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The 2019 Prime Number Magazine Awards for Poetry and Short Fiction

Entries are accepted only via Submittable

First Prize in each category is $1,000, a Pushcart Prize nomination, and publication in Prime Number Magazine

New this year: Two runners-up in each category will be named and published in Prime Number Magazine

GUIDELINES: Before entering, please carefully read our guidelines

Entry period: January 1 to March 31, 2019

Final Judges: (scroll down to read judges’ biographies

Poetry: Ginger Murchison, co-founder (with Thomas Lux) of Poetry@TECH and author of a scrap of linen, a bone

Short Fiction: Pinckney Benedict, author of Town Smokes, The Wrecking Yard, Dogs of God, and Miracle Boy and Other Stories

First Prize: $1,000 in each category, a Pushcart Prize nomination, plus publication in Prime Number Magazine, Issue 163, Oct-Dec 2019 (a Press 53 publication)

Runners-up: Two runners-up will be named in each category and published in Prime Number Magazine, Issue 163, Oct-Dec 2019

Announcement : The winner, runners-up, and finalists will be named no later than August 1, 2019 (probably sooner)

Reading Fee: $15

How to Enter the Prime Number Magazine Awards for Poetry and Short Fiction:

Enter: Entries are accepted only via Submittable

Poetry: Submit one (and only one) unpublished poem, no more than three pages in length in standard 12-pt. type. (Times, Garamond, etc). Make sure your name does not appear on the page with the poem.

Short Fiction: Submit one (and only one) unpublished short story of up to 5,300 words, double spaced in standard 12-pt. type. (Times, Garamond, etc) with numbered pages. Make sure your name does not appear on the manuscript.

Multiple entries: Multiple entries are acceptable, but a separate reading fee applies for each entry.

Simultaneous submissions: Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your story via Submittable if it is accepted elsewhere. Entry fee is non-refundable.

Editing entry: If you discover an error and wish to replace your entry with a newly edited version, request "Open Editing" via Submittable. Requests made after the deadline will not be honored.

Judging: All entries are read blind. Judge is asked to disqualify any entry that is recognized, so please use your best judgment when entering.

Eligibility: Contest is open to writers anywhere in the world who write in English. Note: 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. The judge agrees to disqualify any work that, for whatever reason, is recognized, so use your best judgment when entering.

Disclaimer: Prime Number Magazine reserves the right to extend the deadline 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. Entries withdrawn from the contest will not receive a refund. All entries must be work that is original to the author.

Questions/Comments should be directed to Kevin Morgan Watson, Publish & Editor in Chief, Press 53 and Prime Number Magazine at kevin@press53.com

Entries are now closed (as of March 31)

Meet Our Judges



Ginger Murchison started writing poetry after a thirty-one-year teaching career. She earned her MFA from Warren Wilson College, and, together with Thomas Lux, helped found POETRY at TECH at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she served as associate director for five years and as one of its Visiting McEver Chairs in Poetry. She serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of The Frost Place, consults faculty for the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, and is Editor in Chief of the acclaimed Cortland Review. She has two grown children, Arienne and Jason, and lives with her husband Clyde Mynatt in Ft. Myers, Florida.


Short Fiction

Pinckney Benedict grew up on his family’s dairy farm in the mountains of southern West Virginia. He has published three collections of short fiction: Miracle Boy and Other Stories, Town Smokes and The Wrecking Yard, and a novel, Dogs of God. His stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies including Esquire, Zoetrope: All-Story, StoryQuarterly, Ontario Review, the O. Henry Award series, the New Stories from the South series, the Pushcart Prize anthology, The Oxford Book of American Short Stories, and The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction. He is the recipient, among other prizes, of a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Literary Fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, a Michener Fellowship from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award, a Individual Artist grant from the Illinois Arts Council, and Britain’s Steinbeck Award. He is a professor in the English Department at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.