Terrain.org is pleased to announce our inaugural contests in:

  • Poetry, judged by Jessie Lendennie, poet and Salmon Poetry managing director
  • Fiction, judged by Aurelie Sheehan, award-winning author of History Lesson for Girls and The Anxiety of Everyday Objects
  • Nonfiction, judged by David Rothenberg, award-winning author of Thousand Mile Song and Why Birds Sing

Contest Details

Theme and Submission Period

The contest theme is “The Signal in the Noise,” to match our 26th issue, which launches in mid-September 2010. Though the contest and issue have a theme, we have a very liberal perspective on the theme and encourage you first and foremost to submit your best work.

The contest submission period is April 1 to August 1, 2010. Winners will be announced on or before September 1, 2010.


A prize of $250 plus publication for the first-place winner will be awarded in each genre. Runners up in each genre will also receive publication.

Additionally, each first-place winner will receive special, dynamic publication treatment in Issue No. 26. The editors will work with the contest winners to determine the best layout treatment, which is likely to include additional graphics, audio, and enhanced HTML treatment.

Note that we reserve the right to reduce or cancel the contest if we do not receive enough submissions.

Selection Process

All submissions are considered for publication. Terrain.org’s editors will read all entries, passing the top entries in each genre to the judges, who will choose the first-, second-, and third-place winners. Decisions of the judges are final. Judges will not know the identity of the contestants.

All contestants will be notified of the judges’ decisions on or before September 1, 2010.

How to Submit

You are not eligible to enter this contest if you are family or close friends of, or have studied with or under any of Terrain.org’s primary editors — Stephanie Eve Boone, Simmons Buntin, Patrick Burns, Catherine Cunningham, and Joshua Foster — or the contest judges: Jessie Lendennie, Aurelie Sheehan, and David Rothenberg.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but previously published material in any format, including blogs, will not be considered. Submissions can be withdrawn through the submission system, though in that case contest entry fees will not be refunded.


The cost to submit is $10 per story, essay, or set of 3-6 poems.

What to Submit

You may submit up to three entries in any or all genres:

Submit 3-6 poems per entry. For poetry, we are seeking not just the best poem, but the best set of 3-6 poems or long poem, with the hopes of awarding our prizes to poetry sets rather than individual, shorter poems, if possible. No maximum lines per poem. Poems must contain only the poem title and poem itself without the author name or contact information.

Submit one story or set of three flash fiction pieces, up to 7,000 words total, per entry. Stories must contain only the story title and story itself without the author name or contact information.

Submit one essay or set of three micro essays, up to 7,000 words total, per entry. Essays must contain only the essay title and essay itself without the author name or contact information. We will consider all nonfiction, but are most interested in creative nonfiction, including personal essays, lyric essays, memoir, and other literary forms.

Cover Letter Required

Each submission must include a cover letter with the author’s name and contact information — including email, telephone, and mailing address — and the name(s) of the poems, story, and/or essay.

The Submission Process

  1. Please save your cover letter and submission for each entry as a single document — .doc, .docx, .rtf, .wpd, .txt, or .pdf only.
  2. Submit online at http://sub.terrain.org. If you have submitted to Terrain.org before, log in to submit. If you have not submitted before, you must register.
  3. Choose the “Contest” genre category and in the Comments area, type the genre of your submission: Poetry, Fiction, or Nonfiction
  4. Once you confirm your submission, you will be directed to a page with payment instructions (via Paypal). Instructions for mailing a check in lieu of paying online are also provided.
  5. No submission will be considered until payment has been received.
  6. You will receive submission and payment confirmation via email.

Learn more at, and submit online from, www.terrain.org/contest.

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