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 prose 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 prose 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 January, Black Lawrence Press author Louella Bryant is on board to critique creative nonfiction manuscripts. Louella Bryant is the author of the memoir Hot Springs and Moonshine Liquor and While In Darkness There Is Light, a biography of Charlie Dean, brother to former DNC Chairman Howard Dean. She has published three historical novels for young adults as well as an award-winning collection of stories. Louella has been awarded numerous prizes for her short stories and poems, which have appeared in the magazines WomenArts Quarterly Journal, Hunger Mountain, The Adirondack Review, Fine Print, Vermont Life, The Teacher’s Voice, Farmhouse, and Mobius, and the anthologies High Horse, Tartts 2—Incisive Fiction from Emerging Writers, and A Cadence of Horses. Her essays are included in the anthologies Far From Home, Lessons From Our Parents, and Southern Sin as well as the magazines Atrium, Sacred Fire, and Vermont Quarterly. Formerly on the faculty of the Spalding University MFA in Writing Program, Louella now works as an independent editor in Vermont. 

Louella is accepting everything from flash-length essays to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

  •     Flash Essays, up to 2 pages in length, $25
  •     Essays, up to 20 pages in length, $50
  •     Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $195
  •     Manuscripts, up to 180 pages in length, $450
  •     Long Manuscripts, up to 300 pages in length, $700

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

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

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Louella Bryant's Statement of Purpose

"Great writing is meant to crush us, entertain and move us,  return us to ourselves with some greater understanding of the world and  its workings,” says editor Betsy Lerner in her book The Forest for the Trees. Certainly that is the response all writers want from our readers.  But how do you accomplish it? First, you need commitment and  perseverance, even on beautiful summer days, to sit and write and read  and write more. It also helps to have a mentor, someone who sees promise  in your writing and nurtures that promise. That’s where I come in.


A mentor should help a writer find the heart of a story or essay.  That is, instead of criticizing and tearing down your work, I’ll help  you find precisely what you’re trying to say and how to coax that heart  to the forefront of the piece, and I’ll do that by showing you how to  listen to your own writing and trust what it’s trying to tell you.


Once you discover what enlightenment you’re trying to offer your  readers, I’ll help you find your own voice to make your  stories/essays/manuscript uniquely yours. Having said that, we don’t  write in a vacuum. Even though it seems like a contradiction, I’ll point  you toward writers who will serve as successful examples for what you  are trying to achieve in your own writing. The best writers are also  readers.


You’ll get some technical tools and advice, suggestions about broad  qualities such as structure and flow, and direction on more specific  elements such as sentence variety and word choice. And I’ll press you to  write your best.


With your submission, I’d like an informal cover letter that will  tell me something about you so that I can understand where your writing  is coming from. I’m eager to dig into your work, so let’s get to it!

During the month of January, Black Lawrence Press author Ben Nickol is on board to critique fiction manuscripts. Ben's prose has been recognized by the Arkansas Arts Council, Best American Sports Writing, and the University of Arkansas, among other organizations, and he’s the author, most recently, of Sun River: Stories, which The Quivering Pen named a Best Book of 2019. Additionally, Ben’s stories and essays have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Boulevard, Fourth Genre, Crab Orchard Review, Redivider, Fugue, Tin House Online, The Greensboro Review, CutBank and elsewhere. Since 2018, he’s taught in the M.F.A. program at Wichita State University.

Ben is accepting everything from flash fiction to full-length novels. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

  • Flash Fiction, up to two pages,  $25.00
  • Short Stories, up to 20 pages $50.00
  • Chapbooks,  up to 40 pages, $195.00
  • Novellas, up to 100 pages, $325.00
  • Short Story Collections,  up to 180 pages, $450.00
  • Novels, up to 300 pages $700.00

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

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is January 31. Ben 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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Ben Nickol's Statement of Purpose

Whether a novel or short story, a work of fiction above all else is a feeling, a notion. Without getting too religious, it’s the spirit that moves behind any literature’s words, and when assisting with a manuscript my first job is to detect that spirit and acquaint myself with it. I need to investigate what this work—your work—strives to be, so that I don’t set about trying to twist the narrative into my own or some other writer’s aesthetic.

