Archive for the 'Theme Issues' Category

News from Poetry Kit – Short Courses April – May 2022

16 March 2022

can be booked by paying the fee using the PayPal link below the required course. 



Sonnet Workshop  – NEW – 4th – 24th April 2022
This short 3-week course looks at the sonnet in its traditional form and how poets are rediscovering it as a vehicle in contemporary poetry. This has always been a popular form but in many ways not fully understood.  This course will focus on producing sonnets and discovering possibilities in the form that have not been considered. The cost of this course costs £30.

Ekphrastic Poetry- Part 2 – 4th – 24th April 2022
This is a continuation course from our original Ekphrastic Poetry Course. The aim of this course is to look at the different approaches that can be taken to bring new insights to poems that engage with a broader range of Ekphrastic poetry.  During the course, poets will be asked to respond to a series of paintings using a variety of techniques. Poems will be workshopped, and full feedback is given. The cost of this course is £30

Poems in the Everyday  – 4th – 24th April 2022
The poet interacts with the world in a variety of ways. In this short course, we will look at how the poet can interact with the world and find poems in everyday events. We also look at journaling and notebooks. The course will be conducted online over three weeks, at a cost of £30 –

Poetry in changing times – 4th – 24th April 2022
This is a short online course for poets who want to look at the way their poetry can stay relevant in changing times.  We will be looking at relevance, authenticity, and voice as cornerstones for producing poems that engage with change. We will look at personal, scientific, and imagined responses.   The course will be conducted online over three weeks, at a cost of £30 –


Metaphor and revelation in poetry (NEW) – 9th- 30th May 2022
This 3-week course looks at the transformative qualities of metaphor in poetry.  The way metaphor can be used in exciting ways to bring new revelation and understanding in a poem.  We will look at metaphor in different ways and see how important it is.  The cost of this course costs £30.

 Images, short forms, and haiku – 9th- 30th May 2022
This course looks at the role played by images in poetry.  It considers their use in short forms and how they can be used to develop engaging and memorable poems.  As part of this process, we will be looking at the opportunities and challenges presented by short forms including haiku.  The course will be conducted online over three weeks, at a cost of £30 –

Strategies for Writing Poetry – 9th- 30th May 2022
What do you do when you hit a point when the ideas and ability that you rely on for writing poetry dry up.  This happens to most writers from time to time, and in this course, we will look at proven strategies to get past this point.  This is a course suitable for everyone even if you do not have a problem as these are strategies to help approach poetry in new ways.  The course will be conducted online over three weeks, at a cost of £30 –

Journals, Diaries and Dreams  – 9th- 30th May 2022
This three-week course looks at notebooks and journals as a key resource for writers and poets. Learn more about how these can be used and how to use them more effectively, recording events and snapshots, scrapbooking and dreams, and how to use these in poetry.   The course costs £30.

Book any two of these short courses for £50 using the link below, and then please write to us at to let us know which two courses you would like.


$8,700 IN PRIZES AND PUBLICATION by Fix, Grist’s solutions lab

8 February 2022

Deadline: May 5, 2022 / No entry fee

Submissions are now being accepted for Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors, the annual climate fiction contest from Fix, Grist’s solutions lab. There is no fee to enter. Submit your short story by May 5, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. PST. 

Imagine 2200 seeks unpublished short stories of 3,000 to 5,000 words that envision the next 180 years of clean, green, and just futures. Judges include Hugo Award-winning writer Arkady Martine, esteemed editor and author Sheree Renee Thomas, and professor Grace L. Dillon , who coined the term “Indigenous futurism.” Imagine 2200 draws inspiration from Afrofuturism, as well as Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, disabled, feminist, and queer futures, and the genres of hopepunk and solarpunk. 

While we’re looking for hopeful stories, we also don’t expect you to be overly optimistic or naïve. One hundred and eighty years of equitable climate progress will require hard work, struggle, and adaptation, and we invite you to show those as well. 

In addition, we’re especially interested in cultural authenticity (a deep sense of place, customs, cuisine, and more), rich characters with intersecting identifies, and stories that challenge the status quo in which wealth and power are built on extraction, oppression, and violence. 

The top three winners will be awarded $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000, respectively, and nine finalists will receive a $300 honorarium. Those 12 authors will be published in an immersive digital collection this fall. Conjure your wildest dreams for society – all the justice, resilience, and abundance you can imagine – and put those dreams on paper.

There’s no fee to enter, so if you’re ready to get writing, you can find our submissions portal here. If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach us at

About Grist

Grist is a nonprofit, independent media organization dedicated to telling stories of climate solutions and a just future. Our goal is to use the power of storytelling to illuminate the way toward a better world, inspire millions of people to walk that path with us, and show that the time for action is now. 


7 August 2021

Deadline August 24, 2021


The Medium Writers Challenge – Calling all storytellers.

Calling all storytellers! When was the last time you read a great piece of writing? What quality made you want to share it far and wide? Why did it strike such a powerful chord? If you were asked to replicate that feeling — to craft an essay that leaves readers caught up in the rapture of an unforgettable narrative — could you do it?

We believe you could. You showed us as much in the past: the Pandemic Reflections writing prompt resulted in hundreds of submissions in the first month. Our call for entries to the #StopAsianHate blog resulted in hundreds of perspectives shared in the first week. And now we want to help discover and nurture great writing again, with The Medium Writers Challenge.

The challenge, which will take place over the course of four weeks, is a chance for you to share your best ideas with an esteemed panel of judges and millions of Medium readers — plus, an opportunity to win $50,000.

Here’s how it will work. We’re providing four guiding prompts: Reentry, Death, Work, and Space. Each is accompanied by a descriptive paragraph to help you get your wheels turning — but don’t feel confined. Your experiences or perspectives might take you down other roads that are well within the parameters of the prompt.

An expert panel of cultural leaders, editors, and writers will join as guest judges to select their favorites. Those judges include Natalie PortmanRoxane GaySaeed JonesSaeed Jones

My memoir, How We Fight For Our Lives, is available for pre-order now and will be published by Simon & Schuster this October.

