Monday, September 29, 2014

No, Mr. Hitchens

I had to the put the article down two times before getting through it. I blinked hard, folded the paper, and smacked the pages against my seat. I was reading Christopher Hitchens’ meta-journalism piece about a killed American soldier who was inspired by his writing in support of the Iraq War. The subway doors parted and I exited the 14th Street station and walked down toward Rattlestick Theatre. I clenched the sheets between my fist.

Hitchens recounts his experience to learning that a recently killed soldier had cited his writing as a primary reason for signing up as a soldier. Hitchens was a war hawk. In 2002, he was one of the leading proponents of going to war in Iraq in the age of terrorism, even though Iraq had nothing to do with the World Trade Center attacks, or in fact any of the terrorist attacks on American soil. I remember his sweaty, bloated face plastered in the talk show circuit, making his way through the cable news, night after night. It was the charm and smarm campaign. The smug grin of someone calling for war who had never fought or experienced its terrors first hand. If ignorance isn’t bliss, then bold-faced idiocy must be paradise.

As I walked through the west village, I could feel my heart beginning to thump louder in my chest as I flashback through all his rancorous and snide remarks directed toward liberals and anti-war activists. They were weak and he was strong. They were stupid and he was smart. It was the kind of self-satisfying face made for a punching bag or target practice.

I calmed myself enough to unclench my fists. I straightened out the wrinkles in the paper and continued reading. Was this an apology? Was Hitchens using this American’s death for an unnecessary war that he prompted to backtrack and recant?

Hitchens takes us through the range and depth of his soul: his guilt, his comparison to literary greats who stood behind war, guilt assuaged by grateful beatific family members of the deceased, more comparison to his own writing and literary greats, his luxury box seat view of the war he rooted for, his explanation for why other people messed up a perfect war, and continued sprinkling of great authors from history in light of himself.

I started to laugh. The indolence was so thick that apology was impossible. The self-denial and ease at which he repositioned all the facts. The war would have worked if it wasn’t for the bad planning, the bad equipment, the bad decisions made after the invasion. In his piece, he traveled to Iraq with his 23-year-old son to view the wreckage. Hitchens misses the cruel irony in celebrating the death of another man's child for his words while his son accompanies him for a luxurious tour of post-Saddam Iraq as it implodes. Hitchens' son didn’t serve, his son was still alive, and that maybe due to knowing that you can’t take Daddy’s words that seriously when it comes to war because they are all reflections of how he is positioning himself for greatness.

Hitchens veers into a ersatz apology for a moment. In his radiant genius, he gets a glimpse of the fool-headed impossibility of the Iraq War ever working, and all the anti-war activists who were warning of the impending doom America faced after several long and mostly frustrating years in the fertile crescent.

Hitchens embodies the worst of Western intellectual privilege and decay. Removed from any culture but his own and unwilling to view things from other vantages points, he has a restrictive view of an expansive world. Worst of all, he is assured that in his limitations lies his very virtue. If anything appears wrong, neoconservatives like Hitchens don’t adjust their position to the facts on the ground, but they adjust their view of the facts on the ground to fit their position. It is like peeking at the world through a keyhole and trying to draw a navigation map.  

But it would almost be understandable if their was a self-corrective mechanism to the neoconservative logic. But there isn’t any checks-and-balances which is why it’s not an intellectual viewpoint but a mass delusion that is destructive whenever its employed. All information is subjective and therefore we really don’t know if global warming is happening, if America’s 10,000 gun deaths a year have anything to do with the glut of weapons on the street, if fracking is the reason why the middle of Illinois has had 80 earthquakes in the last few years,  if blacks are unfairly profiled by the police, if starting a war with a nation under false pretenses leads to false leaders, false victories, and enrages a populace to the point of supporting terrorist. We really don’t know, so we will continue on with business as usual.

Hitchens hedges at remorse and then concludes that the American soldier was brave and exemplary example. While lamenting his death, he also notes that he represents the best in American values. His needless death is a rallying cry for heroism instead of a reflection on past mistakes. Hitchens avoids the what’s in front of his face. He was wrong. He was arrogantly wrong. His words inspired people to die unnecessarily for on false pretenses. And he remains wrong in his reflective obfuscation and intellectual tap dance.  

No, Mr. Hitchens.

No, you don’t get to apologize. No, you don’t get to rewrite, revise, reframe, and re-confuse the rallying cry for war that you were a part of Mr. Hitchens. You don’t get that luxury because words have not only a power but a responsibility. If you are unable to shoulder that burden then your careless narcissism hastens the young and idealistic down the primrose path of ruin. Your chicken hawk, war mongering was the mouthpiece for the murderous fools of war. The young men you lionize to justify your arrogant miscalculation have paid for your mistakes with their own blood.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monopoly of Power

I hit the trap release and the red and black checker pieces spilled onto the dining room table. We avoided each other’s eyes. Our fingers snatched up our respective colored discs. I have been observing strategy, noticing habits, making mental notes while grinning. As a tight smile stretches my cheeks, I take special care to act nonchalant. Inside I think about crushing her, humiliating her mind, pouring scorn and malice on my sister as we play Connect Four. These thoughts make me laugh like a dope fiend after a new hit.

My family is overly competitive. I have been in games where furniture is tossed, walls and doors are punched as our faces flush in red fury. It’s family game night. My first family game night primed the pump for a lifelong lust. We were going to have fun, spend some quality time together, have dinner, and find a game.

I had never played Monopoly before and my parents had an old set in the hallway closet. As a 5-year-old in kindergarten I was fascinated by the colorful pieces and property blocks. My father thought it would be a good lesson in business. I know my dad and he probably wanted to regale us with stories about his time as a stock broker and the art of bargaining and negotiating.

The pieces were divvied up. I loved the selection of steel boots and golden hats as an on-board avatar. The dice were thrown out to determine order and we began the game. My Dad started talking about the economic aspects of American capitalism.  My sister and I were more enamored with the casino aspects of the game: the roll of the dice, moving our pieces down the board, picking up colorful cards with the the artful sardonic drawings.

I don’t know when the game became more serious. The transition just sort of snuck up on us and at a certain point all that familial cordial talk faded into an focused silence. We were considering our moves, thinking of how to out-manuever each other, praying quietly to whatever golden calf god of wealth to grant us our wish for more capital. But I didn’t wish any ill will toward my first.

The silence became thick with unspoken commentary as I could feel my parent’s smugness, their condescending tone in telling me the rules. I started winning. Everything. Property by property, it seemed as if a magical spell had been cast. While my sister’s finances began to look shaky, I beamed. I offered her a deal: give me some of your property and I’ll give you some of the cash I had been saving. In need of paying off her bills, she happily traded her cheapest purple claims on Baltic and Metropolitan Avenue.

After a few more times around the board I had my first monopoly in the slum section of the board right near the starting point. Every time a player had to pass GO there was a good chance they would land on one of the purple pieces which increased in value once a monopoly was held. I used that extra money to begin putting houses, and soon hotels as the price went sky high. I bartered my way into a utilities monopoly and leveraged that power to bring my family to their knees.

My Dad’s sputtered observations about the board action, muttering ‘good job’ and ‘yeah...uh-huh’ as the diuretic verbiage became monosyllabic and then just grunts and soft sighs. I locked-in, and attained an unnatural level of concentration for a 5-year-old kid. At a certain point my mom stopped giving me advice; I think it was when I forced her into penury. She leaned back and ate more pizza.

