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 August, Adam Prince is on board to critique fiction manuscripts. Born and raised in Southern California, Adam earned his B.A. from Vassar College, his M.F.A. from the University of Arkansas, and his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee. His award-winning fiction has appeared in The Missouri Review, The Southern Review, and Narrative Magazine, among others. His debut short story collection The Beautiful Wishes of Ugly Men was published with Black Lawrence Press in June of 2012. He is currently at work on a novel and various screenplays while serving as the Visiting Writer for the Stokes Center for Creative Writing at the University of South Alabama.

Adam is 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, $55
  • Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $225
  • Novellas, up to 100 pages in length, $350
  • Short story collections, up to 180 pages in length, $475
  • Novels, up to 300 pages in length, $725

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 August 31. Adam will complete his work and respond to all participants by September 30.

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Adam's Statement of Purpose

Though my writing education started with the short story, I’ve recently branched out a great deal—into novel writing, creative nonfiction, screenplays, and even some poetry. In all of this, though, my emphasis is narrative. I live in awe of the many various forms stories can take. Often, it’s just a matter of following our stories rather than trying to control them. We think we’re shaping the work, but the work has a shape of its own, if only we can find it.

I don’t believe in rules, but I do believe in choices. Writing any narrative is a series of choices—about who our characters are, about tone, point of view, plot, genre and so on. Many of these may be subconscious, but they’re choices we make all the same.

My Ph.D. helped me learn about the wide variety and deep history of narrative. So, when I’m working through a conundrum in my own work, I can often look into how other writers have tackled similar conundrums. As an editor and teacher of writing, then, I see my role as helping the writer see some of the choices open to them. For the most part, I focus on the bigger picture issues that give a narrative life and shape.

As a reader, my interests tend to vary quite a lot. I love the giant drama of Charles Dickens and Patrick O'brian. I love the quiet precision of Virginia Woolf and James Salter, the sheer mastery of James Baldwin and Alice Munro, the imaginative force of George R.R. Martin and Neil Gaiman, the quirk of Kazuo Ishiguro and George Saunders, the lyrical power of Toni Morrison and Jhumpa Lahiri. And on and on . . .

Really, I can fall in love with any good story, no matter the genre or subject matter. And I don’t believe that my interests need to be your interests. More, I want to help you see what’s happening in your work already, and how you might help it along. I love diving into the guts of a narrative to really see how it's built—and how it might be made even better.

During the month of August, Black Lawrence Press author TJ Beitelman is on board to critique poetry manuscripts.

TJ Beitelman is a writer, teacher, and manuscript consultant living in Birmingham, Alabama. He’s published a novel, John the Revelator, and a collection of short fiction, Communion, as well as three collections of poetry: In Order to Form a More Perfect Union, Americana, and This Is the Story of His Life, all from Black Lawrence Press. His stories and poems have appeared widely in literary magazines, and he’s received fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham. He taught writing and literature at Virginia Tech, where he earned an M.A. in English, and at the University of Alabama, where he earned an M.F.A. in creative writing and also edited Black Warrior Review. He currently directs the creative writing program at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham. 

TJ is accepting everything from individual poems to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

  • Individual Poems, up to 2 pages in length, $25
  • Folios, up to 7 pages in length, not to include more than 5 poems, $55
  • Chapbooks, 16-40 pages in length, $225
  • Full-length collections, 45-80 pages in length $350

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.

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

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TJ's Statement of Purpose

“These are the two forces that form must come to terms with. The imaginative tendency to include everything, through disjunction and wildness, allows all to enter a poem, versus the concentrating gravities of formal control, of will and limits. We must work to lose control when control has become too limiting, just as we must assert more vigorously the presence of choice to counter a too great loss of control. The making of poems is in constant tack between these two poles and there will always be poems that fail in this zigzag sail.”

– Dean Young, from The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction

I agree with Young’s sentiment, and I think the “zigzag sail” is a perfect metaphor for how a poem or a manuscript forges its way into the world. If it was a straight line, we’d all be writing technical manuals. These are some basic elements I consider when I read and respond to poems-in-progress:

Intention. The essential question all readers must ask of what they read—why did I read this? What is it trying to communicate to me?

Form. Line and shape and punctuation are the parameters of a poem. Has this poem found its parameters? Is the poem in a traditional verse form? Free verse? Why?

