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$20.00 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 2022 issue of Prairie Schooner, in which the winning essay will appear. 

The winner will receive $500 and publication in our Spring 2022 issue


Our guest judge is Dunya Mikhail whose nonfiction book, The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq, was a finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award and long-listed for the National Book Award. Mikhail's poetry books include In Her Feminine Sign, selected as the Wild Card Choice (UK) and chosen by The New York Public Library as one of the ten best poetry books of 2019; The Iraqi Nights; Diary of A Wave Outside the Sea, which won the Arab American Book Award; and The War Works Hard, shortlisted for the Griffon Poetry Prize and named one of the New York Public Library’s Twenty-Five Books to Remember from 2005. She also edited a pamphlet of Iraqi poetry titled 15 Iraqi Poets. Her honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, United States Artists Fellowship, a Knights Foundation grant, a Kresge Fellowship, and the United Nations Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing. 


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 2022 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. 



We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.