Contest Guidelines

Ninth Letter 2022 Literary Awards

Ninth Letter is pleased to announce our ninth annual Literary Awards call for submissions! We'll be accepting entries from March 8, 2022 to April 30, 2022 for our Literary Awards in three categories: Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Nonfiction. The winning manuscript selected in each category will receive publication in our Fall/Winter 2022-23 issue (vol. 19 no. 2) and a publication rate of $1000. Our publication fee purchases first North American print rights only; all other rights are retained by the author.

The fee for entering each of the three categories will be $18, and all U.S. entrants will receive a one-year subscription to Ninth Letter. All international entrants will receive a copy of our Fall/Winter 2022-23 edition. Your entry fee will cover one submission in one category; you are welcome to send multiple submissions in multiple categories provided a fee is paid for each entry. Electronic submissions may pay online through Submittable; submissions sent by USPS should send payment by check or money order made to Ninth Letter.

Submissions sent via email will not be considered.

Fiction and Creative Nonfiction submissions should be a maximum of 8,000 words.

Poetry submissions should include 3-5 poems, no more than 10 pages total in the submission

All entries should include a cover letter with author's name, contact information and title(s) of work submitted. You may include this cover letter information in the “comments” section of the submission form, or you may include it as the first page of your submission document. Neither the author's name nor any identifying information should appear on the manuscript itself beyond the cover letter.

Works submitted to the contest may be simultaneously submitted elsewhere; please indicate on your cover letter if this is the case, and please remove the submission from consideration immediately upon acceptance elsewhere.

Guest judges for this year's awards are Anthony Cody (poetry), Alex McElroy (fiction), and Emily Pittinos (creative nonfiction).


Anthony Cody is the author of Borderland Apocrypha (Omnidawn, 2020). His debut won a 2021 American Book Award and a 2020 Southwest Book Award, as well as being a finalist for the National Book Award, PEN/America Jean Stein Award, L.A. Times Book Award, among others. His poetry has appeared in Poets.Org: Poem-A-Day Series, Gulf Coast, Ninth Letter, MAGMA Poetry (UK), among others. He is a CantoMundo fellow from Fresno, CA with lineage in the Bracero Program and Dust Bowl. Anthony collaborates with Juan Felipe Herrera’s Laureate Lab Visual Wordist Studio, and serves as a poetry editor for Noemi Press and Omnidawn.





Isle McElroy is a nonbinary writer based in Brooklyn. Their debut novel, THE ATMOSPHERIANS, was a NY Times Editors' Choice. Other writing appears in The Guardian, NY Times, New York Times Magazine, The Cut, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. Isle was named one of The Strand's 30 Writers to Watch and has received fellowships from The Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, The Tin House Summer Workshop, The Sewanee Writers Conference, The Inprint Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, and The National Parks Service.

(photo credit: Grace Rivera)





Emily Pittinos is a Great Lakes essayist and poet currently living in Boise, ID. A Visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at Boise State University, Pittinos has received a 2022 Literature Fellowship from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, as well as support from Vermont Studio Center, the Alexa Rose Foundation, and Washington University in St. Louis, where she served as the Senior Fellow in Poetry. Her recent prose appears, or will soon appear, in Mississippi Review, New England Review, and elsewhere. Her debut poetry collection, The Last Unkillable Thing (University of Iowa Press, Spring 2021), is a winner of the 2020 Iowa Poetry Prize. Her book of essays, Animal, Roadkill, Ashes, Gone, is forthcoming from Bull City Press







  © Ninth Letter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.