Sound. What sounds does the poem make and how does it make them? Does it pay proper attention to the rhythms of language? Are there poetic devices such as alliteration/consonance, anaphora/repetition, rhyme, etc.? What affect do they have on the poem’s meaning?

Image. What does the poem help us see? What about the other physical senses? Are those things concrete or abstract? Satisfying or not? Are the metaphors fresh, unique, pertinent?

Language. Does this poem have good words in it? Does the juxtaposition of words create energy and meaning? (That is to say, there’s a difference between “orange juice” and “blood orange,” even though they both contain citric acid and originally come from trees.)

Voice. Does this poem come from an idiosyncratic (original, unique) perspective? All good writing does. Is that idiosyncrasy successfully communicated to the broadest audience possible?

I’ll respond to individual poems and to manuscripts with these elements guiding my commentary, with the overarching goal of reading the work on its own terms. You are, after all, the captain of the ship (to circle back to Young’s maritime metaphor); I aim to be the guy who climbs the mast and shouts “Land ho!”

During the month of August, Jenny Irish is on board to offer feedback on mixed genre & hybrid manuscripts. Jenny is the author of the hybrid poetry collections Common Ancestor (Black Lawrence, 2017) and Tooth Box (Spuyten Duyvil, 2021),  and the short story collection I Am Faithful  (Black Lawrence, 2019). She teaches creative writing at Arizona State University. Jenny is accepting everything from short pieces (up to 2 pages) to full-length manuscripts (up to 200 pages). The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:


 • Short pieces, up to 2 pages in length, $25

 • Folios, up to 7 pages in length, $55

 • Extended pieces/chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $225

 • Short manuscripts, up to 90 pages in length, $350

 • Long manuscripts, up to 200 pages in length, $525


All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.

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


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Jenny Irish's Statement of Purpose

Foundational to my engagement with any manuscript is the understanding that it is a work-in-progress: a space of possibility. Rather than approach a manuscript as a flawed object needing to be fixed, my first priority is to understand the goals of the writing, how those goals are currently being achieved, and then determine how my feedback can help to more fully realize them.

Writing isn’t formulaic, so it’s vital to treat every piece as unique and meet it on its own terms. For example, a non-linear, fragmentary novella is very different than a linear sequence of micro prose pieces. Each unique piece will receive the most benefit from feedback that encourages that particular manuscript to be the strongest version of itself. Working together, our objective is to strengthen, not to “correct” your work.

I don’t seek to primarily draw an author’s attention to what is “flawed,” so much as I read to identify areas where the writing could benefit from more, less, or different. More, less, and different are macro concepts that can help generate useful questions about a piece. Where would the writing benefit from more? This could involve the foreshadowing that makes a revelation feel like a discovery for the reader, as opposed to a manipulation, or, could be about the groundwork for thematic concerns a piece of writing wants to engage, or, an absence of clear motivation. Asking where more is needed can help with cohesion and clarity. Asking where less is needed, can help point to areas where authorial strategies are perhaps being overused, or, a recurring image that appears more than is needed, diluting its effect, or, a situation where an author has written their way into a narrative that actually begins on the third page. Different, can help a writer think about an element that isn’t achieving what it intends, and encourage the consideration of alternatives. This might apply to the relationship between content and form, or the ordering of a sequence.

As well as engaging with a manuscript on a macro level, I will be reading and responding to it on a micro level: at the level of the line—not line editing—but speaking to language and image, the texture and flow created by diction and syntax.

As a writer, I am interested in the vast possibilities for movement and the accumulation of meaning in different structures. My work is narrative, often moves associatively, and draws on a range of genre influences including fiction, poetry, and the essay. I do love a striking sensory detail. I love sound and texture on the page. As a reader, I am often drawn to works that challenge easy genre classification. I enjoy a wide range of aesthetics and read broadly. Some of my recent favorites are The White Book by Han Kang, Spectacle by Susan Steinberg, Many Restless Concerns by Gayle Brandeis, and Not Merely Because of the Unknown that was Stalking Toward Them by Jenny Boully.

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award the St. Lawrence Book Award for an unpublished collection of poetry or prose. The St. Lawrence Book Award is open to any writer who has not yet published a full-length collection in any genre. 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 2021 contest, the St. Lawrence Book Award is judged by a revolving panel of judges, in addition to the Executive Editor and other members of the BLP editorial staff. The judging panel is comprised previous St. Lawrence Book Award Winners, including: Anna B Sutton, Brad Ricca, KMA Sullivan, Kim Sousa, Jason Tandon, Katie Umans, and Leigh Camacho Rourks. 

