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Keeping Your Resolution to Write More in 2014

Just Buffalo’s writing contest accepts entries until January 29

The new year has now come and gone and, if you’re anything like most writers, you may find yourself already struggling to keep your resolution to write more. One strategy that keeps writers motivated to keep writing, revising, editing, and rewriting is to identify a concrete goal. If you’re seeking such a goal, you’re in luck: Just Buffalo Literary Center has an idea.

Just Buffalo Literary Center is pleased to announce the sixth annual Members’ Writing Contest and Reading. Alternating each year between poetry and fiction, this year’s contest focuses on fiction (750-5,000 words). This is the first time that the competition welcomes pieces of such length, a decision that was equally important to Just Buffalo’s artistic director, Barbara Cole, and this year’s judge, Mick Cochrane.

Cochrane is Lowery Writer-in-Residence at Canisius College, where he teaches writing and literature, directs the creative writing program, and coordinates the Contemporary Writers Series. The author of four novels—including Flesh Wounds (Nan Talese/Doubleday 1997), which was named a finalist in Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers Competition, and, most recently, Fitz (Knopf 2012)—Cochrane explains that he is “excited to served as judge for the Just Buffalo contest. There are writers in our community with strong and original voices and I look forward to discovering their work. This contest can give emerging writers just what they need: encouragement and recognition and the opportunity to connect with an appreciative audience.”

That connection with an audience is one of the unique features of Just Buffalo’s Contest & Reading. Whereas the majority of literary competitions happen remotely—entrants mail off their submissions and then wait many months before they hear of the judge’s decision—Just Buffalo’s contest seeks to bring the writing community together.

On Thursday, February 6, Mick Cohrane will give a reading of his own work alongside contestants at a special contest reading held at Just Buffalo’s program space (468 Washington at Mohawk, on the second floor of the Western New York Book Arts Center). More than just a public performance, this reading also serves as part of the contest. In addition to the Judge’s Award (selected by Mr. Cochrane), an Audience Award will be chosen by the audience (tallied by paper ballot immediately following the reading).

The Judge’s Award winner and the Audience Award recipient will each receive a $50 cash prize; gift certificate from Talking Leaves Books; publication in ARTVOICE; and a certificate of recognition from Just Buffalo Literary Center. Bryan Roland, who won last year’s Audience Award for his poem “Dusk,” reflects that “being recognized for my poetry was something I never expected and motivates me to write even more.”

If that extra push is just what you need to keep your new year’s resolution, now is the time to get involved. The deadline for submissions has been extended to Wednesday, January 29. Complete contest guidelines and submission details can be found at

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