2019 Literary Awards

We'll be accepting entries from March 4, 2019 to April 26, 2019 for our Literary Awards in three categories: Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Nonfiction. The winner selected in each category will receive a $1000 prize and publication in our Fall/Winter 2019-20 issue (vol. 16, no. 2).

The fee for entering each of the three categories will be $17, and all entrants will receive a one-year subscription to Ninth Letter. Your entry fee will cover one submission in one category; you are welcome to send multiple submissions in multiple categories provided a fee is paid for each entry. Electronic submissions may pay by credit card through our secure payment system; submissions sent by USPS should send payment by check or money order made to Ninth Letter.

Submissions sent via email will not be considered.

Fiction and Creative Nonfiction submissions should be a maximum of 8,000 words.

Poetry submissions should include 3-5 poems, no more than 10 pages total in the submission.

All entries should include a cover letter with author's name, contact information and title(s) of work submitted. You may include this cover letter information in the “comments” section of the submission form, or you may include it as the first page of your submission document. Neither the author's name nor any identifying information should appear on the manuscript itself beyond the cover letter.

Works submitted to the contest may be simultaneously submitted elsewhere; please indicate on your cover letter if this is the case, and please remove the submission from consideration immediately upon acceptance elsewhere.

Fiction Judge: Kristen Arnett

Poetry Judge: R. A Villanueva

Creative Nonfiction Judge: Anna Leahy

Current and former employees of Ninth Letter, current and former students and faculty of the creative writing program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and current and former students of our guests judges are not eligible to enter these contests.


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CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS (WEB EDITION)

Ninth Letter will be accepting submissions of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for a special online edition to be published at ninthletter.com in Summer 2019.  Submissions will be open from February 10 to April 8, 2019.

The theme of this issue is Origins. We all come from home, and our associations with those spaces range from the warm and secure to the distant or fearful. Then, as we grow, leave or stay, and move into the world around us, we see our homes from new or distant vantages. Localities grow and evolve, or wilt in a changing global economy. When our cities and homesteads don’t look the way we remember them, have we left those people and places behind, or were we bypassed in their rush into the future?

How do our origins transmogrify our explorations of the world? How does both a sense of belonging and detachment – to people, places, things, and the past – inform the decisions we make in our local but also our highly connected lives? Send us stories that explore and acknowledge the places and the people they leave behind – and those they always return to. Send poems that see history – both the memorable and the ugly – in locality, but also poems of disconnect and evolving place. Send nonfiction that responds to the quick constancy of global news, and its oft-invoked fear and uncertainty. But also send the essays that dissect their worlds and challenge worn nostalgias of home. Above all, send us your work that edifies, discovers, or disavows its origins

You may submit up to three poems, or one piece of short prose (fiction or nonfiction) of up to 3500 words; please also include a cover letter that briefly explains how you see your work connecting to the theme. Note: work submitted without this information may be withdrawn. Acceptable file formats are .doc, .docx, .rtf, and .pdf.

Submit your work for this special feature at ninthletteronline.submittable.com. Submissions sent via snail mail or submitted through our general submissions at ninthletter.com will not be considered for this issue. 

Please do not send multiple submissions or previously published work.

Authors whose work is selected for this special feature will receive a small honorarium ($25 per poem, $75 per story or essay) and a complimentary 2-­year subscription to Ninth Letter.



GENERAL SUBMISSIONS (PRINT EDITION)  - *CLOSED*

Ninth Letter is accepting submissions of fiction from September 1 to November 30 and from January 1 to February 28 (postmark dates) We are accepting submissions of poetry and essays from September 1 to February 28 (postmark dates). Ninth Letter is published semi-annually at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. We are interested in prose and poetry that experiment with form, narrative, and nontraditional subject matter, as well as more traditional literary work. To make life easier for everyone, including yourself, please adhere to the following guidelines when submitting your work to Ninth Letter:

For poetry, submit 3-6 poems (max. 10 pages) at a time. For fiction and nonfiction, please send only one story or one essay at a time, up to 8,000 words.

Please do not send a second submission until you have received a response to the first. We do not accept previously published work. Simultaneous submissions are okay as long as they are identified as such in a cover letter. Please withdraw your submission immediately upon acceptance elsewhere.

We do not accept submissions by email attachment—email submissions will not be read.

