Through our annual contests and open reading periods, we seek innovative, electrifying, and thoroughly intoxicating manuscripts that ensnare themselves in our hearts and minds and won’t let go.

During our June and November open reading periods, we accept submissions in the following categories: novel, novella, short story collection (full-length and chapbook), poetry (full-length and chapbook), biography & cultural studies, translation (from the German), and creative nonfiction.  We also enthusiastically accept hybrid submissions. 


We also hold several annual contests. Here is our reading schedule: 

The Big Moose Prize: December 1 – January 31
(Open competition, novels)

The Hudson Prize: February 1 – March 31
(Open competition, poetry and short story collections)

The Spring Black River Chapbook Competition: April 1 – May 31
(Open competition, poetry and fiction chaps)

Open Reading Period 1: June 1 – June 30

The St. Lawrence Book Award: July 1- August 31
(First book competition, poetry and short story collections)

The Fall Black River Chapbook Competition: September 1 – October 31
(Open competition, poetry and fiction chaps)

Open Reading Period 2: November 1 – November 30

(Please note that we occasionally offer early bird specials on our contests. These specials allow authors to submit their manuscripts ahead of time at a discounted rate.) 


Please submit your work to the appropriate category below. If you are submitting a hybrid manuscript, please select the submission category that best fits your work.

During the month of April, Black Lawrence Press author Kelly Magee is on board to critique fiction manuscripts. Kelly teaches creative writing in the undergraduate and MFA programs at Western Washington University. She is the author of multiple prose and poetry titles, including the short story collection Body Language, which won the Katherine Anne Porter Prize. Her work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Crazyhorse, Kenyon Review, Indiana Review, Booth, Barrelhouse, and others. 

Kelly is accepting everything from flash fiction to novels for critique. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

  •     Flash fiction, up to 2 pages in length, $25
  •     Short stories, up to 20 pages in length, $50
  •     Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $195
  •     Novellas, up to 100 pages in length, $325
  •     Short story collections, up to 180 pages in length, $450
  •     Novels, up to 300 pages in length, $700

All manuscripts should be double spaced and formatted in 12-point font.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is April 30. The consultants will complete their work and respond to all participants by  May 31.

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Kelly's Statement of Purpose

I’m most drawn to stories that have a sense of urgency – that feel like they needed to be written. Discovering subject matter that ignites the imagination is important, as is being willing to take risks with form and content. But channeling and sustaining that urgency is a matter of technique. Sometimes it’s what hovers around the edges of a story that is most vital, or sometimes it’s a matter of finding the right container to deliver the content. I am interested not just in where a story goes, but where else it might go: what submerged themes might surface, what layers might be more consciously developed, what surprising threads might emerge with a few well-placed cuts. 

When working with a fiction manuscript, my first goal is analysis: what are the stories doing, what is their ambition, what are the reasons behind the choices and directions they’ve taken. Then I examine how are they working together as a collection/cohesive narrative. I strive to honor the ambition of the story or collection, and then to consider how it might more strongly fulfill its own goals. This can happen at the macro level, by examining plot, structure, character, setting, point of view, and scenes; or at the micro level, by sharpening word choice and sensory detail, attending to the musicality and pace of the sentences, and condensing the language. The work of revision is, as Heather Sellers says, to identify ways to intensify the experience for the reader…whatever that experience might be.     

I’m delighted by work that blurs genre, finds the magic in the everyday, and uncovers the “consistent inconsistencies” in each character and setting. I love a story that asks me to sympathize with a villain or second-guess a hero. I am a particular fan of fabulism and fairy tales, as well as realist work of all genres that addresses identity and intersectionality (such as recent work by Kelly Link, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Diane Cook, and Maggie Nelson). In my own writing, I gravitate toward difficult characters and questions, especially as approached irreverently or with humor. I favor active settings that don’t just channel characters’ emotions but influence the plot. And while I enjoy playing with unconventional points of view and experimental forms, my fidelity is always to the well-told story. 

Above all, the experience of reading a work of fiction is a relationship between the reader and the text, one built, as Michael Chabon says, on “mutual support through intertwining, like a pair of trees grown together.” My job is to support your text through careful analysis of its aims and pleasures, and by proposing ways to heighten the experience of reading it.  

