Nonfiction Contest

Guidelines for the Autumn House Nonfiction Contest

For the 2022 contest, the Autumn House staff as well as select outsider readers serve as the preliminary readers, and the final judge is Jenny Boully. The winner receives publication of a full-length manuscript and $2,500. The submission period opens January 1, 2023, and closes May 31, 2023 (Eastern Time). We will announce the finalists and the winner of the contest by October 15, 2023. 

  • The winner will receive book publication, a $1,000 honorarium, 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 is $30 (We will waive the submission fee for those undergoing financial hardship or living with limited means. Before you reach out to request a waived fee, please read our full statement and instructions here. If the guidelines are not followed, we will not be able to offer a waived fee.)
  • Personal essays and memoirs are eligible
  • Submission should be previously unpublished
  • Do not include your name anywhere on the actual manuscript; if your name appears within the body of the text, please omit it or black it out (first name is fine, but last name must be omitted)
  • You may include a brief bio in the “cover letter” section of Submittable
  • Do not include a bio or an acknowledgments page in the manuscript
  • Feel free to include a table of contents (This does not count a part of your final page count)
  • Simultaneous submissions permitted
  • Friends, family members, and former students of judges or Autumn House editors may not submit to the contest. Students do not include interactions at short-term residencies or fellowships.
  • Former employees of Autumn House, including interns, may not submit to the contest.

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

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Winners of the Autumn House Nonfiction Prize

Year Author Title Judge
2022 Julie Marie Wade Otherwise: Essays Lia Purpura
2021 Emily Pifer The Running Body Steve Almond
2020 Nicholas Ward All Who Belong May Enter Jaquira Díaz
2019 Melissa Wiley Skull Cathedral: A Vestigial Anatomy Paul Lisicky 
2018 Jennifer Renee Blevins Limited by Body Habitus:
An American Fat Story
Daisy Hernández
2017 Dickson Lam Paper Sons: a memoir  Alison Hawthorne Deming
2016 Katherine McCord RUN SCREAM UNBURY SAVE Michael Martone
2015 Harrison Candelaria Fletcher Presentimiento: A Life in Dreams Dinty W. Moore
2014 Jill Kandel So Many Africas Dinty W. Moore
2013 Adam Patric Miller A Greater Monster Phillip Lopate
2012 Clifford Thompson Love for Sale and Other Essays Phillip Lopate

 

We strive to run our contests ethically and subscribe to CLMP’s guidelines. We encourage you to reach out if you are uncertain about a potential conflict of interest.