Call for Submissions: 2010 Prose Awards for Non-Fiction and Short Fiction

The Guild Literary Complex is proud to announce a call for non-fiction and short fiction submissions for its annual Prose Awards. Every Fall the Guild showcases emerging and established short fiction and non-fiction writers with a judged competition, recognition event and two cash prizes of $500. This year’s guest judges will be Susan Messer (non-fiction) and Bayo Ojikutu (fiction). The winner from each category will read his/her work and receive the prize at the Prose Awards recognition event on November 10th, 2010 at the California Clipper, 1002 N. California Ave, Chicago, IL, 8:30 pm (21 and over venue). Writers of any experience – from published authors to MFA students to self-taught – are invited to submit. We’ll even offer coaching if you want to practice your reading (see FAQs below).

Poets must be 21 years of age or older and a resident of Illinois by November 10th. A submission fee of $5 is required. See below for full submission guidelines and FAQs. (Following these instructions are the only way to make sure your submission receives the best possible consideration.) Good luck!

Submission Guidelines

One piece submitted per person, for EITHER the non-fiction OR the short fiction category (No exceptions please – if you send us more than one piece, we won’t be able to consider any.) Non-fiction submissions may not exceed 5,000 words; Short Fiction submissions may not exceed 1,000 words (please include a word count on the upper right corner of the first page). Other requirements:

• Must be previously unpublished
• Must be original work from the writer.
• Must be typed in legible 12-pt font
• Must include the $5 submission fee. Submissions without the submission fee will not be considered. Click the “DONATE NOW!” button on the left to pay your entrance fee through PayPal.
• Must be able to be read by you, the evening of November 10th
• You must be at least 21 years old and a resident of Illinois by November 10th, 2010 (to be eligible to receive the cash prize and to attend the recognition event at the 21-and-over venue)

Where to submit it

EITHER by mail OR by email…


Guild Complex
P.O. Box 478880
Chicago, IL 60647-9998
Attn: Prose Awards

For mailed submissions: please put your full name, street address, email address, telephone number, category (fiction or non-fiction) and name of submitted piece on a separate cover sheet. No identifying info should appear on the pages of the piece itself. Please DO NOT send any materials directly to the California Clipper. The Clipper is only our home for that night; any submissions delivered there will not be considered.


For email submissions: please include your full name, street address, email address, telephone number, category (fiction or non-fiction) and name of the piece in the body of the email, and attach your piece as a simple Word document or pdf. No identifying info should appear on the pages of the piece itself.

Whether sending your submission by mail or email, don’t forget to send your $5 submission fee via the “DONATE NOW!” button at

3. When to submit

EITHER postmarked OR in our email inbox no later than Friday, October 22, 2010. Submissions may not be made in person. We’ll send you an acknowledgement email the following week to let you know your submission arrived and has met the guidelines. Then we’ll announce the winner of each category by Wednesday, November 3, 2010. And again, the two winners will read their pieces and receive their prize at the recognition event Wednesday November 10th.

Again those key dates are:

•Friday, October 22: last chance to EITHER postmark OR email your submission, along with $5 fee through
•Wednesday, November 3: Winners are announced and notified.
•Wednesday, November 10: Recognition event at the California Clipper, 1002 N. California Ave, Chicago, IL, 8:30 p.m. (21 and over venue)


What if I don’t like reading my own work in public? Can someone else do it?

We’re sorry, no. Like a lot of events with the Guild Complex, we want this to feature great writers, not just great writing. So we want to hear your voice. However, winners who would like to practice or get feedback on their reading style before the recognition event will have the opportunity to get coaching from a performer in the Guild Complex’s Poetry Performance Incubator. Just indicate your interest in coaching when you submit.

I have a (wedding/job/date/etc.) on November 10th. Can I leave the recognition event early/come late?

We ask you to be available for the full event, to enjoy the recognition and hear great work by one of your writing peers.

Why does the Guild require a submission fee? I’m not a rich writer.

We understand. However, the $5 submission fee helps offset part of the Guild’s costs for this event and its two cash awards. That allows us to keep doing events like this in the future.

Do I have to pay my submission fee by PayPal?

Sorry, yes. At this time our limited staff support makes this the best way to process entries quickly and accurately.

Should my work focus on a particular theme or style besides fiction/non-fiction?

No, just send us an example of your best work. We look forward to reading it.

More questions? Email

Thanks and good luck!

The Guild Complex