Dappled Things currently holds two annual contests, the J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction and the new Jacques Maritain Prize for Nonfiction, and this year it is also holding a special prize for the visual arts. The prizes have no entry fee and winners receive cash awards and publication in the journal. For more information about each prize, please see below.
The Bakhita Prize for the Visual Arts
As a Catholic arts magazine, we find ourselves wondering what we can bring to the table during our country’s current crisis. The shocking death of George Floyd has shaken not just the United States but the whole world, reminding us starkly of how far we still are from seeing each other’s infinite dignity as children of God.
Most tragic of all is realizing that, if Floyd’s death has led to a great societal outcry, it is because he is only one among so many who have lost their lives in similar circumstances. Like many others, we are asking ourselves questions of how to respond to violence and the violation of human dignity, including persistent racial violence that has been directed especially against the black community.
Dappled Things is calling on visual artists to help us see more clearly: to help us honor and highlight the infinite worth inherent within each victim of racial violence. To do so, we are establishing the Bakhita Prize for the Visual Arts, which will be awarded for a photograph, painting, illustration, or sculpture that helps us better see the humanity and God-given worth of victims of racial violence. Saint Josephine Bakhita, after whom the prize is named, was a Sudanese slave brutalized by her captors, who later became a religious sister renowned for her joyfulness, gentleness, and charity. Today she is the patroness of Sudan and survivors of human trafficking. The Bakhita Prize will pay $1000 to the winner and $250 to the runner-up. The two winning pieces, plus up to eight honorable mentions, will be published in Dappled Things, and the artists of all published pieces will also receive a year’s subscription to the journal and the opportunity to participate in potential exhibitions that may be organized once social-distancing restrictions no longer apply.
UPDATED Deadline for submission: September 30, 2020
Winners announced: October 15, 2020
Click here to submit your work.
Larry Cope is an award-winning graphic designer and artist with over 30 years of experience. Deeply rooted in his Catholic faith, he has served with Chicago Bishop Joseph Perry on the Black Catholic Convocation Planning Committee and helped launch the Black Catholic Chicago website. Larry is also an artist and a member of Creative Artist Association in Chicago. He was a regional semi-finalist in the 2018 Bombay Sapphire Art Series in Chicago. In 2018 and 2019, he was among the artists selected to participate in the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Black Creativity” Juried Art Exhibit. His most notable works are the captivating ceiling medallions representing Christ and the four evangelists at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.
Daniel Mitsui is an artist born in Georgia, USA, in 1982, and raised in Illinois. His meticulously detailed ink drawings, made entirely by hand on paper, papyrus or vellum, are held in collections worldwide. Since his baptism in 2004, most of his artwork has been religious in subject. He draws inspiration from Gothic illuminated manuscripts, panel paintings and tapestries, as well as from Japanese and Persian art. Daniel lives in northwest Indiana with his wife Michelle and their four children.
Bernardo Aparicio García is founder and publisher of Dappled Things and curator of the visual art featured in the journal.
Q: Must the art depict racial violence, or identifiable historical victims of it?
A: No, the fundamental thematic element is that the work should “honor and highlight the infinite worth” inherent within victims of such violence. It is up to the artist to decide how to communicate that idea.
Q: Must the work be explicitly religious?
A: No, though certainly there are many opportunities within the theme to use the artistic and theological resources within the Christian treasury to great effect.
Q: Is any particular style or approach to art required?
A: No, though the judges will be looking not only for thematic fit but excellence in execution in the winning pieces. Familiarity with artwork previously featured in the journal would likely be helpful to those submitting their work.
Q: Who is eligible to submit their work?
A: Anyone who is not a staff member of Dappled Things or the Collegium Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, or a direct family member of them, is eligible to submit. Artists from all over the world, of any nationality, ethnicity, or race, can submit their own original work. Submissions will be judged on a blind basis.
Q: Should I include an artist’s statement?
A: No, we are looking for pieces that speak for themselves as visual art, without need of extrinsic explanations.
Q: Do entries need to be new works specifically made for the prize?
A: No, although if the work has been featured or published elsewhere, please note that in your entry.
The Jacques Maritain Prize for Nonfiction
Dappled Things honors the best essays published in the journal in a year through the Jacques Maritain Prize for Nonfiction. Maritain was an influential 20th century Thomist philosopher and Catholic convert whose work covered a wide range of topics, including metaphysics and epistemology, ethics and politics, and—significantly for us—literature and art. His book Art and Scholasticism has been a major influence on Dappled Things’ own approach to aesthetics. Here’s what you need to know if you are interested in making a submission:
1st place: $500
2nd place: $300
3rd place: $200
Is there a theme?
In keeping with Maritain’s own broad interests, we are not limiting submissions to a particular theme, other than what would fit within the context of a Catholic cultural and literary journal. In other words, please follow our nonfiction submission guidelines and look at the nonfiction pieces that appear in our previous issues. Book reviews and interviews are not eligible for the prize, but all other forms of nonfiction are.
