the ihlr chapbook



For the 2019 Chapbook Competition, we will select a winning collection of prose, 40 - 56 pages, double-spaced, each story or essay starting on a new page. The winning manuscript will be published in the Fall of 2019 as a separate issue (Volume 21.3). Full-color cover art will reflect the collection’s content and emphasize its title, not the name of Iron Horse. The published collection will look like the single-author book that it is. The winner also receives a $1,000 honorarium and 15 copies.

lacy m. johnson  2019 Judge


Lacy M. Johnson is a Houston-based professor, curator, activist, and the author of The Reckonings (Scribner, 2018), The Other Side (Tin House, 2014), and Trespasses: A Memoir (U of Iowa P, 2012). She has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography and a 2014 Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writer pick. As a writer and artist, she has been awarded grants and fellowships from the Houston Endowment, Rice University’s Humanities Research Center, Houston Arts Alliance, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Kansas Arts Commission, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, Inprint, and Millay Colony for the Arts. Her work has appeared in New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Tin House, Guernica, Fourth Genre, Creative Nonfiction, Sentence, TriQuarterly, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. She teaches creative nonfiction at Rice University.



Entries must be between 40 and 56 manuscript pages, with each essay or story starting on a new page. • Manuscripts must be typed, with one-inch margins, 12-point font. • While individual portions of the chapbook may have been published elsewhere, the chapbook as a whole must be previously unpublished. • The author’s name and contact information must appear on the Submittable form, but it must NOT appear anywhere on the manuscript. There should be no footers or headers containing the author's identity. And no bio page. ji


Photo credit: John Carrithers

Manuscripts with biographical information will be disqualified. • Do not include acknowledgments of previous publications. Manu-scripts including an acknowledgments page will be disqualified. • Pages must be numbered. • The $18 entry fee includes a one year's subscription to IHLR. • Feb 22, 2019: We will offer one free submission day during the submission period, but entries on that day will not purchase a subscription. • We only accept electronic manuscripts, submitted as ONE pdf file, with the entire chapbook in that single file. Do NOT submit essays or stories in individual files. •  Submissions will be accepted between January 16 and March 1.


January 16, 2019 to March 15, 2019: Submit here.

To submit on Feb 22 for free (with no subscription): Free Day coming in February.

We'll announce finalists and the winner here, the finalists in late spring, the winner in early summer if not sooner.

2019 semi-finalists

Hildie Block, Straddling

Shannon Bowring, Northern Girls

Randall Brown, In the Same Way & Forever

Kate Bucca, Disreputable Women

Ande Davis, Strange Backroads

Heath Dollar, Ink Upon the Furrows: Short Stories

Dustin Hoffman, No Good for Digging

Sonya Huber, Beluga & Matchstick

Anne Kellor, To Give and To Take

Michael Martone, Winesburg, Appendix

Wendell Mayo, The Cold War: Stories

Calvin Mills, A Handful of Tragic Days

David Oates, Journey to the Deep West

Robin Rozanski, Peculiar Anodynes

Townsend Walker, It Didn't Have to End This Way

2019 finalists

Sean Bernard, Therapy

Simmons Buntin, Satellite: A Triptych

Jaydn DeWald, A Love Supreme: fragments & ephemera

Jaclyn Dwyer, The Drowned Maidens Club

Freda Epum, Entryways into Memories That Might Assemble Me,

Brigitte Lewis, Origin Stories

Gleah Powers, In the Valley of the Sun

2019 winner!

Freda Epum, Entryways into Memories That Might Assemble Me,

previous judges

previous winners