7.1K FollowersFollow, Imani PerryEve L. EwingSusan OrleanRobert Kolkerkelly corriganDao-Yi ChowBonsu ThompsonJulio Vincent GambutoJude Ellison S. DoyleKurt AndersenDavid Dennis, Jr., and others.

With the help of the judging panel, Medium will select four finalist winners — one for each prompt — who will each be awarded with $10,000 each. One of the four finalists will be selected for a grand prize of $50,000. Additionally, 100 honorable mention selections will each win $100.

Entering the challenge is easy: Just write to one — or more — of the writing prompts outlined below, and include the associated tag when publishing your story on Medium. (Once you hit “Publish” on your post, you can type it into the “Add a tag…” box.)


Tell us about an experience you’ve had coming back to something — or someone — after time away. What changed in your absence? How did you change? What are the funny moments, faux pas, discomforts, and joys that came with returning to an old situation (or your pre-pandemic life) with new eyes?

TAG: MWC Reentry
JUDGES: Imani Perry, Julio Vincent Gambuto, Saeed Jones, Jude Ellison Doyle


People die, of course, but so do other things. Ideals. Relationships. Jobs. Life phases. Pieces of who we once were. A death isn’t always inherently sad, either; sometimes, it’s a positive step, freeing us from what was weighing us down or allowing us to move forward. Illusions can die. Grudges. Bad habits. Tell us about a death you’ve experienced, for better or worse, and how you marked the loss — whether it was with mourning or celebration.

TAG: MWC Death
JUDGES: Susan Orlean, Robert Kolker, kelly corrigan, Eve L. Ewing


“Work” is a term that contains multitudes. Maybe your work is a key pillar of your identity. Maybe it’s the thing that allows you to focus on other pursuits. Maybe it fulfills you; maybe it drains you. Maybe the real work in your life isn’t the same as the way you make money. We want to know what “work” means to you — and the factors that have shaped your thinking. What’s the most important work you do, however you define it? What’s the value of work in your life? What’s your dream job? Is there such a thing as a dream job? Is there a moment, a person, a role that’s changed the way you approach your work?

JUDGES: Roxane Gay, Kurt Andersen, David Dennis, Jr.


Whether we’re letting our imaginations run wild or focusing on what’s in front of us, our day-to-day lives are defined by space: living space, personal space, outer space. We make space. We claim space. We practice social distancing. We turn spaces into homes, into communities, into refuges, and we forge relationships with others and ourselves within those spaces. We wonder, with varying degrees of skepticism and belief, about the beings that occupy the space beyond our planet. However you define it, tell us a story about a role space has played in your life.

TAG: MWC Space
JUDGES: Natalie Portman, Dao-Yi Chow, Bonsu Thompson

Need some pointers on creating a standout essay? Please register for the Medium-hosted workshop, How to Write an Essay Everyone Wants to Read: 5 Steps to Craft Meaningful Personal Narratives on July 29, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. ET. And be sure to follow our Creators Hub for updates and writing advice over the course of the four-week challenge.

The deadline to publish your work is August 24, 2021. The four finalists and grand prize winner will be announced by September 21, 2021.

For more information please read this FAQ.


NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY. Except for residents in Quebec, Canada, open to Medium users who are at least age 18 (or the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence, whichever is older) at the time of entry. “Contest Period” is from 12:00:01 a.m. ET on 07/28/21 to 11:59:59 p.m. ET on 08/24/21. There will be four writing prompts made available at the start of the Contest Period. To enter: (i) log into your Medium account; (ii) publish an essay of 500 words or more in response to a prompt; and (iii) tag the essay with that prompt (i.e. MWC Reentry, MWC Death, MWC Work, MWC Space). One entry per person per prompt and four entries total during Contest Period. Submissions will be scored based on: (i) creativity (40%); (ii) originality (30%); and (iii) writing quality (30%) by September 23, 2021. 100 honorable mentions will each receive $100; four finalists will each receive $10,000; and one grand prize winner will receive $50,000. Total Value of All Prizes: $100,000. Odds of winning depend on number and quality of eligible entries. Submissions must comply with the Medium Rules and meet Medium’s Distribution Standards. Contest subject to Official Rules. Details and restrictions apply, so visit here for Official Rules. Sponsor: A Medium Corporation.

Visit the website:

ON THE PREMISES: Short Story Contest #38

7 August 2021

Deadline September 3, 2021



For this contest, write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which someone or something is considered to be a monster… and maybe that’s accurate! Maybe you’re writing a straightforward horror story. Or maybe the “monster” label is terrible and undeserved. Or is the truth somewhere in between? That’s entirely up to you.

SPECIAL NOTE: Famous mythological monsters from history, religion, or folk tales are fine. True, we say below that pastiches/parodies of (or other uses of) other authors’ fictional worlds are not acceptable, but we meant specific fictional worlds created by known authors after, let’s say, the 1750s. Vampires are fine. Bram Stoker’s “Count Dracula of Transylvania” is not. Large, dangerous plants are fine. Triffids from John Wyndham’s “The Day of the Triffids” are not. We hope these guidelines help.

GENRE RULES: No fiction aimed at readers younger than 12, no exploitative sex, no over-the-top grossout horror, and no stories that are obvious parodies of (or otherwise use) existing fictional worlds/characters created by other authors. Other than that, we’ll take anything from the most super-realistic literary drama to crazy farces (real-world or otherwise) to any variant of science fiction or fantasy you can imagine. Read our past issues and you’ll see.

Deadline: 11:59 PM Eastern US time, FRIDAY, September 3, 2021.

One entry per author. There is no fee for entering this contest.

Remember to take all identifying information out of your story! Tell us who you are in the space provided in the web form cover letter you get when you click on the “submit” button, NOT in your story! No headers, no bylines… just the story.

How to enter, visit:


10 July 2021


Deadline July 31, 2021

Essays should focus on the theme of identity and belonging. Oppressive systems and structures seek to prevent us from living into the complexities of our identities and lived experiences. How do you know when you are showing up as your full self and experiencing true belonging? All women, including trans women, 18 years of age or older, may submit up to two nonfiction essays, 1,200 words or less. Prizes are $300 for first place, $200 second, and $100 third. The winning essay will be published in the RCWMS newsletter, South of the Garden, in September or December 2021.

