Category Archives: Contests, Grants and Awards

Inception: $250 for Prose, Poetry, or Art Opening

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.

Close: September 31, 2020

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

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.

Works should be unpublished except on a personal blog or website. Artists offered publication may display their pieces in galleries, festivals or shows throughout the publication contract period.

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.

$100 for 100 Words or Art Contest Results

$100 for 100 Words or Art

The judging for the $100 for 100 Words or Art contest is finished. Competition was tight this year, with a slew of entries touching on topics ranging from the pandemic to social justice. The quiet moments of life, especially those filled with meaning, were also frequent topics.

This year, two winners were selected for first place. As always, Sunspot does not split the prize in the case of a tie. Instead, the prize money is doubled and the full payment is made to both winners.

Congratulations to Karen Walker for her flash prose piece “Willow Widow,” the first prize selection.

Prose runner-up: Duology (poem) Kameko Lashlee Gaul

Congratulations to Alice Dillon for “In These Uncertain Times” for her artwork, which was also selected for first place.

Art runner-up: Time A Grand And Final Judge, Grow Bravely In Love (art) Church Goin Mule

Each winner receives $100 cash, publication in Volume II, Issue 3 (digital only), and the 2021 print edition due out in fall. They are also featured on the website under the Winners tab, and will be featured on two blogs with a following of over 20,000 on various social media channels.

We’d also like to call out the following works that placed as finalists. The shortlist follows the finalist list.

 

FINALISTS

Cambodian Campaign I (prose poem) Ojo Taiye

Red (poem) Jacqueline Schaalje

Rescue (flash) Charlotte Wyatt

Guernica (flash) ST Brant

No Rest for The Weary (art) Kelly Anderson

Keep Those Hard Times Away (art) Benjamin  Malay

Resident Light (art) Louis Staeble

Horned Dark Goddess Coming to Life (art) Amalia Galdona Broche

Tilting towards Self-Annihilation (art) George L Stein

 

SHORTLIST

Light Trail

No Rest for The Weary

Red (Caroline T)

Golden

The End

In these uncertain times

Afterthought

Time a Grand and Final Judge, Grow Bravely in Love

Covid Garden 2

Endogenous

Quarantina

Brazilian Woman

Willow Widow

No Turn on Red

The Song

Keep Those Hard Times Away

Loveless Park; Roswell, New Mexico

Song of the Drowned

Can You Even Dye My Eyes to Match My Gown?

Resident Light

Zoonotic Spillover

In the Heart of My Own City

Endoparasite

The Machine Zombie Rebellion, Fox Valley Junkyard, 2020

Red (Jacqueline S)

The Couple on the Mezzanine

Sundry Items

Thank you. No, Thank You! Excuse me, THANK YOU! OK

Springtide Ditty

Family Day at The Genocide

Waking Up on Black Hole

Wash Your Hands, or Who Would Have Thought

The Dark

Horned Dark Goddess Coming to Life

Stay-At-Home – Houston, April 2020

Rescue

Guernica

Duology

The Edge of Solitude

cured meat

Dis·cord·ance

Nightlife

Barren Land

When Levees Break

October Walk in Tower Grove Park

Tilting towards Self-Annihilation

once it took root, the idea grew quickly

swept

Daybreak

Here I Was Angry

Valetudo

Eigengrau

oklahoma rose is an oxymoron here

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 30, 2020

Entry fee: $5

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

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

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.

Single Word Writing Contest Offers $500

postcard-1197664_1920For 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.

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 is being 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. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your piece if it is published elsewhere before the winner is selected. Deadline is March 31, 2020.

