Nonfiction Contest

Guidelines for the 2020 Autumn House Nonfiction Contest

For the 2020 contest, the Autumn House staff serves as the preliminary readers, and the final judge is Steve Almond. The winner receives publication of a full-length manuscript and $2,500. The submission period opens January 1, 2021, and closes May 31, 2021 (Eastern Time).

  • The winners will receive book publication, $1,000 advance against royalties, and a $1,500 travel/publicity grant to promote their book
  • All finalists will be considered for publication
  • Nonfiction submissions should be approximately 200-300 double-spaced pages (50,000-75,000 words)
  • The reading fee for the Nonfiction Contest is $30
  • All nonfiction subjects (including personal essays, memoirs, travel writing, historical narratives, nature writing) or any combination of subjects are eligible
  • Submission should be previously unpublished
  • Please don’t include your name anywhere on the actual manuscript
  • Include a brief bio in the “cover letter” section of Submittable
  • Feel free to include a table of contents and acknowledgments page
  • Simultaneous submissions permitted

If you have any questions, please check our FAQ page.


Winners of the Autumn House Nonfiction Prize

2020Nicholas WardAll Who Belong May EnterJaquira Díaz
2019Melissa WileySkull Cathedral: A Vestigial AnatomyPaul Lisicky 
2018Jennifer Renee BlevinsLimited by Body Habitus: An American Fat StoryDaisy Hernández
2017Dickson LamPaper Sons: a memoir Alison Hawthorne Deming
2016Katherine McCordRUN SCREAM UNBURY SAVEMichael Martone
2015Harrison Candelaria FletcherPresentimiento: A Life in DreamsDinty W. Moore
2014Jill KandelSo Many AfricasDinty W. Moore
2013Adam Patric MillerA Greater MonsterPhillip Lopate
2012Clifford ThompsonLove for Sale and Other EssaysPhillip Lopate