How to enter:

Visit the website:

Hektoen International Writing Contest

17 October 2019

Hektoen International invites you to send an essay of under 1600 words on the subject of Blood. The contest honors the achievements of the Red Cross, locally, nationally, and globally. Two prizes will be awarded: $3000 for the winner and $800 for the runner up.  The deadline is January 15, 2020

We will consider essays on pioneers in hematology (such as Herrick, Minot, Murphy, Whipple, or Landsteiner), the history of venesection, barber-surgeons, the use of leeches, and vampires; as well as historical aspects of blood transfusion, artificial blood, blood groups, blood preservation and blood banks, blood in surgery, blood diseases (such as pernicious anemia, sickle-cell disease, thalassemia, leukemia, and hemophilia), and the history and work of the Red Cross.

Contest rules and guidelines

  • Submission of an article implies consent to publish in Hektoen International. If accepted for publication, an article may be published at any time regardless of the outcome of the competition. If major edits are made, proofs will be sent to the authors before publication.
  • Essays that are accepted for publication in the journal may also be available to readers before the winners are announced.
  • The contest is open to participants 18 years or older.
  • For multiple author articles, only one person should submit the entry and communicate with the editors.
  • Entries should be no longer than 1,600 words and must also include at least one image, following our article and image guidelines, including a cover page and proper formatting of both text and images. Incomplete submissions will be deemed ineligible for competition.
  • Contest submissions must be sent to by Wednesday, January 15, 2020, at 12pm Central Time. Submissions sent after the specified time will be deemed ineligible for competition.
  • Submissions will be read by the editors and contest judges for Hektoen International. The editors of the journal will recommend submissions and edits for publication and contest judges will read the original submission presented by the author.
  • All applicants will be notified of the winning articles, which will be published on the front page of the Winter 2019 issue of Hektoen International.
  • Participants should certify that their work is original and that they have copyright ownership and permission to use any images submitted.
  • Please send inquiries to

Article guidelines

Articles must be unpublished, original work that relates medicine to the humanities and no more than 1,600 words in length. Each submission should include:

  • A cover page with:
    • Author(s) names, titles/degrees, professional affiliation, and location (as you would like it listed in the journal)
    • A biography no longer than 100 words
    • The author’s contact information
  • Article text with:
    • The title and page numbers in the document header
    • The full text of the article inTimes New Roman, size 12, and double-spaced. Please format in Chicago style ( or AMA style (
    • References for quoted and cited material formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style or AMA Manual of Style, with the endnotes in numerical order.

Submissions should be sent as a Microsoft Word document by the author’s last name followed by the title (or abbreviated title).

For example, the article “Big Hugh” by Dr. Smith, would be saved as: Smith_BigHugh.doc

Image guidelines

Please include at least one image that complements the article being submitted. Final image choice will be determined by journal staff. Rights to images must be acquired by the author prior to submission.

Images must be:

  • High quality and saved as a .JPG
  • Titled by author’s surname and short article name. For example, an image to accompany the article “Big Hugh” by Dr. Smith would be saved as follows: Smith_Big Hugh.jpg
  • Accompanied by a caption. Provide a Word document with the following information:
    • Caption and source (including the address of the website where you found the image)
    • For artwork, please provide the title and date of work, the artist’s name, and the location of the artwork (museum or private collection)
    • The caption should be sent as a Word document by author’s last name. In the example of Dr. Smith, the illustration would be captioned as follows: Smith_Caption.doc

Patient Consent/Confidentiality

Our confidentiality policy is based on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Please refer to this document if you have any questions: Authors/artists should protect the confidentiality of all persons and not reveal personal details without their consent.

Review process

The editorial board and the journal editors review contributions for appropriateness of originality, style, and content. All editors advise the Editor-in-Chief, who makes the final decision on publication to the journal.


Authors retain the copyright to their submissions to Hektoen International. We request, however, that authors refrain from submitting their work for publication for four months after the piece has been published. Authors are requested to notify us and reference the Hektoen International website as the original publisher in subsequent publications of the article.

All submissions are presumed to be the stated author/artist’s original work. Authors are responsible for procuring the right to accompanying images.

Visit the website:

Call for Submissions: 2020 Saroyan Prize for Writing

17 September 2019


— Call for Submissions —

Deadline for entries: January 31, 2020

Submissions are now being accepted for the 9th William Saroyan International Prize for Writing.

Given by Stanford Libraries in partnership with the William Saroyan Foundation,

the award recognizes newly published works of fiction and nonfiction

with a $5,000 award for the winner in each category.

The prize is designed to encourage new or emerging writers

and honor the Saroyan literary legacy of originality, vitality and stylistic innovation.

Entries must be received by January 31, 2020.

For entry forms and more information on the prize,

Visit the Saroyan Prize website:

American Literary Translators Association: Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize

30 March 2019
April 15, 2019
Cash Prize:

A prize of $5,000 is given annually for a book of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction translated from an Asian language into English and published in the previous year. Publishers or translators may submit a book translated from Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Sanskrit, Tamil, Thai, or Vietnamese into English and published in 2018 by April 15, 2019. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

American Literary Translators Association, Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize, University of Arizona, Esquire Building #205, 1230 North Park Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721. Rachael Daum, Communications and Awards Manager.

I Can Not – a poetry contest

26 November 2018

Deadline: Monday, December 3, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST. 

Write a poem that begins with the words “I can’t”.

Words do not need to be in quotes.

Can add words and change capitalization.

For example “I can’t believe”.

All poetry types accepted.

Any length accepted.

The winner takes away a $100 cash prize.

All writers will receive feedback for their submission.

Entry Fees:

$9.95 to enter this and all contests at

How to enter, visit:

The 3rd Annual “Storytellers of Tomorrow” – High School Creative Writing Contest

28 September 2017

The 3rd Annual “Storytellers of Tomorrow”

High School Creative Writing Contest

The Ringling College of Art + Design Creative Writing Program was created to support, empower, and honor young writers. It’s an exciting time to be a writer thanks to the increasing number of narrative possibilities that new technologies and media offer. We believe that well-told stories can speak truths and communicate ideas in a way that nothing else can.