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 (prose), 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 prose 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, Leigh Camacho Rourks, Jody Chan, Anna B Sutton, Kim Sousa, and Shubha Sunder. Below, you will have the option to purchase a selection of their titles for a discounted fee, which includes the cost of shipping. While authors from around the globe may submit to The St. Lawrence Book Award, these discounted book prices are only available to those with U.S. mailing addresses.

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award the St. Lawrence Book Award for an unpublished collection of poetry or prose. The St. Lawrence Book Award is open to any writer who has not yet published a full-length collection in any genre. 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 2021 contest, the St. Lawrence Book Award is judged by a revolving panel of judges, in addition to the Executive Editor and other members of the BLP editorial staff. The judging panel is comprised previous St. Lawrence Book Award Winners, including: Anna B Sutton, Brad Ricca, KMA Sullivan, Kim Sousa, Jason Tandon, Katie Umans, and Leigh Camacho Rourks.

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 (prose), 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, Leigh Camacho Rourks, Jody Chan, Anna B Sutton, Kim Sousa, and Shubha Sunder. Below, you will have the option to purchase a selection of their titles for a discounted fee, which includes the cost of shipping. While authors from around the globe may submit to The St. Lawrence Book Award, these discounted book prices are only available to those with U.S. mailing addresses.

ABOUT THE PRIZE

The Black Lawrence Press Rhine Translation Prize for a book-length literary translation from German into English celebrates the cultural power of literature in translation, highlights the vital contributions of literature in translation to the English-speaking world, and follows Black Lawrence Press’ history of publishing some of the most important voices in German, Austrian, and Swiss literature. The Prize will be awarded every two years.

The inaugural Rhine Translation Prize will open for submissions on 1 July 2022. The deadline for entries is 31 December 2022.

Entry Fee: $30

The winning translator and author will receive a prize of $1000 (to be shared equally between translator and author––or the author’s estate, unless the work is in the public domain), book publication, and ten copies of the book. Prizes will be awarded upon publication.

Judge and Rhine Translation Prize and Series Editor: Daniele Pantano

Rhine Translation Prize Intern: Jade King

RULES & ELIGIBILITY

1) Translators and authors may be of any nationality.

2) Manuscripts must be original book-length translations. The prize is open to any novel, novella, collection of short stories, collection of poetry, literary nonfiction, or hybrid form(s).

3) Trade, technical, or academic writing, as well as anthologies, are not eligible.

4) Translations-in-progress are not accepted. Only full manuscripts are eligible.

5) It is the translator’s responsibility to secure all relevant and appropriate translation rights.

5) No more than two manuscripts can be submitted per award year and per translator.

6) Only translators who have not previously published with Black Lawrence Press will be considered for the Black Lawrence Rhine Translation Prize and Series.

7) The Judge and Black Lawrence Press Editors reserve the right to choose no translation manuscript for the Rhine Translation Prize and Series during any given award year.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Black Lawrence Press accepts submissions and payment of the entry fee ($30) exclusively through our online submission manager, Submittable. We are not able to accept submissions via email or postal mail.

1) All manuscripts should include a title page, and when appropriate, an acknowledgments page and table of contents.

2) Manuscripts should be paginated and formatted in an easy-to-read font such as Garamond or Times New Roman.

3) Manuscripts should be 70–1,000 pages in length, not including front and back matter (table of contents, title page, etc.).

4) Please include a cover letter containing relevant autobiographical information about the author and the translator and a short description of the manuscript. Please also include a list of the author's published works, if available.

The immigrant narrative is at the heart of the American experiment. However, despite the contributions of immigrants to the cultural, financial, scientific, and artistic makeup of the United States, there is no clear home for new immigrant writings in the United States. To remedy this, Black Lawrence Press proudly announces the Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series, an innovative program designed to provide a home for new immigrant writings in the United States and fill a much needed gap in the American literary community. The Series will remain a self-standing body with complete autonomy within Black Lawrence Press, and its editorial and advisory boards will be composed of immigrant writers and/or authors whose works explore the immigrant experience.

