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 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.

Ends on $25.00 - 700.00
$25.00 - 700.00

During the month of June, Black Lawrence Press author John Mauk is on board to critique fiction manuscripts. 

John Mauk has a PhD in English from Bowling Green State University and a Masters from the University of Toledo. His stories have appeared or been accepted in a range of fine magazines such as Arts & Letters, Salamander, Bull, and New Millennium Writings. He has also contributed essays to online magazines, including Writer’s Digest, Beatrice.com, Three Guys One Book, The Portland Book Review, and Rumpus. His first short collection, The Rest of Us, won Michigan Writer’s Cooperative Press chapbook contest. His first full collection, Field Notes for the Earthbound, is available on Black Lawrence Press. 

John is accepting everything from flash fiction to novels for critique. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are 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 June 30. John will complete his work and respond to all participants by July 31 .


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John's Statement of Purpose


Fiction writing is ballet on a tightrope. It’s fancy dancing on a super-slim line. All decisions and effort must blur away so the story itself becomes more alluring than the world beyond it. After all, readers are inclined toward the physical world: the one with air, water, food, friends, and cell phones. It takes immense energy and focus to make a story work—really work—so readers decide to ignore everything else. In short, no writer should go it alone.

Every writer I know calls upon comrades—mentors, peers, friends, and spouses—to read and review. Successful writers are often insatiable workshoppers. But even with consistent up-close readers, we all benefit from an occasional faraway voice, someone both unfamiliar but invested—someone who’s detached but totally willing to help.

I’m willing to help. I consider myself a perpetual student of fiction. I’ve been studying, reading, and writing for years and still have consistent eureka moments about the craft. While every story has its own origin, nearly everything I write goes through a range of steps (or eras, depending) that go something like this: wonder, begin, doubt, continue, doubt, believe, revise, celebrate, love, hate, revise. With all these steps—and the possible ways to stumble or fall—I try to apply consistent principles. As writer and reader, I ask two basic questions. If I know the answer to the first, I begin working on the second:

·      What do the characters yearn for or need?

·      How can each scene fully render that yearning or need?

These questions and the issues they kick up constitute most of my work. If the main characters’ yearning (in whatever form) is palpable, I’ve got a story. If each scene fully renders out that yearning, I’ve probably got a good story. From there, I can ask two more elemental questions:

·      Does the voice of the narrator keep us committed to the characters?

·      Does the pace of the narration keep us committed to the characters?

Of course, there are more issues, thousands of more cerebral concerns about plot, setting, syntax, and narrator placement. But the above four questions get at the crucial layers. As a reader, I’ll apply these questions to your manuscript. I’ll offer scene-by-scene comments—my response to each development in the story. I’ll say what makes me hope, wonder, worry, and cheer. I’ll offer suggestions for intensifying and attenuating—calling forward and toning down. And I’ll always say what I think the story is doing best. I look forward to reading whatever you might send.

During the month of June, Black Lawrence Press author Jenny Drai is on board to critique mixed genre and hybrid manuscripts. Jenny is the author of three collections of poetry, two poetry chapbooks, and an award-winning novella. Her prose and poetry have been published or are forthcoming in numerous print and online journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, American Letters and Commentary, Banango Street, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, OmniVerse, and Pleiades.

Jenny is accepting everything from short 2-page pieces of work to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

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

• Medium piece, up to 10 pages in length, $40

• Long pieces, up to 20 pages in length, $50

• Extended pieces/chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $195

• Short manuscripts, up to 90 pages in length, $325

• Long manuscripts, up to 200 pages in length, $500

All manuscripts should be double-spaced and formatted in 12-point font. 

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is June 30. Jenny will complete her work and respond to all participants by July 31.

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Jenny Drai's Statement of Purpose

Every piece of writing builds a world, and when I read your manuscript, my first task will be to gain an understanding of the world you are building in order to help you fully flesh out its parameters. Story (regardless of genre), a focus on style and form, a sense of urgency, and the very real sense of thinking, feeling human beings behind the words on the page are all things I look for and edit with a mind toward strengthening. Along those lines, questions I ask hybrid manuscripts include:

· how and why does this piece/these pieces play with the idea of genre and to what overall effect?

