For its second annual prize issue, Proximity is looking for true stories that explore the theme of WORK. Work defines our lives and our livelihoods. Work is labor. Work is art. Work is paid or unpaid, public or private or under the table. Work is at the heart of healthy relationships. Work puts food on the table. Work takes us out of our comfort zones. Work is political.

We’re looking for true stories that explore the many interpretations of WORK. All in a day’s work. Hard work. Dirty work. Grunt work. A piece of work. Work spouse. It’s good work if you can get it. Work your ass off. Work your way up. Keep up the good work. Work out. Work nights. Work like a dog. Work yourself up. Work wonders. Work together. Work ’til you drop.

As always, we seek stories across a wide range of forms with a strong sense of place — so keep that in mind as you send us your personal essays, photo essays, reportage, flash nonfiction, true poems, and multimedia around the theme of WORK.

Do you have a WORK story to share? We want to read it (or see it, or take a listen).

2017 Proximity Personal Essay Prize Judge

Adriana E. Ramírez is the author of  Dead Boys, a nonfiction novella, and winner of the 2015 PEN/Fusion Emerging Writer’s Prize. A Mexican-Columbian nonfiction writer and poet based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ramírez is “Critic At Large” for the Los Angeles Times’ Book Section, co-founder of Aster(ix) Journal, co-founder the Pittsburgh Poetry Collective, and a VONA alum. Her writing has also appeared in the Los Angeles Review of BooksLiterary HubGuernica/ PEN AmericaConvolutionHEArtApogee, and She has two collections of poetry, The Swallows and Trusting in Imaginary Spaces, and was the nonfiction editor of DISMANTLEan anthology of writing from the VONA workshops. A mentor in the Carlow University MFA program, Ramírez is currently at work on The Violence (forthcoming, Fall 2017), a book about her death fantasies, the War on Drugs, and the way we tell stories around violence.

2017 Proximity Narrative Journalism Prize Judge

Ted Conover‘s Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing won the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His latest book is Immersion: A Writer’s Guide to Going Deep. Conover is also the author of Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America’s Hoboes, Coyotes: A Journey Across Borders with America’s Mexican Migrants, Whiteout, and The Routes of Man. He contributes to the New York Times Magazine, Harpers, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and other publications. Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, he teaches at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University.

[Prize Details] Submissions will be accepted separately: Personal Essay Prize or Narrative Journalism Prize. Each Prize winner will be awarded $200. Entry fees go toward this award, and any fees that push past the cost of running this contest will be put forth to pay Proximity writers in 2018. Finalists will be announced in advance. Winners will be announced in October, the day of publication. All finalists will be published in our annual anthology and a selection among them will be published in Issue 16.

[Personal Essay Prize Due Date] May 1, 2017 extended to June 1, 2017.
[Narrative Journalis Prize Due Date] July 1, 2017
[Prize Entry Fee] $5, multiple entries accepted.

Guidelines: Submissions must be previously unpublished (#) and submitted to Proximity for publication in one of the following categories: long-form (6,000 words maximum), mid-range (2,000 words maximum), flash (500 words maximum), or photo essay/multimedia. Multiple submissions and alternative forms of true stories are welcome and encouraged. #PleaseNote: Although we do not accept previously published work, we do make exceptions for book excerpts from books slated for publication or published no more than three years ago. ** For more, see frequently asked questions.




2016 Prize winners can be found in issue 12, themed INSIDE | OUT, published in October 2016. All winners and finalists will be published in our first anthology (launching as an ebook this spring and a short print-run in the future). Paul Lisicky & Bronwen Dickey were judges in 2016 and submissions for both prize categories brought in record number submissions for Proximity.  “On Visiting Prison, Again,” by Sarah Shotland (Pittsburgh, PA), was selected as the 2016 Personal Essay Prize winner, and “The Day that Never Comes,” by Brendan O’Meara (Eugene, OR), was selected as the 2016 Narrative Journalism Prize winner.



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