April 2021 NorthWords

Lake Superior Writers

March NorthWords includes:

Lake Superior Writers Presents the 2021 Writing Contest

Deadline April 12!


Lake Superior Writers is accepting entries in multiple genres for our annual writing contest in the following categories:

  • Poetry – up to 3 poems
  • Short-Short Fiction – 1 or 2 submissions of up to 500 words
  • Short Fiction – a single submission of 1,500-2,500 words
  • Creative Nonfiction – a single submission of 1,500-2,500 words

First-place winner in each category will receive a prize of $200 and publication on the Lake Superior Writers website. Runner-up in each category will receive a prize of $50.

The theme is “Lockdown.” We are looking for submissions that explore this theme, and writers can interpret it as broadly as they wish. You might write about the tension found in everyday experiences or the profound struggles faced by people, resulting in a feeling of being in “Lockdown” or actually being in Lockdown.

GUIDELINES: The LSW Writing Contest is open to adults (age 18 and older). Graphic content that is violent or sexual in nature is prohibited.

Entry is free for Lake Superior Writers members; $35 for non-members, which includes membership in Lake Superior Writers through December 2021. If you have any questions about your membership status, email us at writers@lakesuperiorwriters.org. You can pay the submission fee here, with your credit card or PayPal account. Membership benefits include the LSW monthly newsletter “NorthWords,” reduced fees for workshops/classes, and invitations to special LSW events. 

Manuscripts must be original and unpublished, including on personal blogs. We are only accepting email submissions. Stories should be formatted in 12-point font, double-spaced. Your name MUST NOT appear on your manuscript. (See details below.) All stories will be read by a panel of judges. Submissions that do not comply with submission and formatting requests will not be considered. 

DEADLINE: April 12, 2021. Winners will be notified by May 11, 2021.


  • The email subject line should read Contest 2021.
  • In the email message, include Your Name, Email Address, Home Address, and Phone Number, Title(s) of Submitted Piece(s), Genre, and Word Count.
  • Save your submissions in .doc or .docx, and attach them to your email message. Your attachment must be identified ONLY by the titles of your submission. DO NOT include your name in the title of your document, or in the document itself.
  • Email your submissions to lswcontest@gmail.com. You will receive a confirmation email within 72 hours of submitting your entry.
  • Submissions that do not comply with submission and formatting requests will not be considered. 

READING AT THE 2021 ANNUAL MEETING: Winners will be asked to read an excerpt from their work at the Lake Superior Writers Annual Meeting in late spring, which will be virtual. If you have questions, please contact Vickie Smith at lswcontest@gmail.com.

Superior Shares – Open Mic Night

Wednesday, April 14

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm via Zoom

Are you eager to share your latest piece of writing? 

          Yearning to read it to an audience of readers and writers?

Lake Superior Writers presents Superior Shares, our inaugural virtual open mic for local writers to share their work in progress, and for anyone else who appreciates the creative writing process.

This event is free to participants and audience, and membership is not required.

Readers are asked to please limit adult content and language. Graphic content that is violent or sexual in nature is prohibited.

Attendees will be encouraged to use the Chat function to share feedback.

There will be 10 five-minute slots available on a first come first served basis, with priority given to Lake Superior Writer members. Time limits will be strictly enforced.  Participants will be notified ahead of time if they have been selected to read.

To register, email writers@lakesuperiorwriters.org. Please indicate if you would like to read.

A Zoom link will be sent out the day of the event.

Lake Superior Writers Virtual Annual Meeting

Our Annual Membership Event goes on!

Rachel Hanel

We may not be able to gather in person, but we are planning the same great event for our members.

Join us Saturday, May 22 at 10:00am

We are planning a morning of inspiration and comradery, including:

  • Keynote speaker Rachael Hanel
  • Readings from our Writing Contest winners
  • A review of the year just completed
  • A preview of events planned for the year to come
  • Drawings for fabulous prizes, meant just for writers (you must be virtually present to win)

Come and network with other writers from the comfort of your own home!

Members: To register, email writers@lakesuperiorwriters.org and we will send you a Zoom link.

LSW Member Interest Survey – Northeastern MN Book Awards

Due to budget cuts at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards (NEMBA) face an uncertain future. In order to continue, NEMBA needs new organizers.

The LSW board recognizes how important these awards are to our writing community, and would love to see the awards continue. We are currently exploring options to take responsibility for the awards as part of our mission to serve local writers.

