The 2019 Spring Contest is Now Open for Submissions

The editors are delighted to officially announce that the first-ever Columbia Journal Spring Contest is now open for submissions in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Our judges will be Alexandra Kleeman (fiction), Tommy Pico (poetry), and Kiese Laymon (nonfiction). The three winners of the Spring Contest will be published online on and will receive a cash prize of $250 each. At least three finalists will be selected and announced in each of the three genres in the spring. Submissions open today on Submittable, and the deadline to submit is February 15. There is a $10 entry fee for each submission. You can read the full contest guidelines and more about this year’s judges below.


Meet the Judges

Alexandra Kleeman is a Staten Island-based writer of fiction and nonfiction, and the winner of the 2016 Bard Fiction Prize. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Zoetrope: All-Story, Conjunctions, and Guernica, among others. Nonfiction essays and reportage have appeared in Harper’s, Tin House, n+1, and The Guardian. Her work has received scholarships and grants from Bread Loaf, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Santa Fe Art Institute, and ArtFarm Nebraska. She is the author of the debut novel You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine (Harper, 2015) and Intimations (Harper, 2016), a short story collection.

Tommy “Teebs” Pico is author of the books IRL, Nature Poem, Junk, Feed, and myriad keen tweets including “sittin on the cock of gay.” Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now lives in Brooklyn where he co-curates the reading series Poets with Attitude, co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot, and is a contributing editor at Literary Hub.

Kiese Laymon is the Ottilie Schilig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of Long Division, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America and Heavy: An American Memoir.

Contest Guidelines

We accept submissions in the following three categories:
Fiction (up to 5,000 words) – We accept all forms of short fiction (short stories, flash fiction, prose poetry, etc.).
Nonfiction (up to 5,000 words) – We accept all forms of nonfiction, from personal essays to narrative nonfiction and work that blends criticism, memoir, and reportage.
Poetry (up to five pages) – Each poem should start on a new page.

Entry to the 2019 Spring Contest requires a $10 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.
All submissions will be considered for publication.
If your submission spans genres, we recommend you submit to the genre that you’d most like to see your work judged as as opposed to applying multiple times to multiple genres. Our judges are open to genre-bending work and all winners can be published under multiple genres, if desired.
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

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