During the month of April, Black Lawrence Press author David Rigsbee is on board to critique poetry manuscripts. David, the author of 21 books and chapbooks, has been recipient of two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has appeared in AGNI, The American Poetry Review, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, The Ohio Review, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, The Sewanee Review, The Southern Review, and many others.

David is accepting single poems, folios, chapbooks, and full-length collections for critique. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

  • Individual Poems, up to 2 pages in length, $20
  • Folios, up to 7 pages in length, not to include more than 5 poems, $50
  • Chapbooks, 16-40 pages in length, $195
  • Full-length collections, 45-80 pages in length $325

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is April 30. David will complete his work and respond to all participants by May 31.

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David Rigsbee's Statement of Purpose

Poems begin in subjectivity, in what Yeats memorably called “the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.” But they can’t remain there and be poems. Because their origin is in the poet’s particular experience—imaginative, emotional, expressive—they have to be transformed into speech acts, or better still, into song. The transformation can be daunting. This is where the poet’s work comes in, and I believe that work benefits considerably from collaborative thinking that involves ways to use and enhance poetic intelligence, from word-choice and image, to acoustic and metrical composition, to architectural development and closure. I also believe the specific skills to accomplish that work can be passed on from poet to poet.

In my consultations, I try to help poets identify and take advantage of the opportunities—rhetorical, stylistic, musical, metaphorical—inherent in early drafts. I like to encourage thinking about poems as rhetorical performances intended to invite readers into the suggestive spaces a poem provides. At the same time I’m interested in understanding the difference between poems that work toward a resonant simplicity and those that, in Linda Gregg’s phrase, “tap-dance” and so often skirt the deeper commitments good work requires.

I want to make sure that structure and detail are crafted, sturdy, precise, and aesthetically compelling. Russell Edson once said that “of all the things that could have happened, this is the very thing that happens.” An unfinished poem can go in many directions, but in the end it only goes in one—one that turns both inwardlly, acknowledging its origins (the rag-and-bones) and outwardly, as it hooks up with the larger world. Contemporary poets whose work I follow, read, and reread include Gerald Stern, Jorie Graham, Terrance Hayes, Robert Pinsky, and Robert Hass, to name just a few.

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Hudson Prize for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes awarded on publication. 

All entries read blind by our panel of editors. Manuscripts should include a title page (listing only the title of the work), table of contents, and when appropriate, an acknowledgments page. Manuscripts should be paginated and formatted in an easy-to-read font such as Garamond or Times New Roman. Manuscripts should be 45-95 pages in length (poetry) or 120-280 pages in length (fiction), not including front and back matter (table of contents, title page, etc.). Identifying information for the author should not be included anywhere on the manuscript itself. You are welcome to include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note, which will only be made accessible to the editorial panel after the group of Semi-Finalist and Finalist manuscripts has been chosen.

A note regarding previously published work: Manuscripts containing individual stories or poems that have been previously published online or in print are absolutely eligible–please simply note previously published work on an acknowledgments page. On the other hand, if your manuscript has been previously published as a collection (including publication with a press, self-publication, online/digital publication, and publication in a small, limited-edition print run), then the manuscript is not eligible.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.

Multiple submissions (the submission of more than one manuscript to the contest) are permitted.

Collaborative collections are welcome.

Hybrid/multi-genre submissions are also welcome; please enter under the submission category that best fits your work.

Please enter fiction submissions here. The annual deadline for the prize is March 31.

The past winners of The Hudson Prize are Jo Neace Krause, Daniel Chacón, Abayomi Animashaun, Patrick Michael Finn, Sarah Suzor, B. C. Edwards, Jacob M. Appel, Bettina Judd, Matthew Cheney, Gillian Cummings, Caroline Cabrera, Beth Mayer, Alan Chazaro, and Gwendolyn Paradice. Below, you will have the option to purchase a selection of their titles for a discounted fee, which includes the cost of shipping.

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Hudson Prize for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes awarded on publication. 