LSW would not be able to coordinate the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards without the support of our members. We need dedicated volunteers to help with all aspects of the awards including reading submissions, event promotion, fundraising, award ceremony planning, and much more. Before we make a decision regarding LSW’s role in NEMBA’s future, we need to know if our members are willing to support our efforts.

Please answer the following questions to indicate your interest in helping LSW coordinate the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards in the future. If you’d like to be contacted about opportunities to offer support for NEMBA, please include your contact information.

To take the survey, please visit:


Literary events in our region

Apr 3, 10, 17, 24 (Sun) 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm – Weekly Duluth Poetry Chapter Meetings

The Duluth Poetry Chapter meets every Sunday over Zoom (online link sent the day of meeting). They share poems, write using prompts, and critique each other’s work. Check out their Facebook page to learn more: https://www.facebook.com/duluthpoetrychapter/


April 15 Deadline

Call for Submissions: This Was 2020
Minnesotans Write About the COVID-19 Pandemic, Justice for Mr. George Floyd, Electoral Politics,
and Other Flashpoints
Ramsey County Library wants to publish your writing about 2020! From the COVID-19 pandemic
lockdown and reorganization of life as we know it to the uprisings surrounding justice for Mr.
George Floyd and the presidential elections, 2020 was a historic year in many ways. We invite you
to reflect on your experiences about the year in essays, creative nonfiction, short stories or poetry.
We are interested in hearing about how you weathered the year. Tell us what you learned about
our communities, how you connected with loved ones during isolation and what creative
rearrangements of your daily lives looked like. Tell us stories that reimagine the year and its
events. Capture the essence of living through a pandemic in poetry.
We hope to publish a broad range of voices from across Minnesota. Black, Indigenous and People
of Color writers, LGBTQIA+, immigrants, writers with disabilities and those living outside of urban
centers are invited to submit writing for consideration.
Eligibility: Any Minnesota resident*. Writers under the age of 18 will need a parental/guardian
approval for publication. Only unpublished work will be accepted. No simultaneous submissions
to other publications.
Submission Deadline: April 15, 2021.
• One submission per applicant.
• Prose submissions: 5,000 word maximum.
• Poetry submissions: up to three separate poems (no more than 10 pages total).
• Submissions not primarily in English are welcome, but must be accompanied by an English
• Email your submission as a Microsoft Word or PDF attachment to
o Document should include titles for the essays, stories or poems.
o Document should not include your name.
o Include full name and titles of the essays, stories or poems in the body of the email.
Publication Timeline: Submissions will be evaluated by a submission panel in April/May 2021.
Submitters will be notified via email if their work is accepted or not for publication. Writers of
accepted works will receive a $50 payment and two print copies of the book. The book will be
published online, as an e-book, and as a print book.
Questions? Email RCLWrites@ramseycounty.us.
This program is funded with money from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
*Ramsey County employees may submit work for consideration, but will not be eligible for payment.

Climate Emergency Poetry 7

April 18, 2020 3:00 pm via Zoom

Local students reading original and standard poems dealing with life in the time of climate change. Information from local activists about local action in the Twin Ports. New options for interactive participation and environmental consciousness raising.

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Duluth Dylan Fest – 80th Birthday Poetry Contest – CALL FOR POETRY. Deadline: May 1, 2021! The Duluth Dylan Fest Committee announces a poetry contest celebrating Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday. Poems must use one of two titles: “Miles from Home” or “Changing Course.” A grand prize winner and two runner-up best poems for each title will be selected. Winners will receive cash awards and be invited to read their poems at the Duluth Dylan Festival on May 26. Poems must honor the artist’s life, music, career, or artistry – in short, some aspect of Bob Dylan’s 80 years – using either of the above phrases as the poem’s title. Poems must appear in standard 12-pt Times New Roman and be double-spaced on a standard 8.5 x 11 doc or docx document. http://www.bobdylanway.com/dylan-fest.php or on the DDF Facebook page for more information. $15 reading fee – make checks payable to: Duluth Dylan Fest. Mail to: 1609 E. 6th St., Duluth, MN 55812A grand prize winner and two runner-up best poems for each title will be selected.


Hindsight is a collection of stories about 2020, seeking nonfiction stories from around the world that capture what it was like to wake up every day to a new normal — whether that means navigating emergencies as a first responder or tying the knot over Zoom. Hindsight is an independent, one-time publication. Content will be made available in two forms: Some stories will be shared on our website; the very best submissions will be compiled into a print anthology, which will be published in 2021.

