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2018 Prime Number Magazine Awards for Poetry and Short Fiction

Open January 1 – April 15

(deadline extended to April 30!)

Enter now through Submittable

Our Judges

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Terri Kirby Erickson is the author of five full-length collections of award-winning poetry, most recently Becoming the Blue Heron (Press 53). Her work has appeared in the 2013 Poet’s Market, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, Asheville Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts, Journal of the America Medical Association, Literary Mama, NASA News & Notes, North Carolina Literary Review, storySouth, The Southern Poetry Anthology (Texas Review Press), The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor, Verse Daily, and many others. Awards include the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize, Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award, Atlanta Review International Publication Prize, Gold Medal in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and a Nautilus Silver Book Award. She lives in North Carolina.

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Clint McCown has published four novels (The Member-Guest, War Memorials, The Weatherman, and Haints), and five volumes of poems (Labyrinthiad, Sidetracks, Wind Over Water, Dead Languages, and Total Balance Farm). He has received the Midwest Book Award, the Society of Midland Authors Award, the S. Mariella Gable Prize, the Germaine Breé Book Award, an Academy of American Poets Prize, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers designation, and a Distinction in Literature citation from the Wisconsin Library Association. He is the only two-time recipient of the American Fiction Prize. In journalism, he received an Associated Press Award for Documentary Excellence for his investigations of organized crime. He has worked as a screenwriter for Warner Bros. and a Creative Consultant for HBO television. He is a former principal actor with the National Shakespeare Company, and several of his plays have been produced. He has edited a number of literary journals, including the Beloit Fiction Journal, which he founded in 1984. He teaches in the MFA program at Virginia Commonwealth University and in the low-residency MFA program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.


Submission period: January 1 – April 15, 2018

Winner and Finalists Announced: No later than July  1, 2018

Reading Fee: $15

Deadline: Midnight Eastern time, April 15, 2018

How to Enter the Prime Number Magazine Awards:

POETRY: Submit one unpublished poem, no more than three pages, single-spaced in standard 12-pt. type. (Times New Roman, Garamond, etc). Make sure your name does not appear on the page with the poem. Poem must be written in English. Entries will only be accepted through Submittable.

SHORT FICTION: Submit one unpublished work of fiction from 53 to 5,300 words, double-spaced in standard 12-pt. type. (Times New Roman, etc). Make sure your name does not appear on the manuscript. The story must be written in English. Entries are only accepted through Submittable.


Prime Number Magazine and Press 53 reserve the right to extend deadlines if deemed necessary. Multiple entries are accepted with a reading fee for each entry. Simultaneous submissions are accepted but please remove work immediately if accepted elsewhere. Only unpublished works are eligible. Reading fees are non-refundable. Entries with author's name appearing anywhere on the manuscript will not be considered. No refunds will be made. Work withdrawn from the contest will not receive a refund. The winning entry must remain unpublished until it appears online in Prime Number Magazine, Issue 137 (Oct 1, 2018), otherwise the prize and publication will be forfeited. Confirmation of entry will be sent via e-mail by Submittable immediately after submission. An announcement of our winner and finalists will be sent to all entrants via email through Submittable, and posted in Prime Number Magazine, Facebook, and Twitter no later than July 1, 2018.


First Prize: $1000 in each category plus publication in Prime Number Magazine, Issue 137, October 1, 2018

The poet names, locations, and titles of our finalists will be listed in Prime Number Magazine.

Judging: All work will be read blind, so author's name should not appear on the page with the story or poem. The judge is asked to disqualify any entry that the judge recognizes, so please use your best judgment when submitting. If you know the judge in your category and believe he or she may recognize your work, you may want to reconsider submitting. The judge's complete bio can be found on the Prime Number Magazine website.

Eligibility: Contest is open to writers anywhere in the world who write in English. Press 53 and Prime Number Magazine editors and family members are not eligible. Authors who have published a book-length collection with Press 53 are not eligible. Writers whose work appears in anthologies published by Press 53 are eligible. 

Questions/Comments should be directed to Kevin Morgan Watson, Publisher and Editor in Chief, at

Enter now through Submittable