Rising Writer Prize

Guidelines for the 2022 Autumn House Rising Writer Prize in Poetry

The 2022 Rising Writer Prize is for a first full-length book of poetry. Moving forward, the Rising Writer Prize will alternate genres; the 2023 prize will be for a first novel.

The submission period opens October 1, 2021, and closes November 30, 2021 (Eastern Time). The judge for the 2022 Rising Writer Prize is Donika Kelly.


Recent Rising Writer in Poetry Prize Winners
Guidelines for the Rising Writer Prize
  • Must be the author’s first full-length poetry collection (previous publications of chapbooks and full-length books in other genres are fine) 
  • The winners will receive book publication, $1,000 honorarium, and a $500 travel/publicity grant to promote their book
  • All finalists will be considered for publication
  • Submissions should be approximately 50-80 pages
  • 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.)
  • 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
  • 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 are permitted, but please let us know immediately if your book was accepted elsewhere
  • 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

Note: There is no longer an age restriction on this prize.

Credit: Ladan Osman

Donika Kelly is the author of THE RENUNCIATIONS (Graywolf 2021) and BESTIARY (Graywolf). BESTIARY is the winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry, and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. The collection was also long-listed for the National Book Award, and was a finalist for a Publishing Triangle Award and a Lambda Literary Award.

If you have any questions, please check our FAQ page


Winners of the Autumn House Rising Writer Prize 

Year Author Title Genre Judge
2021 John Belk The Gardens of Our Childhoods Poetry Matthew Dickman
2021 Diego Gerard Morrison Myth of Pterygium Novel Maryse Meijer
2020 Dennis James Sweeney In the Antarctic Circle Poetry Yona Harvey
2019 Eric Tran The Gutter Spread Guide to Prayer Poetry Stacey Waite
2018 S. Brook Corfman Luxury, Blue Lace Poetry Richard Siken
2017 Cameron Barnett The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water Poetry Ada Limón


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.