Submission fee: None

Length: Up to 2,000 words

Deadline: Rolling

Compensation: Writers whose work is selected for the print anthology will receive a complimentary hard copy of the book, as well as a digital file.

To learn more, visit: www.hindsightbook2020.com.

You’re invited to pitch an article for Moving Lives Minnesota! Have you recently moved to Minnesota? Has your family lived on this land for generations? Or did your family arrive in the state somewhere in between? Share your story, or your family’s story, with Moving Lives Minnesota! Moving Lives Minnesota is an initiative hosted by the Minnesota Public Television Association, the group of Minnesota PBS stations, which seeks to gather stories of origin and immigration from residents across the state. Writers of accepted pitched articles will be compensated $250 for their article. Please review the below link for additional information, including story examples and a form to submit your pitch: https://www.movinglivesmn.org/stories/

KUDOS – News about our members

Jan Chronister has poems appearing in the Spring 2021 Bramble, the “How To” series from Silver Birch Press, and the “Sh*t Men Say to Me” anthology. Her poem “Wake-Up Call” was featured on Your Daily Poem March 16.

Carol Dunbar’s debut novel, The Net Beneath Us, will be published by Forge/MacMillan in the fall of 2022. A work of literary fiction set deep in the woods of northern WI, this is a story that charts one family’s passage through grief. To learn more please visit https://caroldunbar.com/.

Terry Falsani will have two poems published this spring in the Midwest Writing Center Press 2020 anthology, THESE INTERESTING TIMES. The poem titles are “Pathetic Fallacy” and “Eleven Pine Grosbeaks.” MWC Press is located in Rock Island, Illinois.

Cary J. Griffith‘s new novel, Wolf Kill: A Sam Rivers Mystery, will be released by AdventureKEEN on June 15, 2021. A book launch event will be held at Next Chapter Books in St. Paul on 6/15. Various readings will appear over the summer and into fall.

Mesabi Iron Range native Tom Mattson’s new book about world travel adventures on five continents will be released on April 20. It’s titled Meeting Strangers, Making Friends: More Surprising Travel Adventures from the Minnesota Storyteller. It follows his book The Other Worlds, and together they tell stories of people he’s met from Cuba to China, from Bhutan to Africa, and from Minnesota to the tip of South America. Check out his website, http://www.tomsglobe.com.

Molly Milroy‘s article about her relationship with Lake Superior, titled “Perspectives,” was published in Lake and Company magazine, Issue 18. https://www.thelakeandcompany.com/products/lake-time-magazine-issue-18-preorder Her short short story (100 words or less), “First Three Down,” won People’s Choice award in Reading Works Short Short Contest. The category was ‘bowling’. https://www.reading-works.org/

Liz Minette‘s poem “Agate” found a home in The Thunderbird Review, Vol. 9., Spring 2021. The Thunderbird Review is published out of Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College https://www.facebook.com/thethunderbirdreview

Marcia Neely‘s Single Yellow Rose: Living with a teenage son facing death has just been published. More information is available at: marcianeelybooks.com. The story brings the reader into the lives of a family as they grapple with the teenager’s illness and his heart-double-lung transplant. As the young man recovers in tiny steps, he delights in seeing a butterfly and the opening of a tulip. Later, as he journeys again toward death, readers will perceive not only the teen’s suffering, but his humor, wisdom and philosophical depth. Creating scenes that capture the love between mother and son, as well as their grief as his transplanted lungs begin to fail, the author shows how the most difficult aspects of living can be the most important, rewarding, and uplifting.

Marie Zhuikov‘s story, “The Horses Nobody Knows,” which was originally in Lake Superior Magazine, was reprinted digitally in “Equine Monthly” magazine. Read about the rare and endangered Ojibwe horses here: https://equinemonthly.com/the-horses-nobody-knows/.

Thank you! The UMD Aisthesis journal would like to thank the LSW members who served as readers for 2021. Aisthesis will be looking for readers next year about the same time.

Lake Superior Writers Blog

Lake Superior Writers invites members to submit guest posts for possible inclusion on our blog. Please visit our blog information page for more details: https://lakesuperiorwriters.org/blog/blog-submission-guidelines/

Current feature blog, “Fluffy Writing for Those Times I Need a Break (But Still Want to Write)” by Victoria Lynn Smith.