To that end, we’re inviting all high-school age students to submit unpublished, original English-language stories of up to 2,000 words in length for the 3rd Annual “Storytellers of Tomorrow” Contest. The criteria for earning prizes in this contest is simply overall quality, meaning that well-edited, engaging, and evocative stories have the best chance of wowing the judges.

Submission Guidelines: Send your story as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf attachment through email. Along with your submission, please include your name, your high school, your current grade level, and a few sentences about your background in writing, your hobbies/interests, or anything else you’d like to share to give us a stronger sense of who you are.

Students are asked to send no more than one (1) submission per category. The two categories are Literary Stories (think Tim O’Brien, O. Henry, John Green, and Alice Walker) or Genre Stories (think Neil Gaiman, Edgar Allen Poe, J.K. Rowling, and Philip K. Dick). Students can submit work to both contests if they choose. While these submissions can be traditional short stories, we are also quite open to graphic narratives, scripts, picture book manuscripts, comics, and other literary forms/blends for either submission category.

Submission Address:

(please include “Storytellers of Tomorrow” in the subject line)

Deadline: December 1, 2017

(Winners will be notified in January 2018)

Initial Judges: The Ringling College of Art + Design Creative Writing Program faculty

Final Judge: Virgil Suarez, author of Latin Jazz and The Soviet Circus Comes to Havana & Other Stories

Entry Fee: None

Prizes in each category:

1st prize: $200 & a Ringling College of Art + Design t-shirt

2nd prize: $100 & a Ringling College of Art + Design t-shirt

3rd prize: $50 & a Ringling College of Art + Design t-shirt

**The judges reserve the right to award as many Honorable Mentions as the submissions merit. This honor includes each author receiving a Ringling College of Art + Design t-shirt.

**The top winner in each category will have the opportunity for their story to be published in Shift, the Creative Writing Program’s new literary arts journal. Beyond that one-time publication, authors retain all rights to their stories.

Visit the website:



Ryan G. Van Cleave

Author, Writing Coach, & Keynote Speaker

Ringleader of the Creative Writing Program @ The Ringling College of Art + Design

Visit Me:

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“Newsletter Me!”: Sign up for the free semi-frequent WRITER 411 Newsletter here


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16 September 2017



Annual juried contest offers top three winners cash prizes and publication

in Canada’s acclaimed magazine about experimental music and sound art.

Deadline for entries is October 27, 2017. Winners will be announced in February 2018.

For immediate release, TORONTO—Musicworks’ seventh annual Sonic Geography Writing contest is now open to receive entries from anywhere in the world! Musicworks has been exploring experimental music and sound in a triannual magazine since 1978. Its annual juried contests spotlight new literary and musical talent, offering cash prizes and opportunities to be published and heard.

Sonic Geography Writing Contest

The elemental music of the Selkirk Mountains. The hiss and harmonics of the London Underground. The soothing, rhythmic swish of a school photocopier. These  sounds have inspired some of our past contest winners. Choose any location—urban or rural, indoors or outside, cacophonous or quiet—and describe how sound shapes your experience in prose or poetic writing. Maximum length: 500 words. Accepted file types: PDF only. $25 entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Musicworks magazine; $5 each additional entry (unlimited).

First Prize: $500 cash, piece published in the Spring 2018 issue of Musicworks and online

Second Prize: $200 cash and and piece published on

Third Prize: $100 cash and piece published on

Entry portal, assessment criteria, prize details, and past winners can be found on our contest landing page!

Also check out our Electronic Music Composition Contest

Compose a piece in one of the following experimental genres: Acousmatic, Electroacoustic, Glitch, Intelligent Dance Music, Turntable art, or Video music. Maximum time: 10 minutes. Accepted file types: MP3 or MP4 only

Visit the website for details on how to enter:
For more information, contact Jessie Rivést at OR (416) 977-3546

Musicworks is dedicated to engaging and building new audiences for experimental music. The triannual magazine, which comes with a companion CD, features in-depth articles on Canadian and international composers, improvisers, instrument designers, and artists who work in genres such as radio, electroacoustics, concert music, sound installation, and sound sculpture. With a dynamic website and outreach programs, Musicworks creates an inclusive community within which to exchange and develop ideas, and excite curious listeners with adventurous music.

Call for Submissions: STARS Poetry Magazine

11 July 2017

Call for Submissions:

The Write Idea Poets Prompt:

Poem Title to be:  “In Another Life …”

          “I’m the one they’re singing about, the one in all those tunes;

           One who lives on Heart Thoughts and I Love Yous.”

              by Terry Lee (from The Rainbow Kid & The Pastel Cowboys circa 1972)


Tell us who you were, who you are, and or who you wished to be

   In another life; before, now, and or in the future.

   How you lived. What you did. What you learned. Etcetera.

                                          “The Art of Poetry is the Art of the Story.” by Milo Rosebud  

One poem per entry. To be 24 lines or less.

Single spaced, the way you want to see it in-print.

Send USMail, or in the body of an Email. (no files or attachments)


US Mail:


c/o Milo Rosebud, Editor

4219 Flinthill Street

San Antonio, Texas

  U.S.A.   78230

LONE STARS publishing Contemporary Poets and Poetry for 25+ years.”


5 May 2017


Gordy Hoffman, the Sundance award-winning writer/director (LOVE LIZA, A COAT OF SNOW), will be available for one-hour, in-person script consultations in Denver between May 26-27, 2017 (Friday and Saturday).

Gordy will read your script in advance, and then when he’s in Denver, he will meet with you at your convenience to provide notes to you and discuss your script in depth for one hour. He will answer all your questions and give you a clear path forward on rewriting your draft, as well as answer any specific questions you might have about screenwriting and film making. The consultation is designed to support the development of your screenplay and you as a screenwriter overall.