With a sense of this spirit in hand, I can start to assess how the work engenders its big parts. What comes in what order, and what ought to come in what order? In other words, if the heart of the story is alive and beating, then where should it take us and what should it conjure? It’s all too easy, writing fiction, to mistakenly talk over our own stories. To rush them, or bog them down, or by some other means wrest them off course. Part of my job as a consultant is to help a writer relax and stand back, and see where the story wishes to travel, and at what velocity.

Till this point, all of that work is structural: what happens in what order and what causes it to happen. The final tier of my work as a consultant is at the sentence level. What strategies does the writer use to infuse life and motion into their sentences? Where does that succeed and where doesn’t it? What other strategies could they use? If the process works, then what the writer comes away with is a vision of their fiction, top-to-bottom, that they can use to inform, hone and ultimately realize a vision of their own.

During the month of January, Black Lawrence Press author Marcela Sulak is on board to critique poetry manuscripts. Marcela Sulak has published three titles with Black Lawrence Press--two poetry collections, Decency (2015) and Immigrant (2010), as well as her lyric memoir, Mouth Full of Seeds (2020). Her third poetry collection City of Skypapers is forthcoming. She’s co-edited with Jacqueline Kolosov the 2015 Rose Metal Press title Family Resemblance. An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Hybrid Literary Genres. Sulak, who translates from the Hebrew, Czech, and French, is a 2019 NEA Translation Fellow, and her fourth book-length translation of poetry: Twenty Girls to Envy Me: Selected Poems of Orit Gidali, was nominated for the 2017 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation (University of Texas Press). Her essays have appeared in The Boston Review, The Iowa Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Asymptote, and Gulf Coast online, among others. She coordinates the poetry track of the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University, where she is an associate professor in American Literature. She also edits The Ilanot Review and hosts the TLV.1 Radio podcast, Israel in Translation.

Marcela 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, $20
  •     Folios of up to 5 poems, not to exceed 7 pages in length, $50
  •     Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $195
  •     Full-length collections, up to 80 pages in length, $325

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 29.  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.

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. 

The Big Moose Prize is open to traditional novels as well as novels-in-stories, novels-in-poems, and other hybrid forms that contain within them the spirit of a novel.

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, Colin Hamilton, Ron Nyren, and Caroline Patterson. 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 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, Alan Chazaro, Gwendolyn Paradice, and Ananda Lima. 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 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, Alan Chazaro, Gwendolyn Paradice, and Ananda Lima. Below, you will have the option to purchase a selection of their titles for a discounted fee, which includes the cost of shipping.

Abstract

Mamas, Martyrs, and Jezebels: Myths, Legends, and Other Lies You've Been Told about Black Women revisits notions of Black womanhood to include the ways in which Black women's perceived strength can function as a dangerous denial of Black women's humanity. This collection addresses the stigma of this extraordinary endurance in professional and personal spaces, the Black church, in interpersonal partnerships, and within the justice arena, while also giving voice and value to Black women's experiences as the backbone of the Black family and community.

Call for Submissions:

Black Lawrence Press is now accepting submissions for a new anthology of essays.

Writers and scholars living in the United States are invited to submit essays of between 700-5000 words for the anthology on any of the following broad themes. (Other themes will be considered.)

1. Black Women and Justice

2. Black Women and Self-Care

3. Black Women and Spirituality

4. Black Women at Work and at Home

5. Black Women and Sex (and Sexuality)

Essays can be creative or academic. However, essays have to be accessible since the anthology is for a general audience.

Drs. Jan Boulware, Rondrea Mathis, Clarissa West-White, and Kideste Yusef of Bethune-Cookman University will serve as editors.

Submissions will be accepted between through June 30, 2021. Contributors will receive a copy of the anthology as payment.

Previously published essays are welcome. Please contact Dr. Clarissa West-White at whitec@cookman.edu with questions.

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