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 15, 2021, and closes June 15, 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  • Submission should be previously unpublished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.

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Winners of the Autumn House Nonfiction Prize

Year Author Title Judge
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