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 Jaquira Díaz. The winner receives publication of a full-length manuscript and $2,500. The submission period opens January 1, 2020, and closes June 30, 2020 (Eastern Time). If you have any questions, please check our FAQs page!

  • The winner 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 pages. All nonfiction subjects (including personal essays, memoirs, travel writing, historical narratives, nature or science writing) or any combination of subjects are eligible.
  • Contest results will be announced on our website
  • Please don’t include your name anywhere on the actual MS.
  • Include your name and contact info in the “cover letter” section of Submittable as well as a brief bio. Feel free to include a TOC and acknowledgments page. 
  • We no longer accept paper submissions.


Winners of the Autumn House Nonfiction Prize

2019Melissa WileySkull Cathedral: A Life of Vestigial OrgansPaul 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