Inception Contest Offers $250 to Authors and Artists Plus Lower Fee

Beginnings have the power to spark passion or curiosity. They might immediately connect a specific place and time with an emotional tone. The best offer a feeling, atmosphere, action, or image that is gripping.

Too often in commercially driven industries, this results in sensationalism. But meaning, thoughtfulness, emotions, or shadings of tone…that is, connection…are the impulses that draw audiences into the moment. A poem handles this differently than a flash piece, which handles an opening differently than a novel. The first photo, painting or frame presented in a gallery, series, or collection strives for the same intent. Openings contain a spark that promises to continue to burn.

For Sunspot Lit’s 2020 Inception contest, send your best opening. There are no restrictions on theme, category, or the length of the piece or collection from which the beginning comes. Word limit is 250 for prose, 25 words for poetry. Graphic novel entries should be the first page (unlimited number of panels on that page) with a maximum of 250 words…so, cut the number of panels in order to meet the word count, if needed. Visual art entries should be the first in a series, the first in a gallery lineup, the first photo in a themed collection, etc. Entries are limited to one image with up to 250 words to describe the series, lineup or collection.

For 2020, the entry fee has been reduced due to COVID’s economic impact.

Open: July 1, 2020 (submit here)

Close: September 31, 2020

Entry fee: $5

Prize: $250 cash, publication for the winner, publication offered to runners-up and finalists.

Open Call from Sunspot Literary Journal

Submissions for the third quarterly edition open June 1, 2020. Sunspot Lit accepts all prose forms from 1 to 49,000 words, poetry from 1 to 50 pages, and artwork. No restriction on theme or content. Submit here as many times as you like.

Sunspot Summer Edition 2020

Sunspot Lit’s second edition of the year is now available. Thanks to our contributors for sending exceptional artwork, fiction, and essays about the pandemic (among other standout pieces). This quarter’s cover art comes from Hediana Utarti. This sixty-year-old API immigrant came to the US in 1986 to study political science. After graduating, she found more purpose in her continuing role at the San Francisco Asian Women’s Shelter (sfaws.org).

Download your edition for free on the website.

Remember that we’ll select as many pieces as possible for the annual print edition. This year, we’re adding artwork to the print edition to further support our contributors. Keep an eye out as fall approaches for more information on contributors, pub dates, and more.

Water Stewardship and Aboriginal Communities

Laine Cunningham’s reflections on what Australian Aboriginal folktales can tell modern readers, entitled Seven Sisters, was quoted in Pernille Ingildsen’s Water Stewardship.
Ingildsen’s work addresses true sustainability for our planet’s water resources, and takes a holistic approach to generate lasting change.
The work is out now from The International Water Association. The print edition is available from IWP for £60, or from Barnes & Noble for $90.
An open-access ebook can be found here.
Interested in reading Cunningham’s book? Available in a full-color illustrated gift edition, black and white enhanced edition or, of course, as an ebook.

Why authors and artists in developing countries are so disadvantaged

Marion Grace Woolley, author and piano maker, lives in Rwanda. She’s posted an interesting commentary on YouTube.

Why authors and artists in developing countries are so disadvantaged

Link here to view, comment, and learn.

Closing soon: $100 for 100 Words or 1 Artwork Contest

Sunspot Lit offers $100 cash and publication for one winner, and the chance to be published as a finalist.

For this contest, all forms of prose are accepted: poetry, plays, stories, essays, memoirs, travel pieces, opinions, rants…just keep it to 100 words or less.
Artists are also welcome to submit. Instead of submitting 100 words, utilize a title of up to 10 words for your photo, digital art, painting, or other work. All art entries will be considered for use on the cover of the next edition, so you might end up with the stipend offered for cover artwork. (And yes, if you win and are used on the cover, you’ll be paid twice.)
Submit as many times as you like. One piece per submission. The fee to enter is $5, and goes to support the magazine, stipends for contributors, and other expenses. Contest ends on June 30, 2020.

Artists & Authors Eligible for $100 for 100 Words Contest

Sunspot Lit just updated the guidelines for the 2020 edition of the $100 for 100 Words contest. Previous contests that allowed visual artists to submit received such powerful entries that this contest was adjusted to allow them to enter it, as well. Prize is $100 cash and publication for one winner, and the chance to be published as a finalist. Here are the updated guidelines:

For this contest, all forms of prose are accepted: poetry, plays, stories, essays, memoirs, travel pieces, opinions, rants…just keep it to 100 words or less.
Artists are also welcome to submit. Instead of submitting 100 words, utilize a title of up to 10 words for your photo, digital art, painting, or other work. All art entries will be considered for use on the cover of the next edition, so you might end up with the stipend offered for cover artwork.
Submit as many times as you like. One piece per submission. The fee to enter is $5, and goes to support the magazine, stipends for contributors, and other expenses. Contest ends on June 30, 2020.

