Friday, January 19, 2024

Newsletter for January 2024

 Thank you, as ever, to Becky

Subscribe to the Vermont Arts Calendar! This is a statewide, crowdsourced directory of arts and culture events around the state. Check it out at HERE

Check out upcoming Vermont Humanities Council events HERE.

Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest Info HERE An annual prize of $1000 for a single poem, judged by Marge Piercy. Applicants can submit up to five poems with a $15 entry fee by January 31.

Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards. Info HERE.  An annual prize of $2000 for a single poem. Submit three copies of up to five poems with an $18 entry fee by February 1.

American Short(er) Fiction Prize. Infor found HERE. Submit up to three stories of no more than 1000 words each with an $18 entry fee by February 1. Prize of $1000.

Wild Women Story Contest. Info HERE. A prize of $1,000 and publication in TulipTree Review is given annually for a single poem, a short story, or an essay “whose main characters embody the wild woman spirit.” Submit up to five pages of poetry or up to 10,000 words of prose with a $20 entry fee by March 8.

James Jones Literary Society: First Novel Fellowship. Infor HERE   A prize of $10,000 is given annually for a novel-in-progress by a U.S. writer who has not published a novel. The first runner-up receives $3,000 and the second runner-up receives $2,000.  Using only the online submission system, submit the first 50 pages of a novel-in-progress and a synopsis of up to two pages with a $33 entry fee by March 15. 

Reedsy Prompts Weekly Writing Competition HERE. A prompt a week – winner gets $250.

Kurt Vonnegut Speculative Fiction Prize.  Info found HERE Submissions are open from August 1, 2024 to November 2, 2024. Stories should be from 500 to 10,000 words and in any range of speculative fiction: fairy tale, magic realism, fantasy, horror, science fiction, and the like. Winner gets $1000; entry fee is $23.


Got something to recommend? Just contact me!

By Paul Anthony Jones, The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities: A Yearbook of Forgotten Words (University of Chicago Press, 2019) pairs a word, a day, and a notable event for each day of the year. January 1 hits it off with quaaltagh, meaning the first person you meet on New Year’s Day, a word that comes from Manx.

Meeting Minutes January 18, 2024

 Attendees: Judith, Don, Vickie, Nancy, Becky, Michelle


Frontier Poetry Ekphrastic Poetry Prize. (Ekphrasis comes from “description” in Greek. Ekphrastic poems seek to vibrantly describe, interpret, or converse with a visual scene or moment, usually a work of art. They often are about the speaker’s encounter with the art, and how viewing or experiencing it has impacted them. Think of Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats. $3,500 prize.  January 28, 2024.  Find more information HERE

Master's Review short story aware for new writers. $3,000 prize.  Deadline January 28, 2024.  More information found HERE

Fractured Lit: Ghosts, Fables and Fractured Fairy Tales contest.  $3,500 first prize. Flash fiction contest, 1,000 words or less. Deadline February 4, 2024.  More information found HERE

Craft Novelette Print Prize: 30-60 pages (7,500-15,000 words) $3,000 prize. Deadline March 17, 2024.  Find more information HERE 


Vickie read chapter 15 of her novel set during the Covid pandemic; Nancy read a short piece rejecting resolutions, but touting wishes; and Becky read a short essay imaginatively titled "Resolutions."

Michelle and Eileen are zeroing in on publication for their respective books - Michelle's YA novel and Eileen's sequel to The Gosling Bride. (Keep us posted and we'll plan a book launch party!)

We discussed having Bill Schubart back again in the spring - we'll talk about dates at next meeting. I'll invite him!

WRITING PROMPT for the next meeting is anything to do with February. Dismal winter month? Valentine's Day? (Chocolates and roses? Or every kid in the class got a Valentine but you?) Presidential birthdays? The pros and cons of leap year? Seasonal affective disorder?

Next Meeting, February 15, 6 pm at the Swanton Library.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Meeting Minutes December 21 2023

Meeting attendees: Becky, Vickie, Judy and Michelle


The 2023 Edwin M Church award winner is our own Becky Rupp for her story "Muse"  So happy for her.   Link to the story can be found HERE  Judy confirmed that the contest will continue next year and will be expanded to multiple categories for youngsters involving pictures and prompts.  The adult category prompt will be determined by an open mic night with music and discussion.  All dates and details are still being determined.  Watch this space!

Also, the generous family of Edwin M Church have donated $35 to the Swanton Writer's Group to be used as we see fit.  Any ideas please contact Becky HERE or Michelle HERE.

Discussion tonight focused on advice for good story telling and generated a recommendation for the short story "You Were Perfectly Fine" by Dorothy Parker.  Read it HERE


See our Newsletter for more events upcoming.  January 9th Becky will be at the Lanford Library in Hyde Park giving a talk on the history of food.  Find more events at the Vermont Humanities council website.  

