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.

During the month of December, Black Lawrence Press author Louella Bryant is on board to critique creative nonfiction manuscripts; and she 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, $15
  •     Essays, up to 20 pages in length, $45
  •     Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $150
  •     Manuscripts, up to 180 pages in length, $350
  •     Long Manuscripts, 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 December 31. Louella will complete her work and respond to all participants by January 31.

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

Note: Please do not send manuscripts that promote hate speech, are intended to harass or bully a specific person or group of persons, or include glorified sexual violence.


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!

Ends on January 31, 2019$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), 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 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.

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