Mission Statement:

The Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series aims to provide a clear and consistent home for new Immigrant Writings in the U.S. Book selections will be made by a four-member editorial board composed of writers in the U.S. who are either immigrants or whose works focus on the immigrant experience. Selections will be based on merit with the goal of publishing the best works by immigrants. Poets and authors, at any stage of their careers, who identify as immigrants are welcome to submit a book manuscript of poetry or prose or a hybrid text for consideration. Submissions are accepted year-round. However, selections are made in June and November for a total of two books per year. In addition to publication, marketing, and a standard royalties contract from Black Lawrence Press, authors chosen for the Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series will receive a travel stipend of $500, which can be used for book tours or in any manner chosen by the authors.

Editorial Board:
Sun Yung Shin
Rigoberto Gonzalez
Ewa Chrusciel
Abayomi Animashaun

Advisory Board:
Barbara Jane Reyes
Ilya Kaminsky
Omofolabo Ajayi-Soyinka
Virgil Suarez

Rules & Eligibility

1. Works by immigrants will be considered for the Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series. 


2. Submission is open to any individual living in the U.S. who identifies as an immigrant and who either (i) was born in another country, (ii) has at least one parent who was born in another country (iii) is a refugee, or (iv) lives in the United States under Asylum or a Protection Program, such as TPS or DACA .

3. No more than two book manuscripts can be submitted per year per author.

4. A third book manuscript submitted in a given year by an author will not be considered for the Writing Series.

5. All manuscripts received after May 31st will be considered for the November Reading Period.

6. All manuscripts received after October 31st  will be considered for the June Reading Period.

7. Only books of poetry, prose (fiction or nonfiction), and hybrid texts of poetry and prose will be considered for the Writing Series.

8. An author whose book manuscript has previously been selected for the Writing Series and published through Black Lawrence Press will not be considered a second time for the Series. However, the author in question is welcome to send new book manuscripts to Black Lawrence Press (BLP) for consideration during BLP’s June and November Open Reading Periods.

9. Only authors who have not previously published with Black Lawrence Press will be considered for the Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series.

10. Aside from Rules 1 through 9, there are no conditions for submitting manuscripts.

11. There are no entry fees.

12. Submissions are accepted year-round.

*13. Only one book manuscript will be selected for the June Reading Period, and only one book manuscript will be selected for the November Reading Period, for a total of two books per year. (* If no book manuscript is chosen for a June Reading Period, the Series Editors reserve the right to choose two book manuscripts (instead of one) in the November Reading Period immediately following the June Reading Period in question)

14. The Series Editors reserve the right to choose no book manuscript for the Writing Series during any given year or any Reading Period.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do you define an immigrant?
Anyone who identifies as an immigrant and who either (i) was born in another country, (ii) has at least one parent who was born in another country, (iii) is a refugee, or (iv) lives in the United States under Asylum or a Protection Program, such as TPS or DACA

2.  I live outside the United States, can I submit my work?
No, immigrant authors must be living in the United States when they submit their work for consideration

3. Can I submit an anthology for consideration?
No, anthologies will not be considered for the Writing Series. However, Black Lawrence Press (BLP) welcomes proposals for anthologies during its June and November Open Reading Periods

4. Are collaborations welcome?
No, works should be by one author only. However, collaborations are welcome during BLP’s June and November Open Reading Periods

5. Are BLP’s June & November Open Reading Periods the same as those of the Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series?
No, these are different and distinct programs within the Press. While the readings occur concurrently, The Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series is a self-standing entity with its own eligibility and rules and editorial and advisory boards. The editorial board, composed of immigrant authors, has complete autonomy in selecting book manuscripts for the Writing Series. Each year, these editors recommend up to two books for publication through Black Lawrence Press. Please see the program’s mission statement , rules and eligibility, and bylaws.

6. How many book manuscripts can I submit in a given year?
Only two book manuscripts will be considered each year per author

7. Can I submit two book manuscripts in different genres?
No, each author can submit no more than two manuscripts in a given year, regardless of genre

8. I am an immigrant and I have two book manuscripts, can I submit both at once or at different times of the year?
Yes. Each author is welcome to submit a maximum of two books per year either together or at different times in the given year

9. It’s the end of June or November and there’s been no announcement yet on the manuscript selected for the Writing Series. What’s going on?
Thanks for your patience. The four-member editorial board will announce the selected manuscript as soon as they’ve made a decision. That said, the editors also reserve the right to choose no manuscript during a reading period.

10. I have other questions not addressed here. Who should I contact with my questions?
Please send questions to immigrantwritingseries@blacklawrencepress.com. 

You may send an email to the same address to request a copy of the Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series bylaws.

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