· are all ideas fully developed?

· are form and content working together to create a seamless whole?

· is the work structurally sound? (in other words, is everything in the right place, or, conversely, is anything missing?)

· does the writing itself hold my attention?

In terms of my own reading habits, I am somewhat eclectic but am most drawn to literary writing that grabs my attention, defies convention, or surprises me in some way. Often, for me, it is not the subject matter itself that determines how I respond to a work, rather how the story is told. That being said, I have a huge soft spot for writing that connects to fairy tales or mythology from any and all cultural backgrounds.

PLEASE NOTE: I appreciate content warnings for work that includes graphic depictions of suicide.

During the month of June, Black Lawrence Press author Enzo Silon Surin is on board to critique poetry manuscripts. 

Haitian-born poet, educator, speaker, publisher and social advocate, Enzo is the author of When My Body Was A Clinched Fist and two chapbooks, A Letter of Resignation: An American Libretto and Higher Ground. He is a PEN New England Celebrated New Voice in Poetry, the recipient of a Brother Thomas Fellowship from The Boston Foundation and a 2020 Denis Diderot [A-i-R] Grant as an Artist-in-Residence at Chateau d’Orquevaux in Orquevaux, France. Surin’s work gives voice to experiences that take place in what he calls “broken spaces” and his poems have been featured in numerous publications and exhibits. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, teaches creative writing and literature at Bunker Hill Community College and is Founding Editor and Publisher at Central Square Press.

Enzo is accepting single poems, folios, chapbooks, and full-length collections for critique. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

  • Individual Poems, up to 2 pages in length, $20
  • Folios, up to 7 pages in length, not to include more than 5 poems, $50
  • Chapbooks, 16-40 pages in length, $195
  • Full-length collections, 45-80 pages in length $325

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font. The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is June 30. Enzo will complete his work and respond to all participants by July 31.

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Enzo Silon Surin's Statement of Purpose

As a poet, it is incredibly important for the work on the page to exhibit different points of access for a reader to enter. This access can be made possible by using lyrical strategies and figurative language that strike a balance between the inner and outer world the poet tries to convey. However, it is much easier said than done. The process of transcribing the narrative playing out in one’s own mind is challenging because the mind is often a deceiver. As such, what you end up with on the page might only seem like the version you have in your head. This makes not only writing the poem a tough process to navigate alone but also presents many challenges to revising such work.

My role as a consultant will be to help each poem reach its full potential by interrogating its lines for both purpose and promise. This means I will offer guidance and specific strategies that will help to propel the work forward while maintaining the poet’s voice. As part of the process, I will help you to determine what needs to be revised, what needs to stay and what needs to be removed altogether. We might differ in a line’s intended meaning and role in the poem but know that every comment and suggestion will be made with your and the poem’s best interest at heart.

Abstract

Mamas, Martyrs, and Jezebels: Myths, Legends, and Other Lies You've Been Told about Black Women revisits notions of Black womanhood to include the ways in which Black women's perceived strength can function as a dangerous denial of Black women's humanity. This collection addresses the stigma of this extraordinary endurance in professional and personal spaces, the Black church, in interpersonal partnerships, and within the justice arena, while also giving voice and value to Black women's experiences as the backbone of the Black family and community.

Call for Submissions:

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

Writers and scholars living in the United States and abroad are invited to submit essays of between 700-5000 words for the anthology on any of the following broad themes. (Other themes will be considered.)

1. Black Women and Justice

2. Black Women and Self-Care

3. Black Women and Spirituality

4. Black Women at Work and at Home

5. Black Women and Sex (and Sexuality)

Essays can be creative or academic. However, essays have to be accessible since the anthology is for a general audience.

