Contributed Photo by Tom Rankin / Jill McCorkle

Spring writing contest now open

The Chattanooga Writers Guild is accepting entries in its annual Spring Writing Contest. Early-bird submissions will be accepted through May 31. The contest closes June 15. Winners will be announced via Facebook, website and newsletter on July 15.

The competition is open to writers 18 and older who live within 70 miles of Chattanooga and to all current members of the guild, regardless of location. Submissions must have never been published, except on a personal blog, and must be original work.

The four categories of competition are Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry and, new this year, Creative Culinary Creation, for a food-related story or poem with a recipe. Recipes will not be part of the judging process, though the recipe will be included if the piece is chosen for the contest anthology. If not enough entries are received for any category, the guild reserves the right to cancel that part of the contest and refund entry fees.

Maximum length in prose categories is 2,500 words; in poetry, no more than 50 lines or 500 words.

Winners will receive cash prizes of $100 in each of the categories. Second- and third-place winners will receive $50 and $25 respectively.

Full contest information and a link to the entry form are available at


Tickets for FocusLit fundraiser

The Southern Lit Alliance will offer a double bill of authors for this year's FocusLit fundraiser, scheduled at 6:30 p.m. June 1 on Zoom. New York Times best-selling author Jill McCorkle will be interviewed about her novel "Hieroglyphics" by Lee Smith, whose nine novels include "Blue Marlin" and "The Last Girls."

The event will include a pickup meal from Public House Restaurant, with tickets priced at $65 per person. VIP tickets, which add on a specialty cocktail from Public House and a signed copy of "Hieroglyphics," are $85 per person. As a bonus, the book club or group that purchases the most tickets will win a rooftop wine and cheese reception hosted by Southern Lit Alliance.

Proceeds support the creative arts in Chattanooga.

To register, visit


Southern Festival of Books dates set

The Southern Festival of Books, which shifted to an all-virtual format last year, will return in October with a mix of virtual and in-person programming in Nashville. The festival is presented by Humanities Tennessee, a nonprofit organization focused on ideas, stories, history, arts and culture.

This will mark the 33rd year for the festival, Tennessee's largest literary event. The Nashville programming will take place Oct. 9-10 (two days instead of the usual three) at the War Memorial Plaza, in accordance with public health guidelines. Online programming will be offered leading up to the event.

The author lineup has not been announced, but festival organizers say they are committed to curating "a diverse collection of books by writers of adult, young adult and children's fiction and nonfiction, Pulitzer Prize winners, New York Times best-sellers and book club favorites."

For more information, visit

— Compiled by Lisa Denton