SINGLE WORD CONTEST 2020 EDITION

Sunspot Lit announces the results of the Single Word contest’s 2020 edition. Submissions were open for any prose form, poetry, and visual art. We received entries that made us laugh, thoughtful pieces that dealt with the current pandemic, and works that hold meaning no matter what state the world is in.

Truly, this crop of entries showed exceptional talent. It’s heartening to know that people are working creatively to make the world a better place. The lists below reflect the results of multiple judging rounds. Look for the finalists and the winner in the next quarterly edition, due out around the end of June.

Congratulations to everyone on these lists!

 

Longlist

Compassion, Joshua Molina

Confidence, Tara Strahl

Faith, Trever Sinanovic

Enough, Lisa DeAngelis

One, Wes Finch

Weapon, Mary Lash

Light, Tanita Cree

Equanimity, Hunter Liguore

Consequence, Elizabeth Cain

Chinese, Jill Bronfman

Faith, Jennifer Jones

Unidistancing/Uni-distancing, Corinne Beasley

Turbine, Cameron Lings

Gender, Vicky Prior

Exit, Thomas Mangan

Us, Mary Sheehan

Jarabi, Doley Henderson

Anomie, Angela Kaufman

 

Shortlist

e/motion, Kerry Rawlinson

Dream, Michael Noonan

Aloha, Stephanie Launiu

You’re Mine, You (for They), Valyntina Grenier

Another Word for Beauty, Mark Henderson

The Meaning of Free, Hannah van Didden

Ubuntu, Ethel Maqeda

Rega, Rosalie Sydes

Yes, Lisa Friedlander

Burning, Olga Gonzalez Latapi

We, Larry Mellman

Self-quarantined, Christopher Buckley

Viral, Claire Lawrence

Stoic, Aileen Boyer

Vulnerability, Hazel Whitehead

The Letter “Hey,” Omer Wissman

 

Finalists

Aloha, Stephanie Launiu

You’re Mine, You (for They), Valyntina Grenier

Ubuntu, Ethel Maqeda

Burning, Olga Gonzalez Latapi

We, Larry Mellman

Self-quarantined, Christopher Buckley

Viral, Claire Lawrence

The Letter “Hey,” Omer Wissman

 

Winner and Runners-up

Runner-up: Ubuntu, Ethel Maqeda

Runner-up: Viral, Claire Lawrence

First place: The Meaning of Free, Hannah van Didden

 

Closing Soon: $500 for a Single Word

Prize: $500 and Publication

For the 2020 edition of the Single Word contest, Sunspot is handing the megaphone over to authors and artists. Submit the single word you feel is the most important in today’s world.

You’ll have 1,000 words to describe why using any form of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. If you feel the word speaks for itself, your description can simply state that fact.

Artwork is also accepted for this prize. Submit one image and up to 250 words describing the artwork’s relationship to the single word.

Since English doesn’t always convey exact shades of meaning, the word you select can be in any language. A definition written in English will be required, and the definition will count toward the total word count of the description. The description must also be in English.

For the first edition of this contest in 2019, the prize was $50. In 2020, the prize has increased to $500.

In addition to receiving the cash prize, the winner will be published. Select finalists will have the chance to be published. Sunspot asks for first rights only; all rights revert to the contributor after publication. Works, along with the creators’ bylines, are published in the next quarterly digital edition an average of one month after contest completion as well as the annual fall print edition. 

Enter as many times as you like through Submittable, but only one piece per submission. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your piece if it is published elsewhere before the winner is selected.

Entry fee is $10.

Opens January 1, 2020. 

Closes March 31, 2020 at midnight EST.

Selected as one of Reedsy’s Best Writing Contests in 2019. Reedsy Best Contest

Heavenly Baby from Dasha Ziborova

I met Dasha Ziborova at a residency program, and signed up for her occasional newsletter here. She offers thoughtful, fun, and lovingly illustrated stories based on her life and her experiences. “Heavenly Baby” is about her cat, parenting, and Russia.

If you like the newsletter, you can pick up books she illustrated and produced here. They include “Pussy from Hell” and “This Land is My Land.”

