Thursday, September 28, 2017

36 Writing Contests in October 2017 - No entry fees

Jonathan Wolstenholme
There are three dozen free writing contests in October. They cover the full range of topics, styles and genres, from short stories, to essays, to poetry, to full-length works.

In addition to the prestige of winning a contest, some of the monetary prizes this month are substantial.

Be sure to check the submission requirements carefully, as some have age and geographical restrictions.

Many contests are held annually, so if you miss a contest you may be able to catch it next year. For a full month-by-month listing of contests see: Free Contests.

NOTE: On the last Thursday of every month, I post upcoming writing contests for the following month. Stay tuned!


Student Travel Writing ContestRestrictions: Currently enrolled high school, undergraduate, graduate students, student interns, and volunteers (including Peace Corps). Genre: Essay. Prize: $500. Deadline: October 1, 2017.

Small But Mighty. Restrictions: Children ages 7-11 and 12-15. Genre: Fiction and poetry. Prize: Writing supplies, certificate, and publication on website. Deadline: October 1, 2017.

Pigeon PagesGenre: Prose. "We seek previously unpublished prose pieces of up to 4,000 words. We will accept submissions from any genre or hybrid-genre, with lyric or experimental prose welcome. We love writing with a strong sense of narrative and invite you to tell us a true story, be in based in the real or fictional world." Prize: Winner, $250; Two runners-up, $50. Deadline: October 1, 2017.

Red Dragonfly New Writing CompetitionRestrictions: Open to UK residents from British East Asian, South Asian and South East Asian communities. Genre: 30-minute play. Prize: £1000. Deadline: October 1, 2017.

The Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, sponsored by the African Poetry Book Fund and in partnership with the literary journal, Prairie Schooner, is the only one of its kind in the world and was established to promote African poetry written in English or in translation and to recognize a significant book published each year by an African poet. A standard edition is 48 pages or more in length. Genre: Open to any book of original poetry, in English, published during 2015 in a standard edition by a full-length collection of poetry. Restrictions: African nationals, African residents, or poet of African parentage with roots from any country, living anywhere in the world. Prize: USD $5,000. Deadline: October 1, 2017.

RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for Non-FictionRestrictions: The writer must be a resident of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or have been a resident in the UK or ROI for the past three years. Genre: Nonfiction book. Prize: Two awards – one of £10,000, one of £5,000 – are offered to support writers to complete their first commissioned works of non-fiction. Deadline: October 2, 2017.

Royal Institute of Philosophy Essay PrizeTopic: Philosophy and Education. Prize: £2,500 top prize. Deadline: October 2, 2017.

American Antiquarian Society Fellowships for Creative Writers is calling for applications for visiting fellowships for historical research by creative and performing artists, writers, film makers, journalists, and other persons whose goals are to produce imaginative, non-formulaic works dealing with pre-twentieth-century American history. Successful applicants are those whose work is for the general public rather than for academic or educational audiences. The Society's goal in sponsoring this program is to multiply and improve the ways in which an understanding of history is communicated to the American people. Prize: A stipend of $1,150 to $1,350 and on-campus housing is provided; fellows residing off-campus receive $1,850. Deadline: October 5, 2017.

RBC Taylor Prize for Literary NonfictionRestrictions: Open to published Canadian authors. Genre: Nonfiction book. Prize: CAN$25,000.00. Deadline: October 6, 2017 for books published between August 1 and September 30, 2017.

Man Booker International Prize. The Man Booker International Prize for fiction translated into English is awarded annually by the Booker Prize Foundation to the author of the best (in the opinion of the judges) eligible novel or collection of short stories. Prize: £50,000 divided equally between the author and the translator. There will be a prize of £2,000 each of the shortlisted titles divided equally between the author and the translator. Deadline: October 6, 2017.

Celestial Bodies Poetry Book ContestRestrictions: Open to poets aged between 18-23 at the time of submitting. Genre: Book-length collection of poems, at least half unpublished. Prize: $100, book publication with royalties and 5 author copies.  Deadline: October 8, 2017.

The NC State Short Story ContestsRestrictions: Open to all North Carolina residents except 1) tenured/tenure-track professors in the University of North Carolina system or 2) writers with a published book, 3) previous winners. Genres: An unpublished SHORT STORY of no more than 20 double-spaced pages; limit 5000 words OR an unpublished SHORT-SHORT FICTION story of no more than 5 double-spaced typed pages; limit 1200 words. Prizes: James Hurst Fiction Prize for the winning story is $500. There will also be some Honorable Mention awards. Prize for short-short is $250. Deadline: October 10, 2017.

FutureScapes Writing ContestGenre: Short fiction up to 8,000 words, written in accordance with prompt: ‘Blue Sky Cities.’ Prize: $2,000 prize for first place, $1,000 prize for second place, and $500 prize to each of the four runners-up. Deadline: October 13, 2017.

Sweek Microfiction Contest. Genre: Microfiction, 200 words max, incorporating the word ‘light.’ Prize: $50 and publication. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

Wax Poetry and Art Poetry ContestGenre: Poem. (Enter 1 poem for free. There is a charge for additional poems.)  Prize: 1st place, $70 CAD. 2nd place, $20 CAD. 3rd place, $10 CAD. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

A Public Space Emerging Writer FellowshipsRestrictions: Open to writers who have not yet published or been contracted to write a book-length work. Prize: $1,000, 6-month fellowship, and a mentorship from an established author. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

NUHA Blogging CompetitionGenre: Essay about education. "The competition has been established as an international platform to debate issues of education and to provide an opportunity for authors to be published and to develop their self-confidence." Prizes: Young Writers Prize of up to US$ 250 for those born between 2003 and 2007; Youth Prize of up to US$ 1000 for those born between 1999 and 2002; Adult Prize of up to US$ 2500 for those born before 1999. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling ScholarshipRestrictions: Poet must be born in the United States. Genre: Poetry. The sample must not exceed either (1) 40 typed pages or (2) one printed volume plus no more than 20 typed pages of your most recent work. There is no minimum page requirement. Prize: $54,000 for a year of travel and study abroad. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

The Marfield Prize, also known as the National Award for Arts Writing, is given annually by the Arts Club of Washington to nonfiction books about the arts written for a broad audience. Genre: Non-fiction book. Self-published books not accepted. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

Nanjing Poetry ContestGenre: Poem. The theme is the human tragedy committed by Japanese troops at Nanjing (Nanking) from 1937 until the end of the World War II known as the "Rape of Nanking." Poems may be submitted in English or Chinese. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

Writing Pittsburgh Book PrizeRestrictions: Open to writers with a meaningful Pittsburgh connection. Genre: Nonfiction book focusing on a subject of regional and national significance. Prize: $10,000; publication of their book by CNF's independent book imprint, In Fact Books (IFB); national distribution; and a marketing and publicity campaign. Deadline: October 23, 2017.

Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Career Development GrantsRestrictions: Writers who are U.S. citizens and have lived in Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, or St. Louis counties in northeastern Minnesota for at least six months are eligible. Genre: Poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Prize: $3,000 grant. Deadline: October 27, 2017.

The Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest is sponsored by Hollins University. Restrictions: Open to young women who are sophomores or juniors in high school or preparatory school. Genre: Poetry. Prize: Up to $5,000 renewable annual Creative Talent Scholarship in creative writing if winner enrolls at Hollins. Free tuition and housing for the university’s Hollins summer creative writing program. $200 cash prize. Publication in Cargoes, Hollins’ award-winning student literary magazine. Ten copies of CargoesDeadline: October 31, 2017.

PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is the most prestigious literary award in the US. Restrictions: Authors must be living American citizens. Self-published works not accepted. Genres: Novels, novellas, and collections of short stories. Prize: $15,000. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

The Benjamin Franklin House Literary PrizeRestrictions: Entrants must be aged 18-25 years and living in the UK. Genre: Fiction and nonfiction. Each year a question or quote exploring Franklin’s relevance in our time is open for interpretation in 1000-1500 words. Prize: First prize of £750, second prize of £500. Winning entries will be posted on the website and also published online by The TelegraphDeadline: October 31, 2017.

The Eric Gregory AwardsRestrictions: Applicants must be under 30 and a British subject by birth and must ordinarily be resident in the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland. Genre: Poetry collection. Previously published work accepted. Prize: £4,000.00. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Lee & Low Books New Visions AwardRestrictions: Open to writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a middle grade or young adult novel published. Genre: Middle grade or young adult novel. Prize: $1,000 and their standard publication contract, including their basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash prize of $500. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Burt Award for Caribbean LiteratureRestrictions: Caribbean authors age 12 through 18. Genres: Published books, previously self-published books, and unpublished manuscripts are eligible for the Award. Prize: First Prize of $10,000 CAD, a Second Prize of $7,000 CAD and a Third Prize of $5,000 CAD.  Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Jane Lumley Prize for Emerging WritersRestrictions: The Jane Lumley Prize will only be awarded to writers who have not already published a full length book. However, they may have published a chapbook, and/or found a home for their works in other literary journals. Genre: Poetry. Maximum of eight poems (totaling not more than ten pages). Prize: $300 and winning entries will be featured in the January issue of Hermeneutic ChaosDeadline: October 31, 2017.

Productivity Spot ScholarshipRestrictions: Undergraduate/postgraduate students. Genre: Essay on the topic “How Can Technology help Students be More Productive in 2017?” Word count for essays is 800-1000 words. Prize: $1000 scholarship. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

The Juicingbeasts Staying Healthy ScholarshipRestrictions: Entrants must be enrolled in higher education. Genre: Essay between 800-1000 words on the topic "How to stay healthy in 2017." Prize: $500. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short FictionRestrictions: Open to residents of UK. Genre: Short stories between 2000-6000 words on the theme "Café Stories." Prize: £500 and 10 shortlisted authors will be published in an ebook anthology. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

The Young Walter Scott PrizeRestrictions: Open to UK authors aged 11-19. Genre: Historical fiction between 800 and 2000 words. Prizes: £500 travel and research grant to further explore historical places in the UK, and an invitation to the Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland, in June 2018. Two runners-up in each category receive a £100 book token, and all four winning stories are published in a special YWSP anthology book. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

McKitterick PrizeRestrictions: Open to authors over age 40 on December 31, 2017. Genre: First novel. The work must have been first published in the UK in the year in which the deadline falls (and not first published abroad), or be unpublished. Prize: £4,000.00. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Tom-Gallon Trust AwardRestrictions: Open to citizens of the United Kingdom, Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland with at least one short story published or accepted for publication. Genre: Short story, maximum 5,000 words. May be unpublished. Prize: £1,000.00. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Barry Hannah Prize in Fiction. Genre: Short stories that capture the strange, surreal, absurd, and magical. "We are looking for stories that align themselves with fairy tales, folk tales, and mythology. Stories may approach this theme broadly or narrowly, thematically, formally, or both. Stories may be based on magical realism, literary realism, and anything in between. We are most interested in stories that reconfigure the old into something new." Length: 5,000 words max. Prize: $500 and publication in the Winter issue of Yalobusha Review. All finalists will also be considered for publication. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

37 Great Writing Conferences in October 2017

Attending a conference one of the best things you can do for your writing career. Conferences offer a unique opportunity to network with other writers, meet agents and pitch your book, and learn how the publishing industry works from editors and professionals in the field.

There are more than three dozen exciting conferences in October. Workshops, retreats, and festivals are held in locations that span the country.

If you miss your perfect conference, don't worry. Many of these are annual events, so plan ahead for next year! (I include conferences that are sold out so you can plan ahead.)

For a month-by-month list of conferences throughout the year see: Writing Conferences. (You will also find links to resources that can help you find conferences in your area on that page.)


Books with Bite Workshop and Retreat: Writing Horror and Haunted Novels. October 4 - 8, 2017, Honesdale, Pennsylvania. "If you’re writing a young adult or middle-grade novel that touches on any frightening or chilling subject matter, either realistic or fantastical, we can help you shape it into something un-put-down-able." In this unique four-day workshop, you will have your work critiqued, produce new pages, and come away with solid direction for your novel. Application Deadline: August 15, 2017.

