The 2016 literary contest is now closed. Winners and finalists will be published in the literary edition, available online and in print in December.

If you are interested in submitting nonfiction works up to 500 words to our regular online edition, click here for guidelines. If your nonfiction piece is more than 500 words, consider entering it in our literary contest; guidelines appear below.


We accept submissions of previously unpublished poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for our annual literary contest during the months of August and September. Although the contest theme is open, we are especially interested in work that relates to our mission, which is promoting self-sufficiency, environmental stewardship, and local economies. We are also interested in works by writers with a Southern connection, and works written with a Southern slant or that focus on Southern issues, people, and places. Winning entries, as well as finalists and semifinalists, are published in The New Southerner Literary Edition, available online and in print.

  • Prizes: $200 for winners of Fiction, Nonfiction, and the James Baker Hall Memorial Prize in Poetry and publication in the literary edition;
  • Contest fee: $10 per entry. One entry is one piece of prose up to 5,000 words or one poem up to 100 lines;
  • Multiple entries are accepted;
  • Simultaneously submitted entries are accepted as long as you notify us promptly if your work is accepted elsewhere; entry fee is not refundable;
  • Winners of first place prizes are not eligible to participate in the same genre in successive years; for example, the 2015 James Baker Hall Memorial Prize recipient is ineligible to participate in the 2016 poetry contest, but is permitted to enter in fiction or nonfiction in 2016. In addition, the 2015 JBH prize winner may participate in the poetry category, or any other category, in 2017.
  • Postmark deadline: September 30;
  • Winners will be notified by October 31;
  • Finalists and winning entries will be announced in The New Southerner Literary Edition, available online and in print in December.
  • New Southerner reserves the right not to select a winner in any category if a suitable entry cannot be found.


New Southerner editors and advisory board members blindly review and select the top five entries in each category. Final judges select winning entries. This year’s final judges are Mary Ann Taylor Hall, Mary Popham, and Bobbi Buchanan.


We prefer electronic submissions and fee payment. Work should be single or double spaced with one-inch margins and saved as a word document, rich text file, or plain text file. If your name appears anywhere on the entry, it will be removed before the judging process.

Click here to go to the Contest Submissions Form. When completing the contest form, please be sure all information is up-to-date. Winners in each category are notified by telephone; finalists are notified by email. After completing the form, click SUBMIT. A link will appear directing you to our secure PayPal link. PLEASE NOTE: you do not need a PayPal account to pay through PayPal; payment requires checking or savings account information, a debit card, or credit card. Payment must be made at the time of submission. Entries received without payment will be discarded. If you have problems submitting your work, please try using a different browser or electronic device. All of our technology has been tested and updated and is functioning properly; we cannot control technical glitches on the user’s end. If you continue to experience problems with the electronic submission form, you may submit your work via mail.


Follow guidelines listed above. All entries sent by U.S. mail must include a single title page with the following information:

•    Title of entry
•    Category (Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction)
•    Name
•    Mailing address
•    Telephone number
•    Email address

Your name should appear on the title page only. Number all pages. Please do not paper clip or staple pages. Place title page on top. No cover letters. Include $10 for each entry. For multiple entries, a single check or money order for the appropriate amount is acceptable. Checks or money orders should be made payable to Bobbi Buchanan. Mail to:

Bobbi Buchanan
New Southerner Literary Contest
1450 Highgrove Road
Cox’s Creek, KY 40013

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