From the artist:

Real Time In Ink is a series of graphic stories by artist and author Dasha Ziborova. It covers a broad range of topics from people, places, parenting, art, music, cats, food, and travel, to occasional politics and scary crazy Russians.
Dasha Ziborova is a graphic novelist, picture book illustrator, and muralist. She was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and came to New York in 1991. Since then, Dasha illustrated five children’s picture books including the award-winning Crispin the Terrible published by Callaway Editions, and In English, of Course and The Numbers Dance by Gingerbread House.

Poetry Coalition Initiative

Check out this cool program:
In March 2020, the Poetry Coalition will launch “I am deliberate / and afraid / of nothing: Poetry & Protest,” its fourth annual programming initiative. For this collaborative effort, each of the twenty-five organizations in the coalition will bring its unique mission to the task of presenting programs and projects on this timely theme, which was inspired by a number of occasions taking place this year, including the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote and the 50th anniversary of the tragic shooting of student protesters at Kent State University. It also speaks to the role poetry has played in encouraging civic and grassroots engagement, and contributed to public debate and dialogue.
We’re inviting any and all poetry organizations to program on this theme in March and share their efforts using the hashtags #PoetryandProtest and #PoetryCoalition.

Single Word Contest Accepts Art

Sunspot Literary Journal’s Single Word contest is open to artists, photographers, and collage artists as well as authors. Link here for full details.

Submit one image and up to 250 words describing the artwork’s relationship to the single word.

Submit One Word to Win $500

SunspotFor the 2020 edition of the Single Word contest, Sunspot is handing the megaphone over to you. Submit the single word you feel is the most important in today’s world.

You’ll have 1,000 words to describe why using any form of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. If you feel the word speaks for itself, your description can simply state that fact.

Artwork is also accepted for this prize. Submit one image and up to 250 words describing the artwork’s relationship to the single word.

Since English doesn’t always convey exact shades of meaning, the word you select can be in any language. A definition written in English will be required, and the definition will count toward the total word count of the description. The description must also be in English.

For the first edition of this contest in 2019, the prize was $50. In 2020, the prize has increased to $500.

In addition to receiving the cash prize, the winner will be published. Select finalists will have the chance to be published.

Enter as many times as you like, but only one piece per submission. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your piece if it is published elsewhere before the winner is selected.

Closing March 31, 2020 at midnight EST.

Open Call Closing Feb 29

Sunspot Literary Journal is dedicated to amplifying diverse multinational voices. We offer an Editor’s Prize of $50 for the annual edition. Artwork selected for a cover will be paid $20. Visit SunspotLit.com to download digital editions for free.

All types of prose from flash fiction and poetry to stories and essays, including scripts and screenplays, are welcome. We also accept long-form, novelette, and novella length works. Translations welcome, especially with access to the piece in the author’s original language.

One piece per prose submission, including poetry; two works of visual art per submission.

Use the General form for prose from 501 to 3,500 words. Flash fiction and works longer than 3,500 words must be submitted through one of the other forms. If they are submitted through the General form, they will be declined unread.

Using the Fast Flux (two-week turnaround or less)? Select the correct fee option to avoid delays.

All submissions must be unpublished (except on a personal blog). Simultaneous submissions welcome. Submit as many times as you like.

Closes February 29, 2020 at midnight.

Book Review: Fever Dream / Take Heart by Valyntina Grenier

I first had the pleasure of encountering Valyntina Grenier’s work through Sunspot Literary Journal’s Single Word contest. Since then, this talented artist was picked up by Cathexis North West Press.

Fever Dream / Take Heart is a doubled poetry book. Two chapbooks have been produced in a flip-book format. Bound in the  tête-bêche style, Fever Dream and Take Heart provide two forays through this poet’s feverishly delicious style.

Lifting off from nature, Grenier leaps intuitively between images that comment on humanity’s impact on the climate, corrosive politics, and all that is ferociously feminine. 

Leap anywhere into these works and emerge with your senses swollen and your will to enact change fortified with iron.

FDTHCover75

Valyntina Grenier is a poet and visual artist living in Tucson, Arizona. She was born in Lancaster, California, and educated at The University of California, Berkeley, and St. Mary’s College, Moraga. Graduating with an MFA in poetry, she is self-taught as a painter, installation and Neon artist. In both language and visual art, she pushes the boundaries of representation and abstraction to create a vantage from which to view violence and prejudice. An LGBTQIA artist and activist, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Lana Turner, High Shelf Press, JuxtaProse, Sunspot Lit, Bat City Review and The Impossible Beast: Poems of Queer Eroticism. Find her at valyntinagrenier.com or Insta @valyntinagrenier.