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Submissions

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Graywolf Press publishes about 30 books annually, mostly poetry, memoirs, essays, novels, translations, and short stories.
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Graywolf Press is not currently accepting unsolicited submissions (outside of prize submission periods, see below re. Graywolf Nonfiction Prize), and there are no open submission periods currently scheduled.

Our editors are looking for high quality literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that combine a distinct voice with a distinct vision. Our editors seek out and solicit promising work from authors that they encounter in the pages of magazines, at writing conferences, and in other venues.

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Prizes

The Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

*Submissions are currently open for the 2024 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize February 1-29, 2024* Submit here

A $20,000 advance and publication by Graywolf Press will be awarded to the most promising and innovative literary nonfiction project by a writer not yet established in the genre. The winning author will also receive a $2,000 stipend intended to support the completion of their project. 

The Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize emphasizes innovation in form and content, and we want to see projects that push the boundaries of literary nonfiction. The Graywolf editors are particularly interested in new approaches to the personal essay, cultural and literary criticism, creative scholarship, and books exploring complex ideas from unexpected angles. We hope to be moved, challenged, and surprised. Please note that we are not interested in straightforward memoirs or journalistic reporting. Before submitting your manuscript for the prize, please look at the books previously published as winners of the prize or other Graywolf nonfiction titles for examples of the type of work that we are seeking. 

The prize will be awarded to a manuscript in progress. We request that authors send a long sample from their manuscript, as well as a description of the work, as detailed below. We expect that we will work with the winner of the prize and provide editorial guidance toward the completion of the manuscript. 

The prize will be judged by the Graywolf Press editors. The editors reserve the right to invite submissions and make exceptions. Agented submissions are welcome. Manuscripts submitted for previous years’ prizes will not be reconsidered unless resubmission has been specifically requested by the Graywolf editors. Graywolf will only consider one submission per author for each open submission period.

Please submit the following items via this Submittable link

  • A one-page cover letter containing a short biographical statement and brief description of the project
  • A list of all previous publications
  • A two to ten-page overview of the project, including a description of what is already complete and what work remains to be finished
  • A minimum of 100 pages (roughly 25,000 words) from anywhere within the manuscript, using regular margins, double spacing, and 12-point font

To be eligible, writers must:

  • Live in the United States, regardless of citizenship status
  • Have published at least one piece of nonfiction in a literary journal or magazine; reviews, interviews, reportage, and other similar pieces do not qualify
  • Have not yet authored a book of literary nonfiction; authorship of other kinds of nonfiction books is not disqualifying

Terms of publication: 

  • $20,000 advance 
  • World rights, including translation
  • Format: paperback original 

Former Winners on the Impact of the Nonfiction Prize

“[The Collected Schizophrenias] truly wouldn’t have come to be if it hadn’t been for the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize. . . . If Graywolf hadn’t taken it, that would’ve been it; the book would’ve died on the vine. So I’m very, very glad that they did.”—Esmé Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias, from Lit Hub

“Graywolf changed my life. No other way to put it. They believed in a book no one else would have published. Maybe you have a book for them too?”—Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams, via Twitter

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The Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize

The submission period for the 2023 Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize has ended. A winner will be selected by fall 2023 and all submitters will be notified of the status of their submission via Submittable at that time. Should your novel manuscript be accepted for publication elsewhere, please let us know via Submittable or by emailing africanfictionprize@graywolfpress.org. We are otherwise not able to answer any inquiries about your submission. 

January 3, 2023—Graywolf Press is pleased to announce that the submission period for the fourth Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize will run from February 1-March 15, 2023 (extended from the original closing date of February 28). The prize will be awarded for a first novel by an African author primarily residing in Africa and will be judged by Tsitsi Dangarembga, author of the Booker Prize short-listed This Mournable Body and the forthcoming Black and Female, in conjunction with the Graywolf editors.

Graywolf Press, a nonprofit American publisher, publishes work that is distinctive, artistically singular, and of a high literary quality. For this prize, the judge and the Graywolf editors are seeking novels that are engaged with the current moment and that approach contemporary issues with innovative prose and fresh perspectives.

Submissions must be full-length, previously unpublished first novels, or first novels published in Africa that have not been distributed or available for sale outside of the continent of Africa. The winning manuscript will receive a $12,000 advance and publication by Graywolf Press. We will be accepting submissions through our page on Submittable at www.graywolfpress.submittable.com. If you have questions or difficulty using the site, please email africanfictionprize@graywolfpress.org for assistance.

Previous winners of the Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize include The House of Rust (October 2021) by Khadija Abdalla Bajaber and If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English (April 2022) by Noor Naga, both of which were selected by prize judge A. Igoni Barrett, author of Blackass and Love Is Power, or Something Like That. The House of Rust won the inaugural Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction and If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English won the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

“The Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize has changed my life in astonishing ways,” Khadija Abdalla Bajaber says, speaking to the experience of being the inaugural prize winner. “The road to publication is steep, and The House of Rust is the kind of book that could not have had a conventional journey to publication, as it presents a world that readers might not have encountered elsewhere. But Graywolf Press believed in the book, and they propelled this story into places that it might not have otherwise been able to go, taking it to such ambitious spaces that it feels audacious for a first novel. I’ve been guided and supported throughout, making the experience of publishing my first book feel far less overwhelming. Every success the book has had is as much about the dedicated work done by the press as it is the quality of the story itself.”

Speaking about her experience of winning the prize, Noor Naga says, “I couldn’t have imagined how transformative winning such a prize would be for my work or career. I am grateful for this arm tendered across the Atlantic, from Minneapolis to Cairo. In today’s increasingly conservative publishing climate, I believe such initiatives to be necessary for our literary health and cannot wait to hear the daring new voices from the continent that this prize will amplify in years to come.”

Tsitsi Dangarembga is the author of This Mournable Body, short-listed for the Booker Prize, and two previous novels including Nervous Conditions, winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize. She is also a filmmaker, playwright, and the director and founder of the Institute of Creative Arts for Progress in Africa Trust. She lives in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Graywolf Press is an award-winning independent publisher committed to the discovery and energetic publication of contemporary American and international literature. Founded in 1974, the press is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota (www.graywolfpress.org).

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Submission Guidelines

Poetry

Graywolf Press partners with the Academy of American Poets and Cave Canem to publish and promote the work of new and emerging writers.

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Nonfiction

Agents may submit nonfiction submissions to the appropriate editor for consideration. Graywolf accepts submissions for the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize every other year; the next open submission period will be in 2022.

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Fiction

Agents may submit fiction submissions to the appropriate editor for consideration. Graywolf accepts submissions for the Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize every other year; the most recent submission period closed on August 31, 2021.

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Jeff Shotts on the Art of Rejection
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Susan Steinberg on Punctuation
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Sarah Manguso on Connection
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Tony Hoagland on "Image Out of Sound"
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