Once you’ve booked the consultation, we will be determine the location and time that’s convenient while Gordy’s in Denver. If you have any questions regarding logistics or scheduling before you register for the consultation, please contact the BlueCat office at

Gordy has taught graduate screenwriting courses at USC and UCLA, as well as led workshops all over North America, Australia, New Zealand, Poland and England. He’s presented at numerous writing conferences, including IFP Script to Screen Conference, Lit Week at Lighthouse Workshop, Willamette Writers Conference, Script DC Conference, as well as serving as judge for the McKnight Screenwriting Fellowships in Minnesota. A proud Jayhawk, he sits on the Professional Advisory Board of the Film and Media Studies Department at his alma mater, the University of Kansas.

Gordy’s short film, DOG BOWL, had its world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Program. He’s currently developing a feature for Abigail Spencer.

Gordy Hoffman founded the BlueCat Screenplay Competition in 1998 and remains its judge.

Note: Screenplays submitted to the workshop are not eligible to be entered into the BlueCat Screenplay Competition.

$225 (Full Registration) / N/A (Regular)


Read more at:


10 July 2016

Musicworks’ 2016 Electronic Music Composition and Sonic Geography Writing contests are now open.

Musicworks’ two annual juried contests spotlight new and emerging literary and musical talents, and offer cash prizes and opportunities to be published and heard:

Electronic Music Composition Contest

Musicworks invites participants to compose an experimental piece in any electronic music genre with a maximum length of 10 minutes.

Sonic Geography Writing Contest

Musicworks’ asks prose writers and poets to choose one location and describe in a maximum of 500 words how sound shapes your experience of this place.

Contest entry fee is C$25, and includes a one-year subscription to Musicworks (less than our normal subscription rate!); each additional entry only $5. Contests close August 14, 2016.

2016 Contest prize details, eligibility and assessment criteria, rules and restrictions,

and entry forms can be found at:



Columbian composer and sound artist Juan Camilo Vásquez’s Calíope (canto de las abejas) has won first place in Musicworks’ 2015 Electronic Music Composition competition. “I was conceiving the piece as a sculpture,” Vásquez says about the winning piece, “My interest working in electronic music is about achieving control: how I work with electronics—interface or patches—to control things exactly.” Vásquez is profiled in the Spring 2015 print issue (#124), available now through subscription and on Canadian newsstands. Calíope (canto de las abejas) is included on CD#124.


Imogene Newland’s “Sonic City” won first place in the 2015 Sonic Geography writing contest, and is published in the Spring 2015 issue. Newland is a British multidisciplinary artist specializing in experimental performance and writing.


Musicworks congratulates the 2015 Electronic Music Composition contest winners:

First Prize: Juan Camilo Vásquez for Calíope (canto de las abejas)

Second Prize: Aaron Oppenheim for October 12 2014

Third Prize: Daniel Blinkhorn for frostbyte – wildflower


Musicworks congratulates the 2015 Sonic Geography writing contest winners:

First Prize: Imogene Newland for “Sonic City”

Second Prize: Luke Nickel for “Three Literary Field Recordings”

Third Prize: Darcy Spidle for “Ocean Bug and Bird Songs”

The fifth edition of the annual contest drew an impressive array of entries from Canada and around the globe. Musicworks thanks 2015 jury participants Sarah Davachi, Daniel Glassman, Peter Hatch, and Lee Singer.


Patrick Wakisaka

Visit the website:

How to Use Backstory to Keep Readers Reading

1 July 2016

by K.M. Weiland, @KMWeilandV8374c_JaneEyre.indd

Backstory is a weapon. And just like any weapon, it can end up doing more harm than good to those who wield it without proper experience and care. But in the hands of a writer who knows exactly what it’s capable of and how to wield it to advantage, backstory can take even ordinary stories to extraordinary places.

Arguably, the most important function of backstory is its ability to hook readers’ curiosity. Forget explaining the protagonist’s past and what motivates him. Try notexplaining it. When we let readers know there’s somethingdelicious and dark in a character’s past, without telling them what that something is, we’ll hook their curiosity so deeply they’ll keep reading just to solve the mystery.

Charlotte Brontë understood how to wield the weapon of backstory as well any author. In her beloved Gothic romance Jane Eyre (which I analyze in-depth in my book Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic), she creates almost her entire plot out of the tantalizing hunt for the backstory. What can you learn from her and how can you apply it to your own novel? Start by answering the following questions.

What Is Your Backstory?

Before you can use backstory to hook readers, you first have to have a backstory. When creating your characters’ histories, look beyond just the obvious necessities of birthplace and parents. Look for secrets. Look for tragedy and shame. Look for hidden motivations. You don’t want to bore readers with tedious home videos. You want to thrill them with tabloid-worthy escapades.

Protagonist Jane Eyre’s tragic backstory is shared straight-up (for the most part). However, the story is powered by her need to uncover the shocking history of her mysterious employer Mr. Rochester. Something strange and possibly supernatural is afoot in the tower of Mr. Rochester’s Thornfield Hall, and he hints to Jane, again and again, that the mystery is all tied up in the sins of his youth. What better incentive for readers to keep reading?

How Does Your Backstory Power the Plot?

Even relatively mundane backstories can capture readers’ attention, but only if they matter to the story as a whole. An outrageous skeleton in the family closet only becomes interesting if it affects the outcome of the central conflict. Why does the discovery of the backstory matter to the protagonist? How will it help or hinder him in obtaining his main story goal?

Mr. Rochester’s history isn’t important just because Jane happens to be curious about him. As it turns out, its revelation—in one of the most enduringly and delightfully shocking moments in literature—affects Jane’s every hope of happiness and love. Readers are more than just curious about Brontë’s backstory; they care about the backstory because of how sharply it will turn the plot and affect all the characters.

What Is Your Backstory’s Hook?

Once you’ve come up with a great backstory and figured out why it is an integral piece within your main plot, you then have to artfully plant its hook. You must let readers know there is a great backstory without giving too much away. One or two solid details will often be enough to get the ball rolling, especially if you solidify their importance by making some of the characters adamant about hiding the past, just as other characters are adamant about uncovering it.

Brontë builds her hook into the very walls of Thornfield Hall. From the moment Jane arrives in the symbolically dark and dusty manor, readers sense something is afoot. The housekeeper warns Jane to stay away from the tower, Rochester himself speaks of the great mistakes of his youth, and creepy laughter wafts through the halls at night. With minimum effort, Brontë hooks her readers for the long haul.