American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) Conference. October 5 - 8, 2017, Minneapolis, MN. Panels, workshops, readings, a book fair, and opportunities to meet with editors for translators. The 2017 theme is “Reflections/Refractions.”

New York Comicon. October 5 - 8, 2017, New York, New York. New York Comic Con is the East Coast's biggest popular culture convention: Show Floor plays host to the latest and greatest in comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies and television; Panels and Autograph Sessions give Fans a chance to interact with their favorite Creators; Screening rooms feature sneak peeks at films and television shows months before they hit big and small screens.

Write on the Sound Writers' Conference and Pre-Conference. Oct 6 - 8, 2017, Edmonds, WA. WOTS offers the opportunity to explore various writing craft techniques with nationally recognized industry professionals in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.  SOLD OUT.

Imaginarium. Oct 6 - 8, 2017, Louisville KY. A three day annual event held in Louisville, Kentucky centered entirely around creative writing, including the worlds of books, movies, gaming, music, and comics/graphic novels. Imaginarium Convention features extensive programming content, with panels and workshops presented by over 150 professional guests covering everything from the craft of writing to various genres, industry-specific topics, publishing, and social media/publicity. The convention features a film festival with a full array of awards, a masquerade/costume contest, live music, gaming, an expo open to the general public, an awards banquet, a series of literary awards called the Imadjinns, and many more activities, creating a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere that is content-rich and ideal for networking, promotion and personal development.

Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference. October 6 - 9, 2017, Whidbey Island, WA. Evaluation and discussion of book-length and chapbook-length manuscripts with poets, editors, and publishers. will meet and work with nationally known poets, publishers, and editors. Faculty includes: Rusty Morrison (Co-founder/Publisher Omnidawn Press); Fred Marchant (Professor Emeritus, Suffolk University); Martha Rhodes (director of Four Way Books, a literary press in New York City, and author of five poetry collections); and Joan Houlihan (Conference Founder / Lesley University).

Picture Book Summit. Oct 7, 2017, Online. An online, one day live event for picture book writers including author keynotes, interviews, workshops and agent & editor panels. Recordings provided for attendees for four months post-conference. Faculty: Tomie dePaola, Adam Rex, Carole Boston Weatherford, Brenda Bowen, Steve Swinburne, Laura Backes, Julie Hedlund.

Letters & Lines Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Conference. October 7 - 8, 2017, Golden, CO. Conference focus: children's and young adult books. Faculty: Matt Ringler, Emily Feinberg, Sean McCarthy, Shannon Hassan, Matt De la Peña, Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Melanie Crowder, Dian Curtis Regan, Luke Flowers, Denise Vega, Tim McCanna, Fleur Bradly, Suzanne Morgan Williams, Laura Perdew, Dow Phumi.

Discover nature and stories through guided observations, research, and mentoring. This workshop for nature writers and illustrators offers four days of immersion in the art and craft of writing and illustrating about the natural world. Through nature-journaling workshops, lectures, one-on-one manuscript critiques, and ample writing time, this workshop will give you the tools and insights you need to create engaging children’s books.

Ozark Creative Writers Conference. Oct 12 - 14, 2017, Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Workshops by published authors, editors and agents; Publishers Row, independent publishers available to hear about your next project; Writing contests available to all participants.

Other Words Literary Conference. Oct 12 -14, 2017, Saint Augustine, Florida. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as panels and readings. Their goal is "to bring together writers, editors, agents, publishers, book sellers, grant administrators, directors of writers' colonies and retreats, and other interested folk in one place. We'll be talking about the how to of the literary arts: how to write it, make it, sell it, fund it, and nurture it."

The Joke’s On You! The Scoop OnHumor, Middle Grade Through YA 2017. Oct 12 – 15, 2017, Honesdale, PA. Learn to manipulate humor in your writing, grow your characters, enliven your setting, and add momentum and energy to your story. In this hands-on workshop designed for intermediate-level writers of middle grade through young adult, participants will use a range of classic and contemporary published work as well as workshop manuscripts to study the many ways in which humor operates in the form of the novel. Learn to manipulate humor in your writing to grow your characters, enliven your setting, and add momentum and energy to your story. You’ll be required to send in your opening 10 novel pages as well as 5 pages each from the middle and the (projected) ending of your work.

Quit Whining Start Writing 2017 Writers' Conference. Oct 13 - 14, 2017, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 15 workshops encompassing writing fiction, for children, non-fiction, memoir, poetry, for the screen, and more; using social media effectively; and creating and maintaining effective websites.

State Writing Conference & Convention, sponsored by The Kansas Authors Club, Oct 13 -15, 2017, Topeka, Kansas. Writing workshops, panels, and presentations by Kevin Olson and Michael Frizell.

Emerald City Writers' Conference. Oct 13 -15, 2017, Bellevue, WA. Local Romance Writers of America conference, featuring film and television scouts, who will be taking pitches along with editors and agents, keynote speakers, workshops, and a master class. Registration deadline: October 1. 

James River Writers Conference. October 13 - 15, 2017, Richmond, Virginia. features master classes, meetings with agents, panel discussions, and pitch sessions for fiction writers and creative nonfiction writers. Participants include fiction writers David Baldacci and Meg Medina; nonfiction writers Beth Macy and Margot Lee Shetterly; literary agents Erica Bauman (Aevitas Creative Management), John Bowers (Bent Agency), Ben Grange 
(L. Perkins Agency), Annie Hwang (Folio Literary Management), and Cherise Fisher (Wendy Sherman Associates); and editors Jaime Coyne (St. Martin’s Press) and Esi Sogah (Kensington Books). The cost of the conference, which includes some meals and a one-on-one meeting with an agent or editor, is $335, or $195 for a single day. The cost of a master class is an additional $65.

Creative Nonfiction Craft Intensive Workshop. October 14 - 15, 2017, Washington, DC. This intensive weekend workshop, led by Lee Gutkind, author and editor of Creative Nonfiction Magazine and Dinty W. Moore, editor of Brevity, a Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction will delve into the craft of creative nonfiction. Cost: $149.