I was careful not to celebrate too much but I had never been happier in my short life of embarrassments than in this first moment of Monopoly. Not my pre-school crushes, eating cookies, watching TV, nothing compared to the thrill of not only getting money, but depriving capital to others.

I was Donald Trump. I was Michael Milken. I was Genghis Khan. Sure I was five-years-old and didn’t know exactly what these people did to deserve a space in mind for euphoric victory. I just knew their names meant conquest, destruction, and triumph. I visualized the game as real. I saw myself in mansions and sports care while my family begged on the street corner for change in tatters. I would toss them spare nickels from my pleated trousers as I looked at them through monocles. There was a sweetness in this bitter vision. Something I had been denied as an adolescent was now open in this game: conquest over adults, over age, over family hiearchy. Competition equalized this field.

One by one my competitors fell. They sold off property for quick cash and then paid dearly for landing on an utility, railroad or the two sides of the board which I had littered with hotels and houses like financial landmines.

The game hit the 3 hour mark. I had inexhaustible energy. I stood up and paced around the board like General Patton. I flaunted my money by stacking it lazily, knocking it over with an elbow, before re-arranging it in pretty patterns.

After about 200 minutes my Dad began to find a way to wrap up this game and avoid the inevitable: me having everyone’s money. I cried, I threw a tantrum!


This is so much fun!

This is family game night, what’s wrong with you people?!?

After almost 4 hours, the game was complete. I had everyone’s property through direct bartering or collecting it after bankruptcy. There were a few hold-out plots of land but it was insignificant. If you rolled the dice -odds are- you would land on several of my pieces before circumambulating the board as you gushed cash into my accounts. There was no more money out there except for me and the bank. I smiled like a newborn devil. Even writing this now causes me to laugh, grin, and twirl my fictitious monopoly moustache.

After the first family game night I was hooked. From the moment of the first cast die or card dealt, the tone became less tutorial and more Conquistadors arriving in Mexico City for the first time. Any mercy my parents might have shown was stripped away in our taunts after what became known as the Monopoly Massacre.

We moved on to other board games through the years. The board game of Life wasn’t as fun because you couldn’t destroy your opponent directly but merely send a curse out to that their plastic cars remain barren of children, education, and prospects before drowning in a muddy ditch of failure. At the end of this ridiculous game of chance you would count up your earnings, children, and degrees (all assessed monetary value!) and whomever had the most was the winner...of Life itself.      

I loved game where direct punishment could be administered from one player to the other. I didn’t want a pathetic ‘Life referee’ getting in my way of revenge against my family, my competitors, the world. I wanted to buy justice and then use it to crush my adversaries. I wanted to rig the stock market so it could crash right into my opponent. I wanted symbolic blood in the streets, beheadings, behanding, befootings as weeping widows wailed and gnashed their teeth at being cursed in marrying the loser of the game.

My parent’s had greater success at cards.

Of courses, is the real game of intelligence. This is chance meets skill. It takes smarts.

Our card games were pinochle, to gin, gin rummy, and Black Jack as an appetizer. We tried playing poker a few times, but it didn’t seem to interests anyone. When it comes to card games, there is a certain logic that only becomes apparent to a person once they hit their teenage years. Perhaps its sorting out the combination of numbers, faces, as well as card suits in a constantly shifting puzzle while counting what’s been dealt, what’s been used, how many cards are out there that could beat my hand, and doing this all while trying to maximize my own hand.

By the time we were teens, me and my sister were hot on our parent’s tail. The games started to get close and then tied. One time as the ‘adult victory streak’ in the house was coming to ominous end, I caught my Dad sweating out a dealt hand.

Are you all right? I asked with ersatz innocence and wonder.

Yeah...think the AC...he trailed off.

Do you need a towel or a moist napkin? I began teasing as a smirked dawned across my face.

He didn’t reply.

Maybe some ice or a cool refreshing…

My Dad gave me the death stare. It is the glare of hell, fiery worlds of hatred, enmity, and it only lasts for a second. In his eyes I could see that this rage was coming from a new place: we were becoming equals. We weren’t father and son in this moment. We were rivals, warriors capable of killing each other over a bad hand of cards.

The fire disappeared from his eyes. We returned to our previous hierarchy of father and son. He cracked a joke and tossed out another dud card. At the end of the round, my hand slapped down on the recent toss. I collected my winning books. For a split second longer than I intended, I stared at him. As I dragged my winning across the table and over to my side, I tilted my head to the side and returned his sulfurous gaze with an icy smirk.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Remembrance of Things Past

The cleaning process was the first thing we got wrong. The entire house smelled like shit. It was an overpowering revulsion that filled my body as we walked through the front door after another day of school. My mom was cooking chitlins.

Chitlins are pig assholes and intestines. Chitlins are a staple of African American cuisine. Chitlins make your kitchen smell like fiery piles of excrement and garbage. The pig guts had this rainbow luminescent shine over their slick surface. The kitchen countertop looked like it had been overrun with giant clay worms covered in viscous oil. My mom had cleaned the guts well enough so that we wouldn’t die from eating it, but she had forgot about cleaning it out to avoid that infamous chitlins smell.  I could tell that my Dad was slightly annoyed at her oversight.

My parents thought it was time me and my sister tried chitlins. And they wanted to surprise us with the horror of our heritage. There was collard greens, spices, and other parts of the pig laid out for us to see in all their glory. Hog maws, feet, snouts, chunks of ham. This was going to be the real southern experience. My father –always happy to play family historian- let us in our on the secret. During slavery times in America, these were the pieces that were left from the master’s butcher. After the ham, bacon, and finer sides of meat had been striped, there were the leftovers. The feet, snouts, eyes, assholes, and guts. Blacks would get the most of the guts because there was so much to cook. Pigs are filthy animals so the preparation of chitlins involved as much cleaning as cooking. I held my nose as my Dad explained the beauty of taking the worst and turning it into the bests. Chitlins were supposed to be tasty, but it seemed like that the process of cooking the guts involved throwing in as many different flavors, meets, and spices to remove any lingering reminders of what was being served.

My sister was skeptical. I was horrified. Neither one of us wanted any part of chitlins. My parents assured us that this was delicious. They recounted stories of growing up on chitlins, being excited for those special times every year when they would devour the rubbery, salty, pig innards. It was a rite of passage.

My head was reeling from not only the smell but now the thought that I would be forced to eat this concoction that was not bubbling like a witch’s cauldron. I went to my room and closed the door. I shoved blankets under the opening to block the stench. I buried my face in a pillow and inhaled deeply. I screamed into the fluffy, perfume-scented bedspread.

When the chitlins were ready, I was summoned to the dinner table. My father handed me a big heaping plate of my nightmare.  The entrails were now boiled into withered submission and looked like a fried and frizzy clay scraps. The residual odor from the cooking process was still so strong that it was hard to smell anything else but dark, dense, putrescent scent. I lifted the plate to my nose and sniffed it like a suspicious dog. The worst of the odor had been buried beneath the spices, greens, and ham bits. There was just a faint whiff of boiled shit.

