Rising Writer Prize

Guidelines for the 2023 Autumn House Rising Writer Prize in Fiction

The 2023 Rising Writer Prize is for a first full-length book of fiction. The submission period opens October 1, 2022, and closes November 30, 2022 (Eastern Time). The judge for the 2023 Rising Writer Prize is Matt Bell.

NB: The Rising Writer Prize alternates each year between fiction and poetry. The 2024 prize will be awarded to a first book of poetry.


Guidelines for the Rising Writer Prize

  • Must be the author’s first full-length fiction collection (previous publications of chapbooks and full-length books in other genres are fine)
  • Novels, novellas, and short story collections are eligible  
  • The winners will receive book publication, a $1,000 honorarium, and a $500 travel/publicity grant to promote their book
  • All finalists will be considered for publication
  • Submissions should be approximately 100 – 200 pages (45,000 – 90,000 words)
  • The reading fee is $25 (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.

Photo Credit: Jessica Bell

Matt Bell is the author most recently of the novel Appleseed (a New York Times Notable Book) published by Custom House in July 2021. His craft book Refuse to Be Done, a guide to novel writing, rewriting, and revision, will follow in early 2022 from Soho Press.

He is also the author of the novels Scrapper and In the House upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods, as well as the short story collection A Tree or a Person or a Walla non-fiction book about the classic video game Baldur’s Gate IIand several other titles. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, Tin House, Fairy Tale Review, American Short Fiction, Orion, and many other publications. A native of Michigan, he teaches creative writing at Arizona State University.

If you have any questions, please check our FAQ page


Winners of the Autumn House Rising Writer Prize 

Year Author Title Genre Judge
2022 Liza Katz Duncan Given Poetry Donika Kelly
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.