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 May, Black Lawrence Press authors Adrian Van Young and Kelly Magee are on board to critique fiction manuscripts; and they are 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, $25

    Short stories, up to 20 pages in length, $50

    Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $195

    Novellas, up to 100 pages in length, $325

    Short story collections, up to 180 pages in length, $450

    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 May 31. The consultants will complete their work and respond to all participants by June 30.

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.

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Adrian Van Young's Statement of Purpose

My philosophy of critique when it comes to fiction is to always approach the narrative on its own terms. Which is to say: I will never make the story into something it's not. My foremost goal as a critical reader of manuscript drafts is to help the story be the best kind of story it wants to be in the most efficient way possible. So, if you have written a piece of domestic realism with an epiphanal climax that tapers into falling action, I will not try and make it into a gothic historical story. What I *will* do is zero in on issues of characterization, atmosphere, genre, space-time issues, point of view and, particularly, structure and pacing (my specialties!) to facilitate what I believe to be the best mode of storytelling given the specific aims of the writer. I will also place a separate, heavy emphasis on plot and narrative entertainment which is what, after all, keeps a reader turning pages, something many writers sorely underestimate. But, a word to the wise: I am not into polish. I believe in radical revision, i.e. modifying and rearranging large sections of narrative, if called for. And I do this behind the logic that the more urgently and completely a manuscript is re-engineered over a series of drafts, the better it promises to be when the final one emerges.

Ends on May 31, 2019$25.00 - 700.00
$25.00 - 700.00

During the month of May, Black Lawrence Press authors Adrian Van Young and Kelly Magee are on board to critique fiction manuscripts; and they are 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, $25
  •     Short stories, up to 20 pages in length, $50
  •     Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $195
  •     Novellas, up to 100 pages in length, $325
  •     Short story collections, up to 180 pages in length, $450
  •     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 May 31. The consultants will complete their work and respond to all participants by June 30.

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.

----------------------

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.  

You're in the submission form for poetry. If you're intending to submit prose (fiction, creative non-fiction, etc.), please return to the main page and select the prose category instead. (Chapbooks of prose poems and poetry/prose hybrid projects can be submitted under either poetry or prose, per your preference.)

Twice each year Black Lawrence Press will run the Black River Chapbook Competition for an unpublished chapbook of poems or prose between 16-36 pages in length. The contest is open to new, emerging, and established writers. The winner will receive book publication, a $500 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes are 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 16-36 pages in length (double-spaced for 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, 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.

A note regarding previously published work: Chapbooks containing individual stories or poems that have been previously published online or in print are absolutely eligible for the BRCC–please simply note previously published work on an acknowledgments page. On the other hand, if your chapbook 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 for the BRCC.

  • 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.
  • Prose category: Beginning with the Spring 2019 contest, our category previously titled “fiction” has been re-categorized as “prose” to accommodate fiction, creative non-fiction, lyric essay, and prose hybrid manuscripts. (Chapbooks of prose poems and poetry/prose hybrid projects can be submitted under either poetry or prose, per your preference.)
  • We cannot accept translations for the BRCC.

  The annual deadlines for the prize are May 31 and October 31.

Optional book bundle: Interested in reading a few of our chapbooks while we read yours? Below you will have the option to purchase a bundle of five of our chapbooks, which includes Retribution Binary by Ruth Baumann; Pilgrims: A Love Story by TJ Beitelman; Atlas of the Body by Nicole Cuffy; The Branches, The Axe, The Missing by Charlotte Pence; and Notes on the End of the World by Meghan Privitello. The discounted price of $37.95 for this chap bundle includes the cost of shipping. Purchase not required for submission to the BRCC!

You're in the submission form for prose. (This includes fiction, creative non-fiction, lyric essay, and prose hybrid manuscripts.) If you're intending to submit poetry, please return to the main page and select the poetry category instead. (Chapbooks of prose poems and poetry/prose hybrid projects can be submitted under either poetry or prose, per your preference.)

Twice each year Black Lawrence Press will run the Black River Chapbook Competition for an unpublished chapbook of poems or prose between 16-36 pages in length. The contest is open to new, emerging, and established writers. The winner will receive book publication, a $500 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes are 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 16-36 pages in length (double-spaced for 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, 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.

A note regarding previously published work: Chapbooks containing individual stories or poems that have been previously published online or in print are absolutely eligible for the BRCC–please simply note previously published work on an acknowledgments page. On the other hand, if your chapbook 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 for the BRCC.

  • 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.
  • Prose category: Beginning with the Spring 2019 contest, our category previously titled “fiction” has been re-categorized as “prose” to accommodate fiction, creative non-fiction, lyric essay, and prose hybrid manuscripts. (Chapbooks of prose poems and poetry/prose hybrid projects can be submitted under either poetry or prose, per your preference.)
  • We cannot accept translations for the BRCC.

The annual deadlines for the prize are May 31 and October 31.

Optional book bundle: Interested in reading a few of our chapbooks while we read yours? Below you will have the option to purchase a bundle of five of our chapbooks, which includes Retribution Binary by Ruth Baumann; Pilgrims: A Love Story by TJ Beitelman; Atlas of the Body by Nicole Cuffy; The Branches, The Axe, The Missing by Charlotte Pence; and Notes on the End of the World by Meghan Privitello. The discounted price of $37.95 for this chap bundle includes the cost of shipping. Purchase not required for submission to the BRCC!

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