DEADLINE EXTENDED: 2019 Winter Contest

We’ve decided to extend the deadline for the 2019 Winter Contest to December 30. We hope this will allow some of you a little extra time to submit. Check out these new interviews with Ottessa Moshfegh, our fiction judge, and Ada Calhoun, our nonfiction judge!

The editors of Columbia Journal are delighted to officially announce that the 2019 Winter Contest is now open for submissions in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Our judges this year will be Ruth Madievsky (poetry), Ottessa Moshfegh (fiction), and Ada Calhoun (nonfiction). Submissions open today on Submittable, and the deadline to submit is December 30.

The three 1st place winners of the Winter Contest will be published in print in Columbia Journal Issue 58 in Spring 2020, and will receive a $1,000 cash prize. At least two additional runner-ups will be selected and announced for each genre. There is a $15 entry fee for each submission. You can read the full contest guidelines and more about this year’s judges below.


Meet the Judges

Ruth Madievsky is the author of a poetry collection, “Emergency Brake” (Tavern Books, 2016), winner of the Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series and a Small Press Distribution Top 30 Bestselling Book in any genre of the last several years. Her work appears in The American Poetry Review, Tin House, Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, Poem-a-Day, and elsewhere. She is a founding member of The Cheburashka Collective, a growing community of women and nonbinary writers whose identity has been shaped by immigration from the Soviet Union to the United States. Originally from Moldova, she currently lives in Boston, where she works as an HIV and oncology pharmacist.

Ottessa Moshfegh is a novelist and screenwriter from Massachusetts. She’s the author of four books, most recently the novel My Year of Rest and Relaxation, which was a New York Times bestseller. Her next novel, Death in Her Hands will be published in April.

Ada Calhoun is the author of three nonfiction books: the New York City history St. Marks Is Dead (W.W. Norton, 2015), named a best book of the year by the Boston Globe and Kirkus Reviews; the collection of marriage essays Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give (W.W. Norton, 2017), named one of the top ten memoirs of the year by W; and the Generation X-defining Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis (Grove Atlantic and Audible, 2020). As a freelance reporter, essayist, and critic, she has written for most of the major magazines in the country and many in the U.K., including Cosmopolitan, Glamour, The New Republic, SelfONational Geographic Traveler, the Times Literary Supplement, andBillboard. For the past fifteen years, she’s been a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review.

Contest Guidelines

We accept submissions in the following three categories:
Fiction (up to 5,000 words)
Nonfiction (up to 5,000 words)
Poetry (up to five pages)

Submission Rules
Entry to the 2018 Winter Contest requires a $15 entry fee. Multiple submissions are welcome, but note that the entry fee applies to each submission.
All work must be submitted through Submittable (we will not accept mailed submissions).
All work must be original and previously unpublished in any form.
Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but please inform us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.

We welcome submissions from all nationalities. However, if you have studied or taught at the Columbia University Writing Program at any time in the past three years, you are ineligible to submit to the contest.

If you have questions, please email us at

Photo credit (center): © Jake Belcher

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