All entries read blind by our panel of editors. Manuscripts should include a title page (listing only the title of the work), table of contents, and when appropriate, an acknowledgments page. Manuscripts should be paginated and formatted in an easy-to-read font such as Garamond or Times New Roman. Manuscripts should be 45-95 pages in length (poetry) or 120-280 pages in length (fiction), not including front and back matter (table of contents, title page, etc.). Identifying information for the author should not be included anywhere on the manuscript itself. You are welcome to include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note, which will only be made accessible to the editorial panel after the group of Semi-Finalist and Finalist manuscripts has been chosen.

A note regarding previously published work: Manuscripts containing individual stories or poems that have been previously published online or in print are absolutely eligible–please simply note previously published work on an acknowledgments page. On the other hand, if your manuscript has been previously published as a collection (including publication with a press, self-publication, online/digital publication, and publication in a small, limited-edition print run), then the manuscript is not eligible.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.

Multiple submissions (the submission of more than one manuscript to the contest) are permitted.

Collaborative collections are welcome.

Hybrid/multi-genre submissions are also welcome; please enter under the submission category that best fits your work.

Please enter poetry submissions here. The annual deadline for the prize is March 31.

The past winners of The Hudson Prize are Jo Neace Krause, Daniel Chacón, Abayomi Animashaun, Patrick Michael Finn, Sarah Suzor, B. C. Edwards, Jacob M. Appel, Bettina Judd, Matthew Cheney, Gillian Cummings, Caroline Cabrera, Beth Mayer, Alan Chazaro, and Gwendolyn Paradice. Below, you will have the option to purchase a selection of their titles for a discounted fee, which includes the cost of shipping.

You're in the submission form for poetry. If you're intending to submit prose (fiction, creative non-fiction, etc.), please return to the main page and select the prose category instead. (Chapbooks of prose poems and poetry/prose hybrid projects can be submitted under either poetry or prose, per your preference.)

Twice each year Black Lawrence Press will run the Black River Chapbook Competition for an unpublished chapbook of poems or prose between 16-36 pages in length. The contest is open to new, emerging, and established writers. The winner will receive book publication, a $500 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes are awarded on publication.

All entries are read without identifying information by our panel of editors. All manuscripts should include a title page (listing only the title of the work), table of contents (if applicable), and when appropriate, an acknowledgments page. Manuscripts should be paginated and formatted in an easy-to-read font such as Garamond or Times New Roman. Manuscripts should be 16-36 pages in length (double-spaced for fiction), not including front and back matter (table of contents, title page, etc.). Identifying information for the author should not be included anywhere on the manuscript itself, including in the name of your file or in the "title" field in Submittable. You are welcome to include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable, which will only be made accessible to the editorial panel after the group of Semi-Finalist and Finalist manuscripts has been chosen.

A note regarding previously published work: Chapbooks containing individual stories or poems that have been previously published online or in print are absolutely eligible for the BRCC–please simply note previously published work on an acknowledgments page. On the other hand, if your chapbook–or a significant portion of the work included in your chapbook–has been previously published as a book or chapbook-length collection (including publication with a press, self-publication, online/digital publication, and publication in a small, limited-edition print run), then the manuscript is not eligible for the BRCC.

  • Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.
  • Multiple submissions (the submission of more than one manuscript to the contest) are permitted.
  • Collaborative collections are welcome.
  • Hybrid/multi-genre submissions are also welcome; please enter under the submission category that best fits your work.
  • Prose category: Beginning with the Spring 2019 contest, our category previously titled “fiction” has been re-categorized as “prose” to accommodate fiction, creative non-fiction, lyric essay, and prose hybrid manuscripts. (Chapbooks of prose poems and poetry/prose hybrid projects can be submitted under either poetry or prose, per your preference.)
  • We cannot accept translations for the BRCC.
  • We will consider submissions including visual art (i.e. interior illustrations or photographs), but please note we do not regularly publish chapbooks with interior art. The best way to submit a manuscript including artwork is to attach a text-only version to your entry on Submittable. Then follow the instructions on Submittable for sending along a supplementary PDF of the manuscript, including the art. Please do not include suggested cover artwork with your submission.

