CutBank is the proud sponsor of a variety of contests encouraging (and rewarding) fine writing in all genres, with opportunities including the Montana Prize in Fiction, the Montana Prize in Creative Nonfiction, the Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry, the Big Sky, Small Prose Flash Contest, as well as our annual CutBank Chapbook Contest.
We're looking for work that showcases an authentic voice, an original perspective, and a willingness to push against the boundaries of form.
Big Sky, Small Prose: Flash Contest
Submissions Open: August 16 - September 30
Award: $500 first place prize and publication in CutBank 90. Two runners-up will be awarded $50 and publication in CutBank 90. All other submissions will be considered with submissions for the print edition of CutBank.
What We're Looking For: Interesting, compelling fiction and nonfiction prose in 750 words or fewer. Lyric essays, prose poems, short essays, vignettes - send us your best, most dazzling short form prose.
Former Cutbank Editor-in-Chief Andrew Martin will be judging this year's Flash contest. His novel Early Work was published in July 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and his stories have appeared in The Paris Review, Zyzzyva, and Tin House’s Flash Fridays series. His nonfiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and The Washington Post.
Submissions will be accepted through the Submittable submission manager. Print or email submissions will not be considered. Please include a brief cover letter, biography and contact information in the form provided - please do not include identifying information in the body of your submission.
Submissions must be previously unpublished.
Simultaneous submissions are certainly welcome; however, please withdraw your CutBank submission immediately via Submittable if it is accepted elsewhere.
Submissions should be double spaced, no more than 750 words.
Submission fee of $7 includes consideration for CutBank's $500 flash prose prize and publication in CutBank 90. Two runners-up will be awarded $50 and publication in CutBank 90. All other submissions will be considered with submissions for the print edition of CutBank Literary Magazine.
The CutBank Chapbook Contest
Submissions Open: January 1 - May 31
Award: The winning author receives a $1000 honorarium plus 25 copies of the published book. Two runners-up will be chosen for publication as well.
The CutBank Chapbook Contest honors a book of original poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction by a single author; translations are not eligible for this award. While previously published stand-alone pieces or excerpts may be included in a manuscript, the manuscript as a whole must be an unpublished work. Translations and previously self-published collections are ineligible.
Simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Please note that reading fees are non-refundable, and you must withdraw the manuscript immediately via Submittable if it is accepted elsewhere.
Please do not include cover artwork with your submission; black and white illustrations are acceptable so long as you’ve obtained the rights.
Reading Fee: $20. Includes consideration and a copy of the summer print issue of CutBank upon its release. (International applicants must send a SASE to receive a copy of the issue, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate shipping as we are no longer able to ship internationally.)
What We’re Looking For:
Startling, compelling, and beautiful original work. We’re interested in both prose and poetry – and particularly work that straddles the lines between genres, in a fresh, powerful manuscript. Perhaps yours will overtake us quietly, gracefully defy genres, or satisfyingly subvert our expectations. Maybe it will punch us in the mouth page in and page out.
Manuscripts should be cohesive and coherent; in other words, your manuscript should resonate and make sense as a book.
Guidelines for Electronic Submissions:
We only accept submissions electronically. The submission period runs January 1 through May 31. Entries must be received no later than midnight MST on May 31.
Manuscripts should be 25-40 typed pages in length of poetry (a cohesive poetry manuscript), fiction (either a short fiction collection or novella), or creative nonfiction (one long essay or a collection of short essays).
.DOC/.DOCX/PDF formats are acceptable.
For poetry and short prose, please include no more than one piece per page.
Include page numbers, table of contents, and, if applicable, an acknowledgments page addressing where sections have been previously published. The manuscript as a whole must be an unpublished work.
Submissions should include two cover pages as the first two pages of the document: one with the manuscript’s title, the other with the title, author’s name, address, and e-mail address. The author’s name should not appear anywhere else in the manuscript.
The winner and runners-up will be announced by CutBank and featured on the CutBank website, and we’ll do our best to distribute to regional independent bookstores.
The contest will be judged by the CutBank editorial staff.
Manuscript revisions are not permitted during the contest.
Multiple entries are fine as long as each is accompanied by a submission fee (in which case you will receive an additional copy of CutBank).
The author must not have a close personal or professional relationship with any current or previous CutBank staff members.
Results will be announced via e-mail and posted at www.cutbankonline.com in August.
The 2018 CutBank Genre Contest Winners
The Montana Prize in Fiction
Judged by Monica Drake
This year's fiction winner is J. Matthew Gottwig, a Montana native now living in Baltimore, MD with his wife and kids. He works for the University of Maryland library system and is pursuing his MFA from the University of Baltimore.
In addition to a $500 prize, Gottwig's's winning work will appear in CutBank 89, our summer 2018 issue.
Judge Monica Drake selected "Tether":
"...for the way it navigates a space between human connection and disconnection, between the individual and community, between love and terror. A child’s mortality holds a family together, which happens every day, but in this case the author has carried the question into the realm of the inexplicable, the supernatural or spiritual, raising questions of how we understand our world and how we live with ourselves and each other. It reaches a beautiful moment by the ending, without ever overly resolving the intangible qualities. I appreciate this story."
