the ihlr chapbook



For the 2020 Chapbook Competition, we will select a winning collection of FICTION: a novella, or four to five ten-page stories, or a collection of flash stories or some similar set-up, but all FICTION. We are not accepting hybrids this year. Manuscripts should be 40 - 56 pages, double-spaced, each story or chapter starting on a new page. The winning manuscript will be published in the Fall of 2020 as a separate issue (Volume 22.4). 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.

kerry beth neville  2020 Judge


Kerry Beth Neville is the author of the award-winning short story collections, Remember to Forget Me and Necessary Lies. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The Gettysburg ReviewTriQuarterlyEpochThe Huffington Post,The Washington Post, and The Fix.  She has twice received the Dallas Museum of Art Prize for Fiction and has been awarded The John Guyon Prize in Literary Nonfiction, The Texas Institute of Letters/Kay Cattarulla Prize for the Short Story, and the Short Story Book of the Year Prize from Independent Publisher Magazine. As a 2018 Fulbright Scholar in Ireland, she was Visiting Faculty in the M.A. Creative Writing Program at University of Limerick and continues as faculty for the Frank McCourt/University of Limerick Summer Writing School. She received her PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and is the Coordinator of the MFA and Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at Georgia College and State University, where she is also an Assistant Professor of English.



Entries must be between 40 and 56 manuscript pages, with each story/chapter 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While individual portions of the chapbook may have been published elsewhere, the chapbook as a whole must be previously unpublished.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. Manuscripts with biographical information will be disqualified. • Do not include acknowledgments of previous publications. Manuscripts including an acknowledgments page will be disqualified. • Pages must be numbered. • The $18 entry fee includes a one year's subscription to IHLR. • We only accept electronic manuscripts, submitted as ONE pdf file, with the entire chapbook in that single file. Do NOT submit stories in individual files. •  Submissions will be accepted between January 13 and March 15. DEADLINE EXTENDED FOR COVID19: MAY 1.

We will accept 20 free submissions on March 13, 2020. 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), and we will only accept the first twenty. Once we hit 20 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 20 available free slots.


January 13, 2020 to May 1, 2020: Submit here.

To submit on March 13 for free (with no subscription): Submit here on that day.

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

2020 semi-finalists

Author, Title

2020 finalists

Author, Title

2020 winner!

Author, Title

previous judges

previous winners