For the 2021 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 15, 2021, and closes June 15, 2021 (Eastern Time). We will announce the finalists and the winner of the contest by October 1, 2021.
- 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 for the Nonfiction Contest is $30 (We will waive the submission fee for anyone undergoing financial hardship or living with limited means. Please reach out, and we’ll step you through the submission process)
- 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- Submission should be previously unpublished
- 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 an acknowledgments page in the manuscript
- Feel free to include a table of contents
- 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.
Winners of the Autumn House Nonfiction Prize
|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
|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.