2020 Winter Contest Submission Guidelines

The Columbia Journal editors are excited to announce that the 2020 Winter Contest is now officially open for submissions in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and, new for this year, translation. We welcome you to submit your strongest work for a chance to be published in print. We’re especially looking for work that’s formally intriguing or globally minded, as we look to new, more inclusive futures for all of humanity on the horizon.

The four 1st place winners of the Winter Contest will each receive a $500 cash prize and will be published in the Columbia Journal‘s Issue 59, set for a Spring 2021 release. Two additional runner-ups will be selected for print 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.

Judging this year’s submissions are:

  • Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen (FICTION)
  • New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentino (NONFICTION)
  • NEA fellow and Whiting Award winner Roger Reeves (POETRY)
  • NEA fellow Sawako Nakayasu (TRANSLATION)

Submissions open today, November 15, through Submittable. The deadline to submit is December 15.

Contest Guidelines

We accept submissions in the following categories:

  • Fiction (up to 5,000 words)
  • Nonfiction (up to 5,000 words)
  • Poetry (up to five pages)
  • Translation (up to 5,000 words or five pages of poetry, with the original text, and written permission from the work’s original author/publisher)

Submission Rules

  • Entry to the 2020 Winter Contest requires a $15 entry fee. Multiple submissions are welcome, but note that the entry fee applies to individual submissions.
  • All work must be submitted through Submittable (mailed submissions will automatically be disqualified).
  • All work must be original and previously unpublished in any form.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, anyone who has studied or taught at the Columbia University Writing Program at any time in the past five years is ineligible to be considered for publication.

Email any questions to info@columbiajournal.org

Click on the button below to submit.


Meet Our Judges

Viet Thanh Nguyen is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Refugees, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, The Sympathizer, and its forthcoming sequel, The Committed (March 2021)

Jia Tolentino is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of the essay collection Trick Mirror.

Sawako Nakayasu is an artist who works with language, translation, and performance. She is the author of /The Ants/, /Mouth: Eats Color/, and /Costume en Face/. Her most recent book, /Some Girls Walk Into the Country They Are From/, was published in October, 2020.

Roger Reeves’ poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review, Best American Poetry, Ploughshares, Tin House, among other publications. Reeves is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize as well as a Whiting Award in Poetry. His first book is King Me, published in 2013, and his second collection of poetry is forthcoming from W.W. Norton.