How Can You Tantalize Readers With Clues?

After that first hook, keep the clues coming. To some extent, you can repeat some of those clues, since all you’re needing to do is keep reminding readers of their curiosity. But eventually, you’re going to have to add new information. The trick, of course, is to provide new clues to whet the readers’ appetite without giving away the whole mystery.

A good rule of thumb on backstory is to avoid sharing information until it becomes vital to the story. Clues need to be more than just breadcrumbs of information; they need to each be catalysts that drive the plot.

Brontë is one of the best at scattering her clues. She deftly adds new information, leading readers right up to the brink of the truth, only to cleverly misdirect them into believing what they think is the truth can’t possibly be right.

Why Will Your Backstory’s Payoff Matter to the Story?

Readers wait throughout your entire story to reach the truth about the backstory. You can’t afford to disappoint them. This is why it’s so important to come up with a humdinger of a backstory in the beginning. If you tantalize readers with promises of shocking discoveries only to back off in the end and say, “Surprise! The butler did it!”—they’ll probably chuck your book across the room.

Brontë perfectly times the revelation of Mr. Rochester’s backstory. The revelation arrives at the crucial Third Plot Point (at the end of the Second Act), which allows it to be the catalyst that powers Jane’s decisions and actions throughout the climactic Third Act. Every bit as important as the timing, Rochester’s backstory is just as powerful and moving as Brontë promised her readers it would be. Anything less, and we would have been disappointed. Instead, we were transported.

Powerful backstory can elevate otherwise commonplace stories to astonishing heights. Without Rochester’s backstory, Jane Eyre is just another nice tale of a poor orphaned governess falling in love with her wealthy employer. With that backstory, it has become a timeless classic that has thrilled and moved centuries’ of readers. With the right backstory, your story could do the same!

K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survivesK.M. Weilandprimarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY and NIEA Award-winning and internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning websiteHelping Writers Become Authors.

Contests – Gotham Writers

1 July 2016
Invent a Word
Deadline: August 15, 2016
“We invite you to invent a word. Not just any word. A word you think will greatly enhance the English language.

Give us your word, a one-sentence definition, and use the word in a sentence.

The winner gets a free Gotham class of his or her choosing.

Submit your entries here:
Deadline: monthly
“Each month we invite you to post a story on Twitter using #storieseverywhere for a chance to win a free class.

Your stories (which can be true or made up) will be inspired by what you see, know, or do, and they should relate in some way to our monthly “themes.” 

Our theme for the month of June: Superhero.”
We’re always hosting contests. Writers can go to “” to check them out.

On The Premises Short Story Contest (no fee)

16 June 2016

Deadline: September 2, 2016. The premise of our 28th short story contest is “Darkness”. Write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which the concept of “darkness” plays an important role. You may interpret “darkness” any way you want—literally, metaphorically, or any other way. Darkness doesn’t have to have a value judgment attached to it, and it doesn’t have to be symbolic in any way, although it can.

Please remember that we value creativity. A story about “the forces of light” fighting “the forces of darkness” will struggle to rate highly on the creativity meter. Try something else.

Winners receive between US$60 and US$220, and publication. There is no fee to enter our contest.

GENRE NOTE: Any genre except children’s fiction, exploitative sex, or over-the-top gross-out horror is fine. We will also never accept parodies of another author’s specific fictional character(s) or world(s). No exceptions!

Click for details and instructions on submitting your story. To be informed when new contests are launched, subscribe to our free, short, monthly newsletter. On The Premises magazine is recognized in Duotrope, Writer’s Market,, and other short story marketing resources.

Visit the website:


July 2016 Artist of The Month Contest

7 June 2016

Win a featured showcase as’s
July 2016 Artist of The Month – Call to Artists!

Deadline: June 28, 2016 – Don’t Miss Out!

Sponsored by and online art supply company Jerry’s Each month we host a FREE contest. The Artist of The Month Contest is open to *ALL* artists and photographers who have not previously been winners in the Artist of the Month contest.

Grand PrizeWinner selected by Editors

  • Featured Artist interview page on website that showcase several pieces of your work.
  • Featured on the homepage of website for the month of July 2016.
  • Artwork featured on’s Facebook page cover image during the month of July 2016.
  • $75 Gift Certificate to
  • NOTE – Grand Prize winner is selected by Editors, NOT the highest number of votes.

2nd Place – Runner Up Winner selected by Editors

  • Promoted on’s Facebook page to thousands of artists and art enthusiasts.
  • $50 Gift Certificate to
  • NOTE – winner is selected by Editors, NOT the highest number of votes.

Viewers Choice selected by Facebook users voting. Highest # of Votes Wins!

  • Promoted on’s Facebook page to thousands of artists and art enthusiasts.
  • $25 Gift Certificate to

The Deadline to submit is June 28, 2016 and it is FREE to enter.

IMPORTANT: We will be selecting the winners on June 29th. If you are selected as the Grand Prize winner, we will email you an interview survey to be filled out for your July AOM page. This will need to be completed by June 30, 2016.

For an example of an Artist of the Month page go to:

=> Go Enter Now!


About Jerry’s Artarama provides more than just incredible discount prices on art supplies. They also provide instructional workshops, new art supply demos and special art related events, encouraging a sense of community for artists across the country.

Shop online for discount art supplies and materials from an art supply store offering quality, selection and the lowest prices!


20 May 2016


Deadline May 31, 2016

The Out of the Binders Scholarship Program is designed to increase diversity by offering free admission to up to 25 promising writers who might not otherwise be able to attend due to financial hardship. Diversity includes but is not limited to: age; racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds; sexual orientation; gender identity; marital and parental status; disability. The scholarships include free attendance to all the events on Saturday, October 29, 2016 and Sunday, October 30, 2016 networking opportunities to meet agents and editors, and a ticket to the VIP party, but do not include airfare and/or accommodations, or food. (Some meals may be provided as part of the conference programming.) Additionally, we are thrilled to offer stipends to select applicants: parents who require financial assistance with childcare and out of town attendees in need of travel assistance. Please indicate if you would like to be considered for any of these stipends. .