The Craft And Heart Of Writing Poetry For Children 2017. October 15 – 19, 2017, Honesdale, PA. If you have a passion for writing children’s poetry, then please join us. Beginning poets, seasoned writers, teachers, and dreamers are all welcome. This workshop will offer plenty of interaction, direction, and free creative writing time. “We’ll focus on all elements of poetry, from the importance of word choice to surprising metaphors. There will be plenty of writing exercises to inspire new poems followed by group discussions. As a group, we’ll brainstorm ideas, share our writing process, and generate original poems. You’ll be inspired to create new poems or bring works in progress to polish.”

Viable Paradise Science Fiction Writers' Workshop. Oct 15 - 20, 2017, Martha’s Vineyard, MA. One-on-one & workshop critiques, participation in student group critiques, writing sessions, daily readings. Instructors include Scott Lynch, Debra Doyle, Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Sherwood Smith, James D. Macdonald and Daryl Gregory, with Elizabeth Bear and Laura Mixon as writers in residence. Applications close June 15.

Wake Up and Write Writer's Retreat Workshop. October 16 - 23, 2017, Haverford, PA. This is a craft-oriented workshop with the focus squarely on your work-in-progress. The workshop will be limited to 25 students in order to provide each student an opportunity for several one-on-one consultations with our staff. In addition, there are classes for all students, optional informal sessions on a variety of topics, and diagnostic sessions in small groups, plus plenty of writing time.

Writing By Writers Workshop @ Tomales Bay. October 18 - 22, 2017, Tomales Bay, California. Manuscript and poetry workshops are limited to 12 participants and generative workshops are limited to 15 to ensure an intimate setting.

The Fundamentals Of Writing Biography2017. October 19 – 22, 2017, Honesdale, PA. Engage children in the lives of others through captivating events and compelling narrative threads. Now is the time to capture stories that reflect the human experience. What better way to engage a reader than to show them real history shapers, makers, and changers in biographies? Join Bethany Hegedus and Cynthia Levinson as they explore the fundamentals of writing biographies for children. A good biography fuels a story with research. It brings subjects to life through accuracy and authenticity. Bethany and Cynthia will cover ways to select biography topics, find narrative voice in biography, use the narrative thread to bring nonfiction to life, and incorporate the Hero’s Journey into biographical story structure. In addition you’ll hear from special guest editor Kandace Coston of Lee & Low Books. Attendees will submit a picture book biography, the first chapter of a longer biography (2,000 words max), or a book proposal. (Note: book proposals must include sample writing.) Space is limited to eight students.

16th Annual Florida Writers Conference, October 19 - 22, 2016. Lake Mary, Florida. Four workshops and panels dedicated to help you learn how to pitch your story, and more than fifty acclaimed authors, poets, and publishing industry experts for three days of networking opportunities.

Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers. October 20 - 21, 2017, University of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as readings, master classes, panel discussions, and individual manuscript consultations with faculty. Participants include poet Jericho Brown; fiction writers Deborah Crombie, Keija Parssinen, and Laura van den Berg; creative nonfiction writer Sasha Martin; agent Mark Gottlieb (Trident Media Group); and recent winners of the Nimrod Literary Awards. The cost of the conference is $60, which includes lunch. Scholarships are available. The deadline to register for a one-on-one manuscript consultation with an editor is October 13; general registration is first come, first served. Lodging is available at the nearby Hyatt Regency hotel for a discounted rate of $89 per night.

Write Well, Sell Well. October 20 - 21, 2017, Oklahoma City, OK. A writer's conference focused on both writing well and selling well. Covers traditional publishing, self-publishing, epublishing & speaking. Faculty: Melanie Hemry, Cheri Fuller, Rene Gutteridge, Christy Johnson, Christopher Maselli, Gina Conroy, Robin Patchen, Shel Harrington, Jim Hinch, Alice Crider, Debb Hackett, Lisa Camomile, Gena Maselli.

Northern Woodlands Writers & Readers Conference. Oct 20 - 22, 2017, Fairlee, Vermont. Sponsored by The Trust for Public Land, the conference explores how writers, artists and educators express the rich forest heritage of the Northeast: both the natural history of our region, and the interactions of people and place. The event will include writing workshops, readings, a nature illustration class, special workshops for educators, woods walks, fun talks on forest topics, and plenty of time for informal conversations over meals and around the campfire.

Magna cum Murder XXIII. Oct 20  - 22, 2017, Indianapolis, IN. 45+ authors of crime writing fiction Guest of Honor: Terence Faherty; International Guest of Honor: Andrew Taylor.

The Eighth Annual Rochester Writers’ Conference, October 21, 2017, Rochester, Michigan. Lectures, Workshops and Panel Discussions in fiction, non-fiction and business of writing presentations. Open to new, working and published writers of all genres. Attendees select four presentations from a dozen to tailor fit their needs.

DAWG Writing Workshop, Write to Publish: Climbing Toward Success!  Oct 21, 2017, DeSoto, TX. Faculty: Lynn Gentry, Blake Kimzey, Becky Wade, Monica Odom (agent).

Digital Storytelling: Techniques ForCreating Engaging Experiences On Screens 2017. October 22 – 24, 2017, Honesdale, PA. This is a workshop of interest to anyone curious about telling stories on screens. Built from the ground up around current products and the latest research, our agenda will be a “stone soup” of stories, knowledge, apps and research over the three days. The broad category of children’s literacy in the digital age will be approached from four points of view: reviewers, publishers, policy and research. There will be workshops and demos of the latest apps with an emphasis on language, literacy, and digital storytelling.