We strongly recommend submitting electronically via our submissions portal. However, if you are unable to do so, you may submit via USPS. Please note that mailed, hard-copy submissions may experience a long delay in response time. Mailed submissions should be addressed to Fiction Editor, Poetry Editor, or Nonfiction Editor:

Ninth Letter
University of Illinois
Department of English
608 South Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801

Please include your name and contact information on the first page of your manuscript; cover letters are optional. All mailed submissions must include an SASE for reply; we recommend a stamped business-sized envelope. If you wish to have your manuscript returned, you must include adequate postage and a properly sized envelope, and indicate such in your cover letter. We will recycle all unreturned manuscripts.

You should hear from us regarding your submission within 12 weeks; if you haven't heard from us in that time you are welcome to query about the status of your manuscript at info@ninthletter.com.

We can only review two submissions per author per reading period; if you have submitted twice before the end of the reading period, please do not submit again unless solicited to do so by an editor.

For material accepted to our print edition, Ninth Letter pays $25 per printed page, with a maximum payment of $150, as well as two complimentary copies of the issue in which the work appears. Writers will be sent contracts upon acceptance of their work, and will receive page proofs prior to publication; payment will be issued upon publication of the work. Ninth Letter publishes one print issue in the spring and one in the fall.


Fiction submissions should be a maximum of 8,000 words

The fee for entering is $17, and all entrants will receive a one-year subscription to Ninth Letter. Your entry fee will cover one submission in one category; you are welcome to send multiple submissions in multiple categories provided a fee is paid for each entry. Electronic submissions may pay by credit card through our secure payment system; submissions sent by USPS should send payment by check or money order made to Ninth Letter.

Upon submission, you will be redirected to our online payment portal to complete your fee payment. If you have encounter any errors, please email editor@ninthletter.com for assistance.

Submissions sent via email will not be considered.

All entries should include a cover letter with author's name, contact information and title(s) of work submitted. Neither the author's name nor any identifying information should appear on the manuscript itself beyond the cover letter.

Poetry submissions should include 3-5 poems, no more than 10 pages total in the submission.

The fee for entering is $17, and all entrants will receive a one-year subscription to Ninth Letter. Your entry fee will cover one submission in one category; you are welcome to send multiple submissions in multiple categories provided a fee is paid for each entry. Electronic submissions may pay by credit card through our secure payment system; submissions sent by USPS should send payment by check or money order made to Ninth Letter.

Upon submission, you will be redirected to our online payment portal to complete your fee payment. If you have encounter any errors, please email editor@ninthletter.com for assistance.

Submissions sent via email will not be considered.

All entries should include a cover letter with author's name, contact information and title(s) of work submitted. Neither the author's name nor any identifying information should appear on the manuscript itself beyond the cover letter.

Creative Nonfiction submissions should be a maximum of 8,000 words

The fee for entering is $17, and all entrants will receive a one-year subscription to Ninth Letter. Your entry fee will cover one submission in one category; you are welcome to send multiple submissions in multiple categories provided a fee is paid for each entry. Electronic submissions may pay by credit card through our secure payment system; submissions sent by USPS should send payment by check or money order made to Ninth Letter.

Upon submission, you will be redirected to our online payment portal to complete your fee payment. If you have encounter any errors, please email editor@ninthletter.com for assistance.

Submissions sent via email will not be considered.

All entries should include a cover letter with author's name, contact information and title(s) of work submitted. Neither the author's name nor any identifying information should appear on the manuscript itself beyond the cover letter.

Please submit one piece of short fiction of no more than 3500 words. You may also submit up to three pieces of flash fiction as long as the total word count of the submission is no more than 3500 words. 

Please also include a note that briefly explains your work's connection to the theme. Submissions without this note will not be accepted. 

Acceptable file formats are .doc, .docx, and .pdf.

Fiction submissions for the web edition are accepted through this link only. Submissions sent via snail mail, email, or our general submissions links will not be considered for this edition.

Please submit up to three poems. Poetry submissions should be no longer than 10 manuscript pages.

Please also include a note that briefly explains your work's connection to the theme. Submissions without this note will not be accepted. 

Acceptable file formats are .doc, .docx, and .pdf.

Poetry submissions for the web edition are accepted through this link only. Submissions sent via snail mail, email, or our general submissions links will not be considered for this edition.

Please submit one essay of no more than 3500 words. You may also submit up to three pieces of flash nonfiction as long as the total word count of the submission is no more than 3500 words. 

Please also include a note that briefly explains your work's connection to the theme. Submissions without this note will not be accepted. 

Acceptable file formats are .doc, .docx, and .pdf.

Creative nonfiction submissions for the web edition are accepted through this link only. Submissions sent via snail mail, email, or our general submissions links will not be considered for this edition.

Ninth Letter