I looked at my parent’s face who smiled and gave an encouraging ‘go ahead.’ My sister sneered, I hesitated. Seeking to encourage us, they both took big heaps of chitlins and shoved it into their mouths, while making orgasmic sounds of pleasure.

I lifted the tiniest shred of chitlin on to my fork. And then I carefully placed greens, ham, and anything I could stack with my fingers on top of my ancestor’s food. I held my breath and shoved the fork into my mouth. I chewed and swished the food around until my tongue grazed across the rubbery chitlin. Then I bit into it.

It didn’t taste awful. It didn’t even taste like its smell. It was just meat taffy. My next fork-load had a bit more chitlins, and with each subsequent try I became more bold. By the end of the meal, my sister and I were smiling and enjoying ourselves. Who knew assholes and innards could be so savory? We may have had chitlins one more time in my life. My mom was fixing a meal for some family members. When my cousins arrived they were shocked and excited.

Aunty Yvonne, you cook chitlins?

My mom shushed them and laughed like it was an absurd questions.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Life Without Facebook: War and Peace

A few days ago I deactivated my Facebook account so that I could read 'War and Peace.' There was no grand political or social statement in the decision. In fact, I love Facebook. It's my social media candy. I have accumulated a great core of socially-active, artistic, creative, pro-active friends and my newsfeeds are filled with amazing stories, quotes, news from around the world. Conversely I have pruned my 'following' links and politely un-followed friends who just post cat videos, engage in rage rants, pick fights, and live in a world of gossip and violence for entertainment. And still I know that Facebook is sugar. Granted with my careful selection it may be organic sugar or agave extract, but it's still processed in the brain like a quick addictive stimulant.

Several days ago a FB friend tagged me in a post of top 10 favorite books that changed their life and challenged me to list my own. As I wrote down my list I realized that I could compose it entirely of Russian literature. In college I also double majored in it, and I had enough credit to easily claim a minor in the field. And yet I have never read the mothership, the lodestone, the 'loose baggy monster' of the genre that reached its sublime peak at the end of the 19th century: War and Peace. Sitting up on my shelf was a new translation I purchased a year ago and never got around to it. 1100 pages of brilliance.

I took down the Tolstoy tome and snapped a pic with my phone before tagging it to Facebook. As I began writing the FB pic description and making a quirky vow to tackle this monster, my joke suddenly became a challenge to myself. I was writing the words 'farewell to Facebook and Twitter.' I looked at that farewell and realized that, on some level, I must have been serious. I then concluded the pic description by making the rash vow to not return to Facebook until I have finished 'War and Peace.'

I went to my FB status and tried to find a way to freeze my account, but I realized that the temptation might be too great to sneak back on. I needed a way to lock myself out until the reading was done. I decided to deactivate it and thought I could sneak away quietly from social media and return after a month of Tolstoy. The deactivation warning, however, suggested severe consequences. I would be wiped away from all posting, messages, and tags. It would be like I didn't exist any more.

I paused for a second. Why was this such an important thing to me? It's just Facebook, who cares. Yet, I felt nervous at the thought of being wiped away. What would people think. I had new messages from directors and potential collaborators for the future. I hit the deactivation button and closed the window.

When I pulled FB back up a few minutes later I noticed that my name and password were already plugged in. Even though I had deactivated the account, all I had to do was click one button and I would be back on. Facebook sent me a message about my deactivation, reiterating what I would lose if I stayed away too long and how I could risk permanent deletion if I didn't come back within an unspecified period of time. This was going to be an exercise in impulse control.

I began reading the first few maddening pages of "War and Peace" with French translations in the footnotes. When I woke up the next morning I rolled over, picked up m phone and -by rote habit- went to Facebook. When the sign-up page popped up, I remembered the decision I made a few days before. I resisted the urge to click on it. A few days later, there is a greater sense of freedom. I'm no longer looking at an article and beginning to share it on FB before I finish reading it. I read the article and then that is that. There is no share, there is no commentary or group activity that results from this activity.

Another day passed and it feels like something pleasurable is beginning to return to myself. There is a joyous insularity of thinking without judgment or appraisal of others. This blog is automatically connected to Facebook, so every time I post something, it's shot off to the front of my page, as well as on Twitter, and LinkedIn. Now there is only this blog and the writing I'm doing right now in this moment. There will be no FB 'likes' or comments on what strength or silliness I'm displaying in my War and Peace hiatus from the social behemoth. There is only this joy in writing these thoughts.

I figured it should take me 1-2 months to work my way through "War and Peace." But a few days into this process, I'm enjoying the detachment from FB as much as I'm loving the solitude of reading a classic for the pleasure of the experience itself.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

GET WHAT YOU WANT: September 2014

Soros Justice Fellowship
Deadline: Oct. 22nd

The Soros Justice Fellowships fund outstanding individuals to undertake projects that advance reform, spur debate, and catalyze change on a range of issues facing the U.S. criminal justice system. The Fellowships Program is part of a larger effort within the Open Society Foundations’ Justice Fund to reduce the destructive impact of current criminal justice policies on the lives of individuals, families, and communities in the U.S. by challenging the overreliance on incarceration and extreme punishment, and ensuring a fair and accountable system of justice.
Advocacy Fellowships
The Soros Justice Fellowships Program’s Advocacy Fellowships fund lawyers, advocates, grassroots organizers, researchers, and others with unique perspectives to undertake full-time criminal justice reform projects at the local, state, and national levels. Projects may range from litigation to public education to coalition-building to grassroots mobilization to policy-driven research. Advocacy Fellowships are 18 months in duration, may be undertaken in conjunction with a host organization, and can begin in the spring or fall of 2015.
Media Fellowships
The Soros Justice Fellowships Program’s Media Fellowships support writers, print and broadcast journalists, bloggers, filmmakers, and other individuals with distinctive voices proposing to complete media projects that engage and inform, spur debate and conversation, and catalyze change on important U.S. criminal justice issues. The Media Fellowships aim to mitigate the time, space, and market constraints that often discourage individuals from pursuing vital but marginalized, controversial, or unpopular topics in comprehensive and creative ways. Media Fellowships are 12 months in duration, and fellows are expected to make their projects their full-time work during the term of the fellowship. Projects can begin in either the spring or fall of 2015.
Guidelines and Application
Download and review the complete Advocacy guidelines here and the complete Media guidelines here. Applications must be submitted by clicking on the appropriate "Submit" button below.  Please Note:  The "Submit" button will be active and viewable starting on August 11, 2014.
Applicants who are uncertain whether some aspect of their proposed project fits within the parameters of the Fellowships Program guidelines or whether the project is otherwise likely to be of interest to the program may submit an email inquiry before proceeding with the full application. The email should provide a brief (no more than 500 words) description of the proposed project, as well as some background information on the applicant, and should be sent to Please do not submit an email inquiry before reviewing the full guidelines.