Visit the website:



Arquetopia is an international award-winning, Mexican official nonprofit foundation run entirely by artists. Has many opportunities for those in the arts, to include writers,

with deadline of May 29, 2016.



Deadlines June 7 and October 4, 2016.

If you are applying as an individual or group, you must be a practicing artist or arts worker and an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident. Applications for funding to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander panel must come from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals or groups.



Deadline June 10, 2016.

For student writers, diversity fellows, and writers who are parents. Join the CWW 2016 Summer in Barcelona and South of France Writing Retreat (July 18-26, 2016) and Summer in Granada, Spain Writing Retreat (July 28-August 5, 2016). Limited scholarships of $500-$1,500 are available for each program. Scholarships are available for student writers (for undergraduate or graduate students in literary fields), diversity fellows (for writers of color and writers from marginalized communities), and for writers who are parents.

Deadline June 10, 2016.


20 May 2016

2016 Travel Writing Contest — Submissions are Open!

It’s that time of year again: time to type up those travel articles, travel anecdotes and travel reflections. If it’s about travel, we want to read it. We want to read about that place that changed you.We want to read about the experiences you can’t wait to share with other travelers. Whether your work is humorous, informative, quirky or profound–we want to read it.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Maximum 1200 words
  • Edited to the best of your ability for spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • Up to three photos may be submitted with your entry. Photos not necessary to win.
  • Previously unpublished work only! Blog posts are considered published (and I research all finalists).
  • No entry fee. Yes, that’s right. You have nothing to lose.
  • Open to anyone worldwide, but you need (access to) a PayPal account
  • Entries must be in English
  • One entry per person
  • Deadline for submissions: July 31, 2016
  • Send entries with a 50-word third-person bio to with the heading TRAVEL WRITING CONTEST. Entries will be read blind by this year’s judge and travel writer, Paola Fornari. It is not necessary to delete identifying information from your entry. If your name appears anywhere, it will be removed before it’s forwarded to the judge.
  • Word doc, docx and rtf files only. 
  • Finalists announced in August 2016. Winners announced and published in late summer 2016.

The Prizes: 

  • The Top essays will be published at I Must Be Off! (Authors retain copyright.)
  • Second place prize: $50
  • First place prize: $200
  • Readers’ Choice Award ($50) based on unique hits and comments tallied on September 30, 2016.

Good luck and happy writing!

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O’Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen’s writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Eclectica Magazine’s 20th-Anniversary Best of Speculative anthology, Indiana Review, Night Train, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly: the Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, [PANK] blog, Necessary Fiction, Word Riot, Bootsnall Travel, Chicken Soup for the Soul and lots of other good places. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice.


Previous Winners and Placers:

“A Leaf on the Wind” by Joel Hindson
“Burning My Boots in Cabo Fisterra” by Gabriella Brand
Discovering Hến Rice in Central Việt Nam” by Chris Galvin
“Oh, Calcutta” by Paola Fornari
“The Scarlet Mile” by Gillian Brown
“Bodrum, Turkey’s San Tropez” by Jack Scott
“The Children of Chitwan, Nepal” by Hannah Thompson-Yates
“God’s Own Country” by Saahil Acharya


      Pictured above: The 2016 Judge — Paola Fornari

Travel writer Paola Fornari was born on Ukerewe Island in Lake Victoria, Tanzania. She has lived in a dozen countries over four continents, speaks five and a half languages, dabbles in several others, and describes herself as an expatriate sine patria. In every new posting, her curiosity leads her to explore every corner of her host country, and experience as much ‘real life’ as she can.

Her travel and lifestyle articles have appeared extensively online, and in print magazines as diverse as Cycling World, Practical Fishkeeping The Oldie andThe Buenos Aires Herald.

She has judged several writing competitions, and was co-judge in Expatclic’s prestigious Travel Reflections competition in 2013.

In 2013 she won the Senior Travel Expert travel writing competition, and was third in the Go Walkabout competition.

Her relationship with I Must be Off goes back a long way. Apart from having several interviews published on the site, she was highly commended in the first I Must be Off travel essay contest in 2013, and won in 2014.

She recently moved from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to Accra, Ghana.

Visit the website:

The Biggest Error of a New Writer

20 May 2016

Here lately I’ve received a rash of emails asking me how to become a freelance writer and make money. Well, actually, they ask how they can write and get paid by me, and then they ask me to mentor them so that their writing is good enough.

So, let’s look at this for a moment . . . I’m supposed to take on someone who is not a commercial writer, teach them how to write such that it IS marketable, then pay them $50 for 500 words that fit FundsforWriters.

Some submitters become quite disgruntled when I refuse them. Some pitch me anyway, then when I reject (always with reasons to help them learn), they get angry that I am not giving a new writer a chance by educating them how to write it better.

Note to writers everywhere: It is not an editor’s job to teach you how to write. When you pitch, you are professing to already know the craft. It should be only a matter of the writer’s pitch fitting the need of the publication.

The best ways to learn how to write for a publication:

1) Read all the freelance chapters in a Writers Market.
2) Read enough of the publication you’re pitching to understand their style.
3) Read the guidelines and study the editorial calendar (if available).
4) Ensure your writing is polished enough so that the editor wants to read more.
5) Know the Chicago Manual of Style.

Second note to writers: Editors are not there to edit your work for you. They are there to edit for the publication, to find the best topics for their readers and then edit the stories to fit the space.

Take the time to learn how to write well. Then take the time to learn how to pitch smart. Do not use editors for your trial and error learning process. Find beta readers and critique groups to test drive your work.

You cannot undo a first impression, and yes, many editors remember. An idea that doesn’t quite fit is one thing….not knowing how to write is quite another.

Freelance writing resources for the new freelance writer:

By C. Hope Clark, award-winning author of the Carolina Slade Mystery Series, creator and editor at 

10-minute Play Fest 2016

18 May 2016

Scripts are being accepted in two categories: 

Category 1: An LGBT individual’s self-disclosure about their sexual orientation.

Category 2: Any interpretation of “Out of the Closet” literal or figurative. Plays may be comedy or drama. Both individual authors and collaborative teams are eligible.

