The SLS 2019 Literary Contest is bigger than ever.

We are thrilled to offer new categories and exciting new publication opportunities in this year’s contest!

Read on for details, prize descriptions, and submission guidelines.

In addition to the Fiction and Poetry categories with our friends at Fence Magazine, we are also launching a First Chapter contest in collaboration with Graywolf Press, and an Essay and Flash Fiction contest, in collaboration with Scoundrel Time.


for Fiction & Poetry:

1st place in each category—free airfare, tuition, & accommodations for a 2019 SLS program of your choice, and publication in Fence Magazine.

2nd place in each category—a full tuition waiver for a 2019 SLS program of your choice.

3rd place in each category—a 75% tuition discount for a 2019 SLS program of your choice.

For the NEW First Chapter contest:

1st place winner will receive a full tuition waiver for a 2019 SLS program, and online publication of the winning chapter with Graywolf Press.

For the NEW Essay and Flash Fiction contests:

1st place in each category will receive a full tuition waiver for a 2019 SLS program, and online publication with Scoundrel Time.

Additionally, a number of fellowships will be offered to participants across all categories based on the quality of their submissions.

2019 Contest Guidelines

General Guidelines

  • Each submission must be accompanied by a $17 USD submission fee.
  • You may submit more than once (and in multiple categories) so long as each submission is separate, and accompanied by the $17 USD fee.
  • You may attach your work as a Word or PDF document.
  • Your name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript itself, please.
  • The deadline to submit is February 28th, 2019, at 11:59 PM.


Fiction & Poetry Contest, with Fence Magazine

  • Fiction submissions must be under 25 pages
  • Poetry submissions may be up to 10 pages, with maximum one poem per page.


First Chapter Contest, with Graywolf Press

  • The submitted work must be unpublished.
  • Submissions should be a single chapter or excerpt from a chapter; not multiple shorter excerpts. It should be the first chapter of the work.
  • Submissions must not exceed 25 pages.
  • If you choose to include a brief passage to contextualize the reader (which is by no means required), this passage is included in the page limit.


Essay and Flash Fiction Contest, with Scoundrel Time

  • Submit a personal essay/piece of creative nonfiction  OR a piece of Flash Fiction addressing any topic related to the general theme of threats against democracy and human rights, whether that applies to groups, cultures, individuals, or landscapes.
  • Essays should not exceed 4,000 words.
  • Flash Fiction submissions should not exceed 1,200 words.


Submit your best work before February 28th, 2019!

Click here to submit!