Submission and Contest Guidelines

Graywolf Press Submission 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 combines a distinct voice with a distinct vision.


Graywolf Press does not accept unsolicited submissions at the present time.


Agents should send manuscripts directly to the appropriate editor.


Our editors continue to seek out and solicit promising work from authors that they encounter in the pages of magazines, at writing conferences, and in other venues. Graywolf remains dedicated to finding and promoting distinctive literary voices, and we appreciate your continued support of our efforts.


The Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize is currently closed. The winner of the 2014 prize was RIverine by Angela Palm.


The next submission period for the nonfiction prize will be in January 2016. Please refer to the nonfiction prize guidelines for more details on eligibility and on how to submit a manuscript for the prize.



Graywolf Press has ongoing partnerships with A Public Space, Cave Canem, the Poetry Foundation, SLS, the Academy of American Poets, 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.


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, and will be publishing the winner of the 2015 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 40 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. Hailey Leithauser was the winner of the 2012 prize for her manuscript, Swoop, which was published in October of 2013.


Summer Literary Seminars Unified Literary Contest:

Graywolf Press is proud to be partnering with the Summer Literary Seminars this year for the Graywolf Prize for the best novel excerpt by an emerging writer, part of SLS's 2012 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. The winner of the 2015 prize was Ling Ma.


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 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 2015 judge for the Walt Whitman Award is Tracy K. Smith.