The May/June issue of Poets & Writers Magazine has an article entitled “Winners on Winning” where they interview writers who won (and lost) literary contests in 2014. Among the handful of winning writers is our Mark Brazaitis (Guatemala 1990-93) for his 2014 Autumn House Press Fiction Award ($2,500) and publication of his most recent collection, Truth Poker.
Mark, a professor of English at West Virginia University, (and directs their creative writing program,) has won more contest than most writers. Here’s a short list:
1998 Iowa Short Fiction Award for The River of Lost Voices: Stories From Guatemala
2001 Peace Corps Writers Maria Thomas Fiction Award for Steal My Heart
2004 George Garrett Fiction Award for An American Affair
2004 ABZ Poetry Prize for The Other Language
2012 Gival Press Novel Award for Julia & Rodrigo
2012 Richard Sullivan Prize for his story collection, The Incurable
2013 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award for The Incurable
2014 Autumn House Press Fiction Award for Truth Poker: Stories
Mark’s advice for all writers is: Love your work. Be confident it’s your best. If it is, enter it in contests, especially full-length-manuscript contests. Most book contests comes with a monetary award, but what’s truly great about them is publication. This kind of gamble is worth the entry fee. And don’t give up.