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 March, 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 March 31. Louella will complete her work and respond to all participants by April 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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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 March 31, 2019$10.00 - 250.00
$10.00 - 250.00

During the month of March, Black Lawrence Press author David Rigsbee is on board to critique poetry manuscripts. David, the author of 21 books and chapbooks, has been recipient of two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has appeared in AGNI, The American Poetry Review, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, The Ohio Review, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, The Sewanee Review, The Southern Review, and many others.

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

  • Individual Poems, up to 2 pages in length, $10
  • Folios, up to 7 pages in length, not to include more than 5 poems, $30
  • Chapbooks, 16-40 pages in length, $150
  • Full-length collections, 45-80 pages in length $250

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is March 31. David will complete his work and respond to all participants by April 30.

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David Rigsbee's Statement of Purpose

Poems begin in subjectivity, in what Yeats memorably called “the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.” But they can’t remain there and be poems. Because their origin is in the poet’s particular experience—imaginative, emotional, expressive—they have to be transformed into speech acts, or better still, into song. The transformation can be daunting. This is where the poet’s work comes in, and I believe that work benefits considerably from collaborative thinking that involves ways to use and enhance poetic intelligence, from word-choice and image, to acoustic and metrical composition, to architectural development and closure. I also believe the specific skills to accomplish that work can be passed on from poet to poet.

In my consultations, I try to help poets identify and take advantage of the opportunities—rhetorical, stylistic, musical, metaphorical—inherent in early drafts. I like to encourage thinking about poems as rhetorical performances intended to invite readers into the suggestive spaces a poem provides. At the same time I’m interested in understanding the difference between poems that work toward a resonant simplicity and those that, in Linda Gregg’s phrase, “tap-dance” and so often skirt the deeper commitments good work requires.

I want to make sure that structure and detail are crafted, sturdy, precise, and aesthetically compelling. Russell Edson once said that “of all the things that could have happened, this is the very thing that happens.” An unfinished poem can go in many directions, but in the end it only goes in one—one that turns both inwardlly, acknowledging its origins (the rag-and-bones) and outwardly, as it hooks up with the larger world. Contemporary poets whose work I follow, read, and reread include Gerald Stern, Jorie Graham, Terrance Hayes, Robert Pinsky, and Robert Hass, to name just a few.

Ends on March 31, 2019$25.00
$25.00

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Hudson Prize for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes awarded on publication. 

All entries read blind by our panel of editors. 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 (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. You are welcome to include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note, 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: Manuscripts containing individual stories or poems that have been previously published online or in print are absolutely eligible–please simply note previously published work on an acknowledgments page. On the other hand, if your manuscript 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.

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.

Please enter fiction submissions here. The annual deadline for the prize is March 31.

The past winners of The Hudson Prize are Jo Neace Krause, Daniel Chacón, Abayomi Animashaun, Patrick Michael Finn, Sarah Suzor, B. C. Edwards, Jacob M. Appel, Bettina Judd, Matthew Cheney, Gillian Cummings, Caroline Cabrera, Beth Mayer, and Alan Chazaro. Below, you will have the option to purchase a selection of their titles for a discounted fee, which includes the cost of shipping.

Ends on March 31, 2019$25.00
$25.00

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Hudson Prize for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes awarded on publication. 

All entries read blind by our panel of editors. 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 (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. You are welcome to include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note, 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: Manuscripts containing individual stories or poems that have been previously published online or in print are absolutely eligible–please simply note previously published work on an acknowledgments page. On the other hand, if your manuscript 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.

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.

Please enter poetry submissions here. The annual deadline for the prize is March 31.

The past winners of The Hudson Prize are Jo Neace Krause, Daniel Chacón, Abayomi Animashaun, Patrick Michael Finn, Sarah Suzor, B. C. Edwards, Jacob M. Appel, Bettina Judd, Matthew Cheney, Gillian Cummings, Caroline Cabrera, Beth Mayer, and Alan Chazaro. Below, you will have the option to purchase a selection of their titles for a discounted fee, which includes the cost of shipping.

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