Since all nonfiction submissions will be eligible for the prize (the winner will be selected from among all the essays published in Dappled Things during a given year), then submissions for the prize are accepted year-round. To participate in the current prize, your piece should appear at the latest in the Mary, Queen of Angels 2018 edition, which means you would have to make a submission by the end of August 2018. The issues could all be filled before then, however, so don’t delay. We publish about two to three essays per issue, and all published essays will be finalists for the prize. The earlier you submit, the likelier the chances your essay will appear among a given year’s finalists.
First Place: The Morality of Aesthetic: Rethinking the Writer’s Obligations to Art and Reader, Andrew Graff
Second Place: A Fire-Stained Cathedral Gargoyle: Leon Bloy and the Catholic Literary Tradition, Joshua Hren
Third Place: Durer’s Hare, David Mohan
First Place: Torturing Jews and Weeping Over Schubert: Have the Humanities Failed to Humanize Us?, Mark Watney
Second Place: The Waves, Elizabeth Oh
Third Place: Fear of Eternity, Ivy Grimes
First Place: Why You’re Wrong About Medieval Art, Daniel Mitsui
Second Place: Jacques Maritain’s Art and Scholasticism and the Recovery of a Beautiful World, James Matthew Wilson
Third Place: Catholic Novelist, Confused Apologist: William Giraldi and the Nature of Religious Fiction, Michael St. Thomas
First Place: How to Think Like a Poet, Ryan Wilson
Second Place: The Largest Stone, Silvia Foti
Third Place: Communion, Christine Armstrong
The J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction
“One foot in this world and one in the next”: that’s how J.F. Powers described the Midwestern priests he wrote about in his fiction. Having one foot in another world can be awkward, and Powers’ characters are known not for their graceful mysticism, but for the humiliating and mordantly entertaining stumbles they make while trying to live their faith. We’re looking for carefully crafted short stories with vivid characters who encounter grace in everyday settings—we want to see who, in the age we live in, might have one foot in this world and one in the next.
Deadline: Submissions for the 2020 J.F. Powers Prize will be open October 1, 2020 until November 30, 2020. Winners will be announced in March 2021.
Click here to make your submission and see the writer’s guidelines.
1st place: $500 and publication in Dappled Things
2nd place: $250 and publication in Dappled Things
Honorable mentions (up to 8): Publication and a year’s subscription to Dappled Things
2018 Winner: “It Was the Last Time It Snowed” by Bridget O’Donnell-Muller
We found this standout story incredibly powerful in terms of content, structure, and execution. Its prose is marvelously well knit in every moment, and its compassion is remarkable, especially in light of the intense human tragedy at the story’s heart.
Bridget received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Virginia and her M.F.A. in Fiction at the Bennington Writing Seminars. She is an Assistant Editor for Narrative magazine, and has been a Fellow and/or Artist in Residence at The Grunewald Guild, the Vermont Studio Center, the Noepe Center for Literary Arts, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
2017 Winner: “Obedience Lessons” by Abigail Rine Favale
“Obedience Lessons,” our pick as winner of the 2017 J.F. Powers Prize, is a deft and seamless portrait of a man caught unawares by the consequences of half-forgotten transgressions, and who must choose whether to let this revelation upset his comfortable, quiet life. We were drawn in from the first page, but it was the story’s exquisite ending that sent this piece straight to the top of our list.
Abigail Rine Favale is a professor in the William Penn Honors Program, a Great Books program at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. Her short fiction has appeared in the Potomac Review and Talking River Review, and she’s also written non-fiction essays in print and online for publications such as The Atlantic and First Things. She is currently writing a book about her conversion to Catholicism, which will be published in 2018 with Cascade Books. Abigail is wife to Michael, and mother to two (soon to be three!) small children.
2016 Winner: “And Upon Awakening” by Linda McCullough Moore
Linda McCullough Moore is the author of the novel The Distance Between (SOHO PRESS), a collection of linked stories, This Road Will Take Us Closer to the Moon (Thornapple Books), and an essay collection, The Book of Not So Common Prayer (Abingdon Press). She lives and writes in western Massachusetts where she teaches creative writing and mentors aspiring writers.
2015 Winner: “The Ends of the Earth” by Anthony Lusvardi, S.J.
Anthony Lusvardi, S.J., a Jesuit brother, writes for The Jesuit Post and is the administrator of St. Charles, St. Bridget, and St. Agnes parishes on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Before joining the Jesuits, he taught English for the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan, among other ventures.
2014 Winner: “Where Moth and Rust” by Kristin Luehr
The 2014 prize judges had this to say about the winning story:
“Where Moth and Rust” was our pick as winner of the 2014 J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction. This painful, yet hopeful story is about family dynamics, about leaving and returning home, about the baggage we carry with us, and, ultimately, about the underlying power of love. With a writing style that was taut yet portentous, and with a keen eye for unusual detail, the writer brought us into the lives of an ordinary family in the devastated landscape of rural Nebraska. It was this very landscape, in fact, that was a character itself, and made the story’s notes of hope all the more powerful. We were impressed.
I think it’s possible to write something, for me to write something, that even God might like. It’s possible for me to hit a note, to get in a mood, to write something that is worthy even of God’s attention. Not as a soul seeking salvation, but just as entertainment for God. This may be blasphemous to say, but I believe it. I don’t think God is there and we’re here, and there are no connections. I think there are connections, and I think art is certainly one.