Nilsen Literary Prize for a First Novel                       Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Contest

Vern Cowles Poetry Chapbook Prize                          Mighty River Short Story Contest

                  Nilsen Literary Prize for a First Novel

Submissions: Previously unpublished novels, novellas, and collections of closely linked short stories may be submitted for the competition. We do not accept manuscripts that have been self-published. The competition is open to writers who have not yet published a novel who are U.S. residents writing in English.

Manuscripts submitted to the contest will be read and judged anonymously. A final judge will choose the winning manuscript from a pool of finalists.

Award: The Prize includes a $1000 cash award and publication by Southeast Missouri State University Press. The winning author will be invited to present a reading at the University.

Entry Fee: A $25 check/money order, made payable to Southeast Missouri State University Press, must accompany each entry. Multiple entries are allowed as long as they are each mailed with a $25 reading fee.

Deadline: Entries must be postmarked no later than November 1, 2012. Send hard copies of the entries to

Southeast Missouri State University Press
One University Plaza, MS 2650
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

Format: The manuscript must be typed and double-spaced, each manuscript-page numbered, with the following information on the title page:

  • title of contest
  • manuscript title
  • author's name
  • address
  • telephone number
  • e-mail address (if available)

This information must be nowhere else on the manuscript.

Failure to follow manuscript guidelines may disqualify entries.

Receipt of manuscript will be acknowledged only if the submission is accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped postcard. No manuscripts will be returned.

The winner will be notified July 15, 2013.

If you would like to be informed of the contest results, check our website in May at, or enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your manuscript submission.

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