Poetry: Arthur Sze Arthur Sze’s tenth book of poetry, Sight Lines (Copper Canyon) won the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry.
Nonfiction: Julian Hoffman Julian Hoffman is the award-winning author of Irreplaceable: The Fight to Save Our Wild Places and The Small Heart of Things.
Fiction: Joy Castro Author of the literary thrillers Hell or High Water and Nearer Home and the short story collection How Winter Began, Joy Castro teaches literature, creative writing, and Latinx studies at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
The contest submission period for our 11th Annual Contest is February 1 to September 7, 2020 (Labor Day in the U.S.). Winners will be announced no later than December 2020.
A prize of $500 plus publication for the first-place winner will be awarded in each genre. Finalists in each genre will also receive publication and a $100 prize.
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-place winners. Decisions of the judges are final. Judges and editors do not know the identity of the contestants.
How to Submit
Our contest submission period is open until September 7, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.
You are not eligible to enter this contest if you are a current student of the contest judges or if you have been a winner in the contest in the last five years. Finalists are welcome to submit again.
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 Submissions can be withdrawn through the submission system, though in that case contest entry fees will not be refunded (however, if you withdraw before the submission period ends you may submit another entry without paying again). Individual components of submissions (i.e., a single poem in a poem set) may be withdrawn by emailing email@example.com.
The cost to submit is $15 per story, essay or article, or set of 3-5 poems (or single long poem).
What to Submit
You may submit up to three entries (at $15/entry) in any or all genres:
Poetry Submit 3-5 poems or one long poem (5+ pages) per entry. Combine all poems into a single document. For poetry, we are seeking not just the best poem, but the best set of 3-5 poems or the best long poem, with the hopes of awarding our prizes to poetry sets or long poems rather than individual, shorter poems, when possible. No maximum lines per poem. Poems must contain only the poem title(s) and poem(s) without the author name or contact information (including in the document header/footer).
Fiction Submit one story, up to 5,000 words total, or up to three flash fictions (up to 1,000 words each) per entry. Stories must contain only the story title and story itself without the author name or contact information (including in the document header/footer).
Nonfiction Submit one essay or article, up to 5,000 words total, or up to three flash essays (up to 1,000 words each) per entry. Essays must contain only the essay title and essay itself without the author name or contact information (including in the document header/footer). We will consider all nonfiction, but are most interested in creative nonfiction, including personal essays, lyric essays, memoir, literary journalism, 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 poem(s), story(ies), and/or essay(s). The cover letter must be the first page of the submission document. It is the only portion of the submission that may contain name or contact information. Do not put your name or other contact information in the document header/footer.
The Submission Process
The submission period for our 11th Annual Contests closes at 11:59 p.m. on September 7, 2020.
Please save your cover letter and submission for each entry as a single document: .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .txt only. Do not submit in .pdf format.
Submit online at https://sub.terrain.org. If you have submitted to Terrain.org before, log in to submit. If you have not submitted before, you must register.
Choose the Contest – Fiction, Contest – Nonfiction, or Contest – Poetry genre category. Double-check that you have selected the appropriate contest genre; they are the last options during the regular submission period (and the only options during the summer).
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. Checks and delayed online payments must be received by September 21.
No submission will be considered until payment has been received.
You will receive submission and payment confirmation via email.
Ready to submit for the contest? Submit online now: