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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), 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 African Fiction Prize

ANNOUNCING THE SUBMISSION PERIOD FOR 2023 GRAYWOLF PRESS AFRICAN FICTION PRIZE

NOVELIST AND ESSAYIST TSITSI DANGAREMBGA TO JUDGE

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 1-28, 2023. 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Submissions must be full-length, previously unpublished first novels, or first novels published in Africa that have not been distributed or available for sale outside of the continent of Africa.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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The Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

*We’re currently reviewing the 2022 prize submissions and expect to announce a winner in August. All entrants will be notified in Submittable in due course.*

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 2022 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 Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize emphasizes innovation in form and content, and we want to see projects that test the boundaries of literary nonfiction. We are less interested in straightforward memoirs, and we turn down a large number of them every year. The Graywolf editors are particularly interested in books that explore new approaches to cultural and literary criticism, as well as writing on craft. Before submitting your manuscript for the prize, please look at the books previously published as winners of the prize for examples of the type of work that we are seeking.

The 2022 prize will be judged by the Graywolf Press editors. The editors reserve the right to invite submissions or make exceptions. Agented submissions are also welcome. Manuscripts submitted for previous years’ prizes will not be reconsidered unless resubmission has been specifically requested by the Graywolf editors.

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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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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Mary Szybist on Visual Poetry
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Jeff Shotts on the Art of Rejection
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Susan Steinberg on Punctuation
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Charles Baxter on the Request Moment
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Sarah Manguso on Connection
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Tom Sleigh on Haibun, Bashō, the Poet as Journalist as Poet
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Robert Boswell on Having Gravity and Having Weight
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Tony Hoagland on "Image Out of Sound"
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