Getting Your Middle Grade Novel Unstuck2017. October 25 – 29, 2017, Honesdale, PA. An intimate workshop for middle grade authors looking to explore or revise and polish a work in progress. Whether you’ve jotted down ideas for a novel but can’t get your story off the ground, you’re stuck in the middle of a draft with no idea of where to go next, or you’ve written most of the book but can’t figure out the ending, this workshop is designed to help. Two award-winning, New York Times best-selling authors and their guest, Aubrey Poole, editor of Jimmy Patterson Books/Hachette, will share their writers’ toolbox for getting unstuck, with a focus on research, character development, plotting and outlining, revision, and improvisation/play. Participants will receive an initial one-on-one critique plus a follow-up session at the end of the workshop, with time for revision and additional writing in between. Before the workshop, you will be asked to submit 10-12 pages from a work in progress and a brief synopsis or story description for critique.

DIY Repair Kit For Writers: Get YourFixer-Upper Ready To Sell 2017. October 26 – 29, 2017, Honesdale, PA. For published and pre-published authors who have a novel that needs to be renovated for sale. Have a fixer-upper manuscript? One with good bones but in need of some TLC? Then this workshop is for you! Join authors Mitali Perkins and Susan Campbell Bartoletti as they guide you through renovation boot camp. Each morning will begin with craft lessons focused on the foundational elements of your novel, like dialogue, character, and setting. Follow your craft sessions with mentor-directed evaluations of your work, turning from fundamental elements to big-picture questions. After muddling through the big questions, you will get to work, dividing your story scene by scene and starting your repair. You will have feedback from your mentors and peers at every step of the way at this hands-on workshop for novelists ready to deconstruct and rebuild their manuscripts.

Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference, Oct. 27 - 29, 2017, Pasadena, CA. Experienced authors, editors, agents and publishing experts will be on hand, ready to help you develop your own craft and position yourself for success.

2017 Ossabaw Weekend Writer’s Retreat. Oct 27 - 29, 2017, Ossabaw Island, GA. Workshops and seminars led by nationally recognized faculty, and evening readings (special emphasis on ghost stories) by faculty and participants. Application deadline: September 15.

Autumn Writing Getaway. October 28, 2017, Galloway NJ. "Join us for this mid-autumn Getaway to give your creative spirit a much needed boost. No need to stay the night. No distractions. Just a day of writing. Choose from workshops in memoir, fiction or poetry."

Steel Pen Conference. October 28, 2017, Fair Oaks, IN. Featured speakers and experts in the field provide workshops, and authors can showcase books, or receive direct critiques on their work from experienced writers and network with fellow writers. Catherine Lanigan will present the keynote speech. This is an annual conference.

ShowMe Writers Masterclass, Oct 28 - 29, 2017, Columbia, MO. There will be a multitude of opportunities to engage with fellow writers throughout both days of the ShowMe Writers Masterclass. Through networking socials, book signings, pitch fest and more, you will have the opportunity to connect with many literary agents and writers.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

2 New Literary Agents Actively Seeking Fiction, Memoir, Pop Culture & more

Updated 6/10/23

Here are two new agents seeking writers. Caroline Eisenmann is looking for novels that address social issues, as well as memoir, history, essay collections and biography. Sarah Bolling is interested in fiction, especially featuring diverse characters, far-flung locales, or inventive narrative structure. Her taste also includes a range of nonfiction, including memoir, pop culture, psychology, sociology, and style.

As always, make sure to read the agency website and agent bio before submitting. The publishing world is in constant flux, and agents may switch agencies or change their submission requirements.

If these agents don't suit your needs, you can find a comprehensive list of over 100 agents actively seeking clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.

Caroline Eisenmann of Frances Goldin Agency

Caroline Eisenmann joined the agency in 2017. Raised in the Boston area, she received an interdisciplinary degree focused on literature, history, and philosophy from Wesleyan University. She previously spent four years at ICM Partners building a list in literary and upmarket fiction and nonfiction. Her clients include Brandon Hobson, Kyle Chayka, Mari Passananti, Amanda Goldblatt, Robin Underdahl, and James Gregor. In addition to her agency experience, she has worked in marketing at the digital book publisher Open Road Integrated Media and held internships at The Paris Review and The Huffington Post.

What she is seeking: In fiction, Caroline is particularly drawn to novels that engage with social issues, stories about obsession, and work that centers around intimacy and its discontents. Her nonfiction interests include deeply reported narratives (especially those that take the reader into the heart of a subculture), literary memoir, cultural criticism, essay collections, and history and biography with a surprising point of view.

How to submit: Send a query letter to

Sarah Bolling of The Gernert Company

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Sarah joined The Gernert Company in 2017 after working in editorial at Norton. Sarah majored in East Asian Studies at Brown University, and holds an MA in Comparative Literature from Goldsmiths, University of London. She lives in Manhattan.

What she is seeking: She’s looking to represent fiction blending literary ambition with genre sensibility, especially featuring diverse characters, far-flung locales, or inventive narrative structure. Her taste also includes a range of nonfiction, including memoir, pop culture, psychology, sociology, and style. 

How to submit: Queries by e-mail should be directed to:
Please indicate in your letter which agent you are querying. You can visit the "Our Team" section of this website to get a sense of who might be a good fit for your work. If you have previously corresponded with one of their agents and choose to query another, please let them know of any communication history in your letter.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

An Insider's View of the Publishing Business

Random House: 1745 Broadway, NYC
Note: I was sad to hear that Daniel Menaker passed away of cancer in 2020 at age 79. Menaker championed works by authors such as Billy Collins, Alice Munro, and George Saunders. An author himself, Menaker wrote several well-received books. You can read about him here.

A while ago, I ran across an article in New York Magazine by Daniel Menaker, a senior literary editor at Random House. The title caught my eye: What Does the Book Business Look Like on the Inside?

This is a question every aspiring author wants answered, especially if they are trying to make a choice between traditional and self-publishing. But as I read the article, I realized that it clarified my own experience with Random House, and it bolstered my decision to abandon the traditional publishing route with my subsequent books.

In order to get the full sense of what Menaker had to say about his experiences with the New Yorker, followed by Random House and HarperCollins, I ended up reading his entire book. It turned out to be quite enlightening, not just in terms of what publishers do, but how they manage to exist in an environment that is, to use Menaker's term, "insane."

