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the ihlr chapbook



For the 2024 Chapbook Competition, we will select a winning collection of prose:

  • a short collection of three to five stories,

  • a short collection of three to five essays,

  • a short collection of flash fiction,

  • a short collection of flash essays,

  • a novella,

  • a long story told specifically in linked flash, or

  • a long lyric essay (by lyric, we mean segmented, braided, or in a hermit crab shell).


We are NOT accepting hybrids or prose poetry.


Manuscripts should be 40 - 56 pages with each story/essay/chapter starting on a new page. The winning manuscript will be published in the Fall of 2024 as a separate issue (Volume 26.3). Full-color cover art will reflect the collection’s content and emphasize its title, not the name of Iron Horse. The published chapbook will look like the single-author book that it is. The winner also receives a $1,000 honorarium and 15 copies.




  • The submitted manuscript must be 40 - 56 pages long (or 10,000 to 20,000 words). The manuscript must be double-spaced, each story/essay/flash/chapter/segment starting on a new page. Number the pages.

  • Manuscripts must be typed, with one-inch margins and using a 12-point standard font such a Times, Times New Roman, or Garamond.

  • The author’s name and contact information must appear on the Submittable form, but it must NOT appear anywhere in or on the manuscript. There should be no footers or headers containing the author's identity. And no bio page. Manuscripts with biographical information will be disqualified.

  • Do not include acknowledgments of previous publications. Manuscripts including an acknowledgments page will be disqualified.

  • While individual portions of the chapbook may have been published elsewhere, the chapbook as a whole must be previously unpublished.

  • 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.

  • Entries failing to meet formatting instructions will be automatically disqualified.

  • Entry fee: $18, which includes a free print subscription.

  • Submissions accepted: January 15 through March 15.

free submit day

We will accept 25 free submissions on March 1, 2024. On that day, we will open a special gate, revealed on our social media pages (connect with us below) and here on our website. We will accept only one free submission per person (automatically disqualifying subsequent free submission attempts). Once we hit 25 submissions in the free gate, we will close it. Free submissions will not receive a subscription. We offer this opportunity in the hopes of targeting writers who cannot afford to enter otherwise. If you can afford to enter, please do not take one of the 25 available free slots.


January 15, 2024 to March 15, 2024: Currently Closed.

To submit on March 1 for free (with no subscription): We will post the link here on March 1.


We'll announce finalists and the winner here, the finalists in late spring, the winner during the summer.

2023 semi-finalists

Courtney Bambrick, Gargoyle

Faith Gomez Clark, Unlock the Body

Matt Hohner, Foreclosures 

Guillermo Robollo-Gil, El Hijo de Yvonne

Manisha Sharma, What the Silenced women Would Have Said

Jessica Thompson, The Mood Ring Diaries

Lucinda Tree, What Falls to the Ground


2023 finalists

Timmy Chong, East Coast Love Poems

Kathie Collins, Grass Widow

Aiden Heung, Last Warmth of the Day

Aiden Heung, On the Slope of the Dead

Karen Kapoor, a condensed history of my father's addiction

Heidi Seaborn, Brush Fire

Laurie Wetherington, Little Machines

2023 winner!

Maxwell Suzuki, Bust of an Athlete

previous winners

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