Undergraduate Nonfiction Reading Happening Thursday, May 21st at Richardson Library

Every year, the English Department’s Literacy Outreach Coordinator, DePaul Professor David Welch, organizes a series of undergraduate genre-specific readings. The final reading for the 2014-2015 academic year is the nonfiction reading, to be held Thursday, May 21st, from 6-7:30pm in Richardson 115.

Come and hear what your classmates have been working on this year and enjoy refreshments and good times!


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Thoreau’s Rooster Personal Essay Contest for Undergraduates (Deadline March 15, 2015)

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Thoreau’s Rooster, an undergraduate journal of creative nonfiction published annually out of Assumption College, seeks personal essay submissions. The journal offers a $200 prize to essays they select.

Past winners and honorable mentions are available to read at their website. Email rooster (at)assumption.edu with any questions.

The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2015.

Glass Mountain Seeks Undergraduate Student Writing! (Deadline 3/2/15)

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Glass Mountain invites undergraduate students to submit high-quality poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, art and reviews for publication in the upcoming issue of Glass Mountain Magazine, the undergraduate literary magazine at the University of Houston.

The journal is an award-winning, international platform for the voices of emerging writers and artists.  We are based out of the University of Houston’s Department of English, and the magazine is run entirely by undergraduate students.

For the Spring 2015 Issue, submit by March 2nd and have the issue in hand by April!

Your students’ best work can find a home online or in print at Glass Mountain. Graphic fiction?  Prose poetry? Music reviews? For specifics on submissions, see here.

This is an unusual opportunity for undergraduate writers. Glass Mountain is produced twice per year and especially needs submissions for the Spring Issue. For further details visit the magazine’s Submittable page.

Questions? Please email glassmountaineditors@gmail.com.

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Submit to the Assay Blog, In Present Tense!

The folks over at Assay are doing a big push to include more student writers on their blog, In Present Tense, particularly in their Wednesday Writers to Read series. They are looking for the same kind of analytical reading response students are often assigned. It’s a great way for that work to find an audience outside of the classroom. The editors are looking for strong undergraduate work as well as that of other levels.

See the Submission Guidelines here. The specifics on Wednesday Writers to Read are below.

“Wednesday Writers to Read” (a series published on Wednesdays): tell us about what you’re reading. It can be an old favorite, a newly published book, a text you’re teaching. If somebody has already posted on the book you’re reading, feel free to send in a differing opinion on it. Our goal here is to compile a resource list of texts. You could also write up brief reviews of the nonfiction published in the new issues of literary journals, for this series.”

Creative Nonfiction Magazine Calls for Submissions

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We Want Your Best Stuff!
CURRENT CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS
We’re seeking submissions for two new anthologies from In Fact Books, a special issue of CNF, and the Exploring the Boundaries section of the magazine.
Jan 20 DEADLINE
Exploring the Boundaries (section of the magazine)
What to send: Ambitious writing that pushes against the conventional boundaries of the genre, plays with style and form, and makes its own rules.
Feb 9
Beyond “Crazy” (a book!)
What to send: Original stories that address–either directly or obliquely–the trials of living with mental illness.
Mar 9
Becoming a Teacher (another book!)

What to send: Stories by and/or about elementary and secondary school teachers, recalling and reflecting on the most salient moments of their careers.
Apr 13
The Weather (a special issue of CNF)
What’s on the line: $1,000 for best essay; $500 for runner-up; publication in CNF.
What to send: True stories–personal, historical, reported–about fog, drought, flooding, tornado chasing, blizzards, hurricanes, hail the size of golfballs, or whatever’s happening where you are. We’re looking for well-crafted essays that will change the way we see the world around us.
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AQ 2014 Featured Student Writing: “Burnt Toast”, nonfiction by Rachel Plotkin

Flour danced around the kitchen, painting it white, as scents swam around my five-year-old pigtails strategically maneuvered into a mustache against my top lip. The house creaked each time the wind carried over from the Volga, sending the gooseberry bushes whistling against the wooden shed. My grandmother was meticulous, each fist precisely kneading the dough before pinching at the goop and flopping it onto a pan. Her eyes would never leave mine; her hands worked on their own as she told stories I wouldn’t remember, my mind too focused on the masterwork occurring before me.

