Submission and Contest Guidelines

Graywolf Press is a literary press that publishes about thirty books annually, mostly collections of poetry, memoir, essays, novels, and short stories. 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. Graywolf is dedicated to finding and promoting distinctive literary voices, and we appreciate your continued support of our efforts.


Graywolf Press has several opportunities for manuscript submissions:



Graywolf Press will be open to manuscripts of poetry and poetry in translation from August 1-31, 2016. All authors are welcome to submit; however, poets who are eligible for one of the prizes listed below should consider submitting to the appropriate prize with one of our partner organizations. First books of poetry, for example, are also eligible for the Walt Whitman Award.


Manuscripts submitted during the month of August must be at least 50 pages and include a cover letter and brief biographical note, as well as relevant publishing history. There is no entry fee for manuscripts submitted during this period, and Graywolf makes no guarantees of publication.


Only manuscripts submitted through Submittable will be considered. We will close to submissions at 11:59 p.m. central time, August 31.



Esmé Weijun Wang is the winner of the 2016 prize for The Collected Schizophrenias. Read the press release for the announcement.

Brigid Hughes, founding editor of A Public Spacejudged the 2016 prize.

Submissions for the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize are now closed. Please refer to the nonfiction prize guidelines for more details on eligibility and on how to submit a manuscript for the prize. 



At present Graywolf Press is only considering agented fiction submissions.

Agents should send manuscripts for any of the above genres directly to the appropriate editor for consideration.

Please note that we do not accept unsolicited queries. 



Graywolf Press has ongoing partnerships with A Public Space, the Academy of American Poets, Cave Canem, the Poetry Foundation, SLS, and other organizations that promote the work of new and emerging writers.


A Public Space:

Brigid Hughes, founding editor of A Public Space, is a contributing editor to Graywolf Press, where she uses her sharp editorial eye to find work from the magazine’s fiction and nonfiction contributors that fits well with the Graywolf list. Graywolf publishes one to two A Public Space books per year, with “A Public Space Book” printed on the back cover and in the interior. Graywolf is responsible for publishing and promoting each title, though both organizations collaborate on author events and other opportunities.


Walt Whitman Award: 

The Walt Whitman Award is a $5,000 first-book publication prize given to an American poet. In addition to publication and promotion by Graywolf Press, the winner receives an all-expenses-paid six-week residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy, and a trip to New York City to attend the American Poets Prizes ceremony. The Academy of American Poets purchases copies of the winning book to distribute to thousands of its members. For more information please visit the website. The 2016 judge for the Walt Whitman Award is Carolyn Forché.


Cave Canem Poetry Prize:

Graywolf Press is one of the publishers of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a first book award dedicated to the discovery of exceptional manuscripts by African American poets. Graywolf publishes every third winner of the Prize. More information is available at the Cave Canem website.


Emily Dickinson First Book Award:

The Emily Dickinson First Book Award is an occasional award given by the Poetry Foundation that recognizes an American poet over the age of forty who has yet to publish a first book. In addition to publication and promotion of the manuscript by Graywolf Press, the winner will receive a prize of $10,000.


Summer Literary Seminars Unified Literary Contest:

Graywolf Press is proud to be partnering with the Summer Literary Seminars for the Graywolf Prize for the best novel excerpt by an emerging writer, part of SLS's Unified Literary Contests. The winner of this prize will receive full tuition to any SLS Program (Montreal, Quebec; Vilnius, Lithuania; or Nairobi-Lamu, Kenya), a prize of $500 towards travel expenses, and will have their winning novel excerpt published on the Graywolf Press website. The SLS Unified Literary Contests also offer prizes in poetry and nonfiction, as well as additional prizes in fiction. For a complete list of prizes, and for more information on how to submit your work, please visit the SLS website.