Every spring, Grist welcomes submissions of unpublished creative work for our ProForma contest in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and/or hybrids that explore the relationship between content and form. Our contest is open to all forms of literary expression.
“Pro forma” often means an established way of doing things. For the contest, we look for work that makes the most of its form, whether that’s an essay that breaks from traditional expectations, a set of poems from a sonnet sequence, a short story that blends or bends its genre, a hybrid text or a genre-less piece. However you define the relationship with form in your writing, we want to see your best work.
First Prize: $1200 plus publication in the print journal
Runners Up: publication in the print journal
Entry fee: $18 or $24 (includes a subscription to Grist or a Grist t-shirt).
Multiple submissions have the option of gifting the subscription or extending an existing subscription.
For longer works: no more than 5000 words
For shorter works: no more than 5 pieces
**Please indicate in the comments section on Submittable if your manuscript should be considered in a certain way (if three flash pieces or poems should be grouped together rather than read as separate pieces, for example).
Submission deadline: April 30, 11:59, EST
Please submit your manuscript via our Submittable site.
To view past winners, visit here.
Reading will be blind, so please remove your name or any other identifying information from both the file name and the manuscript itself. Otherwise, we will be unable to consider it. Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please notify us if the submission is accepted elsewhere. Multiple submissions are also fine, but you will be charged the full reading fee per submission. We cannot refund the fee if the submission is withdrawn. No one currently or recently affiliated with the University of Tennessee or with the Creative Writing Programs at Texas Christian University or Ashland University is eligible to enter. Additionally, former students of our final judge and close associations of current Grist staff are also ineligible. All submissions will also be considered for publication outside of the contest feature.
We adhere to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses’ Contest Code of Ethics:
CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest uidelines—defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.
Alex Lemon is the author of Happy: A Memoir, and four books of poetry: Mosquito, Hallelujah Blackout, Fancy Beasts, and The Wish Book. Feverland, an essay collection, and Or Beauty, a fth poetry collection, are forthcoming from Milkweed Editions. His writing has appeared in Esquire, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Best American Poetry, Tin House, Kenyon Review, AGNI, and The Southern Review, among others. He is a senior prose editor for Tupelo Quarterly, poetry editor for descant, editor-at-large for Saturnalia Books, writes reviews for the Dallas Morning News and teaches at TCU and in Ashland University’s Low Residency MFA program.