Winter Contest

We are accepting submissions for our 2016 Winter Contest from October 3rd at 12AM EST until December 12th at 12PM EST. The winners in each category—fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—will receive cash prizes of $500 and have their winning works published in the print edition of the journal, which comes out in the spring.

Contest results and Winners will be announced in February.


See below for information on our judges and submission instructions.

Roxane Gay
Fiction Judge

Roxanne Gay, author

Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, and Difficult Women and Hunger forthcoming in 2017. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel.


Eula Biss
Nonfiction Judge

Eula Biss

Eula Biss is the author, most recently, of On Immunity: An Inoculation, which was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2014 by the New York Times Book Review. Her second book, Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism in 2010. Her first book, The Balloonists, was published by Hanging Loose Press in 2002. Her writing has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Howard Foundation Fellowship, an NEA Literature Fellowship, and a Jaffe Writers’ Award. She holds a B.A. in nonfiction writing from Hampshire College and a M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa. Her essays have recently appeared in The Believer, Harper’s, and The New York Times Magazine.

Mary Ruefle
Poetry Judge

Mary Ruefle, author

Mary Ruefle is the author of My Private Property (forthcoming from Wave Books, 2016), Trances of the Blast (Wave Books, 2013), Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures (Wave Books, 2012), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, and Selected Poems (Wave Books, 2010), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has published ten books of poetry, a book of prose (The Most of It, Wave Books, 2008), and a comic book, Go Home and Go to Bed!, (Pilot Books/Orange Table Comics, 2007); she is also an erasure artist, whose treatments of nineteenth century texts have been exhibited in museums and galleries, and published in A Little White Shadow (Wave Books, 2006). Ruefle is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Robert Creeley Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Whiting Award. She lives in Bennington, Vermont.

We accept submissions in the following three categories:

  1. Fiction (up to 7,500 words)
  2. Nonfiction (up to 7,500 words)
  3. Poetry (up to five pages)

Submission Rules

  1. Entry to the 2016 Winter Contest requires a fee of $15. Multiple submissions are welcome, but please note that the entry fee applies to each submission.
  2. All work must be submitted through Submittable (we will not accept mailed submissions).
  3. All work must be original and previously unpublished in any form.
  4. Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but please inform us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.


  1. We accept submissions from U.S. citizens and permanent residents. We also accept submissions from non-U.S. citizens who are living outside the U.S.
  2. 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 any questions, please email us at