AWP Award Series

The AWP Award Series is an annual competition for the publication of excellent new book-length works. The prizes are supported by the AWP Award Series Endowments. The competition is open to all authors writing in English regardless of nationality or residence and is available to published and unpublished authors alike. Entries for the 2024 competition may be submitted from January 1–February 28, 2024. We no longer accept submissions by post.

2024 Submission Guidelines

About the AWP Award Series

The AWP Award Series conducts an evaluation process of writers, for writers, by writers. AWP hires a staff of screeners who are writers themselves; the screeners review manuscripts for the judges. Typically, the screeners will select ten manuscripts in each genre for the judges’ final evaluations.

Entries for the 2025 contest will be accepted from January 1 to February 28, 2025, via our online submission system.

Eligibility Requirements

Only book-length manuscripts are eligible. The AWP Award Series defines “book-length” as:

  • Poetry: 48 pages minimum text;
  • Short story collection or creative nonfiction: 150–300 manuscript pages; and
  • Novel: at least 60,000 and no more than 110,000 words.

Poems, stories, and essays previously published in periodicals are eligible for inclusion in submissions, but manuscripts previously published in their entirety, including self-published manuscripts, are not eligible. As the series is judged anonymously, no list of acknowledgments should accompany your manuscript.

The AWP Award Series is open to all authors writing original works primarily in English for adult readers. Mixed-genre manuscripts cannot be accepted. Criticism and scholarly monographs are not acceptable for creative nonfiction, which the AWP Award Series defines as factual and literary writing that has the narrative, dramatic, meditative, and lyrical elements of novels, plays, poetry, and memoir.

To avoid conflicts of interest, friends and former students of a judge (former students who studied with a judge in an academic degree-conferring program or its equivalent) are ineligible to enter the competition in the genre for which their former teacher is serving as judge.

Current staff of AWP and members of AWP’s Board of Directors may not enter the AWP Award Series, and previous staff and Board members may not enter for a minimum of three years after leaving AWP or rotating off the Board, respectively.

AWP makes every effort to vary the judges by region, aesthetic, and institution so that writers, if ineligible one year, will certainly be eligible other years. If contestants win in any genre, they may not enter the competition again in the same genre for the next five consecutive years.

AWP Award Series Prizes

  • Sue William Silverman Prize for Creative Nonfiction: $2,500 and publication by the University of Georgia Press
  • James Alan McPherson Prize for the Novel: $5,500 and publication by the University of Nebraska Press
  • Donald Hall Prize for Poetry: $5,500 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction: $5,500 and publication by Mad Creek Books, an imprint of The Ohio State University Press