Presented in partnership with the Illinois Regenerative Agriculture Initiative at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Submissions will be accepted from May 1, 2023-June 30, 2023. Winner and finalists will be announced in the fall. Prize: $1,000 and publication in the Fall/Winter 2023-24 print edition of Ninth Letter (with the opportunity to also publish excerpts or full work on and two contributors copies.

Submission Fee: $10 submission fee goes toward paying our judge and the winner of the contest. Contest entrants will have the option to purchase a copy of the Fall/Winter 2023 issue at a discounted price at the time of submission.

General Guidelines: Please do not include any identifying personal information (name, address, etc.) in your submission manuscript. Any identifiable information should only appear in the “Cover Letter” field. Acceptable file formats are .doc, .docx, and .pdf. No email submission will be accepted.

Prose (fiction, creative nonfiction): Please submit one piece of no more than 8,000 words. You may also submit up to three pieces of flash-fiction or flash-nonfiction as long as the total word count of the submission is no more than 8,000 words.

Poetry: Please submit up to 3 poems in a single file of no more than 8 pages.

Theme Explanation: Please also include a note that briefly explains your work’s connection to the theme of “regeneration,” or how your work responds to the question: ‘What would it look like to live in a world where our food systems regenerated not only us, but the planet?’. Submissions without this note will not be accepted.

Eligibility: Writers affiliated with Ninth Letter or the UIUC Creative Writing Department within the last 4 years are not eligible to submit. Any writers with a close, personal connection with the judge that could signify a conflict of interest are not eligible to submit. Regeneration Contest winners within the last 4 years are not eligible to submit.

Guest Judge: Dr. Craig Santos Perez is a native Pacific Islander from Guam. He is the co-editor of six anthologies and the author of six books of poetry. He is a professor in the English department at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa, where he teaches creative writing and eco-poetry.