The Vermont Studio Center offers writers and artists in residency programs, talks etc.  Find more information HERE

Prompt Pieces

Michelle read  "An Atheist's Christmas," in which friends met in a coffee shop and debated Christmas and belief; Becky read "Elf," about Elf on the Shelf and the uncanny valley; and Vicky read a seasonable piece about climate change.

Our prompt for January is RESOLUTIONS. 

Next meeting is on Thursday, January 18, 6 PM at the Swanton Library. Hope to see you all there!

Sunday, December 3, 2023

SWG December Newsletter

 The next meeting of the Swanton Writers Group will take place on Thursday, December 21, at 6 PM at the Swanton Public Library.

The Writing Prompt for this month is Christmas or an equivalent seasonal holiday. Try a poem, an essay, a memoir, a short story and come prepared to share – or bring a selection from your current work. All writers welcome!


Subscribe to the Vermont Arts Calendar! This is a statewide, crowdsourced directory of arts and culture events around the state. Check it out HERE

See upcoming events at Phoenix Books HERE There’s a virtual presentation by Raeleen D’Agostino Mautner on Tuesday, December 5, 7 PM, on her book 45 Ways to Live Life Like an Italian.

Who’s writing what at the Vermont College of Fine Arts? On Tuesday, December 5, at 7 PM  Writing Faculty members will be sharing their selections of their work. Available via Zoom. It’s free: to register.  Go HERE

From Vermont Public, a live reading of Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory by actor Dan Butler will take place on Tuesday, December 19, 7-9 PM. Tickets are free, but must be reserved.

Looking for some poetry before Christmas? The Fletcher Free Library (235 College Street,  Burlington) is hosting The Poetry Experience on Saturday, December 23, 1-3 PM. This is a local writing/sharing circle that meets every 2 nd and 4 th Saturday. Just drop in – poets, writers, and creative people of all ages are welcome!

Celebrate Jolabokaflod! On Christmas Eve in Iceland everyone traditionally gets a new book –and then cuddles up with a cup of cocoa and reads. Jolabokaflod – which translates as “Christmas book flood” – dates back to World War II. Read all about it HERE

BEST BOOKS FOR WRITERS or Good Picks for Jolabokaflod

Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer, longtime copy editor at Random House, is a perfect delight of a style manual. (A copy editor, says Dreyer, “is to prose what a cobbler is to shoes: a mender.”) He starts by advising everyone to stop usingsuch words as “very,” “really,” and “actually” for a week - which, he says, will make you “a considerably better writer than you were at the beginning.”

Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper, a lexicographer at Merriam Webster, is a fascinating look at both the making of dictionaries and the evolution of the English language. English, Stamper points out, isn’t solely a product of the Latin, French, and German speakers who invaded the British Isles; it’s also the result of Shakespeare’s fart jokes, Lewis Carroll’s word inventions, and 16-year-old Peaches Monroe’s inspirational description of her eyebrows as “on fleek.”


“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”

Ernest Hemingway

Happy Holidays to all!

Friday, November 24, 2023

Meeting Minutes November 16, 2023

Meeting attendees: Don, Ev, Vicky, Emmet, Michelle, Becky

Emmet filled in on his life after a long absence: While working and helping raise two young daughters he is still writing, participating in nanowrimo with a new sci-fi novel based in a world in which genders are totally separate. He shared that his novel "The Cure" is complete and he has secured an editor.  Very exited and supportive of Emmet.  

Vicky read a first chapter of her (finished) novel Tales from a Time of Plague, set during the pandemic, a mix of nonfiction and fiction. 

Ev read his short piece “Sticks and Stuff,” featuring the job of monback, which everybody caught onto immediately except me.

Michelle and Becky, who slavishly obeyed the month’s prompt, read pieces respectively titled “Stick Season” and “The Fall of Freddy.”

 Our discussion generated several interesting book recommendations:

"Herland" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman "Herland is a utopian novel published in 1915 and written by the feminist writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The story describes an isolated society composed entirely of women. The result is a perfect social order, free of all wars, conflicts and dominations."

"The Left Hand of Darkness" by Ursula Le Guin "A lone human ambassador is sent to the icebound planet of Winter, a world without sexual prejudice, where the inhabitants’ gender is fluid. His goal is to facilitate Winter’s inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the strange, intriguing culture he encounters..."

"A Journal of the Plague Year"  by Daniel DeFoe (thought of by Becky after the meeting) "In 1665 the plague swept through London, claiming over 97,000 lives. Daniel Defoe was just five at the time of the plague, but he later called on his own memories, as well as his writing experience, to create this vivid chronicle of the epidemic and its victims."

"Spinning Silver"  by Naomi Novik "Spinning Silver draws readers deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss."  (pseudo Russian mythology recced after Michelle shared her current bedside read "The Bear and the Nightingale" by Katherine Arden

Writing prompt for next month is “Christmas.” Anything to do with, good, bad, indifferent, or peripheral.

For anyone looking for upcoming contests, workshops and resources please see our monthly newsletter.  Latest found HERE  

Our December meeting will take place on Thursday, December 21, 6 PM, at the Swanton Public Library. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

SWG November Newsletter

 Thank you Becky!