Radcliffe Institute at Harvard Fellowship
Deadline: October 1st
Radcliffe Institute is accepting fellowship applications from the humanities, social sciences, and creative arts until 1 October.
Fellows receive office or studio space and access to libraries and other resources of Harvard University during the fellowship year, which extends from early September 2015 through May 31, 2016. Stipends are funded up to US$75,000 with additional funds for project expenses.Stipends are funded up to $75,000 for one year with additional funds for project expenses. Some support for relocation expenses is provided where relevant. If so directed, Radcliffe will pay the stipend to the fellow’s home institution.
We work with fellows who have families to help with relocation issues for a smooth transition.
Fellows receive office or studio space and access to libraries and other resources of Harvard University during the fellowship year, which extends from early September 2015 through May 31, 2016. Visual artists and film, video, sound, and new media artists may apply to come for either one or two semesters. In the event that they come for one semester, the stipend is $37,500. Fellows are expected to be free of their regular commitments so they may devote themselves full time to the work outlined in their proposal. Since this is a residential fellowship, we expect fellows to reside in the Boston area during that period and to have their primary office at the Institute so that they can participate fully in the life of the community.

Hedgebrook Residency
Deadline: September 3rd

Hedgebrook supports visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. The Writers in Residence program is Hedgebrook’s core program that for more than 25 years has supported fully-funded residencies for writers representing diversity in citizenship status, nationality, current place of residence, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, trans* identity, age, disability, professional experience, and economic resources. We welcome applicants, published or not, who embrace the mission and opportunity to be a member of Hedgebrook's community.

All residents are selected solely on the artist statement, artist information and writing sample supplied in their application.

You must be 18 years of age or older by February 1, 2015 to apply. Applicants are welcome to reapply if they have not yet been awarded a residency. Writers who work in languages other than English are welcome to apply if they can supply a writing sample in English translation as well as in the original language.

Hodder Fellowship (Princeton University)
Deadline: October 1st

The Hodder Fellowship will be given to writers and non-literary artists of exceptional promise to pursue independent projects at Princeton University during the 2015-2016 academic year. Potential Hodder Fellows are writers, composers, choreographers, visual artists, performance artists, or other kinds of artists or humanists who have "much more than ordinary intellectual and literary gifts"; they are selected more "for promise than for performance." Given the strength of the applicant pool, most successful Fellows have published a first book or have similar achievements in their own fields; the Hodder is designed to provide Fellows with the "studious leisure" to undertake significant new work.

Hodder Fellows spend an academic year at Princeton, but no formal teaching is involved. A $75,000 stipend is provided. Fellowships are not intended to fund work leading to an advanced degree. One need not be a U.S. citizen to apply.
Applications must be submitted by October 1, 2014 through the Princeton Jobs website at, requisition # 1300448.

Submit a resume, a 3,000-word writing sample of recent work, and a project proposal of 500 to 750 words.

Performing and Visual Artists:
Submit a resume, a project proposal of 500 to 750 words, and examples of ten minutes of performance through link(s) to sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Flicker, etc. Visual artists should provide up to 20 still images saved as a PDF file and submit as part of their online application or supply a link to a website, YouTube, etc.
We cannot confirm receipt of applications nor can we accept applications submitted after the deadline. Limits on the statement size (500-750 words) and sample size (3,000 words) are strict.

Deadline: October 1, 2013
The appointment of the Hodder Fellows will be made in January 2014. An announcement of the award will be posted here.

Cullman Fellowship
Deadline: September 26th

Award Period: September 8, 2015 - May 27, 2016
Stipend: $70,000

The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers supports projects that draw on the research collections at The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (formerly the Humanities and Social Sciences Library). The Center looks for top-quality writing from academics as well as from creative writers and independent scholars. It aims to promote dynamic conversation about the humanities, social sciences, and scholarship at the very highest level — within the Center, in public forums throughout the Library, and in the Fellows’ published work.

Candidates who need to work primarily in The New York Public Library’s other research centers — The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Science, Industry and Business Library — are not eligible for this fellowship.

In order to avoid real or apparent conflicts of interest, the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers does not accept applications from New York Public Library staff members or their partners, or from people active on the Library’s Board of Trustees, Board Advisory Committees, or Library Council.

Please visit for detailed information about the collections of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

Fellows are required to work at the Cullman Center, on the project for which they applied, for the duration of the fellowship term. Fellows may have a few prior brief commitments, but must limit research trips, attendance at scholarly meetings, and speaking engagements, and may not accept other major work obligations during the course of this fellowship. Anyone who needs to be away for more than two days must notify the Director or Deputy Director in advance. The Library will pro-rate stipends for Fellows who spend too much time away from the Center.
Fellowships will not be granted to post-doctoral fellows or to applicants doing graduate-school dissertation research.

The Cullman Center will not accept dossier letters in place of new letters of recommendation.
Fellows must be conversant in English.
Completed applications and supporting materials — research proposal, Curriculum Vitae, letters of recommendation, and art work sample or creative writing sample — must be submitted by 5 p.m. EST on September 26, 2014.

New York Public Library staff members are not able to make corrections or additions once applications are submitted.

The New York Public Library/American Council of Learned Societies Fellowships
The Center may give up to five fellowships a year in conjunction with the American Council of Learned Societies. Candidates for joint fellowships must submit separate applications to The New York Public Library and to the American Council of Learned Societies. For information regarding ACLS eligibility requirements and an ACLS application, please visit the ACLS website,

Akademie  Schloss Solitude Fellowship
Deadline: Oct. 31st

Akademie Schloss Solitude sponsors young artists, scholars, scientists, and economic professionals via residency fellowships only.

Are you interested in applying for a residency fellowship?
The application round begins on July 1, 2014, and ends on 31 October, 2014.
Application forms may only be obtained during this period and online applications are only possible during this period.

If you would like to apply, you will have to decide first if you would like to apply online or if you would like to hand in a postal application.

If you decide to hand in a postal application, you will be able to download the application form after registering and send all materials by post (postmark not later than October 31, 2014!).

If you decide to apply online you will be guided through the online application and asked to upload your portfolio as pdf (maximum 20 MB). Linking to soundcloud and vimeo is possible. Please note: Once the application type has been chosen (post or online) it cannot be changed anymore!  

The deadline for all applications is 31 October, 2014!
If you have any questions please check the FAQ's first, if you cannot find a satisfying answer, please contact us at, as we will not be able to answer questions on the telephone. Thank you for your understanding.

Guggenheim Fellowship
Deadline: September 19th

The Fellowship competition was at first open only to citizens of either the United States or its possessions.  In keeping with the Guggenheims' intentions, as expressed in their First Letter of Gift, the awards were originally titled the "John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study Abroad."  Beginning with the inaugural class of fifteen Fellows in 1926, all Fellows were required to spend their terms outside of the United States.  But eager to place as few restrictions as possible on the Fellows, the Foundation rescinded that requirement with the competition of 1941.
Canadians became eligible for the Guggenheim Fellowships in 1940, and the name of the competition changed to "United States and Canada." Residents of the Philippines were eligible from the establishment of the Foundation (for the Philippines were a U.S. territory at that time) until 1988, when the Philippine program was discontinued; applications from the Philippines were considered by the Committee of Selection for the United States and Canada through 1949, when that responsibility shifted to the Latin American Committee.

Great Plains Theatre Conference
Deadline: Oct 15th

The Great Plains Theatre Conference offers playwrights the opportunity to interact with, and have their work seen by top writers, directors, and actors from around the country. In addition, playwrights will be able to work directly with these professionals in hands-on writing and industry workshops. Playwrights will also participate in daily panel discussions and have tickets to evening performances with master playwrights and theatre practitioners.

