The Deadline is Here! (Also: Isabel Allende!)

Hello everyone! It’s April 1st and this is no joke: Today is the LAST day to submit your work for the ENIZAGAM Literary Contest in Poetry and Fiction! Thank you so much to all those who have sent us their incredible work, and go go go to all you last minute submitters. We’ve got a lot of amazing reading ahead of us, and some very difficult decisions to make…

In other exciting ENIZAGAM news: The 2014 issue will include an interview with none other than the magical luminary amazing incredible Isabel Allende, done by (the magical luminary amazing incredible) Mina Jameson.

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Call for Submissions

What do Nikki Giovanni, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), Kim Addonizio, Michelle Tea, and Robert Olen Butler have in common?

1. They’re incredible, renowned writers.
2. They’ve all judged the annual Enizagam Literary Awards in Poetry and Fiction.

Eileen Myles, Enizagam Poetry Judge, 2013

Eileen Myles, Enizagam Poetry Judge, 2013



Daniel Alarcon, Enizagam Fiction Judge, 2013

This year we’re thrilled to announce that Eileen Myles(“the rock star of modern poetry”)will judge Poetry, and Daniel Alarcón (a Granta “Best Young American Novelist”  and one of the New Yorker’s ‘20 under 40’) will judge Fiction.

Winners in each competition will receive $1,000.00 each, blurbs about their work from the esteemed judges, and publication in the 2014 issue of Enizagam. Winners and finalists will be nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Enizagam’s editor.

The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2014, and the entry fee is $20. We are also accepting general submissions in fiction, poetry, and cross/multi-genre, fee-free. See submission page for details.

We hope to read your work!

The Enizagam staff

Eileen Myles was born in Boston (1949) and moved to New York in 1974 to be a poet. Snowflake/different streets (poems, 2012) is the latest of her 18 books. Inferno (a poet’s novel) came out in 2010. For The Importance of Being Iceland/travel essays in art she received a Warhol/Creative Capital grant. In 2010 the Poetry Society of America awarded Eileen the Shelley Prize. She is a Prof. Emeritus of Writing at UC San Diego. She’s a 2012 Guggenheim fellow. She lives in New York.

Daniel Alarcón is author of the story collection War by Candlelight, a finalist for the 2005 PEN-Hemingway Award, and Lost City Radio, named a Best Novel of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Post. His fiction, journalism and translations have appeared in A Public Space, El País, McSweeney’s, n+1, and Harper’s, and in 2010 The New Yorker named him one of the best 20 Writers Under 40. Alarcón is co-founder of Radio Ambulante, a Spanish language storytelling podcast, and currently serves as a Fellow in the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism. He lives in San Francisco, California.


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New Staff, Same Great Taste

Our new staff is busy securing judges for contest 2014. Once they are announced, submissions will come in (like a wrecking ball).

Stay up to date by checking our website! We’ll be sending out a flyer when everything is properly secured and all seats are in the upright and locked position.

Happy writing,

Enizagam staff

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Soma Mei Sheng Frazier Hands Over the Reins

Enizagam Community -

I hope this post finds you well, happy, reading and writing.

I’m typing atcha to share news of two major changes in the Eniz community:

  • Student Editor-in-Chief Rosalie Bidar has graduated from Oakland School for the Arts (OSA). Her impressive legacy will be upheld by another staffer studying writing in the School of Literary Arts – to be selected from within our current ranks in the fall.
  • As of August 9, I’ll be handing over the reins as well. While I’ve deeply enjoyed launching Enizagam in the national and international literary communities, and will continue to shout the journal’s praises from the mountaintops, I’ve accepted a position as Associate Director of Foundation and Government Support at KQED, the San Francisco Bay Area’s public media source. As part of my transition out of Oakland School for the Arts, I’m placing Enizagam in the capable hands of Kate Schatz and Terrel Adams. And me? I’ve decided to try my hand at breeding Welsh Ponies.

OK, that’s a lie. In 2015, I’ll launch a publication with poet/friend Arisa White, who’s been rocking it as a 2013 NAACP Image Award in Poetry and 2013 California Book Award nominee; getting interviewed by dream hampton on Jay-Z’s website; doing other stellar-writer-stuff. It’s based on a fairly snazzy concept, and we’re positioning it to ensure that it makes a big splash nationwide – so stay tuned.

Mainly, though, I’m going to be giving my own writing a little TLC. (While teaching is 24/7, KQED is 9-5. Muahahaha!)

While I’ve managed to avoid most forms of social media (if only there were antisocial media) you can find me on LinkedIn and FB, should you wish to connect in the cloud.