What Editors Do

For twenty-six years, Menaker was an editor at the New Yorker, where he received and edited fiction by some of the outstanding writers of our time. When the New Yorker was purchased by Newhouse, and a new chief editor was appointed, fiction was moved to the rear, and Menaker was "offered" a job at Random House. (He says he was "recycled.") Before leaving he got this warning from John Sterling, an agent and publisher:
"You do realize that what you will be doing is essentially a sales job. If seventy-five per cent of what you do now is editing and reading and writing opinions about fiction and twenty-five is office stuff and meetings and so on, that percentage will be reversed." (p 143)
Nothing could be more true. We think editors at publishing houses edit. The truth is they spend most of their time responding to memos, developing profit-and-loss statements, figuring out advances, supplementing publicity efforts, fielding calls from agents, attending meetings, and so on. They edit on weekends and evenings, and on the train as they are commuting. As Menaker puts it, "You have to give up reading for pleasure." (p 168)

Insane Publishing

At one point, Menaker realized that most books published by Random House (and other publishers) are privished, rather than published (p 152). By "privished" Menaker means the publisher quietly suppresses books, whether intentionally or not. A book is privished when it is not promoted, when few copies are printed, and when the publisher essentially buries it.

Privishing has become the norm for publishers for various reasons, the first of which is that there are limitations on budgets. The second is that editors compete for those budgets.
"Now I have been senior literary editor at Random House for six months. I remain in many ways ignorant of the realities of book publishing. But it begins to dawn on me that if a company publishes a hundred original hardcover books a year, it publishes about two per week, on average. And given the limitations on budgets, personnel, and time, many of those books will receive a kind of “basic” publication. Every list—spring, summer, and fall—has its lead titles. Then there are three or four hopefuls trailing along just behind the books that the publisher is investing most heavily in. Then comes a field of also-rans, hoping for the surge of energy provided by an ecstatic front-page review in The New York Times Book Review or by being selected for Oprah’s Book Club. Approximately four out of every five books published lose money. Or five out of six, or six out of seven. Estimates vary, depending on how gloomy the CFO is the day you ask him and what kinds of shell games are being played in Accounting." 
A No-Can-Do Attitude

The negative attitude that editors develop about manuscripts and proposals is in part because budgets are limited, and is in part driven by competition. But mindless rejection is also an inherent feature of publishing. (Just look at these idiotic rejections of famous authors here, here, and here.) Menaker attributes the negativity of editors to the harsh realities of publishing, but you will notice there is a bit a glee in these comments. Editors are not only competing for budgets, they are engaged in what may be described as a pissing contest in snark.
"Publishing is an often incredibly frustrating culture. If you want to buy a project—let’s say a nonfiction proposal for a book about the history of Sicily—some of your colleagues will say, “The proposal is too dry” or “Cletis Trebuchet did a book for Grendel Books five years ago about Sardinia and it sold, like, eight copies,” or, airily, “I don’t think many people want to read about little islands.” When Seabiscuit first came up for discussion at an editorial meeting at Random House, some skeptic muttered, “Talk about beating a dead horse!” 
You're more likely to be "right" if you express doubts about a proposal's or manuscript's prospects than if you support it with enthusiasm." (p 164)
Putting the Random in Random House

The original impetus for Random House came from Bennet Cerf, who suggested publishing "a few random books on the side." Randomness has continued to be one of the publisher's defining features.
"[F]inancial success in frontlist publishing is very often random, but the media conglomerates that run most publishing houses act as if it were not. Yes, you may be able to count on a new novel by Surething Jones becoming a big best seller. But the best-­seller lists paint nothing remotely like the full financial picture of any publication, because that picture’s most important color is the size of the advance. But let’s say you publish a fluky blockbuster one year, the corporation will see a spike in your profits and sort of autistically, or at least automatically, raise the profit goal for your division by some corporately predetermined amount for the following year. This is close to clinically insane institutional behavior." (p 166, 167).
There is, in short, very little that is sensible about the decisions made by publishers. The question that comes to mind is: How can they continue to exist in the corporate world? (The answer to that question leads to yet another disturbing question: How can any corporation continue to exist given their counter-intuitive practices?)

Insiders and Outsiders

Menaker expresses his frustration with publishing, and with the seemingly contrary roles that editors hold, poignantly in this passage:
"I think it’s impossible to do an editor-in-chief’s job very well for any length of time. If I belong anywhere, it probably isn’t in publishing. But, then, I keep forgetting that this sense of dissatisfaction explains why work is called “work.”  ... When it comes to corporate life, especially at its higher altitudes, factors of all kinds tend to get tangled up with each other. And it’s impossible to untangle them, and pointless, and fruitless, to try." 
Publishing is a complicated affair, but unlike Menaker, I don't think it is "impossible, pointless, or fruitless" to try to untangle the factors that drive the insane world of publishing.

Underneath the ubiquitous background noise of runaway capitalist insanity, there is a counter-productive and equally insane attitude that publishers share with most professions. This can be summed up as "us against them."

Humans form groups - it's what we do as a species, and we wouldn't survive without the drive to congregate. One of the things groups do is identify insiders and outsiders. This can lead to some unfortunate consequences in societies that lack a broader concept of belonging. Police, whose function is to protect and serve, come to identify "their own" as insiders, and civilians (i.e. the public) as outsiders, and potential enemies. Medical professionals end up treating patients as outsiders, people who do not share the rights, or respect, offered to their own group. Politicians end up treating their constituents as opponents, as people they need to manipulate, dominate, or avoid, rather than represent.

Following right along, publishers identify writers as "outsiders," as "them," even though their income depends on the people they publish. This, I believe, is a significant component of the attitude that is shared almost universally among publishers, and which Menaker so eloquently describes in his book. The drawback to this adversarial attitude, particularly as it relates to publishing, is one I attempted to explain in my first meeting with my editor at Random House.

"You sell ideas," I said. "And that is what makes publishing different."

I don't think she understood what I was trying to say. But, there is a good chance Menaker does.