The Great Plains Theatre Conference offers playwrights the opportunity to interact with and have their work seen by top writers, directors and actors from across the country. In addition, playwrights work directly with these professionals in hands-on writing and industry workshops, participate in daily panel discussions and attend evening performances with master playwrights and theatre practitioners. Past panelists, workshop leaders and respondents include: Edward Albee, Doug Wright, Emily Mann, Mac Wellman, Arthur Kopit, Marshall Mason, Mark Lamos, Theresa Rebeck, Constance Congdon, Erik Ehn, Will Eno, Lee Blessing and David Lindsay-Abaire among others.

Plays submitted are reviewed by a 100% blind reading process and considered for the following categories:

MainStage Series

Playwrights whose scripts are chosen for MainStage readings must attend the GPTC for the entire week.

Five plays are chosen for the MainStage Series and recognized with the Holland New Voices Award. For the playwright, this includes a $500 honorarium, travel, room and board, Conference registration and preferential admittance to all special WorkShop sessions and Conference events. MainStage playwrights also receive a script rehearsal period with local and national directors and actors. Near the end of the week, the GPTC features a staged reading of each script for Conference attendees and the general public. A panel of top theatre professionals serve as respondents to the work. The five MainStage plays are published in “The 2015 GPTC Reader.”

Daily PlayLabs

Playwrights whose scripts are chosen for PlayLab readings must attend the GPTC for the entire week.

Approximately 25 plays are chosen for the daily PlayLabs. For the playwright, this includes room and board, Conference registration and preferential admittance to all WorkShops and Conference events. Local and national directors and actors rehearse in preparation for a staged reading of each script. Conference attendees and the public attend these readings and a panel of select theatre professionals serves as respondents

Playwrights whose scripts are chosen for MainStage and PlayLab readings must be available to attend the entire conference.

Submission Guidelines:

  • The GPTC will accept both full length and one act scripts.
  • Playwrights may submit a maximum of one script.
  • Scripts co-written by multiple playwrights may be submitted. If chosen, the benefits outlined above will be provided for ONE playwright only.
  • Plays that have received an Equity production, plays for young audiences and musicals will not be accepted.
  • All selections will be finalized by March 15.
  • There is a $10 fee for each submission. Submissions will not be considered without payment. The entire fee is applied toward the costs for readers.
Submission Inclusions:
Submission documents will be accepted in .doc or .pdf formats ONLY.

  1. A Title Page with full contact information, including: name, address, phone number and email address.
  2. The Script consisting of:
    • Title Page with no contact information or playwright name
    • Synopsis of 150 words or less, to be used as an introduction during the blind read process, for publicity purposes and for use in the Conference program if selected.
    • Character List with descriptions and notations as to whether characters may be doubled up or must be of a certain ethnicity for reading during the Conference.
    • Play with numbered pages; no header/footer with playwright name (paly title is ok); no statement of objectives, prior production or submission history; "End of Play" or similar statement on the last page se we know the submission is complete.

PlayPenn 2015 Conference
Deadline: Sept. 30th
Beginning September 2, PlayPenn will be accepting applications for its 2014 new play development conference; we are pleased to request your full length, unproduced script for consideration. Please review the guidelines carefully and completely before making application.  Application materials will be accepted between September 2 and September 30, 2014. Your application must be uploaded and complete by September 30, 2014 or it cannot be considered.
Currently, PlayPenn is not considering musicals or plays for young audiences.
The 2015 conference will be held in Philadelphia, PA from July 7 – 26 at the Adrienne Theatre in Philadelphia, PA. Invited playwrights will have the opportunity to work with a director, dramaturg, designers and Philadelphia-based, professional actors over a 20 day period that allows for 29 hours of rehearsal and staged reading time along with ample time to reflect and write. The work will be preceded by a three-day pre-conference retreat (July 7 – 9) that will help in laying the collaborative groundwork for the development time ahead. Playwrights will have the opportunity to hear their plays read aloud in three distinctly different scenarios: 1) by collaborating artists during the retreat; 2) in a first public reading before an audience after 3 rehearsals; 3) in a second reading at the end of the process before an audience.  The two public staged readings are intended as a part of the process, giving playwrights an opportunity to measure the efficacy of their work and to provide an opportunity to gauge the work ahead.  PlayPenn will provide travel for casting for both writer and director, travel to and from the conference, housing, per diem and a stipend.
Applicants should be aware that we are a development conference rather than a festival or showcase for new work. The distinction is important and meaningful to us in the current climate of the increasing commercialization of play development. We work to avoid participation in what has become known as
To apply, go to our website or to the following link –
Please follow the instructions to upload your play into our system. Because the database identifies you through your registration, NO NAME SHOULD BE
1. An original script in .pdf format with no identifying information (no name anywhere on the document). Applications that are submitted in non-pdf format will not be considered
2. Your current resume (pdf) (no name on the document)
3. A casting breakdown and the number of actors required (pdf) (no name on the
4. The play's development and production history (pdf) (no name on the
document). Plays that have had readings are eligible. Plays that have been produced or that have been through an extended development process are not eligible
5. An articulation of your goals for the development process using the resources
offered by PlayPenn. (pdf) (no name on the document).  Please be specific with regard to what aspects of your text you would like to focus on during the course of the conference.
PlayPenn does not accept applications by agents.

Summer Shorts
Deadline: Sept. 30th

City Theatre seeks to furthers the Company’s mission: to identify, acknowledge and award excellence in dramatic writing. Up to fifteen playwrights will be selected from among the hundreds who annually submit their ten-minute plays to the company for special recognition.  The winning play will be produced in the annual Summer Shorts festival, for which the playwright will earn royalties, be invited to Miami for the festival and to take part in the CityWrights Professional Weekend for Playwrights.

Transportation, hotel, the Weekend and a cash prize will be awarded up to a value of $2,000.00.  Finalists will receive free tuition to attend CityWrights, and may be considered for production in the Summer Shorts festival and other programming. City Theatre National Award scripts will be submitted to the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival. The Summer Shorts Festivals are produced annually in Miami in the month of June.

City Theatre Play Submissions Rules and Information;
Please review the criteria thoroughly before sending your submission to City Theatre. Plays will be accepted yearly from August 15 – October 31. Scripts won’t be considered sooner or later!

With the mission of developing and producing original short plays by established talents and promising new voices, City Theatre is looking for wonderful ten-minute plays for our annual Summer Shorts festival and other programming. Having produced hundreds of plays, we know what we want; scripts that are lively and timely, hilarious and thought-provoking, poignant and dangerous. We look for plays that span style and genre. We will consider bilingual scripts and ten-minute musicals. We have no restriction on the age range of the characters. In other words, for us to consider a script for production, we are seeking compelling plays that rise above the ordinary.