Drs. Jan Boulware, Rondrea Mathis, Clarissa West-White, and Kideste Yusef of Bethune-Cookman University will serve as editors.

Submissions will be accepted through June 30, 2021. Contributors will receive a copy of the anthology as payment.

Previously published essays are welcome. Please contact Dr. Clarissa West-White at whitec@cookman.edu with questions.

Ends on $12.00
$12.00

Black Lawrence Press welcomes proposals for bold and engaging anthologies that have the potential of contributing to our understanding of literature and the genres within it. Proposals by and/or about historically marginalized groups are especially encouraged.

Please include bios for the anthology editor(s), an abstract and proposed outline, and sample selections. Manuscripts should be paginated and formatted in an easy-to-read font such as Garamond or Times New Roman. 

Black Lawrence Press is happy to select many of our titles through our twice-annual Open Reading Periods in June and November. We ask all submitters to select one Black Lawrence Press publication at a discounted price ($12, including shipping for print editions). Proceeds from the open reading period will go directly back into supporting the activities of the press.

Submit biography and cultural studies manuscripts to our open reading period here.

All manuscripts should include a title page (including your name and contact info), 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. Biography & Cultural Studies submissions should be double-spaced and 45-500 pages in length. Please include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.

Black Lawrence Press is happy to select many of our titles through our twice-annual Open Reading Periods in June and November. We ask all submitters to select one Black Lawrence Press publication at a discounted price ($12, including shipping for print editions). Proceeds from the open reading period will go directly back into supporting the activities of the press.

Ends on $12.00
$12.00

Submit creative nonfiction manuscripts to our open reading period here.

All manuscripts should include a title page (including your name and contact info), 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. Creative Nonfiction submissions should be double-spaced and 45-500 pages in length. Please include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.

Black Lawrence Press is happy to select many of our titles through our twice-annual Open Reading Periods in June and November. We ask all submitters to select one Black Lawrence Press publication at a discounted price ($12, including shipping for print editions). Proceeds from the open reading period will go directly back into supporting the activities of the press.

Ends on $12.00
$12.00

Submit novels to our open reading period here.

All manuscripts should include a title page (including your name and contact info), 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. Novel submissions should be double-spaced and 120-500 pages in length. Please include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.

Black Lawrence Press is happy to select many of our titles through our twice-annual Open Reading Periods in June and November. We ask all submitters to select one Black Lawrence Press publication at a discounted price ($12, including shipping for print editions). Proceeds from the open reading period will go directly back into supporting the activities of the press.

Ends on $12.00
$12.00

Submit novellas to our open reading period here.

All manuscripts should include a title page (including your name and contact info), 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. Novella submissions should be double-spaced and 50-110 pages in length. Please include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.

Black Lawrence Press is happy to select many of our titles through our twice-annual Open Reading Periods in June and November. We ask all submitters to select one Black Lawrence Press publication at a discounted price ($12, including shipping for print editions). Proceeds from the open reading period will go directly back into supporting the activities of the press.

Ends on $12.00
$12.00

Submit poetry chapbooks to our open reading period here. (Chapbooks of prose poems and poetry/prose hybrid projects can be submitted under either poetry or prose, per your preference.) Chapbooks should be 16-36 pages in length.

*Please note: if you have submitted this same chapbook manuscript to the Black River Chapbook Competition that has just closed, there is no need to re-submit during the Open Reading Period.  

All manuscripts should include a title page (listing only the title of the work), table of contents (if applicable), 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, not including front and back matter (table of contents, title page, etc.). Please include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable.

  • 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 during a given open reading period) are permitted, however we recommend you allow us to read only one manuscript from you at a time.
  • Collaborative collections are welcome.
  • Hybrid/multi-genre submissions are also welcome; please enter under the submission category that best fits your work.
  • We will consider submissions including visual art (i.e. interior illustrations or photographs), but please note we do not regularly publish chapbooks with interior art. Please do not include suggested cover artwork with your submission.