Swanton Writers Group Newsletter for November 2023

The next meeting of the Swanton Writers Group will take place on Thursday, November 16, at 6 PM at the Swanton Public Library.

The Writing Prompt for this month is the changing of the seasons and what that means to you. Share a tradition or discuss how you feel as we enter “stick season” (otherwise known as naked trees). Try a poem, an essay, a short story and come prepared to share – or bring a selection from your current work. All writers welcome!


November 1 marks the first day of NANOWRIMO, National Writing Month. The challenge here is to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days (or 29, if you skip Thanksgiving). For more information go HERE.

The latest issue of League Lines, the League of Vermont Writers Newsletter, is now available online. Check it out (Read, print or Download) HERE

Check out these upcoming events from the Vermont Humanities Council HERE (Becky is talking talking at the Platt Memorial Library on November 8 on the history of food.)

Many free workshops for writers are available through the Burlington Writers Workshop


Looking for a contest? From Poets & Writers, see the Writing Contest, Grants & Awards list at Poets and Writers Grants

From The Write Life  see this list of free (“reputable, well-reviewed”) contests for poets, fiction writers, essayists, and more.


BEST BOOKS FOR WRITERS according to the Center for Fiction here’s the essential list:

On Writing by Stephen King (Scribner, reissue 2020) I highly recommend. (M)

Still Writing by Dani Shapiro (Grove Press, 2023)

On Moral Fiction by John Gardner (Basic Books, 1979)

First You Write by Joni Rodgers [out of print]

The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner (Riverhead Books, 2919)

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard (Harper Perennial, 2013)

Writing Past Dark by Bonnie Friedman (Harper Perennial, 2020)

The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White (Pearson, 1999)

Story by Robert McKee (Regan Books, 1997)

Making Shapely Fiction by Jerome Stern (W.W. Norton, 1991)

Steering the Craft by Ursula K. LeGuin (Harper Perennial, 2015)

Got a recommendation? Bring it to the meeting!


The road to hell is paved with adverbs.

Stephen King

Friday, October 20, 2023

Meeting minutes October 19 2023 and Group revamp

 Hi All,

So this group has struggled greatly since the onset of Covid in 2020.  After much soul searching and discussion among our core members we have decided to move forward with some changes to our meeting structure. Looking to entice new members and revitalize our base.   

October meeting attendees: Nancy, Heather, Don, Eileen, Ev, Michelle and new member from Canada Vicky. 

Becky could not attend so Michelle lead the group.  The focus of our discussion was how the group might move forward.  A number of changes were suggested and will be tweaked in successive meetings.  Michelle shared Becky's impute on her behalf.  The following ideas/practices were favorably received:

Newsletter: Becky and Michelle will assemble and email a newsletter containing contests, resources, seminara etc, the week before each monthly meeting.  The form of the newsletter is to be determined, possibly a calendar format.  A few printed copies will be made available at the library (logistics to be determined)  The purpose: to allow more time during meetings to discuss writing, critique each other's work etc.  

A meeting reminder will be included in the newsletter.

Writing prompts: in an effort to get people writing actively, and to stretch our creative muscles, a regular writing prompt will be set at the end of each meeting.  Members will have a month to respond to the prompt and hopefully share their interpretations at the next meeting. A reminder will be included in the newsletter.  If the prompt does not inspire a member, then sharing a piece of their current WIP (work in progress) is encouraged.  As always, healthy constructive feedback will be offered if the member asks.  Prompts will range in topic.  It was suggested that certain formats might be suggested to encourage members to think outside of their comfort zones ie: a piece written entirely as dialogue, descriptive writing or poetry.  A possible alternative is to spend a few minutes during the occasional meeting free writing to a prompt.

More routine meeting activities resumed after the above discussion.  


Eileen recommended the online writing workshops offered by the Burlington Writer's Workshop. This website is a fantastic resource for all types of writers and formats of writing.  Find more information about the specific group recced by Eileen HERE.


Nancy recommended "Up North" by Neal Zirn "Up North, in a series of poems, looks back at the author's experience of living in the North Country, close to the Canadian border. It speaks to family, relationships, single life, and rural living. It is, at times, emotional, humorous, and insightful regarding human nature."

Ev read "The Bone Saw".  A story about a sentient surgical robot.  Had us all cringing and laughing.  Definitely had the Halloween vibe with distressing notes about where we are going in regards to AI and society.  Yikes!

Writing Prompt: The writing prompt for November is the changing of the seasons and what that means to you.  Share a tradition, how you feel as we enter 'stick season', otherwise known as naked trees.  A poem, a short story, an essay?  Bring something to share and promote discussion. 

Next meeting is Thursday November 16th. 6 pm at the Swanton Library.  

Newsletter for January 2024

 Thank you, as ever, to Becky Subscribe to the Vermont Arts Calendar! This is a statewide, crowdsourced directory of arts and culture events...