A Non/Fiction Prize FAQ

The Journal is happy to announce its new prose prize: The Non/Fiction Prize. We look forward to publishing an exceptional collection of essays or stories (or a collection of essays and stories) in 2015. Or a novella and stories. Confused? Details below.

Didn’t you guys have a prose prize before?

Yes! We awarded an annual Short Fiction Prize from 1997 to 2013. Our last winner was Elizabeth Elsami for her collection Hibernate. The Non/Fiction Prize takes its place.

So this is a non/fiction prize? Non-slash-fiction? What does that mean? Do you have something against my Draco/Harry erotic novel?

It means we accept all manner of short prose, both fiction and nonfiction. Essays or stories. Or essays and stories. As for slash fiction, we’re not against it, though it does present some thorny copyright issues. Nonetheless, this is still a prize devoted to short prose. Your novel, regardless of its subject, is ineligible.

What about a novella? Can I send you my novella?

We accept novellas (or novella-length essays) as part of a longer work, but not alone. So, if you have two or more novellas, or you combine your novella with short stories or essays, then we’d be happy to look at it. But all by its lonesome? No.

So does it have to be fiction or nonfiction?

Nope. We accept submissions that are a combination of essays and stories and novellas. Just be clear to mark which ones are stories and which ones are essays, so we don’t risk the embarrassment of calling your real life “inventive.”

Can I submit something if it’s been published elsewhere?

Individual pieces may have been published elsewhere, but the work in full should be unpublished. This includes self-publication and electronic publication. Delete your Tumblr! (Kidding. Don’t do that. It’s my favorite.) If you are including published pieces, you must also include an acknowledgements page that lists the title and place of publication for each published piece.

I’ve got a great translation of a brilliant Nunavutian writer who is little known in the US. Can I send that?

While we love writers who write in languages that aren’t English (and agree they need to be more widely read in the US) we do not accept translations.

How many pages do you want?

We want between 150 and 350 double-spaced pages in 12 point font. No funny business with the margins: 1” all around.

I have a whole collection of essays and a whole collection of stories. Can I send both of them?

We’re cool with multiple entries. There are a few provisos, however:

  • There should be no overlap between manuscripts, i.e. nothing that appears in one should appear in the other.
  • A separate entry fee must be paid for each manuscript.

Ah, yes, now that you’ve mentioned it: how much is the entry fee?

20 smackeroos. One crisp green-tinted portrait of Old Hickory. 4 Lincolns. Two ten-spots. A score of sin—

Wait, what? What are you talking about?

Ahem. I’m sorry. It’s $20 USD.

When’s the deadline to submit?

February 14, 2015. VALENTINE’S DAY, BABY. Afterward, take your special love, Literature, out for a nice meal.

And what’s the prize?

$1500 and publication from OSU Press under a standard contract. By my math, that’s a possible 7500% ROI. Couldn’t get that in the bullest of bull markets.

Where can I submit my manuscript?

All entries must be submitted via Submittable.

Do you allow simultaneous submissions?

We’re cool with your manuscript being submitted elsewhere while it’s under consideration, but if it gets accepted, please do withdraw it from our competition.

Anything else?

Send us your stuff! We know how difficult it is to get a book of short prose published, and we consider it an honor to be able to add at least one more great collection to the world each year.

Lauren C. Barret is a writer and editor living in Portland, Maine. She received her MFA in creative writing from The Ohio State University in 2015, and a BA from Kenyon College many years before that. She tweets at @laurencbarret and tumbls only for you.