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Pick of the Month
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Pick of the Month


Welcome to our "Pick of the Month" series. Every month we will enlighten you with our absolute favorites in the publishing world that you may not have heard of. Feeling stuck in June gloom? Or just think it's too damn hot to go outside? Either way we've got plenty to keep you busy.


Glimmer Train's Fiction Open Contest

Deadline: June 30th 
Submit stories from 2,000 to 20,000 words.
Prize: $2,500.


Bird's Thumb

A journal started by Columbia alumni, this magazine is professional, aesthetically pleasing, and accepts fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. This is a magazine that feels a bit like home. 


Neil Gaiman's Blog

It's summer, so it's time to kick back and relax. Neil Gaiman, an amazing writer, is also just an overall interesting dude. Though he might not always be sharing mind blowing writing advice all the time, it's still worth reading what he is up to.  

"Yesterday I went through many notebooks and boxes and papers, looking for poems, for a project that I'll talk about when it's ready. I read stuff I wrote as a teenager, stuff I wrote while I was meant to be writing other things, found some forgotten treasures (none of them written when I was sixteen, I'm afraid: sorry, sixteen-year-old Me) and some unfinished things that actually looked like I ought to finish them."

Writing Spot

Asado Coffee

This small coffee shop located in Irving Park is probably the best coffee shops to go get some serious writing done. It's usually always quiet, there's no wi-fi to distract, and the coffee is absolutely delicious (served in mason jars). The lighting is naturally bright and the decor is minimal, leaving very little for a wandering eye. 

Lit Event

June 7th and 8th, the Printer's Row Lit Fest is the place to be. This is the 30th anniversary and the lineup is promised to be stellar (Chris Abani, Janet Burroway, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Megan Stielstra, and more!).


Intelligent Life Magazine thinks they have the perfect idea to keep the book store afloat and compete with clothing and retail stores that will never close. Read "Let's Reinvent the Bookshop" to learn more.

Book Review

Creative Writing student, Sarah Stanley, reviewed Valeria Luiselli's new book, Faces in the Crowd. Here's just a taste, read the full review here

Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli is a masterfully structured meta-fictional story that crosses the line between fact and fiction, navigating three different timelines and switching between two first-person storytellers: a female narrator who is writing a book about her past, and a male narrator who is the female narrator’s conception of deceased Mexican poet, Gilberto Owen. As the novel moves forward, we discover a woman hiding from her real life through her research and past while losing her sense of self. This is a novel about writing at its core, that’s intriguing and entertaining through all its structural complexities.

Publishing Tip:

Cover letters are tricky things to master, but is it even worth it? Are they even getting read? I wanted this month's publishing tip to be a cover letter "how-to," but instead I found a very interesting conversation published by the Review Review. They went ahead and asked a handful of editors their opinions on cover letters. Their answers will change the way you think about submitting. 

Check out our most recent, Chicago edition of  Opportunity Knocks newsletter for more markets and contests.