ihlr book prize

ihlr book prize 


Texas Tech University Press and Iron Horse Literary Review are pleased to announce the Iron Horse Prize, awarded annually to a first book of collected prose. The author of the winning entry will receive $1000, and their collection will be published in the summer of 2022 by Texas Tech University Press.

We are looking for emerging writers who have yet to publish collections of their own prose, either short fiction or nonfiction. The Iron Horse Prize seeks stories from and about places and people that are often overlooked and underrepresented in contemporary letters, but we have no preferences as to subjects or themes. Though entries may come from writers who have published individual essays or stories--including works collected in the submitted manuscript--we are far more interested in strong voices, diverse perspectives, and fresh takes on what it means to be human than on publishing credentials.

The winner will be chosen by Katie Cortese, director of Texas Tech University Press, the fiction editor of Iron Horse Literary Review, an associate professor in the Creative Writing Program at Texas Tech University, and author of Make Way for Her and Other Stories.

general instructions:

  1. Entries must be either a collection of short fiction or essays. We are not accepting novels or memoirs, although we welcome story cycles, novellas with other stories, and linked essays.

  2. We prefer manuscripts between 150 to 200 pages in length, with each story or essay starting on a new page.

  3. Manuscripts must be typed, with one-inch margins and using a standard typeface like Times New Roman or Garamond, in 12-point font.

  4. Pages must be numbered.

  5. Individual portions of the manuscript may have been published elsewhere, but the manuscript as a whole must be previously unpublished.

  6. The author’s name and contact information should appear on the Submittable form and in the cover letter, but it must NOT appear anywhere on the manuscript. There should be no footers or headers containing the author's identity. No bio page or acknowledgments page.

  7. In your cover letter, and only in your cover letter, you are required to include acknowledgment of any portion of the manuscript that has been previously published. But do NOT include an acknowledgments page inside the manuscript.

  8. We only accept electronic manuscripts, submitted as ONE pdf, doc, or docx file, with the entire manuscript in that single file using continuous pagination. Do NOT submit multiple stories or essays in individual files.

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




entry fee: $15, which directly supports the series.


submission dates: June 15 to August 15


free submission date: July 15. On this day, we will accept a limited number of submissions free of charge to ensure the inclusion of as many authors as possible. If you can afford to pay the fee, we ask that you reserve the free slots for others who may not be able to submit otherwise. If you miss the July 15th free submission day and would like to submit your work but cannot pay the fee, please feel welcome to contact Travis Snyder at Texas Tech University Press (travis.snyder@ttu.edu), but not before July 15th.

timeline: Prize finalists will be announced in November-December 2021, and the winner will be named in January 2022. Though only one book is guaranteed to receive the $1,000 honorarium and publication, all submissions will be considered for publication.


For more information on Texas Tech University Press, visit their website.

2021 semifinalists: 


Joe Baumann, Sing with Me at the Edge of Paradise (f)
Mark Baumgartner, Last of the Ice Men: Stories (f)

Timothy DeLizza, Lonely Beasts (hybrid)

Jeanne Dickey, Vera and Big Bobby and Other Stories (f)

Michael Dowdy, Tell Me About Your Bad Guys: Lyric Essays (nf)

Joshua English, Local Beasts (f)

Susan Finch, Dear Second Husband (f)

Bernard Grant, All Hours (f)

Charlie Green, What We All Inhabit: Essays on the Body and Mood (nf)

Emily Greenberg, Alternative Facts & Other Fictions (f)

Nancy Ludmerer, A Simple Case and Other Stories (f)

Chibuike Ogbonnaya, It Is Not You I Mourn, It Is Time (f)

Cameron Steele, No Easy Way Out: A Memoir of Interruption (nf)

Max Talley, My Secret Place (f)

Danilo Thomas, Ore Vein (f)

Caroline Tracey, Salt Lakes (nf)

Jeffrey Utzinger, The Risk Involved (nf)

Dan Webre, The Gulf Between Us (f)

2021 finalists: TBA

2021 winner: TBA

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