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 in 4 days, 14 hours $15.00 - 700.00
$15.00 - 700.00

During the month of May, Black Lawrence Press author Adrian Van Young is on board to critique your in-progress works of fiction. Adrian, who won the St. Lawrence Book Award with his short story collection The Man Who Noticed Everything, teaches creative writing at Tulane University.

This month's program is open to a wide variety of fiction manuscripts. The fees and page length parameters are as follows:

  • Flash fiction, up to 2 pages in length, $15
  • Short stories, up to 20 pages in length, $45
  • Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $150
  • Short story collections, up to 180 pages in length, $350
  • Novellas, up to 100 pages in length, $250
  • Novels, up to 300 pages in length, $700

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

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is May 31. Adrian will complete his work and respond to all participants by June 30.

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

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.

You're in the submission form for poetry. If you're intending to submit fiction, please return to the main page and select the fiction category instead.

Twice each year Black Lawrence Press will run the Black River Chapbook Competition for an unpublished chapbook of poems or short fiction 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.
  • 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 The Branches, The Axe, The Missing by Charlotte Pence; Purgatory by Amelia Martens; Radio Silence by Philip Schaefer and Jeff Whitney; In the Carnival of Breathing by Lisa Fay Coutley; and [ G A T E S ] by Sahar Muradi. 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 fiction. If you're intending to submit poetry, please return to the main page and select the poetry category instead.

Twice each year Black Lawrence Press will run the Black River Chapbook Competition for an unpublished chapbook of poems or short fiction 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.
  • 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 The Branches, The Axe, The Missing by Charlotte Pence; Purgatory by Amelia Martens; Radio Silence by Philip Schaefer and Jeff Whitney; In the Carnival of Breathing by Lisa Fay Coutley; and [ G A T E S ] by Sahar Muradi. 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 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.