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 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.
Ends on January 31, 2019$15.00 - 700.00
$15.00 - 700.00

During the month of January, Black Lawrence Press author Adam Prince is on board to critique fiction manuscripts; and he is accepting everything from flash fiction to novels. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

  •     Flash fiction, up to 2 pages in length, $15
  •     Short stories, up to 20 pages in length, $45
  •     Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $150
  •     Novellas, up to 100 pages in length, $250
  •     Short story collections, up to 180 pages in length, $350
  •     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 January 31. Adam will complete his work and respond to all participants by February 28.

Space in this program is limited, so please be sure to submit your work soon!

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Adam's Statement of Purpose

Though my writing education started with the short story, I’ve recently branched out a great deal—into novel writing, creative nonfiction, screenplays, and even some poetry. In all of this, though, my emphasis is narrative. I live in awe of the many various forms stories can take. Often, it’s just a matter of following our stories rather than trying to control them. We think we’re shaping the work, but the work has a shape of its own, if only we can find it.

I don’t believe in rules, but I do believe in choices. Writing any narrative is a series of choices—about who our characters are, about tone, point of view, plot, genre and so on. Many of these may be subconscious, but they’re choices we make all the same.

My Ph.D. helped me learn about the wide variety and deep history of narrative. So, when I’m working through a conundrum in my own work, I can often look into how other writers have tackled similar conundrums. As an editor and teacher of writing, then, I see my role as helping the writer see some of the choices open to them. For the most part, I focus on the bigger picture issues that give a narrative life and shape.

As a reader, my interests tend to vary quite a lot. I love the giant drama of Charles Dickens and Patrick O'Brian. I love the quiet precision of Virginia Woolf and James Salter, the sheer mastery of James Baldwin and Alice Munro, the imaginative force of George R.R. Martin and Neil Gaiman, the quirk of Kazuo Ishiguro and George Saunders, the lyrical power of Toni Morrison and Jhumpa Lahiri. And on and on . . .

Really, I can fall in love with any good story, no matter the genre or subject matter. And I don’t believe that my interests need to be your interests. More, I want to help you see what’s happening in your work already, and how you might help it along. I love diving into the guts of a narrative to really see how its built—and how it might be made even better.

Ends on January 31, 2019$10.00 - 250.00
$10.00 - 250.00

During the month of January, Black Lawrence Press author Marcela Sulak is on board to poetry manuscripts, and she is accepting everything from individual poems to full-length collections. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

  •     Single poems, up to 2 pages in length, $10
  •     Folios of up to 5 poems, not to exceed 7 pages in length, $30
  •     Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $150
  •     Full-length collections, up to 80 pages in length, $250

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font. The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is January 31. Marcela will complete her work and respond to all participants by February 28. Space in this program is limited, so please be sure to submit your work soon!

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Marcela's Statement of Purpose

I am seduced by tensions in poetry. With regard to the music of the poem, “tensions” might mean the slippage between an ideal form or meter and the physical form or meter embodied in the syntax of the sentence and line breaks. In narrative, it might mean the balance between what is said and what remains unspoken. In documentary poetics, it might mean the desire new facts and information create in me to change my life, or to learn more. In hybrid work, tension might mean the memory of a traditional genre in the unmapped freedom of an experimental form. 

Although we love most what we have to work for in poetry, as in most things, we also have to have a reason to invest our interest and our care. Sometimes poetry fails to engage us because we can’t access it—the poem is still in the poet’s head, speaking a private symbolic language. Sometimes a poem is so anxious to please us or so anxious not to be misunderstood, it spells everything out, overwhelming us. A good poem is an exploration the reader and writer make together. A good poem is a process—it introduces us to a new born world, rather than wrapping up a completed one.  A good poem is a generous poem, that gives the reader a space to feel, think, and discover connections for herself, through the gaps between what is said and what is suggested; what is and what might be. 

My approach to reading your poems and helping you maximize their creative tensions is discovering what your poem most values by determining how the poem works. Then, I can act as a poet-mechanic, helping you fine-tune the language, the music, the balance between what is there and what is implied. I pay special attention to the meaning-making music of your work (rhythms, vowel and consonant sounds, the play of syntax and stress, etc.).

My approach to reading your manuscript is to determine what your collection values, and how best to achieve the fullest effect, with regard to musical scope, narrative arc, and the timing of emotions, information, and sound. 

