Ends on August 1, 2019

$20.00 USD, $40.00 USD

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.