  • Each playwright may submit only one script - send us your best!
  • No scripts will be returned - save postage. No SASE required.
  • Each script must be no more than ten pages long. We start counting when the actual play begins. Please remember to submit scripts with page numbers.
  • Previously submitted plays, children's shows, and any unsolicited longer one-act or full-length plays are not accepted and will not be returned.
  • City Theatre will consider previously produced works, but there must be a production history included with submission.
  • Manuscripts must be typed and individually bound or stapled. Title page must include name, address, email address and phone number. We will accept electronic submissions provided all of the contact info and production history is included.
  • Electronic submissions can be sent via as a PDF and must include contact info, synopsis, and bio and production history. Mailed manuscripts must be typed and individually bound or stapled. Title page must include contact info, synopsis, and bio and production history.
  • NOTE: City Theatre will only contact playwrights with scripts the company considers for the National Award for Short Playwriting Contest, or we are interested in producing in its various programming. ONLY those playwrights will be contacted in February-March by e-mail or a phone call..
Submit your play electronically: to Literary Manager by clicking here, or cut and paste the link to your browser:
Please submit script saved as a PDF.

Playwrights First Competition
Deadline: Oct. 15

Playwrights First announces its 2014-2015 playwright competition. We require that the one play submitted be by one author, original, full-length, unproduced prior to submission, and in English. No adaptations, translations or musicals will be accepted.
Please submit a resume of your experience as a playwright with your play. No electronic submissions will be accepted. Plays cannot be returned.
Notification of winner: June 2015
Letters of results will be sent to the winning and semifinalist playwrights only. All others should see our website,
We offer to playwrights whose plays are selected:
-$1,000 grant for a play of outstanding merit
-Professional readings, when appropriate
-Useful introductions to actors, literary managers, directors, etc.
-Committee feedback if desired
Please mail your play and resume to the following address:
Playwrights First
c/o John E. Donnelly
250 E. 73rd St. #12G
New York, NY 10021
You may reach us at 212-410-9234 or

Northern Kentucky University YES Festival
Deadline: Sept 30th

Northern Kentucky University’s YES festival offers a chance for emerging and established playwrights to get college productions on campus. Every year, NKU selects 3 plays from 3 different playwrights for production in the fall. Each writer is provided with a round-trip ticket and a $500 honorarium.

Each playwright must have full ownership of play. NKU does accept musical submissions but for small orchestras. A hard copy of the script along with the a signed copy of the flyer must be sent into NKU. For more specific information please see the website.

EST/Sloan Project
Deadline: Nov. 1st

The EST/Sloan Project commissions, develops and presents new works delving into how we view and are affected by the scientific world. These plays examine the struggles and challenges scientists and engineers face from moral issues to the consequences of their discoveries.
The Project is designed to stimulate artists to create credible and compelling work exploring the worlds of science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes of scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. The Project commissions and develops new works throughout EST’s developmental season, including one Mainstage Production, as well as workshops and readings in an annual festival called FIRST LIGHT.
Now in its 15th year, the EST/Sloan Project has awarded commissions totaling more than $450,000 to more than 140 artists. Previous commissionees include: Billy Aronson, Mike Daisey, Jason Grote, Ann Marie Healy, Michael Hollinger, Israel Horovitz, Tina Howe, Shirley Lauro, Emily Levine, Romulus Linney, Quincy Long, Cassandra Medley, Dan O’Brien, Carey Perloff, Bill Pullman, Jaquelyn Reingold, Tommy Smith, Caridad Svich, Vern Thiessen, Alex Timbers, Bridgette Wimberly, David Zellnik, Stillpoint Productions, and The Royal Shakespeare Company.
Commission Awards
Commissions will be awarded to individuals, groups and creative teams for full-length and one-act plays and musicals. Commissions range from $1000 to $10,000. Commission amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis, as are deadlines for drafts, finished work, and research support (if appropriate). Extant, full-length works may be submitted and are judged on a script-by-script basis by the EST/Sloan Project staff. Rewrite commissions for existing scripts range from $1,000 to $5,000.
Commissions are also available for regional theaters who wish to sponsor a local project focused on science and technology, either by commissioning a new script or developing an extant piece. Commission amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis, but average $5000.
Submission Guidelines
The EST/Sloan Project is open to a broad range of topics related to the issues, people, ideas, processes, leading-edge discoveries, inventions, and/or history of the "hard" sciences and technology.
Hard sciences include the following areas:
  • Mathematics
  • Physics (geological, nuclear, theoretical, etc.)
  • Biology (evolution, zoology, animal behavior, ecology, molecular, genetics, etc.)
  • Chemistry (industrial, biochemistry, etc.)
  • Neuroscience
  • Anthropology and Archaeology
Technology includes:
  • Computer Science
  • Software Development, Computer Development
  • Engineering (civil, chemical, mechanical, electrical, aerospace, vehicle design)
  • Space Research
Areas not considered for commissions include:
  • Science Fiction
  • Medical Conditions and/or Victims of Disease
  • Psychology and Human Behavior

Lark Playwrights’ Week
Deadline: Oct. 15th

Playwrights’ Week is our annual, open access festival of new work that seeks to provide playwrights with crucial creative resources in a nurturing and rigorous laboratory setting.
The Lark is committed to providing access to all playwrights and is proud to seek out plays that reveal underrepresented and vital perspectives. All playwrights will receive consideration without regard to demographics, professional experience, geographic location or history with the organization. Our Open Access Program serves as the central entry point for play submissions at the Lark and encourages the development of new voices.
Writers Selected for Playwrights’ Week are Provided with:
Ten hours of rehearsal time with a creative team (including director and actors) to address self-identified development goals
A public staged reading at the Lark Studios
A peer-based community of support and conversation for the week.
Housing and travel (for all out of town writers)
Submitted Plays are Evaluated Based on the Following Lark Support Criteria:
Plays which are ambitious, fresh, playful, engaging, energizing, provocative, powerful, and theatrical
Plays that reveal unheard and vital perspectives
Playwrights with clear goals about their writing who are open to a development process
Submit ONE completed application and ONE full-length play. There is no official minimum number of pages for submitted plays and a one-act play can qualify as a full-length, however, we do not accept 10-minute or multiple, short one-act plays.
Writers living outside of the United Sates can apply if the script was originally written in English.
No more than ONE play per playwright will be considered.
List ONLY the play title on the cover page. NO personal information.
If you are emailing your submission, please attach only Word or PDF files.
If you are mailing your submission, double-sided pages are appreciated if possible.  Application materials should not be attached to the script itself.  Hard copies will not be returned.
We are not able to consider musicals for this particular program.
A Complete Submission is  Composed of Two Parts:
A completed application form.
A full-length script, with the playwright’s name or any identifying information removed. We are committed to a blind reading policy and it is important that each writer remains anonymous during the initial stage of review.
We strongly encourage you to submit your application form and script (in Word or PDF form) electronically.
Email/Postmark Deadline
Email/Postmark Deadline: OCTOBER 15, 2014 (11:59pm EST)

University of Houston 10-minute Play Festival
Deadline: Sept. 15th

The University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance is excited to announce our second annual 10-Minute Play Festival for spring of 2015.  We will begin accepting submissions for this festival on July 1, 2014; the submission period closes on September15, 2014.  Eight selected 10-minute plays will receive productions as part of a multi-evening festival, produced in the newly upgraded José Quintero Theatre on the University of Houston campus.  This festival is open to all applicants, amateur or professional.
Submission rules:
  • Scripts will only be accepted during a submission window of July 1 through September 15, 2014. Scripts received outside this window will not be accepted.   The list of winning plays will be announced in November.
  • We will accept only one play per playwright.
  • Scripts should fall in the range of 8-12 pages and run roughly ten minutes.  (Page count does not include the title page.)
  • Characters in submitted plays should fall between the ages of 16-30 or else there should be no specific restrictions on the ages of the characters.
  • Previously produced plays are not eligible.
  • Musicals and plays for children are discouraged.
  • Submissions will be acknowledged via email, but we do not offer critiques.
  • Please staple hard copies of the script. Do not use binders, covers, or folders of any kind.
  • Eight winning plays will receive productions in the José Quintero Theatre at the University of Houston in spring of 2015.
  • There is no financial compensation for winning entries.

