Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314

Press 53 publishes six (6) short story collections, and six-eight (6-8) poetry collections each year, plus (on average) one anthology and one out-of-print classic (under our Press 53 Classics imprint). We no longer publish novels or book-length nonfiction. Aside from authors who win our contests, we look for widely published authors who are active in the literary community and have a manuscript that connects with our editors. We do not find our authors by way of a standard submission process. 

We find authors a number of ways…

The Press 53 Award for Short Fiction: We find one short story collection each year by way of the Press 53 Award for Short Fiction. This is a new award for an outstanding, unpublished collection of short stories by a U.S.-based author regardless of the author’s publishing history. We are looking for excellent stories. This contest runs from September-December each year with the winning entry earning publication, a $1000 advance, and travel expenses to Winston-Salem for a reading and book launch party the following October. Complete details can be found here.

The Press 53 Award for Poetry (Opens April 1, 2014): Similar to the short fiction contest, this contest runs from April-July each year. The winner will be selected by Press 53 poetry series editor Tom Lombardo, and will be published as a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection. The contest will offer the same cash prize and travel expenses as the short fiction contest. Details are coming soon.

The Prime Number Magazine Awards (formerly the Press 53 Open Awards): Beginning in January 2014, our digital online quarterly journal, Prime Number Magazine, will run a writing contest from January-May, and the winners in four categories (Poetry, Flash Fiction, Short Story, and Creative Nonfiction) will earn a cash prize plus publication in Prime Number Magazine and in the print annual. Over the eight-year period that this contest operated as the Press 53 Open Awards, we published books by several winners and finalists. We will continue to watch the Prime Number Magazine Awards as well. Details on this contest are coming soon.

Surreal South: Every odd year on Halloween we publish Surreal South, an anthology of short fiction with a southern theme that pushes the boundaries of genre in a number of ways. Surreal South was founded by Laura Benedict and Pinckney Benedict, who edited the first three volumes ('07, '09. '11), and is now edited by Josh Woods. Submissions for Surreal South open in odd years on January 1. Next submission date is January 1, 2015. Check out the current and past volumes here.

Our remaining short story and poetry collections are found by our editors who actively seek out authors by reading journals and magazines, and through recommendations from writers we have published or have come to know and trust over the years. We meet many writers at the AWP conference and various other conferences and literary events we attend each year. We also receive recommendations from magazine and journal editors.

Our advice: Authors who do not enter our contests can gain our attention by publishing widely in journals and magazines, by winning or placing in other contests (we keep an eye on who is winning and placing in a number of contests), and by becoming involved in the literary community. We are always looking for voices that connect with us on a variety of levels.

Journals and Magazines: The best introduction is a publication credit (the more, the better), and there is no better place to gain recognition, build readership, and to make valuable connections and alliances than by publishing in journals and magazines. This is where you gain experience working with seasoned editors, meet fellow authors, and build readership for your book. To find journals and magazines that are the best fit for your writing, we recommend Please support your favorite journals and magazines by purchasing a copy or a subscription.

We Publish Only U.S.-based Authors: While many of our authors are local / regional to the Carolinas, we publish just as many writers from outside our region, from Florida to New England to California to Washington state and many points between. We also publish a balance of men and women (OK, a few more women than men). Neither of these statistics were established by design.

Questions should be emailed to founding editor Kevin Morgan Watson.