Что ты готовишь?”
“Подожди, маленькая. Подожди.”
“Но бабушка…”
“Перестань. Еда будет готовa скоро.”

When she was done, she would throw the dought into the oven and shoo me away to the garden while she cleaned. My greedy hands picked at berries, bare feet running me through each aisle of fruit as I all but forgot about the pies inside. Cherries stained my dress, hiked up to my belly into a cloth bowl to carry them indoors. The kitchen, warm from the oven’s flames, always full of baked goods, greeted me with new smells as I dropped the cherries into a bowl. Hopping onto a counter, white flour residue still hiding its surface, I’d grab hold of a pie and my grandmother would laugh and clap her hands. “моя маленькая! Ешьте много,” she’d say. My little one! There’s plenty.

Watching my mother cook was like watching a general prep for war. She matched her mother’s love of cooking with a duteous need for perfection. As I watched her, I was careful not to make any unnecessary noise. It was a more serious occasion than baking with my grandmother. On those days, the sun crept in from between the shades and cast golden stripes on the counter where she worked, the bustle of New York outside drowned out by the sounds of her knife against the cutting board. I was motionless, my knees tucked against my chest as I watched her efficient transformation of simple ingredients, the kitchen filling with their aroma. The apartment, always sterile and uncomfortably cold, felt like home with a quick lift of a pot cover. When the oven door opened up, smells flooded the rooms: lasagna, matzo ball soup, fish (which made my nose crinkle, every time) and cakes, plus endless desserts that were nipped and picked at before they had a chance to cool down. Every night, no matter how tired or angry she was, she’d whisk away at something and I’d curl up to watch, trying to keep as much of that version of her with me as I could.

“Welcome to Casie’s cooking show!”

My sister claps her hands together and flails her arms toward an imaginary camera, giggling and grinning as she pulls fallen strands of hair behind her ear. Her tiny fingers point to each ingredient, describing it in the most matter of fact way, as if cooking an omelet is revolutionary. Egg splashes onto the granite and she goes on mixing, dropping sliced baby tomatoes into a yellow milky goo and then sprinkling cheese and basil on top of it all. Her approach is neither meticulous nor precise. She doesn’t measure or think about the end product; she mixes with gusto and looks constantly at me as I roll a fist in the air as if holding an old Super 8 in my hands, capturing each moment of her Food Network debut.

“And now my assistant, Tata, will help me use the stove.” She waves frantically for me to come over and with an exhausted motion I slowly put down the heavy imaginary camera and bow to the applauding audience. She manages to go to commercial only seconds after I start.

When he cooks I find myself in the doorway, bottle of beer in hand, picking at the paper label. The fan sprays my hair against my shoulders. I’d put it up in a ponytail if he didn’t like it so much when it was down. He’ll stop mixing to kiss me and I’ll feign annoyance, complain that the food will burn, smirk when he finally pulls away. He cooks to make me smile, when I’m stressed from a bad day or just because he knows I like watching him. Bites of food sizzle in the pit of my stomach, making my toes curl when I steal mouthfuls too hot for my tongue. He laughs, shaking his head while I pout; distracting him becomes my goal. I rest my chin on his back, my lips at the nape of his neck, and wrap my arms around him. Suddenly, it’s no longer about the food.

