.

In the “cover letter” box please enter the author’s contact information:  name, address, phone number, and email address.

We do not accept translations at this time.

The author’s name should only be entered into the text box labeled “Cover Letter.”

The author’s name should NOT appear anywhere in the uploaded contest entry document.



Please enclose the following with each entry:

1. $20 for the first entry of 1-3 poems or prose of up to 5000 words; $10 for each subsequent entry. The $20 entry fee also includes one issue of The Pinch. Additional postage charge for international subscriptions.

2. A cover sheet with the author’s contact information: name, address, phone number, and email address. The

AUTHOR’S CONTACT INFORMATION SHOULD NOT APPEAR ON THE MANUSCRIPT itself. Entries that do not adhere to this policy will be DISCARDED UNREAD. Please notify us if your address or email changes. Entries postmarked outside the deadline will be discarded unread.



Code of Ethics and Contest Procedures

CLMP Contest Code Of Ethics

CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines — defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.

Process Of Selection

1st Round: All entries are submitted blind and read at least twice by our readers and editors. 5 to 10 pieces in each genre are then sent to the judges in their respective categories.

2nd Round: Judges then read the works, also blind-submitted, and choose one winner and two runners-up.


Conflicts Of Interest

Faculty, staff, or students associated with the University of Memphis within the last five years are not eligible for consideration or publication. Anyone associated with a judge will not have work considered within that category.






yesyes logo

2016 Vinyl 45 Chapbook Contest

$15.00 USD

Ends on 2/1/2016


2016 Vinyl 45 Chapbook Contest is open for submissions!

The contest is open to poetry, prose, and mixed genre chapbook manuscripts, 20-35 pages in length including title page and table of contents. Submissions will be open from Dec 15, 2015 to Feb 1, 2016. Submission fee: $15. 

Winner will receive the following:

·      Publication by YesYes Books 

·      $250 prize

·      25 author copies

·      An additional $250 toward tour expenses

·      Help with planning and managing opening book tour

·      Featured author page and book page on the YesYes website


Additionally, at least 2 Finalists will receive the following:

·      Much sincere public congratulations for being finalists

·      Possible publication by YesYes Books (if a finalist is chosen for publication the contestant will receive all of the items the winner will receive except the $250 prize). YesYes Books does not guarantee publication of finalists.

Winner and Finalists will be announced via all the various forms of social media and online publicity YesYes has at its disposal on or about May 1, 2016.

Entry Fee: $15

Eligibility and Other Contest Details:

Manuscripts must be 20-35 pages in length. The deadline for entry is 11:59 pm, February 1, 2016.

The winner and finalists will be chosen by YesYes Books Publisher and Vinyl Co-Editor-in-Chief KMA Sullivan with help from some of the fantastic YesYes Books/Vinyl editorial staff. Entries will be read blind throughout.

The manuscript may include pieces that have been published previously, but the manuscript as a whole must be unpublished.

Simultaneous submissions are fine (indeed, expected), but entries should be withdrawn immediately if accepted elsewhere. The entry fee will not be refunded. Once submitted, manuscripts may not be revised during the reading period without a complete withdrawal and resubmission which would include the payment of a new entry fee. You may enter the contest as many times as you like, but each entry will require its own separate entry fee.

Your manuscript must be a single Word doc, docx, or PDF. Please include a title page and table of contents (if applicable). We prefer paginated submissions. Please check that your name, email address, and other contact information does not appear anywhere in the document, including the title page. Do not include publication acknowlegements. Your contact information will be saved by our submission manager and revealed to the readers/editors after the winner and finalists have been chosen. When you submit your manuscript you will be asked to pay the fee first and then be invited to upload your manuscript.

If, after reading these guidelines, you still have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact KMA Sullivan at










photo by Alex Lear

photo by Alex Lear




Miles Davis

(featuring Kenneth D. Ferdinand – trumpet) 


Greta Garbo is credited with saying “I want to be alone.” Except I’m sure by “alone” she meant: away from you lames. I want to be where I can be me and this place is not it. Then she would blow some smoke, or pick her fingernails, or do something else nonchalantly to indicate her total boredom with the scene. Miles on the other hand never had to say it. He made a career of being alone and sending back notes from the other world, notes as piercing as his eyeballs dismissing a fan who was trying to tell him how pretty he played.


Here this man was: Miles Dewey Davis, a self made motherfucker, a total terror whose only evident tenderness is the limp in his smashed-up hip walk, like he can’t stand touching the ground, the cement, the wooden floor, plush carpet, whatever he is walking on. This man who, considering all the abuse he has dished out to others as well as all the self abuse he has creatively consumed, this man who should have died a long, long time ago but who outlived a bunch of other people who tried to clean up their act. This pact with the devil incarnate. This choir boy from hell. This disaster whose only value is music, a value which is invaluable. If he hadn’t given us his music there would have been no earthly reason to put up with Miles, but he gave on the stage and at the studio, he gave. If there is any redemption he deserves it.


As for me, I admit I don’t have the music, but so what? Perhaps in time you will understand that I really don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be loved or to love. I…


Perhaps you will understand that once you don’t care, nothing else matters. I don’t need a reason why to hit you. Why I’m letting you pack and split without a word from me, without any “I’m sorry,” or anything else that might indicate remorse or even just second thoughts about what I’ve done. Instead, I’m cool.


Just like Miles could climb on a stage after beating some broad in the mouth, I cross from the bedroom where I knocked you to the floor and go into the living room and put “Round Midnight” on. The unignorable sound of Miles chills the room. I stand cool. Listening with a drink of scotch in my hand, and a deadness in the center of me. Anesthetized emotions.


As you leave you look at me. Your eyes are crying “why, why, why do you treat me so badly?” I do not drop my gaze. I just look at you. Miles is playing his hip tortured shit. You will probably hate Miles all the rest of your life.


You linger at the door and ask me do I have anything I want to say. I take a sip nonchalantly, and with the studied unhurried motion of a journeyman hipster, I half smile and drop my words out of the corner of my mouth, “Yeah, I want to be alone. Thanks for leaving.”


And I turn my back on you, trying my best to be like Miles: a motherfucker.


—kalamu ya salaam









rewinding black









black music

The president of the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum in Culver City, California, recently discovered an unusual book in his late mother’s extraordinary collection of African-American artifacts. The small, cloth-bound book, titled Slave Songs of the United States, has a publication date of 1867 and contains a collection of 136 plantation songs. Could this be the first book of African-American spirituals ever published?