In my own work, I specialize in prosody (the music of lines), documentary poetics, hybrid work (prose poems, nano-nonfiction, essays in verse, lyric essays, etc.) and literary translation. In other people’s poems, I particularly enjoy work that engages with the world around it with fresh curiosity. I love work that is beautiful and musical, but not slight. I appreciate poems that are honest, vulnerable, complex, and that take risks. I like poems that are acts of investigation and discovery. Poets and writers I have recently been enjoying, and who have influenced me most long term include Yehuda Amichai, Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Celan, Hart Crane, Natalie Diaz, Emily Dickinson, Terrance Hayes, Yusef Komunyakaa, Layli Long Soldier, Sabrina Ora Mark, Erika Meitner, Pablo Neruda, Mary Ruefle, Wallace Stevens, C.D. Wright, Rachel Zucker, and Louis Zukofsky, to name a few.

During the month of January, Black Lawrence Press author Elizabeth J. Colen is on board to critique mixed genre and hybrid manuscripts; and she is accepting everything from short 2-page pieces of work to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

• Short pieces, up to 2 pages in length, $15

• Medium piece, up to 10 pages in length, $30

• Long pieces, up to 20 pages in length, $45

• Extended pieces/chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $150

• Short manuscripts, up to 90 pages in length, $250

• Long manuscripts, up to 200 pages in length, $500

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

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is January 31. Elizabeth will complete her work and respond to all participants by February 28.

Space in this program is limited, so please be sure to submit your work soon!

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Elizabeth J. Colen's Statement of Purpose

Genre is a story we tell ourselves in order to make the world understandable. Like the moon is to the east of the north star this day. Like north is north and east is east. The moon doesn’t believe in east, and the star doesn’t know what north is. It only knows its fission, which it doesn’t have a name for anyway.

This is to say, I don’t believe in genre. I believe a work stands or it falls regardless of what it’s called. The moon still there, nameless.

That is not to say there are no rules.

In the second century b.c., Terence said, “There’s nothing to say that hasn’t been said before.” The first rule is to make it beautiful, to push it up against some newness in presentation. Since, after all, you’re just repeating. The first rule is to bring focus into qualitative control. Where the reader looks, where the eye lingers, where the moon’s dark leaves a wet ring on the coffee table. The first rule is balance.

I read best from a surface place of enjoyment, loving the words for what they are, stung cold when they don’t perform, worse yet when a writer packs a page with loose and unnecessary sounds. Condense, condense. While I read to understand the deeper intentionality of a piece, it is the line-level urgency of communication I’m most interested in.

When constructing a whole book, the manuscript should move forward by way of narrative, concept, sound, or the building of image, accruing meaning through both intention (content) and intuition (sound).

My aesthetics are informed by ravenous reading habit, 2-4 books a week, with a focus on work that doesn’t rely on conventional means. It is my hope that by reading everything, all the secrets of language and story will unlock themselves, matrix-like before me. Writers I currently cannot live without include Maggie Nelson, Roland Barthes, John Keene, Rachel McKibbens, Carmen Machado, Gertrude Stein, Selah Saterstrom & Craig Santos Perez.

Ends on January 31, 2019$25.00
$25.00

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Big Moose Prize for an unpublished novel. The prize is open to new, emerging, and established writers. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes will be awarded on publication. 

All entries are read blind by our panel of editors. All manuscripts should include a title page (listing only the title of the work), and when appropriate, an acknowledgments page and table of contents. Manuscripts should be paginated and formatted in an easy-to-read font such as Garamond or Times New Roman. Manuscripts should be 90-1,000 pages in length, 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.

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

The annual deadline is January 31.

The previous winners of The Big Moose Prize are Tracy DeBrincat, Jen Michalski, Betsy Robinson, Genanne Walsh, Megan McNamer, Robley Wilson, Shena McAuliffe, and Colin Hamilton. Below, you will have the option to purchase their novels for a discounted fee, which includes the cost of shipping. While authors from around the globe may submit to the Big Moose Prize, these discounted book prices are only available to those with U.S. mailing addresses.

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.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Submit your manuscript by January 31 and enjoy a $5 discount on the entry fee!

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, and Alan Chazaro. 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.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Submit your manuscript by January 31 and enjoy a $5 discount on the entry fee!

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, and Alan Chazaro. Below, you will have the option to purchase a selection of their titles for a discounted fee, which includes the cost of shipping.

Please note: this category is open only to our current BLP authors (those with forthcoming or previously published 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