It’s been a deep pleasure to read the amazing work that this journal receives every year, via general submissions and the Enizagam Awards in Poetry and Fiction. My <3 to everyone.


Soma Mei Sheng Frazier

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Enizagam Supporter + Award-winning Author Arisa White – Book Launch

The entire Enizagam staff has been delighted to follow this year of successes for poet Arisa White. Arisa, who has graciously read at several of our journal’s events, is a 2013 NAACP Image Award Nominee, a 2013 California Book Award Nominee, and the list goes on…

Please come out and join us for the launch of Arisa’s celebrated second volume, A Penny Saved (published by Willow Books).

We’ll be at Pegasus on Shattuck: one of our favorite Bay Area bookstores.

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Bay Area Party – Downtown Oakland, Thurs. May 30

Bay Area Enizagam Community:

Please join us for an evening of readings – by the luminary Kim Addonizio, and a few of this year’s fabulous Enizagam contributors - to celebrate Issue 7.

We were bowled over by the quality of this year’s submissions, and briefly discussed printing a 5,000+-page journal so that we could include all of the writing that moved us. But budgetary constraints put the kabosh on our pipe dream.

The next best thing: mixing, mingling and munching with the Enizagam writers/readers/supporters who happen to live nearby – and some who don’t, but have opted to fly/drive/take the train.

Last year’s reading was packed, so we want to issue a warning that the gallery may be packed/overflowing + very warm. Dress accordingly, and come anyway… 

Thursday, May 30 at 7:00 P.M.

White Box Gallery

1730 San PabloOakland, CA 94612

Please RSVP to:

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2013 Enizagam Awards in Poetry + Fiction Announced!

Congratulations to Donna Steiner and Anneliese Schultz

chosen by Kim Addonizio and Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

as the winners of the 2013 Enizagam Literary Awards in Poetry and Fiction.


Of Anneliese’s short story, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum writes:

“‘Child’ is a story that offers what I think of as fiction’s greatest pleasures: the experience of shadowing another’s consciousness, as well as the illusion of inhabiting another’s body. In this story, the body is aging and in pain, and the consciousness is often set delicately adrift, yet the writing throughout is nimble and exhilaratingly alive. Anneliese Schultz takes the most familiar of struggles – growing old, losing independence, surviving the Christmas holidays – and imbues them with a fresh sense of mystery and urgency. Equally poignant and funny, despairing and triumphant, ‘Child’ is itself a triumph.”


Of Donna’s poems (and the work of Terrel Adams and Meredith Greenwood) Kim Addonizio writes:

“All of these finalists are true poets; their work is smart, observant, and filled with the music of language as well as its meanings. In the end, I was most captured by Donna Steiner’s poems, by their precision and heart. Starkly lyrical, the voice here is a fully realized presence on the page, aware of and able to express the beauty and pain of mortal life.”


2013 Finalists 


Terrel Adams
Meredith Greenwood


Michelle Oppenheimer
Franny French


2013 Semifinalists 


Kimberly Jean Smith
Karen Uhlmann
Jim Nichols


Vanessa Falco
Jendi Reiter
Jennifer Givhan


Enizagam’s staff is grateful to the many skilled writers – from India, Japan, Singapore, Canada and the U.S. – who’ve given us the opportunity to read their work; to our gracious celebrity judges; and to everyone else who comes together each year to make Enizagam a dazzling literary collection.

 Writers: we urge you to enter the 2014 contest (judges TBD). Our staff received many stunning works, which might have placed in the contest, via the general submissions process.


Ms. Addonizio and Ms. Bynum had these kind words for OSA (the urban, public charter school at which Soma Mei Sheng Frazier and her close-knit team of students staff Enizagam):

“Oakland School for the Arts makes me feel nearly giddy with hope. How thrilling, and how necessary, that such a school exists: a place where young artists are taught and mentored and inspired by faculty who are themselves working artists. There is nothing more compelling than the power of example, and what an example these teachers have set by striking a balance between their own creative practice and their impassioned commitment to and advocacy for the next generation of artists.”

– Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

“How many young people are encouraged to be artists, in any era? Not many. But here is a school that is doing just that, and providing them the discipline, focus, and community they need to succeed. I’ve seen first-hand what a difference such a school makes—my daughter went San Francisco School of the Arts. Without it, she might never have found her path as an actor. (She is working today in film, theater, and TV.) At SOTA, she was treated as an artist from day one. How heartening to have OSA and know that the next generation is coming into its own here in the Bay Area, with the skills and imagination we will all need more than ever in the coming years.”

