Dappled Things currently holds two annual contests, the J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction and the new Jacques Maritain Prize for Nonfiction. The prizes have no reading fee and winners receive cash awards and publication in the journal. For more information about either prize, please see below.
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 2017 edition, which means you would have to make a submission by the end of August 2017. 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.
Winners of the 2016 Jacques Maritain Prize for Nonfiction will be announced in April 2017 (with the finalists being announced as each issue is published, starting with the Candlemas 2016 edition).
This year the prize will be judged by James Matthew Wilson, who is author of The Violent and the Fallen, Some Permanent Things, and The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry, among other books, as well as a literature professor at Villanova University.
2016 Winners (to be announced April 2017)
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 2018 J.F. Powers Prize will be open August 1, 2017 until November 24, 2017. Winners will be announced in March 2018.
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
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.