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  • Katie Cortese

win, place, show: roxane gay judges the 2015 IHLR single-author competition

We admit to being excitable at IHLR, but it’s hard to blame us when there’s news of this caliber to announce. Prose writers, brace for impact: Roxane Gay has generously agreed to judge our 2015 Single-Author Competition! That’s right, the author of the essay collection Bad Feminist, the novel An Untamed State, and Ayiti, a collection of stories about, as Ethel Rohan puts it, “Haiti, its people, and Diaspora,” will select the winning prose manuscript to be published as a chapbook for a writer of fiction or nonfiction in 2015.

Before you close your browser to dive into your in-progress manuscript, here are the submission details. Gates open for manuscripts on January 1st, 2015, and we’ll keep taking them until February 28th. We (and Roxane) are looking for a work of 50-65 pages, but within that page count the parameters are very broad. Send us your stories: linked or not, flash or long, experimental or traditional. Send a collection of essays, flash-memoirs, linked pieces of immersion journalism à la H. G. Bissinger's Friday Night Lights, or Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. Surprise us. Delight us. But whatever you do, send your best.

For a $15 fee, you’ll get a careful reading of your work, a year’s subscription to Iron Horse Literary Review, and a chance to win $1,000 plus publication.

We timed this competition to coincide with the New Year, and all it implies about those resolutions that we tend to make as writers, the very resolutions that spawned this blog series: Win, Place, Show. We want to work more often and with more focus, to send our material into the world more frequently and with more confidence, and to take more of the risks that tend to define those writers who persevere against all odds—the writers we at Iron Horse strive to be and love to print. Writers like Roxane Gay herself, who work with diligence, seeming fearlessness, and integrity at all times. We hope her helming the contest inspires all of you to work that way too, and we can’t wait to read the results!

--Katie Cortese, Assistant Editor

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