How to submit:
Plays must be submitted via both regular mail *and* email.  Plays not submitted in both ways will not be considered.  Hard copies will not be returned.  Plays should include a cover page with all of the following information:
    • play title
    • your name
    • your mailing address
    • your phone number
    • your email address

Mail hard copy to:
University of HoustonSchool of Theatre & DanceDr. Robert ShimkoTen-Minute Play Submission133 CWM Center
Houston, TX 77204

Email identical duplicate copy to:

Macdowell Colony
Deadline: September 15
Application Guidelines
Please review the Application Guidelines below before beginning the application process. If you have questions about applying to MacDowell, please contact the admissions office
The MacDowell Colony provides time, space, and an inspiring environment to artists of exceptional talent. A MacDowell Fellowship, or residency, consists of exclusive use of a studio, accommodations, and three prepared meals a day for up to eight weeks. There are no residency fees.
MacDowell Fellows are selected by our admissions panels, which are comprised of a revolving group of distinguished professionals in each artistic discipline who serve anonymously for three years.

The Colony accepts applications from artists working in the following disciplines: architecture, film/video arts, interdisciplinary arts, literature, music composition, theatre, and visual arts. The sole criterion for acceptance is artistic excellence, which the Colony defines in a pluralistic and inclusive way. MacDowell encourages applications from artists representing the widest possible range of perspectives and demographics, and welcomes artists engaging in the broadest spectrum of artistic practice and investigating an unlimited array of inquiries and concerns. To that end, emerging as well as established artists are invited to apply. Applicants who are in a degree program as of the date of application are ineligible for a residency and therefore cannot apply.
MacDowell is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race, sex, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and disability. No one with the AIDS virus, or HIV shall be denied admission as long as he/she is otherwise qualified. The Colony offers barrier-free access in all main buildings and some studios.

Application Periods and Deadlines
Artists may apply only once every 24 months. MacDowell will only accept applications for the next deadline. Please refer to the applications dates in the column on the left for open application time periods.

Application Process
Before starting the application process, we encourage applicants to scroll through our extensive list of Application FAQs. All applicants apply through the online application process. To apply, click on the Apply icon. Applicants are not required to mail in hard copies of the application forms.

Work Samples
Work samples supporting the proposed project and completed within the past four years are requested. All work samples are uploaded and submitted through the online application. Applicants unable to submit new work for the panel to review should include a note of explanation. Those applicants whose proposed project does not fall clearly within an artistic discipline should contact the Admissions office to discuss which discipline would best fit the proposed work. Please note, composers are required to mail in two copies of two clearly reproduced, bound scores within one week after the deadline, but must upload music files through the online application.
For detailed work sample requirements for each artistic discipline, click here.

Applicants are required to have one reference form on file completed by an authority in their field who is familiar with them and their work. Applications that do not have a completed reference form on file will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed. Reference letters are confidential and will be kept on file for five years.

Applicants:   The reference process is initiated by you, the applicant, from within the online application.  You will add the name and contact information for your recommender in the Reference step of the application and a secure link will be sent to your recommender.  This can be done in advance of submitting your application.  It is your responsibility to ensure the request is fulfilled.  The deadline for all references is one week after the application deadline.

Recommenders:  As a recommender, you will receive an automated email from SlideRoom once the applicant has entered your contact information. This email will contain a link specifically tied to the applicant, which should be used to complete the recommendation. The deadline for all references is one week after the application deadline. If a recommender cannot submit a reference online, please contact the Admissions Department at or 603-924-3886 x 113.

Processing Fee
A nonrefundable processing fee of $30 (U.S.) is required with each application. Applicants pay the processing fee by debit or credit card through a secure site on the online application.

Applicants will be notified of admission status approximately 10 weeks after the applicable deadline, on or near the dates listed below:
Summer residency notification: March 25th
Fall residency notification: June 25th
Winter/Spring residency notification: November 25th

Artists collaborating on a project must submit individual application forms and appropriate work samples, along with a joint description of the work they intend to do at the Colony. Work space needs should be clearly specified (i.e. whether or not separate studios are required), and an example of a previous collaborative work (either completed or in progress) may also be submitted. Admission status is determined by averaging the individual application scores of all collaborators.

Acadia University's Minifest
Deadline: October 15th

The Acadia University Theatre Company’s 22nd  Annual International MiniFest, a student-run festival, is coming up soon and we are looking for original, never-before-seen one act plays to stage. This would provide an excellent opportunity for your students to see their plays performed, by other university students. Plays shouldn't run longer than 30 minutes.

Exit Player 7
Deadline: September 13th

Exit 7 Players is seeking submissions for The Exit 7 New Short Play Contest, performing in February 2015. The contest producers are Janine and Jeffrey Flood (co-producers, the LabWorks 15-Minute New Play Contest 2010-2013, Valley Repertory Company) and Rebecca Johnson (co-producer, Les Miserables, Exit 7 Players).

The Exit 7 New Short Play Contest will produce short plays by twelve playwrights in an exciting audience-participation format, awarding two winning writers a prize of $150 each.

You may submit either one or two plays. Please use the following process to enter the contest. Read all requirements carefully so as to be considered.

1. Format your script using no smaller than 12-point type. Use 1” margins on top, bottom, and sides. Please number your pages. (Click Sample Script Format to see a properly formatted page.)

2. Page one should start with the title of the play at the top of the page (as seen on the Sample Script Format). If you consider your play to be a comedy, please follow the title with “A Comedy”. If you do NOT consider your play to be a comedy, follow the title with “A Drama”. And yes, you must label your play as either one or the other.

3. Your play must be limited to 15 pages total. Any script 16 pages or longer will be rejected.

4. The plays we produce are chosen blind, so do not include ANY author information on the script itself. The contest Play Selection Committee does not see any playwrights’ names until the final selections for production have been made. Therefore, if you put your name on the script so that a member of the Committee sees it, it will be rejected. A company member who is not on the Play Selection Committee keeps the playwright contact info until the final 12 plays are selected for production.

5. Save your script(s) in .pdf format. You can submit your script(s) until Saturday, September 13th, 2014 via the form found in the link. Do not attempt to submit the script in any other format or to any other destination. Snail mail submissions are NOT being accepted.

Submission Restrictions

Please read the following carefully so that your script can be given due consideration:

1. Playwrights can submit 2 plays, but only 1 play per writer will be produced. Members of Exit 7 Players are eligible to submit to the contest, but if their script is chosen as one of the 12 semifinalists, they will be prohibited from working on the production of the contest in any capacity.

2. Scripts should require 2 to 5 actors. Please note that a play can include more than 5 characters, as long as they can be played by 2 to 5 actors. Scripts requiring more than 5 actors will be rejected.