Excerpts are from My Mistake: A Memoir, ­published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. © 2013 by Daniel Menaker.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

2 New Literary Agents Seeking Nonfiction: Cooking, History, Memoir, Current Events & more

Updated 6/8/23

Here are two new agents seeking nonfiction. Luba Ostashevsky (Ayesha Pande Literary) is interested in nonfiction projects that can instill in readers a sense of wonder about the world as well as those that highlight individuals or problems that we seldom see, or projects that transport us in time or place, or provide distance on the familiar. Rica Allannic (David Black Agency) is interested in cooking, narrative nonfiction, popular culture, history, and memoir projects, as well as in helping authors from diverse backgrounds tell stories that are important to them.

As always, make sure to read the agency website and agent bio before submitting. The publishing world is in constant flux, and agents may switch agencies or change their submission requirements.

If these agents don't suit your needs, you can find a comprehensive list of over 100 agents actively seeking clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.


Luba Ostashevsky of Ayesha Pande Literary

Luba Ostashevsky has worked in book publishing for over 15 years, most recently as senior editor at Palgrave Macmillan, where she edited the popular science list under the Macmillan Science imprimatur. She then went on to science publishing, first as deputy editor at Nautilus magazine; then as freelance writer, contributing to publications such as Aeon, Mental Floss, Popular Science, Al Jazeera, and the Hechinger Report.

What she is seeking: Luba is interested in nonfiction projects that can instill in readers a sense of wonder about the world as well as those that highlight individuals or problems that we seldom see, or projects that transport us in time or place, or provide distance on the familiar. That includes titles that will sit on the science, current events, and history shelves.

How to submit: See submission requirements HERE.


Rica Allannic of David Black Agency

A graduate of the New York City public school system and Yale University, Rica worked in professional kitchens for five years (Daniel and Picholine) before being lured into book publishing by Scribner, an imprint of Simon and Schuster. In 2005, she joined Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, where she became Vice President and Executive Editor, specializing in acquiring and editing illustrated cookbooks and narrative nonfiction. Authors with whom Rica was privileged to work include David Chang of Momofuku; Peter Meehan of Lucky Peach magazine; Christina Tosi of Milk Bar; French blogger and tastemaker Mimi Thorisson; bestselling author Luke Barr; Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa; and restaurateur and The Chew cohost Michael Symon. Rica brings her love of food and everything French to her role as a literary agent.

What she is seeking: Nonfiction only. Rica is interested in cooking, narrative nonfiction, popular culture, history, and memoir projects, as well as in helping authors from diverse backgrounds tell stories that are important to them.

How to submit: You may query Rica by email. Please summarize your book idea and include in the body of your email your proposal and, if appropriate, a sample chapter (no attachments, please) and send to:

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

2 New Literary Agents Seeking Romance, Thrillers, Scifi, Fantasy & more

Updated 4/5/22

Here are two new literary agents seeking writers. Ann Leslie Tuttle (Dystel, Goderich & Bourret) is actively seeking all kinds of romance from contemporaries, historicals, and romantic suspense to paranormals and inspirationals. Ali Herring (Spencerhill) is interested in commercial YA and MG (esp. sci-fi, fantasy and adventure), romance, southern women’s fiction, and Christian/inspirational fiction.

As always, make sure to read the agency website and agent bio before submitting. The publishing world is in constant flux, and agents may switch agencies or change their submission requirements.

If these agents don't suit your needs, you can find a comprehensive list of over 100 agents actively seeking clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.


Ali Herring of Spencerhill Associates

Ali Herring joined Spencerhill in 2017 after moving back to Georgia from Connecticut, where she interned for a literary agency in the greater NYC metro area. A former magazine associate editor, Ali has a diverse background in communications and editing. She graduated valedictorian of her class at Berry College in 2001, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Journalism. Ali is excited to find new voices and build great relationships within the writing community.

What she is seeking: Commercial YA and MG (esp. sci-fi, fantasy and adventure), romance, southern women’s fiction, and Christian/inspirational fiction – all with a marketable hook, captivating voice, fantastical world building and inventive plots. For MG: commercial MG with a humorous/witty voice, likable protags and awesome sidekicks; meaningful, realistic situations built around great plots (think Wonder); and uplifting, relatable, empowering stories for girls. She’s a voracious reader of sci-fi, but not a huge fan of superheroes, vampires (except for Edward), witches, erotica or anything overtly dark.

How to submit: Fill out the form on the website HERE or send a query letter to Attach the first three chapters and synopsis preferably in .doc, rtf or txt format.


Ann Leslie Tuttle of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret

Ann Leslie Tuttle started at DG&B September 5, 2017, after working for 20 years at Harlequin Books where she most recently was a Senior Editor. At Harlequin, she was fortunate to work on an extensive and varied list of bestselling and award-winning titles in romance and women’s fiction. She received her B.A. degree from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. from the University of Virginia. Finding and nurturing talented new writers has always been Ann Leslie’s passion.

What she is seeking: Ann is actively seeking all kinds of romance from contemporaries, historicals, and romantic suspense to paranormals and inspirationals.

How to submit: Query Ann at: Include the first 25 pages of your manuscript (or closest chapter break). See full submission guidelines here.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

2 New Agents Actively Seeking Kidlit, Speculative Fiction, Memoir, Romance & more

Here are two new agents open to queries. Meg LaTorre-Snyder (Corvisiero Literary) is interested in representing Fantasy, Historical fiction, Romance (with magical elements), Space opera, Steam punk and Thrillers (with magical elements). Lucinda Karter (Jennifer Lyons Agency) is seeking a range of fiction—adult, young adult, and children’s; history, biography, memoir, and food; finance and economics; and novelty books.

As always, make sure to read the agency website, including submission guidelines and the agent's bio, before submitting. The publishing industry is in constant flux, and agents may switch to another agency or change their submission requirements.

NOTE: You can find a comprehensive list of dozens of agents - both new and established - who are actively looking for new clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.


