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 August 31, 2018$15.00 - 700.00
$15.00 - 700.00

During the month of August, Black Lawrence Press author Tom Cotsonas is on board to critique your in-progress works of fiction. Tom, who won the St. Lawrence Book Award with his collection of short stories Nominal Cases, teaches writing at Rutgers University.

This month's program is open to a wide variety of fiction manuscripts. The fees and page length parameters are as follows:

- Flash Fiction, up to 2 pages in length, $15

- Short Stories, up to 20 pages in length, $45

- Chapbooks, 16-40 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 August 31. Tom will complete his work and respond to all participants by September 30.


Thomas Cotsonas' Statement of Purpose

“Language is a drug,” Ben Marcus tells us, and our stories are the delivery system. I want stories that know this, stories that take hold, stories that get to my nerve endings and into the lining of my veins. I want to see, more than anything else, a mind at work. I want to be exposed. I want to come in contact with the strong and the strange, the idiosyncratic. I want stories that mean it.

When I read your work at first, I’ll read to see what it seems to want to do. I’ll concentrate on what I think the work’s intentions are, and what it does or does not do to fulfill those intentions. We may differ in this respect, but whatever differences we have are what makes the consultation a conversation, a shared back-and-forth to make the work as strong as possible. I’ll give you technical advice as well, observations and suggestions concerning elements such as structure, point of view, narration, characterization, dialogue, and syntax & diction.

I am completely without bias with respect to genre. I draw no meaningful distinctions between what’s called Realism, Literary Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Crime, Gothic—whatever. I am drawn to fiction writers who often think like poets, fiction writers for whom there are no genres. Prose writers I read and love include Nicholson Baker, Samuel Beckett, Thomas Bernhard, Jorge Luis Borges, Lydia Davis, Don DeLillo, William H. Gass, Maggie Nelson, and Marilynne Robinson. I take any chance I get to praise the staggeringly underrated and -read Sarah Orne Jewett, whose 1896 book Country of the Pointed Firs is possibly the best short story cycle in U.S. lit.

In my own work—especially with shorter texts—I like to play with form. I’m interested in consciousness, memory, the concept of time, paradoxes, and characters who may not know the difference between certainty and uncertainty. I like puzzles, but never at the expense of character, and never with indifference to the reader.

If possible, I’d appreciate an informal cover letter with your submission. Nothing elaborate: just a short bio type-thing. I look forward to reading, to getting to work on your work!

Ends on August 31, 2018$15.00 - 700.00
$15.00 - 700.00

During the month of August, Merrill Feitell is on board to critique your in-progress works of fiction. Merrill's first book, Here Beneath Low-Flying Planes, was awarded the Iowa Prize for Short Fiction.


This month's program is open to a wide variety of fiction manuscripts. The fees and page length parameters are as follows:


- Flash Fiction, up to 2 pages in length, $15
- Short Stories, up to 20 pages in length, $45
- Chapbooks, 16-40 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 August 31. Tom will complete his work and respond to all participants by September 30.

Merrill Feitell's Statement of Purpose

In his short story “Sonny’s Blues,” James Baldwin describes musicians as charged with the task of “…dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air.”

As a writer, whenever I read this line my first thought is always: Lucky musicians! After all, the musician gets to harness the roar rising from the void and tame it all in the same moment of performance. Bam! It's done.

But for the writer, dealing with the roar of the subconscious and imposing order on it rarely take place at the same time—and so I’ve come to think of fiction writing as something of a three-part process. First, we pin the roaring subconscious to the page; second, there’s the challenge of learning to really read our own drafts—shifting our focus from the story we intended to write in order to recognize the one that actually roared its way onto the page; and, third, we impose order on this roar by applying techniques and tactics that best transmit the story from the page.

Of course, this process isn’t necessarily linear and every work is its own particular creature demanding its own particular care, but, generally speaking, my feedback is intended to help you recognize or further discover the heart of the story already pulsing from the page and to call your attention to passages, techniques, strategies, and opportunities to fully and effectively harness that story and to transport your readers from the beginning to the end of it.

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award the St. Lawrence Book Award for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The St. Lawrence Book Award is open to any writer who has not yet published a full-length collection of short stories or poems. 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. 

Beginning with the 2014 St. Lawrence Book Award competition, all entries will be 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 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 for the prize is August 31. Please enter fiction submissions here.

The past winners of The St. Lawrence Book Award are Marcel Jolley, Stefi Weisburd, Jason Tandon, Fred McGavran, Yelizaveta P. Renfro, Brad Ricca, Katie Umans, Adrian Van Young, Craig Bernier, KMA Sullivan, Thomas Cotsonas, Alexandra Lytton Regalado, Vedran Husic, and Leigh Camacho Rourks. 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 St. Lawrence Book Award for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The St. Lawrence Book Award is open to any writer who has not yet published a full-length collection of short stories or poems. 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. 

Beginning with the 2014 St. Lawrence Book Award competition, all entries will be 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 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 for the prize is August 31. Please enter poetry submissions here.

The past winners of The St. Lawrence Book Award are Marcel Jolley, Stefi Weisburd, Jason Tandon, Fred McGavran, Yelizaveta P. Renfro, Brad Ricca, Katie Umans, Adrian Van Young, Craig Bernier, KMA Sullivan, Thomas Cotsonas, Alexandra Lytton Regalado, Vedran Husic, and Leigh Camacho Rourks. 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