A glass of merlot in hand, I relax into my kitchen. Spices shake with each opening of a cabinet door, like the sound of maracas echoing through the bare walls. Little attention is given to the rest of the space but the kitchen is painstakingly organized. I am careful to place complementary scents together—rich lavenders and vanillas, sweet enough to make your teeth sting—wishing for the kitchen to always hold the smell of home. Sprawled onto my countertop, head dipped back to finish off the last drop of wine I mix the melting chocolate with my free hand, leg warmed by the stove’s heat. No one watches. No one sits in anticipation. There is no one there trying to capture the secret to culinary success. There is no show. It’s just me and my store-bought cherries, dripping with bittersweet dark chocolate as they cool on waxed paper and my memories float through the warm, sweet air.


Rachel Plotkin, originally from New York City, is a Senior English: Creative Writing major at DePaul University. Her favorite book, at the moment, is Gabriel García Márquez’s ‘Memories of My Melancholy Whores’. In her free time, when not writing, Rachel enjoys visiting Chicago’s theater scene and dancing like no one is watching.

Luminarts Cultural Foundation Creative Writing Competition Now Accepting Applications (deadline June 1, 2015)

**While the deadline for this competition is somewhat far off, we’d like to call you attention to it now and will repost during Spring Quarter.

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Luminarts is now accepting applications
for the 2015 Creative Writing Competition!

The Creative Writing Competition awards five $5,000 grant awards and Luminarts Fellowships across categories of creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.

Entries are submitted to the competition and reviewed by an initial panel of jurors. Once tallied, all top entries go to the final juror panel and the winners are selected.

Jurors are comprised of professional authors, novelists, and American poets, literary contributors, publishers, editors, journalists and media contributors, and Pulitzer and PEN Hemingway Award Winners.

Head over to the Luminarts Creative Writing homepage to learn more. Submission guidelines and eligibility requirements can be found here.

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Undergraduates: venture UNDERGROUND with us!

The leaves are falling, the air is crisp, and everywhere you go here on campus you hear the familiar sound of students flipping through syllabi and wondering just how they are going to finish all that work before finals roll around….

ID-100148176Ah, yes, the Autumn quarter is in full swing, and here at The Underground that can only mean one thing–it’s time to put together our undergraduate writing staff for the 2013-2014 academic year. If you are an undergraduate English major, minor, or are just interested in all things literary, then we want you on our team!

As a staff member for The Underground, you will get the chance to….

  • Cover English department events, visiting author readings, conferences, and other literary goings-on here at DePaul and across Chicagoland
  • Review new books, films, and music that would be of interest to DePaul English majors and other students interested in writing, literature, and the humanities
  • Interview faculty, alumni, and persons of interest for featured profiles
  • Have your writing featured on our popular newsletter/blog
  • Gain some valuable experience creating written content for the web and working under deadlines
  • Network with other students interested in the field of English

Interested students should contact editor Melissa Culbertson at Mculber1@depaul.edu by October 1. Please include a short application letter describing your qualifications, writing experience, interests, an idea of what kind of time commitment you will be willing to put in as a part of our staff, and, very importantly, your vision for The Underground. 

New staff members will be notified via email by Friday, October 4. We look forward to an exciting year!

Enter the Guild Complex Writing Contest

Calling all writers! The Guild Literary Complex is accepting submissions for their Annual Prose Awards. Both emerging and established writers are encouraged to submit their fiction or non-fiction pieces for consideration. There are no restrictions on subject or theme, but submissions should be typed, limited to 1,000 words or less, and writers must be Illinois residents 18-years of age or older.

prose-contest-2013-digital-final-2The 2013 judges include Cristina Henríquez (Fiction) and DePaul’s own Prof. Miles Harvey (Non-Fiction).

Winners of the Annual Prose Awards will be announced live October 23 at the Guild Literary Complex Prose Awards event, which will take place at Chicago’s historic Chopin Theatre. A $250 cash prize will be awarded to the winner of each category.

To submit, send a single piece of short fiction or non-fiction to contest@guildcomplex.org. There is a $5 submission fee–which includes admission to the Prose Awards event–payable using the PayPal donation button on the contest page. All submissions must be sent by 5 p.m. on October 1, 2013.