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 was open to manuscripts of poetry and poetry in translation from August 1-31, 2016. Currently, we are not open for poetry submissions.



Agents may submit nonfiction submissions to the appropriate editor for consideration.


The Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize is currently open for submissions from January 1 - January 31! Please refer to the nonfiction prize guidelines for more details on eligibility and on how to submit a manuscript for the prize. 



Agents may submit fiction submissions to the appropriate editor for consideration.


We are pleased to announce the Graywolf Press Africa Prize, to be awarded for a first novel manuscript by an African author primarily residing in Africa. The prize will be judged by A. Igoni Barrettauthor of the acclaimed novel Blackass, in conjunction with the Graywolf editors. The submission period will run from October 1-October 31, 2017, and a winner will be announced in early 2018. 


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 Joy Harjo.


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.