Our annual summer creative nonfiction contest runs May 15 to August 1. This year's contest is judged by Melissa Febos! See full details below.


We're currently closed to general submissions, on our annual summer hiatus. We're working to get decisions back to those who submitted and appreciate your patience. As always, general submissions will reopen in September and will remain fee-free. In the meanwhile, please consider supporting us by ordering a copy or subscription! 

Prairie Schooner’s  intention is to publish the best writing available, both from beginning  and established writers. We publish short stories, poems, interviews, imaginative essays of  general interest, and reviews of current books of poetry and fiction.  Scholarly articles requiring footnote references should be submitted to  journals of literary scholarship.

We do not read simultaneous submissions, except in the case of contest submissions, and submissions must be received  between September 1 and May 1. We do not consider  work that has been previously published anywhere, including online  publications. We read as quickly as we can, but please allow 3-4 months for a reply. (We know, we're a little behind, and we're grateful for your patience!)

In principle, Prairie Schooner has no objections to the use of pseudonyms, but we require disclosure of their use to the editor before publication.

We encourage you to read Prairie Schooner before you submit. Sample copies are available below for just $6.00. There's never a fee to submit to our general reading period, and we're grateful for the support we receive through donations and orders.

Looking for the Prairie Schooner Book Prize Contest? For the sake of confidentiality, it's totally separate from normal submissions. Open annually from January 15 to March 15, for collections of short fiction and poetry, the fee to submit is $25, and the prize is $3k and publication through the University of Nebraska Press. Read more: https://prairieschoonerbookprizeseries.submittable.com/submit


Looking for the African Poetry Book Fund's Sillerman First Book Prize? It's also entirely separate, and it opens September 15 to submissions of book-length manuscripts by African poets who have not yet published a full-length collection. Read more: https://africanpoetrybookfund.submittable.com/submit

Ends on August 1, 2019$20.00 - 40.00
$20.00 - 40.00

Our annual summer nonfiction contest opens May 15 to all types of creative nonfiction essays up to 5,000 words. The  entry fee is $20 and includes a copy of the Spring 2020 issue of Prairie Schooner, in which the winning essay will appear. 

Our guest  judge, Melissa Febos, will name a winner and finalist. The winner will receive $500 and publication in our Spring 2020 issue.

Entries will consist of three parts: a cover letter, the essay manuscript, and the entry fee.

Cover Letter: In the cover letter, include the submission's title and your  contact information, including e-mail address, phone number, and mailing address. Your name and contact info must not appear  anywhere within the manuscript itself (double-check headers and footers!).

Essay Manuscript: The contest is open to all types of creative nonfiction essays up to 5,000 words. We're interested in reading imaginative essays of general interest. (Scholarly articles requiring footnote references should be submitted to journals of literary scholarship.) Manuscripts should be double-spaced and use a standard font, and, again, the submitter's name and contact info should not appear within the manuscript itself.

Entry Fee: Each submission must be accompanied by the $20.00 fee, which includes a copy of the Spring 2020 issue of Prairie Schooner, in which the winning essay will appear.

Multiple submissions are welcome and encouraged, but a separate entry fee must accompany each submission. 


More about our guest judge:

Melissa Febos is the author of the memoir Whip Smart (St. Martin’s Press, 2010) and the essay collection Abandon Me (Bloomsbury, 2017), which was a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist, a Publishing Triangle Award finalist, and an Indie Next Pick, and was widely named a Best Book of 2017. Her third book, Girlhood, is forthcoming in 2020. Febos is the inaugural winner of the Jeanne Córdova Nonfiction Award from LAMBDA Literary and the recipient of the 2017 Sarah Verdone Writing Award from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She has been awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, the Barbara Deming Memorial Foundation, the BAU Institute, and Ragdale. The recipient of an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and an Associate Professor and Graduate Director at Monmouth University, her work has recently appeared in Tin House, Granta, the Believer, the Sewanee Review, and the New York Times. She lives in Brooklyn.

PRAIRIE SCHOONER: fifteen letters, endless possibilities.

two tshirts 


Celebrate the wild variety of all that is Prairie Schooner with one of our supersoft new anagram tees, designed in-house and hand-screened at a local shop. 