  The annual deadlines for the prize are May 31 and October 31.

Optional book bundle: Interested in reading a few of our chapbooks while we read yours? Below you will have the option to purchase a bundle of five of our chapbooks, which includes Atlas of the Body by Nicole Cuffy, Something Like the End by Ashley Morrow Hermsmeier, A Civic Pageant by Frank Montesonti, Acadiana by Nancy Reddy, and The Death Metal Pastorals by Ryan Patrick Smith. The discounted price of $37.95 for this chap bundle includes the cost of shipping. Purchase not required for submission to the BRCC!

You're in the submission form for prose. (This includes fiction, creative non-fiction, lyric essay, and prose hybrid manuscripts.) If you're intending to submit poetry, please return to the main page and select the poetry category instead. (Chapbooks of prose poems and poetry/prose hybrid projects can be submitted under either poetry or prose, per your preference.)

Twice each year Black Lawrence Press will run the Black River Chapbook Competition for an unpublished chapbook of poems or prose between 16-36 pages in length. The contest is open to new, emerging, and established writers. The winner will receive book publication, a $500 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes are awarded on publication.

All entries are read without identifying information by our panel of editors. All manuscripts should include a title page (listing only the title of the work), table of contents (if applicable), and when appropriate, an acknowledgments page. Manuscripts should be paginated and formatted in an easy-to-read font such as Garamond or Times New Roman. Manuscripts should be 16-36 pages in length (double-spaced for fiction), not including front and back matter (table of contents, title page, etc.). Identifying information for the author should not be included anywhere on the manuscript itself, including in the name of your file or in the "title" field in Submittable. You are welcome to include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable, which will only be made accessible to the editorial panel after the group of Semi-Finalist and Finalist manuscripts has been chosen.

A note regarding previously published work: Chapbooks containing individual stories or poems that have been previously published online or in print are absolutely eligible for the BRCC–please simply note previously published work on an acknowledgments page. On the other hand, if your chapbook–or a significant portion of the work included in your chapbook–has been previously published as a book or chapbook-length collection (including publication with a press, self-publication, online/digital publication, and publication in a small, limited-edition print run), then the manuscript is not eligible for the BRCC.

  • Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.
  • Multiple submissions (the submission of more than one manuscript to the contest) are permitted.
  • Collaborative collections are welcome.
  • Hybrid/multi-genre submissions are also welcome; please enter under the submission category that best fits your work.
  • Prose category: Beginning with the Spring 2019 contest, our category previously titled “fiction” has been re-categorized as “prose” to accommodate fiction, creative non-fiction, lyric essay, and prose hybrid manuscripts. (Chapbooks of prose poems and poetry/prose hybrid projects can be submitted under either poetry or prose, per your preference.)
  • We cannot accept translations for the BRCC.
  • We will consider submissions including visual art (i.e. interior illustrations or photographs), but please note we do not regularly publish chapbooks with interior art. The best way to submit a manuscript including artwork is to attach a text-only version to your entry on Submittable. Then follow the instructions on Submittable for sending along a supplementary PDF of the manuscript, including the art. Please do not include suggested cover artwork with your submission.

The annual deadlines for the prize are May 31 and October 31.

Optional book bundle: Interested in reading a few of our chapbooks while we read yours? Below you will have the option to purchase a bundle of five of our chapbooks, which includes Atlas of the Body by Nicole Cuffy, Something Like the End by Ashley Morrow Hermsmeier, A Civic Pageant by Frank Montesonti, Acadiana by Nancy Reddy, and The Death Metal Pastorals by Ryan Patrick Smith.The discounted price of $37.95 for this chap bundle includes the cost of shipping. Purchase not required for submission to the BRCC!

Please note: this category is open only to our current BLP authors (those with forthcoming or previously published chapbooks or full-length titles). Submissions entered via this category from writers who are not currently published by BLP will not be considered. If you are not a current BLP author, please exit out of this category and submit through the relevant open category or contest. Our full reading schedule appears on our Submittable page. Thank you!


Current BLP authors: We're so happy that you'd like us to consider another manuscript from you. Please submit it here.

Black Lawrence Press