Every spring, Grist welcomes submissions of unpublished creative work for our ProForma contest in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and/or hybrids that explore the relationship between content and form.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 (along with normal payment rates)
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).
Submissions open: March 15, 2020, 12:01 EST
Submission deadline: April 30, 2020, 11:59, EST
Please submit your manuscript via our Submittable site.
To view past winners, visit here.
Reading will be done anonymously, 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 We cannot refund the fee if the submission is withdrawn.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 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.
Grist is committed to diversity, inclusivity, cultural interchange, and respect for all individuals. In the case of all submitted and/or accepted work, if an author behaves or speaks publicly—or is revealed or accused to have behaved or spoken, even in private—in ways that contradict these expressed values of the journal, then we reserve the right to disqualify an author’s submission, release the author from any contract, and/or remove their work from our archives.
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 guidelines—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.
Joy Priest is the author of HORSEPOWER (Pitt Poetry Series, 2020), winner of the Donald Hall Prize for Poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in ESPN, Gulf Coast, Mississippi Review, The Rumpus, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Best New Poets 2014, 2016, and 2019, among others. Priest is the winner of the 2019 Gearhart Poetry Prize from The Southeast Review, and the 2016 College Writers’ Award from the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation. She was the 2018 Gregory Pardlo Scholar at The Frost Place, the 2019 Nikki Giovanni Scholar at the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop, and is the recipient of fellowships and support from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.