– Kim Addonizio

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Study with Award-winning Authors in Downtown Oakland

Eniz Community: Please help shine the light on a scholarship opportunity for young people: a summer writers’ workshop to which – thanks to Keith Stephenson and Purple Heart Patient Center – OSA admits a number of kids 100% free. (Those whose families can pay underwrite our ability to let other kids in for free, and all additional proceeds will directly support our 2013-14 Lit. Arts budget!)


Writers (un)Block      youth workshops 
July 15-19 / July 22-26 / July 29-Aug. 9, M-F
9 AM — 3 PM
Nothing to write about? No ideas? Start new, generate work, submit to publishers and demolish those pesky “blocks.”

Oakland School for the Arts
530 Eighteenth Street
Oakland, CA 94612

Info + application: /

Scholarships available.

“I’m supposed to write something great about Oakland School For The Arts but, yikes and zikes, clatter bang boom, they write well enough themselves. And paint and perform and make things and show them to everyone etc etc etc. They don’t need a few nice sentences from me. They’re going to come roaring out of that place running all of us over. They’re the new thing, the next thing, and the best thing we can all do is take cover.” — Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket

“I applaud the poets who are just beginning their journey into their inner selves. The world waits your questions and wisdom.” — Nikki Giovanni

“I see Oakland School for the Arts not only as a splendid nurturer of young talent but as an integral part of a truly important cultural phenomenon.  In parlous times like these, when divisiveness and distrust pervade the zeitgeist, more than ever we need artists, whose very job it is to assure us all that the things that divide us are not as important as the human condition we share.  In the creation of new generations of artists, Oakland School for the Arts is not only admirable but deeply necessary.” — Robert Olen Butler

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Call for Young, Bay Area Writers: Youth Poet Laureate

The City of Oakland, California invites talented young writers (ages 13-18) to apply for the 2013 Youth Poet Laureate award. We are looking for young writers who represent the best of the Bay and live, or attend school, in Oakland.

The winning poet will earn a $5,000 educational scholarship – and embark on a year of opportunities as an ambassador for literacy, arts and youth expression. I look forward to serving as a judge: if this year’s submissions mirror last year’s in quality, it will be a true pleasure to read your work.

Application Deadline: Friday, April 19, 2013.

Learn how to apply here:

If you are a young writer with questions, please feel free to email me personally at

I look forward to reading your work.

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Enizagam Awards 2013 Extended to March 31

What do Nikki Giovanni, Lemony Snicket (AKA Daniel Handler), Kim Addonizio, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Michelle Tea, Walter Mosley and Robert Olen Butler have in common? 1. Stellar writing. 2. Enizagam. Last year, Nikki Giovanni and Daniel Handler adjudicated our annual writing competition and blurbed our winners’ work. This year, poetry phenom’ Kim Addonizio and The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 author Sarah Shun-lien Bynum will do the same.

Winners in the Poetry and Fiction competitions will receive $1,000.00 each; blurbs about their work from the celebrity judges; and the chance to have their work published in the print journal, and online. Winners and finalists will be nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Enizagam’s editor.

Even better: by submitting work, you’ll be supporting the hardworking young artists who study writing at Oakland School for the Arts – an urban, public school. Combine a philanthropic act with a career-boosting one. Even if you don’t win or place, you’ll receive a lovely contributor’s copy, which you can read; prop up a wobbly table with; or inscribe, and give as a gift.

The 2013 contest is now open. In response to multiple requests, and because we are greedy to read more writing of the caliber we’ve seen this year, we have extended the deadline to March 31, 2013. Best of luck, authors!

Kim Addonizio (2013 Poetry judge) is “one of our nation’s most provocative and edgy poets.” (San Diego Tribune) Her latest books are Lucifer at the Starlite, a finalist for the Poets Prize and the Northern CA Book Award; and Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within, both from W.W. Norton. Her novel-in-verse, Jimmy & Rita, was recently reissued by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. Kalima Press published her Selected Poems in Arabic. Addonizio’s many honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, and Pushcart Prizes for both poetry and the essay. Her collection Tell Me was a National Book Award Finalist. Other books include two novels from Simon & Schuster, Little Beauties and My Dreams Out in the Street.

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum (2013 Fiction judge) was named one of The New Yorker‘s young fiction writers to watch. “The Erlking,” featured in 20 Under 40: Stories from The New Yorker, on shelves now, has solidified her as central to this literary generation. Ms. Bynum has written short stories for The New Yorker and Tin House among other magazines. “Accomplice” was selected for The Best American Short Stories 2004 and in the same year, her first novel, Madeleine is Sleeping, was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Bynum’s second novel, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, is a series of eight interconnected stories featuring Beatrice Hempel, a middle school English teacher. It was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award in 2009. Bynum is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship.

Check out our contest guidelines here: 

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