  • Grand Prize Winner will receive $200.00 cash, a trophy and production of their play.
  • First Prize winner will receive $150 cash and production of their play.
  • An additional 4-6 runner-up scripts will also be produced.


  1. Submissions must be original, unproduced plays.
  2. Contestants must be 18 years of age or older.
  3. Running time must be between 5 and 10 minutes.
  4. No monologues, musicals or children’s plays..
  5. Playwrights may submit one play in each category. (2 plays maximum.)
  6. Scripts will not be returned. ETC does not assume any responsibility for the loss or damage of scripts. All reasonable care will be taken.
  7. All entries must be received by June 30th, 2016.
  8. Winners will be announced by July 30th, 2016.
  9.  Plays will be staged in a black box setting (there will be no set beyond a closet door). Please write accordingly.
  10.  Plays must have 2-6 characters.

Winning plays will be staged at Theatreworks September 9 – 11, 2016!

How to enter

  • Submit 2 copies of your 10-minute script.
  • Your name should not appear on your script.
  • Include a cover sheet with your name, address, phone number, email address and the title (s) of your play(s).
  • Enclose a $10.00 entry fee for each play entered.
  • Make checks payable to Emerald Theater Company

Caroline at “Out of the Closet”
c/o ETC
P.O. Box 41408
Memphis, TN 38174

Visit the website:


We look forward to reading your work!

Write your story, change the world

18 May 2016

New Contest Seeks to Change the Future

Contest Partners with Award-Winning Author to Elevate New Voices

A university-based civic innovation office has launched a new writing competition to create a roadmap for the city of tomorrow. FutureScapes Writing Contest seeks short works of fiction of up to 8,000 words that envision life in future “Cities of Empowerment.”

The contest offers a $2,000 first-place prize, a $1,000 second-place prize, and $500 to each of four additional finalists as well as publication in an anthology that will be distributed to mayors, governors, and members of Congress. There is no entry fee, and winners will be published alongside prominent, established authors of science fiction.

“This contest really takes seriously the notion that ‘life imitates art,’” said Luke Peterson, contest director. “We want to use fiction to give policymakers a vision of what might be.”

Finalists will be judged by Hugo Award-winning author Mary Robinette Kowal. This year the theme of the contest is “Cities of Empowerment,” and those interested in entering are encouraged to carefully read the rules and theme for the contest before preparing a contest entry. Deadline: JULY 15, 2016

Visit the website for details on how to enter:

Sponsored by Utah Valley University


14 May 2016

The Contest is open to people of color (or those who self-identify as other than white) who are residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories and possessions, 18 years of age or older at time of entry and who have not had any works of fiction published in any medium prior to entering the Contest.

In 1974, the Council on Interracial Books sponsored a writing contest seeking out diverse voices. Mildred D. Taylor was the winner of the African-American segment for the manuscript that becameSong of the Trees (Dial, 1975), her first book. It introduced the Logan family and was followed byRoll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1976), which won the Newbery Medal.

Deadline June 21, 2016.

The submission must be in English, between 25,000-75,000 words and must not have been previously published in any medium. The confirmed winner will receive a book publishing contract for the publication of a novel for ages 8-14 by Penguin Random House LLC, with an advance of $35,000, plus royalties.

Visit the website for details:

A Smarter Way for Independent Authors to Advertise Books

14 May 2016


By A.R. Wise

Successful independent authors advertise. It’s as simple as that. You can’t publish a book and expect the world to notice. You must get the word out. However, not all types of advertising produce the same results, and it’s easy to waste an awful lot of money without seeing substantial return. Trust me, I’ve wasted plenty, and I want to help you avoid some of the same mistakes.

I only advertise books that are on sale, or free, and I look for sites with a substantial mailing list. I avoid sites that boast huge Twitter followings as their claim to fame, because it’s easy to artificially inflate social media stats. I also avoid doing banner advertisements on sites, because the click-through rate on those are abysmal. To get the most for your money, you must place your book in front of as many eyes as possible, and I haven’t found a better way to do that than working with the following sites.


Let’s address the behemoth first. I haven’t encountered a site that’s more consistently worth the investment than Bookbub. At first glance, it’s expensive, but an ad with them is worth every penny. On average, for a free book in the horror genre, I see around 8,000–20,000 downloads on the day my ad hits, and the effect continues for several days until gradually coming back down to average. Bookbub can be awfully picky about which titles they advertise, which might be discouraging if they decline your novel. Don’t be disheartened. Acquire more reviews on your book (which is part of their selection criteria), and give them another try in a month.

For tips on finding more reviews, see my article in last week’s FundsforWriters newsletter: How to Get Reviews – Without Cheating!


This is another pricey option that’s had consistent, positive results, although with nowhere near the same success as Bookbub. Their prices run between $40 and $200 depending on the genre of your book, and I usually see an uptick of about 1,000 downloads (for a free horror novel). Advertising with Bargainbooksy is considerably cheaper, but I’ve never seen an impressive result from them. In my opinion, you should only use this site when your book is being offered for free.

Kindle Nation Daily / Bookgorilla

It’s daunting to look at the pricing structure of this site’s advertisement packages. I’ve participated in several different options (including some of the frighteningly expensive ones) and surprisingly discovered that the best one is also the cheapest. If you’re offering a free book, then it’s worth your time to invest in the $29.99 Free Book Highlighter option.


Another free book advertising opportunity. This one competes closely with Freebooksy in terms of price and results, although I only utilize it when I’m putting a slew of ads out all at once.


Here’s one that’s still relatively cheap (get them while you can), but still manages to drum up impressive downloads. One of its options makes you the featured author for the day and can be used to advertise all of your books. This one runs $21.99 and is a good option if you’re hoping to advertise books that aren’t available for free. If you’re marketing a free book, then there’s an option that runs a meager $7.99, but will usually land you a few hundred downloads.

Good luck advertising your book! If you find a different site that’s worth advertising with, please reply with  a comment.

A.R. Wise is the author of several horror, mystery, and comedy novels, including314, which has more than 1,000 reviews on Amazon. Several of his books, including 314, are available for free. If you enjoy his work, then do him a favor by writing a review.
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