Sunspot’s Pushcart Prize Nominees

Sunspot Literary Journal is dedicated to helping its contributors in every way possible. We therefore submit pieces published in our editions to various award intended to call out some of the best creative work of the year.
We are incredibly pleased to announce that the following authors have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize:

Nina Wilson / “Feeding on Men”
Max Carp / “The First Epistle to Carmelo DeAndre Jones A.K.A. Notorious”
Kayo Chang Black / “The Nikah”
Ron Pullins / “Dada’s Home”
Tiffany Promise / “Saint Magpie of Loserville”
Patricia Worth, Translator for Claudine Jacques / “Other People’s Land”

If any of their work is selected by the Pushcart committee, it will appear in the 2020 edition of Pushcart’s anthology.
We wish them every success!

Sunspot Editor’s Prize 2019

Sunspot Literary Journal’s annual edition provides for an Editor’s Prize for one contributor. This year, the selection was contributed by Kerry Muir. “Running on Moontime,” a short play, grabbed us with its depth and humor.

Kerry received $50 and a call-out line in the annual edition. To which she said, “OMG, OMG!!!! Laine, thank you so much, that’s incredible! (Beauty pageant fluttering hands, mascara tears….)”

So, you see why we liked her piece.

Reedsy Selects Inception as 2019 Best Writing Contest

Reedsy Best ContestReedsy, a huge freelancer’s site, selected Inception: $250 for the Best Opening as one of the Best Contests of 2019. Check it out before it closes October 31.

New Multi-genre Writing Contest

SunspotSunspot Literary Journal wants your best fiction, nonfiction, or poetry opening. No restrictions on theme, category, or length of the piece from which the beginning is excerpted.

Length for the entry: Up to 250 words for prose. Up to 25 words for poetry. 

First place winner will be published, and finalists will be offered the opportunity to be published. Enter as many times as you like. Simultaneous submissions accepted. Work can have won other awards without being disqualified.

Cash award of $250 for the winner.

Link here to submit today. 

Closing October 31, 2019. 

$100 for 100 Words Contest Results

Hundreds of submissions poured into Sunspot Lit for the first $100 for 100 Words contest. Fiction entries ranged from literary to genre pieces (heavy on sci-fi this time, which always sparks the editor’s personal pleasure). Nonfiction prose offered thoughtful commentary on society and relationships, lyric essays, howls that burned down the houses of power, and bright, compact ideas. Poetry was of course well represented.

Many of the entries ran up to the word count limit. A handful made clever use of the title to enhance the work by setting place, time, tone, or other important elements. A surprising amount used less than half the allowed word count, and some of those shot to the top of the list.

The finalists are, in no particular order:

  • Melinda Winograd for “Suitable Match”
  • A.D. Conner for “Whiskey Mermaid”
  • Thomas Boos for “The Bar at the Bottom of the Hill”
  • Lory Saiz for “In the Dark: A Micro Essay on Black Sails’ James Flint and the Gay Villain Trope”
  • Bob Thurber for “The Shovelers”
  • Judith Ralston Ellison for “Zapped by Electricity”
  • Pamela Sumners for “Love Poem”
  • Jesse Sensibar for “Plow in the Sky”
  • Jodee Stanley for “November”
  • Mary-Chris Hines for “As a God”
  • Claudia Reed for “The End of the World?”
  • Julie Goldberg for “We Can Get Another Balloon”

Generating this list from the hundreds of quality entries was like picking a path through a patch of thorns. Many of the pieces that did not make this list still have their hooks deep in flesh and refuse to let go. We hope that the authors of those works will consider submitting through the regular process so we can scoop up new treasures for our readers.

The first-place winner is Pamela Sumners for “Love Poem.” Her piece used the word-count limit to its fullest extent without pushing the boundary unnecessarily.

Pamela is a constitutional and civil rights attorney from Alabama. Her work has been published or recognized by thirty journals and publishers over the last two years. She was included in Halcyon/Black Mountain Press’ 64 Best Poets and had been nominated for 2019’s 50 Best Poets. She was nominated for a Pushcart prize in 2018. She now lives in St. Louis with her wife, son, and three rescue dogs.

Her slim ninety-four words start warm, pour on a disturbing heat, then spill blood before looping back into a cool, almost arctic end.

Look for the poem in the next edition of Sunspot. Just take care that you don’t get hurt.