Cabin in Colorado. Photo by Pam Houston.

Sowell Emerging Writers Prize Submission Guidelines

2025 Prize: Fiction

$1,000 prize and publication by Texas Tech University Press

  • $25 entry fee per fiction (short stories, novel, or similar) book manuscript submission
  • Submit from September 15 – November 15!

Sowell Emerging Writers PrizeThe Sowell Collection at Texas Tech University, in partnership with Terrain.org and Texas Tech University Press, invites book-length manuscript submissions of poetry in English on themes about and related to the natural world by writers who have published no more than one book in any genre.

We are especially interested in submissions that explore the relationship between human communities and nature and may be informed by scientific inquiry and/or personal experience.

The Sowell Emerging Writers Prize will accept submissions in nonfiction, poetry, and fiction on a rotational basis and in that order: fiction in 2024, nonfiction in 2025, poetry in 2026, and so on.

The Sowell Family Collection in Literature, Community and the Natural World at Texas Tech University holds the personal and professional papers of prominent American writers on the natural world. The Sowell Collection was established in 2001 when it acquired the papers of National Book Award–winning writer Barry Lopez. Since then, the Collection has acquired the papers of some thirty American writers including Rick Bass, David James Duncan, Gretel Ehrlich, William Kittredge, J. Drew Lanham, Bill McKibben, Susan Brind Morrow, Gary Nabhan, Robert Michael Pyle, David Quammen, Pattiann Rogers, and others.

Submission Details

  • Submissions open on Terrain.org’s Submittable portal: September 15
  • Deadline for submissions: November 15
  • Manuscripts should be at least 192 pages (i.e., book length and not a chapbook)
  • Please include an Acknowledgements page if stories or portions of the novel have been previously published elsewhere
  • The winner will receive book publication by Texas Tech University Press and a $1,000 honorarium
  • The reading fee is $25
  • Five finalists will be announced in February 2025, and the winner will be announced by the end of February

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Please withdraw your manuscript promptly if it is accepted elsewhere for publication.

Include a bio of fewer than 100 words in your cover letter.

The Sowell Emerging Writers Prize encourages underrepresented voices to submit their work for consideration.

Read the guidelines and submit at the Terrain.org Submittable portal September 15 – November 15.


Terrain.org does not offer fee waivers or free submission days for this prize. For further information or assistance, please contact us.

Terrain.org is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.