Southeast Missouri State University Press

Nilsen Literary Prize for a First Novel

Deadline: November 1, annually 
Reading Fee: $25

Award: $2,000 and publication by Southeast Missouri State University Press.

Manuscripts submitted to the contest will be read and judged anonymously.


Submission Guidelines

  • Submissions must be previously unpublished novels, novellas, or collections of closely linked short stories.
  • Manuscripts that have been self-published or published online will not be accepted.
  • Open to English-writing, U.S. residents who have not yet published a novel.
  • Manuscripts must be typed and double-spaced, each manuscript page numbered, with the following information submitted in Submittable’s “Cover Letter” field:
    • Contest title
    • Manuscript title
    • Author name
    • Address
    • Telephone number
    • Email (if available)
    • Your name/contact¬†information must not appear anywhere on the manuscript.
  • Please let us know immediately if your manuscript is accepted somewhere else.
  • Contestants may submit more than one manuscript, but a separate entry fee and submission must accompany each manuscript.
  • Employees and students of Southeast Missouri State University Press are not eligible.
  • Failure to follow these guidelines may disqualify entry.

Winner of the contest will be notified by July 15. Winner and finalists will be announced on the website later in July.