Meg LaTorre-Snyder of Corvisiero Literary 


Meg LaTorre-Snyder is an editor and writer with a background in magazine publishing, journalism, medical writing, and website creation. With her background, she’s excited to have a hands-on editorial partnership with authors. She has written for digital and print publications on a variety of topics, including book publishing, writing how-tos, nutrition, healthy living, startup companies, and pharmaceuticals. In her free time, she enjoys working on her own adult fantasy manuscript, reading long novels, drinking tea by the bucket, running in competitive races, participating in musical productions, playing basketball, and reading nutrition textbooks (yep, textbooks). To learn more about Meg, visit her website, follow her on Twitter/Facebook, and subscribe to her YouTube channel, iWriterly.

What she is seeking: YA, NA, and adult:

Historical fiction
Romance (with magical elements)
Space opera
Steam punk
Thrillers (with magical elements)
She loves books written in third-person with multiple POVs, quirky, realistic characters, and rich descriptions.

Meg is not interested in nonfiction, picture books, contemporary stories (particularly those with no magical elements), erotica, horror, dystopian, screenplays, poetry, short stories, and novellas.

How to Submit: Send your query, first five pages, and 1-2 page synopsis in the body of an email (no attachments) to with the following information in the subject line:

Query for Meg: [TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT IN ALL CAPS], [age group], [genre]

Lucinda Karter of Jennifer Lyons Agency


Lucinda Karter has spent more than 25 years in publishing, working for the Georges Borchardt Literary Agency, Doubleday, HarperCollins, and W.W. Norton, among others. Most recently, she served for 15 years as director of the French Publishers’ Agency, where she agented works such as Irène Némirovsky’s Suite Française and Kamel Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation and other bestsellers to worldwide English-language publishers. She has translated fiction, memoir, and children’s literature from French to English and served as a juror for the annual Prix Anaïs Nin in Paris. In 2002, she was named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.

What she is looking for: Her interests as an agent include: a range of fiction—adult, young adult, and children’s; history, biography, memoir, and food; finance and economics; and novelty books.

How to submit: Queries and submissions for Lucinda Karter should go to

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

7 Literary Fiction Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts

Image by Kathy Buckalew
Updated 11/2/23

Here are seven publishers looking for literary fiction - no agent required.

Make sure to read the submission requirements on the publishers' websites before submitting. (Submission guidelines for publishing houses are not the same as queries to agents.)

The difference between commercial and literary fiction can be subtle. In general, commercial fiction is formulaic, whereas literary fiction tends to experiment with form and style. Commercial fiction falls into genres - science fiction, chick lit, romance, etc. - whereas literary fiction may cross or blend genres, or depart from them entirely. Literary fiction also places greater value on the craft of writing, which is not to say that genre fiction can't be well written, but in the case of literary fiction, the writing is front and center.

NOTE: You can find more than 450 publishers accepting unagented submissions - broken down by genre - here: Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts

8th House Publishing

8th House Publishing is a small company based in Montreal and New York. They publish poetry, literary novels, philosophy, and other "earnest work." Their list consists of 34 books by 26 authors.

Submissions: "What we like at 8th House: modern, radical, enduring, insightful, inventive... Whether it's an essay, a philosophy tract, or a novel, a book of verse." Send a sample of your work (2 or 3 chapters and a full table of contents) along with a query letter to : Read guidelines here.

Arsenal Pulp Press 

Arsenal Pulp Press is a book publisher in Vancouver, Canada with over 400 titles currently in print, which include literary fiction and nonfiction; books on social issues; gender studies; LGBTQ and diverse literature; graphic novels and non-fiction; cookbooks; alternative crafts; youth culture and young adult literature; visual arts; and books in translation. "We are interested in literature that engages and challenges readers, and which asks probing questions about the world around us."

Read submission guidelines here

Black Heron Press

Black Heron Press is a small literary press located in Seattle, Washington. They primarily publish literary fiction. Black Heron Press prints 4-6 books a year. They distribute through Independent Publishers Group (IPG). Their books are also available from Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Brodart, and most regional wholesalers. 

Read submission guidelines here. Snail mail submissions only. 


BlazeVOX is an independent publisher based in Buffalo, New York in 2000. Blaze has published more than 350 books of poetry and prose, most of which fall within the sphere of avant-garde literature. BlazeVOX aims to "disseminate poetry, through print and digital media, both within academic spheres and to society at large," and to "push at the frontiers of what is possible." They publish works "regardless of commercial viability."

Submissions: Send the manuscript to as an attachment in either a Microsoft Word doc, RTF, or even a PDF is fine. Blaze does not pay advances or arrange for book tours. Authors should be prepared to do marketing. Royalties are 10%. Read guidelines HERE.

Manic D Press

Manic D Press is an American literary press based in San Francisco, California publishing fiction novels and short stories, poetry, and graphic novels. It was founded by Jennifer Joseph in 1984 as an alternative outlet for young writers seeking to bring their work into print. Manic D Press books are distributed throughout the US by Consortium, Last Gasp, and wholesalers including Ingram and Baker & Taylor; in the UK and EU by Turnaround PSL; in Canada by Publishers Group Canada; and throughout the world by Perseus.

How to submit: Email submissions are preferred. Printed manuscripts are read twice a year, during the months of January and July ONLY. Simultaneous submissions are allowed, just let them know if your work has been accepted elsewhere or if (and where) it has been previously published. Read full guidelines HERE.

Persea Books
Persea Books is an independent, literary publishing house founded in 1975 by Michael Braziller and Karen Braziller, who still own and direct the company. Genres: Poetry, fiction, essays, memoir, biography, titles of Jewish and Middle Eastern interest, women's studies, American Indian folklore, and YA. Response time: Eight weeks for proposals and 12 weeks for requested manuscript. Submissions: Queries should include a cover letter, author background and publication history, a synopsis of the proposed work, and a sample chapter. Send queries and manuscripts to or to the appropriate editor (Fiction or Nonfiction), Persea Books, 277 Broadway, Suite 708, New York, NY 10007.

Submissions: Read their submission guidelines here.

Propertius Press
Propertius Press publishes literary fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and short-story anthologies. They consider submissions in all genres, including action-adventure, urban contemporary, biography, memoir, high-quality romance and women’s literature, children’s stories, young adult, satire, mystery, historical fiction, thrillers, humor, philosophy, and educational works. 
Submissions: Read their submission guidelines here. Has submission periods.

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