Meet Monica Drake: "I have an MFA from the University of Arizona and teach at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. My debut Novel, Clown Girl, is published by the amazing indie press, Hawthorne Books, and has won an Eric Hoffer Award as well as an IPPY. It’s been translated into Italian, and recently optioned for film by the brilliant Kristen Wiig (SNL, Bridesmaids). My most recent novel, The Stud Book, is now out (Hogarth Books, April 2013) and doing great." (From monicadrake.com)
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We also send warm thanks to all the fine writers who entered this year,
and a special congratulations to our finalists:
The Montana Prize in Creative Nonfiction
Judged by Sarah Gerard
Tammy Delatorre's "I Am Coming for You" is this year's winner in the Montana Prize in Creative Nonfiction, chosen by Sarah Gerard.
In addition to a $500 prize, Delatorre's winning work will appear in CutBank 89, our summer 2018 issue.
Tammy Delatorre lives in Los Angeles. Her writing has received numerous literary awards, including the Payton Prize and the Slippery ElmProse Prize. More of her essays and stories can be found at www.tammydelatorre.com.
Judge Sarah Gerard had this to say about Delatorre's work:
“I Am Coming for You” is a bloody, vivid, gut-wrenching account of inherited violence, abandonment, and reckoning. It’s the kind of story that demands to be told in spite of, or maybe because of, the courage it takes to write it. Rage and sadness pulse through it like a heartbeat through an umbilical cord.
Sarah Gerard is the author of the essay collection Sunshine State, the novel Binary Star, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times first fiction prize, and two chapbooks, most recently BFF. Her short stories, essays, interviews, and criticism have appeared in The New York Times, Granta, The Baffler, Vice, BOMB Magazine, and other journals, as well as anthologies. She’s been supported by fellowships and residencies from Yaddo, Tin House, PlatteForum, Ucross, and Pocoapoco. She writes a monthly column for Hazlitt and teaches writing in New York City.
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We also send warm thanks to all the fine nonfiction authors who entered this year,
and a special congratulations to all our finalists:
The Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry
Judged by Sarah Vap
Freesia McKee's "What Isn't Dead" is this year's winner in the Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry, chosen by Sarah Vap.
Freesia McKee is author of the chapbook How Distant the City (Headmistress Press, 2017). Her words have appeared in cream city review, The Feminist Wire, Painted Bride Quarterly, Gertrude, and the Ms. Magazine Blog. Freesia's poetry is forthcoming in CALYX, Sinister Wisdom, and Nimrod.
In addition to a $500 prize, McKee's winning work will appear in CutBank 89, our summer 2018 issue.
Judge Sarah Vap had this to say about McKee's work:
In "What Isn't Dead," Freesia McKee layers the speaker's memory of a beloved (and themself at the time of that loving) as it is both hijacked and buoyed by the old and new systems of kindness and cruelty—chivalry, family, a 4th of July party that hurts, the strip club next door to their gay bar—until at the end my heart aches for them, confused (as they are?) by their final moment together—the moment's victory/failure at kindness, for everyone involved."
Sarah Vap, our Fall 2017 Distinguished Hugo Writer, is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Viability (Penguin 2016), which was selected for the National Poetry Series. Her book of hybrid poetics, End of the Sentimental Journey, inaugurated the Infidel Poetics Series with Noemi Press (2013). She is the recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship for poetry and has taught at Arizona State University, University of Southern California, and Drew University.
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We also send warm thanks to all the fine poets who entered this year, and a special congratulations to all our finalists:
Genre Contest submissions accepted November 9th - February 1st
A winner from each genre contest, chosen by our guest judges, will be featured in CutBank 91, our summer 2019 issue, and will receive $500. All submissions will be considered for print publication. Submission dates vary so please see details below. All entries must be submitted electronically, and complete guidelines are available on our Submittable page.
Genre Contest Submission Info
Genre contest submissions are accepted through our online submission manager only. Please follow the guidelines closely. The $20 contest entry fee includes a one-year subscription to CutBank and covers the reading of a single submission in a single genre.
For fiction and nonfiction, please send only a single work of no greater than 35 pages. For poetry, submit up to five poems. Please submit only once per genre, though writers are permitted to submit in multiple genres.
Include a short cover letter that mentions your address (where your subscription will be sent), phone number, and email address, as well as the title of your work. Please include the author's name on the manuscript—names will be removed from the pool of submissions that goes before our contest judges.
Current subscribers must submit the same $20 fee, and their CutBank subscriptions will be extended by one year.
Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your submission via Submittable immediately should it be accepted elsewhere. We are unable to offer refunds.
One winner in each genre, as chosen by our guest judges, will receive a $500 award and publication in the summer print issue of CutBank. (Winners will be required to complete a W-9 form to receive payment.)
All manuscripts are considered for publication in CutBank.
All rights to selected manuscripts revert to the author upon publication. The author grants their permission to have their work electronically archived as part of CutBank in EBSCO International's subscription-based research database.
Current University of Montana students and faculty and former CutBank staff are not eligible for the awards.
Entrants will be notified of their submission status no later than March 15.
The CLMP Code of Ethics: CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines -- defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage. It is truly an honor to read your work. We wish you the best of luck!