Deadline: Entries must be postmarked by November 1, annually.
Reading Fee: $25 check/money order/cash, made payable to Southeast Missouri State University Press, must accompany each entry.
Award, contest deadline of Nov. 1, 2017: $2,000 and publication by Southeast Missouri State University Press.
Manuscripts submitted to the contest will be read and judged anonymously.
- Submissions must be previously unpublished novels, novellas, or collections of closely linked short stories.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 on a separate title page:
- Contest title
- Manuscript title
- Author name
- Telephone number
- Email (if available)
- Your name/contact information must not appear anywhere else on the manuscript.
- Receipt of manuscript will be acknowledged only if the submission is accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped postcard. Manuscripts will not be returned.
- For mail notification of contest results, include a business-sized SASE.
- 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 title page must accompany each manuscript.
- If you would like a copy of the winning book, please enclose a total payment of $30 ($5 for the book plus the $25 reading fee).
- Employees and students of Southeast Missouri State University Press are not eligible.
- All manuscripts will be recycled at the end of the contest.
- Failure to follow these guidelines may disqualify entry.
Mail entries with $25 reading fee to:
Southeast Missouri State University Press
Nilsen Literary Prize for a First Novel
One University Plaza, MS 2650
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Winner of the contest will be notified by July 15. Winner and finalists will be announced on the website later in July.