Choose from a heather blue with harvest gold lettering or from heather gray with gold. Gildan brand "supersoft" T-shirts in unisex sizes. True to size, and our staff reports no noticeable shrinkage upon washing. 


T-shirts are $18, which includes shipping. Or better yet, buy a T-shirt and a one-year subscription of four issues (normally $28) for $35 and save $11. (If you're placing an international order, please select the "international shipping" add-on payment option to help offset the cost of shipping.) 


Text reads: REPROACH IRONIES / ICIER HARPOONERS / A RICHER POISONER / SIREN OPERA CHOIR / PRAIRIE SCHOONER / A RIPE RHINOCEROS / CHAPERONE OR IRIS / A HEROIC PRISONER / CHEERIO AIR PERSON

Our readers' loyal support and enthusiasm for what we do is why we're able to keep producing one of the oldest literary magazines in the country. 

Consider making a donation to support our ongoing mission to bring great work from around the world out into the world. 

$28.00 - 65.00
$28.00 - 65.00

Now in our 93rd year of continuous publication, Prairie Schooner seeks to publish the best in contemporary poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and reviews. 


A one-year subscription includes 4 issues of the journal and will begin with the next issue. Select a two- or three-year subscription for an even better rate!




Prairie Schooner seeks to publish the best in contemporary poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and reviews. 

Volume 93, issue 1, features the essay "Terms of Venery" by Christine G. Adams, winner of our 2018 Summer Creative Nonfiction Contest judged by Carmen Maria Machado, along with poems from Samuel Green, Kelli Russell Agodon, p.e. garcia, Rasaq Malik, Linda Neal, Tresha Faye Haefner, fiction from X.C. Atkins and Heather Wells Peterson, essays by Kate Ryan and Michael Agugom, and more. It ships in late March.

Now in our 90th year of continuous publication, Prairie Schooner seeks to publish the best in contemporary poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and reviews. 

We've got years of great issues full of excellent writing, whether you want that one essay by your favorite writer in print or just want a taste of what we're all about. 

PRAIRIE SCHOONER: Cheers to 90 more!


two male models in PS shirts 


To celebrate our 90th birthday, we designed these anniversary raglan tees with a throwback baseball script, hand-printed at a local shop. It's worth noting that most of us look much happier wearing them than these models do. 

Choose from a heather charcoal with black sleeves and red lettering or light heather gray with red sleeves and black lettering. American Apparel baseball T-shirts in unisex sizes. Super soft, true to size, and our staff reports no noticeable shrinkage upon washing. 

T-shirts are $22, which includes shipping. (If you're placing an international order, please select the "international shipping" add-on payment option to help offset the cost of shipping.) 

Please select your size from the available sizes below. (We're sorry that we're sold out in a few sizes. If you're looking to rock your PS pride in a different size, check out our brand new Anagrams shirt design!)




We seek engaging reviews that articulate in a clear voice ideas of craft but also of literary context and/or place the work in our socio-political present. We appreciate reviews that begin by establishing a context the work can be understood within, and we appreciate when the reviewer can step out of the way so that the review is dominated by a discussion of the book, and not a discussion of opinions and impressions--though we do, ultimately, want to see some kind of judgement.

We are particularly interested in reviews of books that can fairly be called diverse--we aim to publish a range of reviewers on a range of authors in each issue--and in reviews of authors' first books or recent translations. Books should be no more than eighteen months old by the time of publication (note that with our publication cycle, we are often reading to fill issues for two-three seasons from the time of submission). Reviews may consider a single book or take up two or three books together.

No previously published work, please. 

If you'd like to pitch us before writing the review, you're welcome to do so through this form, but please note that even if the pitch interests us, we can't offer publication until we've seen the full review.

Formatting: 

Reviews should be no longer than 1,000 words, double-spaced, and formatted using a standard font.

Please include the following information at the top of the review:

[Writer's Name]. [Title of book being reviewed]. [Press Name].
Reviewed by [Reviewer's Name]



Prairie Schooner