Campus & Community

I’ll buy that!

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Fee-free grants, competitions for writers featured in new book

Just in time for New Year’s resolutions, a new book, “Free Expression,” details more than 100 possibilities for writers seeking contests, competitions, and other opportunities. And unlike programs that charge “reading fees” or “processing fees,” this book’s listings are “fee-free,” according to author Erika Dreifus, who currently teaches in the Harvard Extension School Writing Program.

“Many fee-charging opportunities are wonderful, but sometimes writers appreciate knowing they can submit their work without submitting a check, too,” says Dreifus, whose short story, “Homecomings,” won last year’s David Dornstein Memorial Creative Writing Contest for Young Adult Writers. The Dornstein contest is among those listed in “Free Expression,” which highlights opportunities leading to cash prizes, publication, grants, and other career-enhancing awards, including fellowships and scholarships for writing residencies and retreats.

“Entering competitions can be daunting enough, in any genre,” says Dreifus, “It’s not always too inspiring to have to add a check for $15 or $20 – or more.” Writers on student budgets, she notes, whether undergraduate or graduate, may especially prefer to submit their work “fee-free,” and the book features a chapter focusing on opportunities for them.

Dreifus doesn’t discount the importance of talent. “The work must be good. Absolutely. But it helps to know which opportunities are available, when their application deadlines are, and how to go about pursuing them.”

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