3. We will not consider one-man or one-woman shows, musicals, or children’s theatre.

4. Entries must be original plays. Scripts may be co-authored, based on factual  material, or an adaptation. Legal clearance of materials not in the public domain is the full responsibility of the playwright.

5. We will consider unproduced works as well as plays that have been previously produced, so long as their first date of production was on, or after, June 15th of 2013.

6. Submissions are restricted to plays that have not been published in any form, and they must be royalty-free to Exit 7 for this contest.

7. We’re seeking plays, not skits or sketches. Plays should have a beginning, a middle, and an end (though not necessarily in that order) and feature character development. Above all, make the script compelling.

8. Exit 7 is a community theatre. If we foresee difficulty producing a play due to unusual script requirements, the play may be rejected.

9. While Exit 7 is a family-friendly theatre, adult content is acceptable. Profanity, if it is fully justified by the script and for the character, will not be cause for outright rejection; however, profanity is no replacement for good writing. We will reject any script that requires nudity.

10. Keep set, lighting, sound, costume, and prop requirements to a minimum. The contest will feature 6 plays per night, with quick changeovers. A script with complex technical requirements could lead to its rejection.

Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Play Contest
Deadline: Oct. 1st

The Castillo Theatre (NYC) sponsors the Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Play Contest and reading series bi-annually. In its seventh year, the political play contest is intended to encourage the writing of scripts for the stage that engage the political/social/cultural questions affecting the world today and/or historical events and issues that impact on our heritage.
While Castillo recognizes that in the broadest sense, all theatre is political, the contest is seeking politically progressive plays that: look at social and/or economic problems and challenges; explore possibilities of social transformation; and, reflect the concerns and interests of communities or which explore the importance of community. The contest also welcomes scripts that experiment with form and seek new ways of seeing and new ways of experiencing theatrical performance.
The plays submitted to the Fratti-Newman Political Play Contest may be written in any style, set in any historical time, geographic or imaginary location, contain any number of characters and be of any length. The plays must be in English and cannot be musicals or adaptations. No scripts will be considered that have previously been submitted to this contest, have received a production or won other contests. Only one script per playwright per year will be accepted.
The contest is judged by a team of distinguished theatre artists. The winning script(s) will receive a reading at the Castillo Theatre in New York City during the theatre’s 2015 summer season.
All scripts should be submitted in hard copy and must be accompanied by:
  • a statement of the political/social/cultural questions that the script engages(scripts with no accompanying statement will not be considered)
  • a brief synopsis
  • a character breakdown, including gender, age and ethnic requirements, if any
  • a 100-word biography of the playwright
  • a current email address
Please note:
  • Receipt of script will be acknowledged via email.       
  • Scripts will not be returned.
  • Castillo does not give critical feedback to playwrights/contestants.
  • Contest winners are required to sign a letter of agreement, which will include, but not be limited to, granting the right for Castillo to produce one or more readings and/or a full production of the winning play.
  • Contest winners are responsible for travel expenses or any other expenses incurred as a result of participating in the development of the play with Castillo, or as a result of attending the reading and/or production.
All scripts must be postmarked by October 1, 2014. The winner(s) will be publicly announced at the Otto René Castillo Awards for Political Theatre in New York City in May of 2015.
Send all submissions to:
Castillo Theatre
543 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
Attn: Fratti-Newman Political Play Contest
Questions and inquiries should be addressed to Madelyn Chapman at 212-356-8485 or

Houston Family Arts Center
Deadline: Nov. 1st

Houston Family Arts Center is looking for a new, unproduced play to premiere as part of its 2015-2016 season.

HFAC produces “family-friendly” plays – not “children’s theatre,” but contemporary or period plays which do not contain strong language or adult themes. Some plays that HFAC has produced that fit into these parameters include "Over The River and Through the Woods" by Joe DiPietro, "A Raisin in the Sun," by Lorraine Hansberry, The 39 Steps by Patrick Barlo"Death by Design" by Rob Urbinai, and "Driving Miss Daisy" by Alfred Uhry.
Please submit a synopsis, character breakdown and 20-page sample to Artistic Director Teri Clark at

The selected playwright will be brought to Houston for the opening.

Rising Circle INKtank Lab
Deadline: Sept 18th

Rising Circle Theatre Collective is now accepting applications for INKtank Cycle 6!

Rising Circle Theater Collective is now accepting submissions for the 6th cycle of INKtank, our play development lab for playwrights of color. INKtank has a two-fold mission of providing emerging playwrights of color an artistic home and support system while assisting them in the creation of a more developed draft of a full-length script. The final drafts of the INKtank plays will be presented at PlayRISE, a culminating festival event where the selected works receive a public reading.

The INKtank Lab seeks to select 3-4 writers of color who are invested in the revision process of their own work as well of their peers in an artistic community environment with a shared intention of honest feedback and earnest conviviality. The lab cycle will be facilitated by INKtank alums, Mariana Carreño King (Miss 0744890) and Raquel Almazan (La Esperanza, or The Hopefulness). INKtank’s lab is a collaborative process where Rising Circle will provide structure and resources while playwrights create what happens week-to-week based on the needs of each writer.

Applicants must submit the following by September 18, 2014:

• One full-length script that you would like to work on during the lab [Please note: we are not accepting one-character plays or musicals at this time.]
• Resume
• A one-page Artistic Statement explaining your personal rewrite goals, what you feel are the strengths of the script, and what you would like to focus on for the piece during the developmental process. Please include any developmental history of this piece, if it has had readings in the past, or if there are any upcoming readings of your work.

Each play must have the following in order to comply with our culminating project vision:

•First drafts of full-length scripts. Does not have to be polished. In fact, scripts should be at a very raw and early stage of development.
•Five actor maximum. No exceptions. If your play has more than five characters, the text must support double casting.
•Be in line with Rising Circle’s mission statement to expand the scope of storytelling on the American stage by giving voice to unheard stories of people of color.

Applicants MUST live in the tri-state area to be considered.
Finalists will be contacted for an interview in early-October.

(The structure for the lab and culminating event is greatly determined by participant availability)

The lab will begin in mid-November run through late-Feb/early March. The lab meets for twelve consecutive weeks, unless otherwise specified by the Facilitators. Each session is three to four hours (typically Sunday evenings from 5-9pm). Pages are read and discussed. One hour per playwright.

Lab Requirements & Goals
•INKtank playwrights are expected to attend all weekly lab meetings, and participate in post-reading discussions by providing constructive feedback for your fellow playwrights.

•Each playwright must read the selected scripts prior to the first meeting.

•Each playwright is responsible for generating new pages weekly (five page minimum, twenty page maximum)

•Each playwright is expected to participate in two midpoint readings. The first midpoint reading consists of reading solely the first act after the first few meetings. After six weeks, there will be a second midpoint reading of the rough draft of entire script with actors. Playwrights will continue to refine their drafts for another six weeks, culminating in PlayRISE.

Culminating Event: PlayRISE Festival of New Plays
PlayRISE is a week of public readings of all plays in early-mid May (final date to be determined during lab process).

•There will be five hours of rehearsal with director and actors before each reading.

•All playwrights will receive an honorarium.

•Playwrights are expected to attend each reading to support their fellow lab members, and participate in any panel events that are scheduled during PlayRISE (please see the “What We Do” section of our website for past PlayRISE events).

All submissions must be sent by e-mail only to

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