If you write fiction that explores the South, you might be eligible for the Sidney Lanier Prize. The prize honors writers who explore the region and its history. It is named for the 19th-century poet. To be eligible, you must submit a story no longer than 6,000 words. This competition is administered by Storyville. Stories will be judged by Richard Nash, who was former publisher of Soft Skull Press. You can find complete guidelines for the competition on the website.
The Sidney Award is given out monthly. It is given to journalists, photographers, and other writers who have published work in an American newspaper, on a blog, or in a magazine. A $500 honorarium is awarded to each winner, plus the winner gets a certificate from the Sidney Hillman Foundation.
Nikky Finney is a professor and poet who grew up in the Black Power movement. She has been a member of the Affrilachian Poets and taught at the University of Kentucky and Berea College. Her story “Affrilachian Poets,” about a woman who becomes an overnight guest in a family’s home, is one of eight shortlisted stories. One winner will be announced in April, and the winning story will be published in Overland.
Another Sidney Award recipient is Mary Bottari, a reporter for the Center for Media and Democracy. She spearheaded the organization’s work on the 2008 Wall Street meltdown. Other recipients include Greg Palast, who has uncovered voter suppression tactics for 15 years. His books have been New York Times bestsellers. He has also written for Time, Newsweek, and Foreign Affairs.
There is also the Overland Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize, which is worth $4000. It is supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation. Submissions for this competition are open to writers of any age or stage of their career. These awards seek powerful short fiction.
The Thomas Robinson Prize was first awarded in 2012. Previously known as the Sidney Lanier Prize, this award is given to writers who write about the South. Before this award was created, writers were often limited to writing about the North. Since this change, writers have been able to submit works about the South.
The Sidney Award also honors investigative journalism in the service of the common good. The foundation has awarded several awards to journalists and public figures since 1950. The organization sponsors the award and offers a $500 honorarium, a certificate from the Sidney Hillman foundation, and a bottle of union-made wine. All applicants must fill out an application and provide the necessary documentation.
The Malcolm Robertson Foundation, in partnership with the Sidney Hillman Foundation, sponsors a number of prizes each year. Those prizes are intended to encourage women, men, and students to pursue academic excellence. Some prizes, such as the Sidney Black Memorial Engineering Award, encourage women to achieve their full potential and be role models in the community.
Finally, there are the Overland Prizes, which are also sponsored by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation. This competition is open to short fiction up to 3000 words. The judges will select eight stories from over 500 entries. Those stories will be published in the fall of 2021.