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, 2017$250.00
$250.00

During the month of August, Black Lawrence Press poet Bettina Judd is offering consultations on full-length poetry collections.

Full-length manuscripts may be up to 75 pages in length and should formatted in 12 point font. The fees for this consultation is $250 per manuscript.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is August 31. Bettina will complete her work and respond to all program participants by September 30.

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

Bettina's Statement of Purpose

To adopt a quote by Audre Lorde: I still do not find poetry to be a luxury. It is a succinct strategy for building a world. For those of us who might find the world to be a strange and dangerous place, that work is most vital. For this reason, I expect for a poem to do a lot of work. This makes the process of building a collection of poems—even those as small as a chapbook a noble kind of labor in which concepts, themes, and story telling connect intricate worlds—making something even more compelling.

These consultations will take into account your topic and themes in addition to taking great consideration to the details of individual poems. Questions I will ask of your manuscript: Are you being true to the voice and intent of your project? How cohesive is the concept? How are you addressing form (free verse, too, is form) and its purpose within the concept?

I will offer in-line comments to individual poems and address the above issues in a longer overall response. What I want to give to you is a careful eye that takes into serious consideration the incredible work you have put together, and, ultimately, wish to share with the world.

Ends on August 31, 2017$350.00
$350.00

During the month of August, Black Lawrence Press author Kelly Magee is offering consultations on full-length short story collections of up to 180 pages.

Manuscripts should be double spaced and formatted in 12 point font. The fee for this consultation is $350.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is August 31. Kelly will complete her work and respond to all program participants by September 30.

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


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.  

Ends on August 31, 2017$25.00
$25.00

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.

Past winners:

2004: Marcel Jolley
2005: Stefi Weisburd
2006: Jason Tandon
2007: Fred McGavran
2008: Yelizaveta P. Renfro
2009: Brad Ricca
2010: Katie Umans
2011: Adrian Van Young
2012: Craig Bernier
2013: KMA Sullivan
2014: Thomas Cotsonas
2015: Alexandra Lytton Regalado
2016: Vedran Husic





Ends on August 31, 2017$25.00
$25.00

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.

Past winners:

2004: Marcel Jolley
2005: Stefi Weisburd
2006: Jason Tandon
2007: Fred McGavran
2008: Yelizaveta P. Renfro
2009: Brad Ricca
2010: Katie Umans
2011: Adrian Van Young
2012: Craig Bernier
2013: KMA Sullivan
2014: Thomas Cotsonas
2015: Alexandra Lytton Regalado
2016: Vedran Husic

Abstract

Poetry manuals, at their most essential, are aimed at demystifying aspects of poetry (especially for beginner poets) in order to make poets’ journeys easier and less daunting. Such manuals are also reminders that poetry itself is a discipline with a landscape and a history.

With this anthology, we aim to build on the long body of work in this tradition by bringing a number of established and emerging poets together in a single volume to welcome new and beginner poets to the art. Multiple voices, we believe, are essential to the poet’s journey.

Call for Submissions

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

Poets in the United States and abroad are encouraged to submit essays aimed at welcoming new and beginner poets to the discipline of poetry.

Contributors are encouraged to provide anecdotes and advice, instructions and suggestions, fun exercises and crazy ideas, or individual failures and encouraging words, in order to better prepare new poets for the long journey through poetry.

Essays should be between 700-5000 words on any of the following broad themes (other themes will be considered):

  1. First Words

  2. Poetry Workshop

  3. The Poet’s Journey

  4. Family & Work

  5. The Poet in the World

Essays can be creative or academic. However, they have to be accessible since they are also for a general audience.

Abayomi Animashaun will serve as editor. Please contact him at abayo.animashaun@gmail.com with questions.

Submissions will be accepted via Submittable. The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2017.

About the Editor

Abayomi Animashaun is the author of two poetry collections, Sailing for Ithaca and The Giving of Pears, and editor of two anthologies, Walking the Tightrope: Poetry and Prose by LGBTQ Writers from Africa and Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, and Writing in America. He teaches writing and literature at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh and lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin with his wife and two children. 

Note: Should contributors be interested in familiarizing themselves with Abayomi's work, we are offering his Black Lawrence Press titles at a discounted rate. The option to purchase one or more of his titles appears near the end of the submission form. Please note that these purchases are optional.

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.