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 consideration–please simply note previously published work on an acknowledgments page. On the other hand, if your chapbook–or a significant portion of the work included in your chapbook–has been previously published as a book or chapbook-length 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 consideration.

Black Lawrence Press is happy to select many of our titles through our twice-annual Open Reading Periods in June and November. We ask all submitters to select one Black Lawrence Press publication at a discounted price ($12, including shipping for print editions). Proceeds from the open reading period will go directly back into supporting the activities of the press.

Ends on $12.00
$12.00

Submit prose chapbooks (fiction, creative non-fiction, lyric essay, and prose hybrid) to our open reading period here. (Chapbooks of prose poems and poetry/prose hybrid projects can be submitted under either poetry or prose, per your preference.) Chapbooks should be 16-36 pages in length, double-spaced.

*Please note: if you have submitted this same chapbook manuscript to the Black River Chapbook Competition that has just closed, there is no need to re-submit during the Open Reading Period.  

All manuscripts should include a title page (listing only the title of the work), table of contents (if applicable), and when appropriate, an acknowledgments page. Manuscripts should be 16-36 pages in length (double-spaced for fiction and creative non-fiction), not including front and back matter (table of contents, title page, etc.). Please include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable.

  • 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 during a given open reading period) are permitted, however we recommend you allow us to read only one manuscript from you at a time.
  • Collaborative collections are welcome.
  • Hybrid/multi-genre submissions are also welcome; please enter under the submission category that best fits your work.
  • We will consider submissions including visual art (i.e. interior illustrations or photographs), but please note we do not regularly publish chapbooks with interior art. Please do not include suggested cover artwork with your submission.

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 consideration–please simply note previously published work on an acknowledgments page. On the other hand, if your chapbook–or a significant portion of the work included in your chapbook–has been previously published as a book or chapbook-length 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 consideration.

Black Lawrence Press is happy to select many of our titles through our twice-annual Open Reading Periods in June and November. We ask all submitters to select one Black Lawrence Press publication at a discounted price ($12, including shipping for print editions). Proceeds from the open reading period will go directly back into supporting the activities of the press.

Submit full length poetry collections to our open reading period here.

All manuscripts should include a title page (including your name and contact info), 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. Full-length poetry collection submissions should be 45-120 pages in length. Please include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.

Black Lawrence Press is happy to select many of our titles through our twice-annual Open Reading Periods in June and November. We ask all submitters to select one Black Lawrence Press publication at a discounted price ($12, including shipping for print editions). Proceeds from the open reading period will go directly back into supporting the activities of the press.

Submit short story collections to our open reading period here.

All manuscripts should include a title page (including your name and contact info), 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. Full-length short story collection submissions should be double-spaced and 90-300 pages in length. Please include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.

Black Lawrence Press is happy to select many of our titles through our twice-annual Open Reading Periods in June and November. We ask all submitters to select one Black Lawrence Press publication at a discounted price ($12, including shipping for print editions). Proceeds from the open reading period will go directly back into supporting the activities of the press.

Ends on $12.00
$12.00

Black Lawrence Press publishes translations from German and French. Submit translations to our open reading period here.

All manuscripts should include a title page (including your name and contact info), 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. Please include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere. 

Black Lawrence Press is happy to select many of our titles through our twice-annual Open Reading Periods in June and November. We ask all submitters to select one Black Lawrence Press publication at a discounted price ($12, including shipping for print editions). Proceeds from the open reading period will go directly back into supporting the activities of the press.

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. 

All entries will be 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. 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.

Manuscripts should be 120-280 pages in length, not including front and back matter (table of contents, title page, etc.). 

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.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Submit your manuscript by June 30 and enjoy a $5 discount on the entry fee!

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, and Kim Sousa. 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 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. 

All entries will be 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. 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.

Manuscripts should be 45-90 pages in length, not including front and back matter (table of contents, title page, etc.). 

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.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Submit your manuscript by June 30 and enjoy a $5 discount on the entry fee!

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, and Kim Sousa. 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.

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